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Triathlete stars are still ordinary people

Updated: October 15, 2004, 9:40 PM ET
By Robert Alfert | Special to ESPN.com

Editor's note: Robert Alfert will be sharing his experience of preparing and running in the Ironman Triathlon World Championships with ESPN.com this week.

The road to Kona, from my temporary condo a half hour to the north, is a lonely ride.

The only highway along the western coast of the Big Island of Hawaii, the Queen Ka'ahumanu is carved out of lava fields, all of which are black, or really black, or brown-black. There is no sign of life in the pre-dawn hours, the vast nothingness ...

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