There is an inevitable hysteria that builds up around this time of year about Kona and the Ironman World Championships.
Athletes trying to talk themselves into form, coaches trying to give athletes confidence through any means possible, parents and friends good-naturedly asking their loved ones how they feel every time they see them hoping the answer will in some way help their charge, when really they are just looking for reassurance for themselves.
October is triathlon’s crazy month. Each year I’m asked predictions about the Kona field, I’m asked gossip about my own squad, I’m asked just about everything except of course for what really matters.
What matters in the Sutton squad is hitting your numbers. No, not someone else’s – yours. Once done and only then can an athlete compare to others of days gone by.
All the Angry Bird (Daniela Ryf) supporters who want to know why I’m not like other coaches pumping up how great my charges is, be assured of this statement:
‘When the flag drops, the bullshit stops’
As only those that have been hitting the numbers in training have any hope at all of hitting them on race day. That is what I like about Ironman and what drew me to it in the first place. This is a no fudge sport. In the ITU Short Course, as my own charge Nicola Spirig has shown this year, if you’re a class act you can sneak a win. In Ironman no matter your what your class, if you haven’t done the work you’re going to be found out.
So in short the Angry Bird and myself have been too busy hitting the numbers and knocking down the things that stand in Daniela’s mind that could stop her from a great performance.
Not a win, a great performance. That is what the trisutto group look for. You look after great performances and the wins look after themselves.
I’m not going to shout Daniela is going to do this or that, but I will tell Daniela Ryf supporters three important things:
First, don’t get caught up in the ‘she has raced too much’ rubbish. She hasn’t. Second, don’t get caught up in the ‘this is the toughest course’ rubbish. It’s not. I had an age grouper win it. Third, the session Daniela did yesterday just killed any thought that the heat is going to stop her. This session yesterday was a Tour de Force in 30C and humidity that was so thick I brought a knife and fork so she could eat through it.
I have no inclination about, nor do I want to know what others are doing, we stick to our own knitting and worry about us just as everyone else racing should do.
In the men’s race, I’m told Jan Fredeno is racing. If he has done the work he will be a threat as he is all class athletically.
As for the women, I can only go on what I see. I saw Leanda Cave in very good form last week, but I’ve also seen the Angry Bird beat her in the European’s. I also know, because the numbers don’t lie, that Daniela is a better athlete than then. From within my squad over time I’ve only ever seen two better sets of numbers: One from the current Olympic Champ who is racing ITU World Cup, and the other… Well, I don’t see Chrissie Wellington’s name on the start list.
The Angry Bird goes to Kona with nothing to lose, and let me tell you she is ready to fly.