Since I am not going to be racing the Welland Half Iron this year, I thought it might be interesting to put down a few predictions on the race (no there won't be any betting on this). If your racing tomorrow and are a bit fidgety tonight (and not yet asleep), just have a quick read to calm the nerves (sort of).
I'll just work off of the elite and pro starting list to take a few guesses to how the race will unfold (mainly for the people I know and have raced against myself). I'm not sure how everyone's training is going, so it is only a rough estimate (VERY ROUGH).
So lets start with the swim. Since Wolfgang Guembel will be racing this year (after not racing in 2012), I would say he would be the first male, potentially the first person, out of the water. This is assuming that Len Gushe doesn't sign up on race morning like he did last year, in which case he would probably be first out of the water. Angela Quick, will also most likely also be at the front of the pack (No real surprises here so far...).
A bit further back from the top swimmers (maybe 2-3 minutes back) I can see Nigel Gray, Cody Beals, Alex VanderLinden, and Jakub Macel (who it turns out I swim with). These guys will put in a good swim, and should all be out of the water around the same time (I'm going to say these three will beat Nigel out of the water). Following this group should be Francois Cote, Jim Sunners, and Chris Pickering. I'll put these guys maybe another couple minutes behind the second group.
Now to the bike. Obviously the slower swimmers (don't take that negatively) will want to catch up and make up some ground on the bike (since they tend to be fast cyclists). However, after a strong performance on the bike this year from Cody, it's debatable if either Francois or Chris will catch him. Jakub will also most likely not be caught by these two, but I believe they may catch Alex (again, hypothetical). I believe Jim will be the only one from the third group to be able to catch up to Cody and Jakub, which will happen pretty early in the bike (like by halfway). Since this is also Jim's home course and he is very experienced, he will keep on the gas and pass Cody and Jakub (who should still be close). I believe it is plausible that Cody will try to match Jim when he catches up, and Jakub may also follow suit. However, I believe Jim will out bike them both. There is no doubt that Nigel will start the bike fast, and keep it up. He is my pick for first off the bike (passing Wolf and potentially Len if he shows).
So off the bike, I'm predicting (in order for the athletes mentioned): Nigel, Len (if shows), Wolf, Jim, Jakub, Cody, Francois, Chris, Alex.
Out of T2 and into the run, Nigel, Len, and Wolf will be probably be 5-10 minutes up on the rest of the pack. I don't think anyone will catch them, and they will race for the top 3. Now this is where the race will be hard to predict, since Cody and Alex are first timers for the half distance, but they tend to be strong runners. If they have had proper nutrition and didn't push too hard on the bike, there is the potential for them to pull away and fight for 4'th and 5'th. However, I believe they will both be suffering a bit in the run, and may not run to there potential. I believe that Jim will put in a steady, fast 21.1km, and run himself into fourth. Francois also should have a good run (if he doesn't take a wrong turn somewhere), and will quite possibly outrun Cody and Alex. Jakub will probably be also running steady and pretty quick, but I'm predicting he will get caught by Francois, Jim, and potentially Cody or Alex. I think Chris will not outrun any of these guys unless they experience problems (He's doesn't have the same speed, but he is very consistant and experienced, and would take advantage of those experiencing problems). Alright, so at the end of the day, here's how I think it will be (I'll even put a guess on some times):
Nigel (3:59:59), Wolf (4:02:30) Len (4:07:00), Jim (4:15-4:20), Francois (4:15-4:20), Jakub (4:15-4:20), Cody (4:17:30-4:25:00), Alex (4:22:30-4:27:30), Chris (4:22:30-4:27:30).
Hope you enjoyed (and didn't take any offense at my predictions-they are only rough estimates based mainly on last years results). It's all just for some pre-race fun.
Best of luck to all of those racing!!