Championship Ironman: Melbourne
Melbourne looked like a real championship race on the men’s side but not for the women. Steffen and Ellis got off the front right away on the bike and the race was over. There was no real ‘front group’. Those two just shredded the field and that was it. The women’s field was not deep at all for some reason. The men’s field was really deep with several legit top tier guys contending to win.
The men’s race was interesting but also a little boring. It was interesting because, by my count, four different guys lead at different points on the run. That is good race! Zeebroek led for a while by transitioning faster than Dellow. Dellow ran him down and took the lead. Paul Matthews took it out really fast and ran his way to the front moving by Dellow, at around the time I went to bed. I woke up to find Dirk Bockel had eventually moved to the front. So the run was dynamic. The bike was a little boring in that it was just a few guys, mostly Dellow and Zeebroek, pulling the group along and waiting for the weaker bikers to fall off the pace. With a lead group of eleven on a flat course many guys got towed along the first lap and then got dropped on lap two. I was interested to see Philip Graves get dropped, he won an Ironman with an insane bike split back when he was only 20 , and these days he’s getting dropped on the bike. Even Bockel lost a little time late on the bike. I was also surprised Vanhoenacker didn’t bridge up to the front group. He lost a few minutes out of the water and I figured he’d catch up on the ride. He moved through the field as guys were getting tired but never got to the lead. The swim matters in these championship races! Don’t get dropped! Even Vanhoenacker can’t make up time when other guys are riding hard. So the run was interesting the bike a little dull. I always like to see a breakaway or vicious attacks!
I thought Bockel’s race was much like Van Lierde’s at Kona last year. Smart and consistent all day and being at the front when it counts, at the finish. I wrongly assumed Bockel was out of it early in the run when other guys were ahead of him and more guys like Matthews were running by him. It takes serious strength and confidence to stay focused and race smart when guys are making moves all around you. Even at that level it is still an Ironman and you have to respect your own limits. Matthews rushed his way to the front on the run and paid for the pace. Bockel kept on task and finished the strongest. What a performance.
It was nice to see live updates, some video coverage, and have the athlete tracker. I did not listen to much of the commentary, once I hear ‘they’re doing a great job of it’ from Greg Welch once that is enough sound for the day. The video coverage during the bike seemed a little spotty as if they weren’t able to get a moto with a cameraman on the course. At least as far as I saw they mostly featured the lovely face of commentator Welch. They brought in old Luke Bell for some color commentary. And that color was beige. Absurdly, astoundingly and almost alarmingly dull. Video coverage of Matt Lieto checking twitter at the race would have been 100% more interesting. There was video of the run. Ironman seems to have made the decision not to talk about Mr Humanplasma, Mr Former Mountainbiking Olympian and Doper, Michi Weiss. Mr Humanplasma was there and was gradually working his way through the field on the bike and then run but I didn’t hear anything about him. GOOD! I give him attention here but only to help inform triathletes of his history as a doping doper. I was grateful Ironman offered coverage of the race but I also felt obliged to make jokes criticizing their coverage on twitter. The summer championship Ironmans will be Frankfurt in July and Mt Tremblant in August.
I’m kicking off the 2014 season at the Falls Duathlon again this year. I haven’t sorted out all my local races yet but I know I will be joining Final Stretch for the Falls Du at the end of April and Rochesterfest in June. Falls Du has been a fun, low key way to start the season for the last two years. I love that the first run is only two miles and that both runs are totally different courses. Falls Du was my first du win ever and also my first race on my QR CD0.1 in 2013. I’m glad to learn Final Stretch will be putting on the Lake Waconia Tri at the end of June. I was worried the race was going to fade away but they will keep it going strong. There may be a chance for you to do a relay with me there! There will be shenanigans at all these local races, more announcements closer to each date. Please leave a comment if you are interested in joining a relay team for Waconia.
Not The Real Starky
Last Thursday I revealed that I’m The Real Starky. As it happens, I’m not The Real Starky, but boy did I ever think I was. On Twitter I was quite adamant that whole day, just yelling and yelling as all these other people claimed to be The Real Starky. I guess we are all The Real Starky, or some crap like that, but I still think there is a chance it’s just me.