Ironman South Africa, Ironman 70.3 California, NCAA Men’s Swim Meet

Two big long course races this weekend and other stuff.

-Ironman 70.3 California was viciously fast this year. Lots of very, very fast bros going at it in the men’s race. Strava celebrity and Canadian Lionel Sanders rode an almost ridiculous split of 2:04 and supposedly averaged 376 watts. That’s five minutes faster than the front group of guys. Sanders is 160 pounds. I am more than a little skeptical of a 160 pound triathlete who can run a 1:13 after 90k at 376 watts. Years of having my heart broken by dopers makes me a sour skeptic like this. Heathers Jackson and Wurtele took first and second and I had to reprimand Minnesota’s professional Heather, Lendway, for not making it an all Heather podium. Get it together Lendway. Make it happen. Heathers for the win! Side note, one of my athletes did his first half at this race and nailed the splits we were looking for and my pal Karin got second in her age group!

-Ironman South Africa: Frederik Van Lierde is very strong. He always has been. Probably always will be. That guy always swims near the front. He’s a very good swimmer for being a long course guy. He’s not a ‘destroy everyone at Kona’ rider but against a smaller field he can absolutely destroy everyone. He’s done that several times at Ironman France and did it again at South Africa, rode 10-15 minutes into the rest of the guys. Backs that up with a 2:49. He seems so calm and quiet and doesn’t have much of hype but he is SO STRONG. In my mind he never gets much attention in the media relative to his level of performance. Then again, maybe he’s a superstar in Belgium and doesn’t care about being famous in Minnesota. Goodness, what a stud. After winning Kona in 2013 and not winning in 2014 I feel like most people already forgot him. He’s still good.

I don’t fully understand why Ironman South Africa was designated a regional championship race when there don’t seem to be too many other African Ironman races. Maybe it’s a proactive move to help boost the event and the profile of triathlon in the area. Maybe it’s simply because they’ve made a championship in all the other regions so they didn’t want to exclude this one. Cynically, I think it is to please European customers who want an early season Ironman option with lots of Kona slots. Is there anything wrong with any of that? Not really.

-The NCAA men’s swim meet was this weekend. A guy went under 1:40 in the 200 IM. Breaking 1:40 is hard doing freestyle, obviously. Sub 1:40 IM is nuts. The winner of the 500 went under 4:10 so he averaged quicker than 50 second 100s. The winner of the mile averaged 4:23 500s. The final event the 400 free relay looked exciting, two teams fought it out till the end both going 2:47. Swim times always boggle my mind.

-In cycling Bjarne Riis just got fired from Tinkoff-Saxo, a team he used to own. I’m ambivalent at best about Riis since he doped his way to winning the tour in 96 but he did seem quite competent as a team manager. We will see if he gets hired somewhere else or starts up a new program.

-Justin Gatlin just got sponsored by Nike. He won the 100m on the track in Athens in 2004 while being all doped up then got busted and served a long ban. Since then he’s come back and returned to the top of the sprint game and is Usain Bolt’s main threat in Rio next year. A 33 year old doper returns from lengthy ban and is racing faster than ever…. yeah. Admittedly, if he’s at the top he can bring value to Nike as a sponsored athlete but it seems inevitable he’ll get busted again. Maybe no one cares.

-Ending on a bright note, I’m building up my Litespeed T3 frame this coming week! I got it on my birthday earlier this month and will soon have a full blown press release and such once it is actually ready to ride. So look forward to that!

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