France’s Iron Man

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I’m not a triathlon fan unlike some other GNOMErs, but you have to admire the dedication and athleticism (and stubbornness) of people who swim 5km, cycle 180km and run 42km (a full marathon) in the Iron Man triathlon every year. One of the competitors in this year’s triathlon will be Frenchman Xavier Le Floch, who finished last year’s race in 14th position, 25 minutes behind the winner. What is extraordinary about this is that 4 months prior to the race, Xavier was involved in a plane accident, and had 2 vertebrae in his neck broken. Normally, such an injury requires 6 months of heavy physiotherapy. Xavier was back training for the Iron Man after 6 weeks.

This year, he’s back, and in the best form of his life. And he expects to win, even if he is not the favourite. Yet another inspirational example from the world of sport.

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I was looking at (work-related) news stories, when I happened upon the LA Times’ “State of the race” map (click on the map to open it up).

The cool thing about this is that it’s a clickable flash map – you can change state colors in function of who you think is going to win the states, and work out virtual results right now.

I figured out that if Bush holds the South, Kerry keeps New England and the Western seaboard, that it’s going to come down to 6 states, Missouri, Minnesota, Michigan, Iowa, Wisconsin and Ohio. Between them, they have 75 electoral college votes, and Missouri (leaning Bush before the debate) has voted for the president in every election since the 2nd world war.

Currently, Bush is up in Wisconsin, Kerry in Michigan, and Minnesota, Iowa and Ohio are too close to call. Anyway, this is probably miles off, but I have enjoyed myself for a few minutes deciding whether we will have the 43rd or 44th President of the USA in January.

The answer, unsurprisingly, is that it’s too close to call.