What? There was another race in Canada on Sunday? Yes, yes there was – while it may have lacked the drawn-out progression of Whistler, Ironman Calgary 70.3 went down fast-and-furious style – and not without its share of drama.
Questions: Will the Canadian women run the show in their home territory? Has Alicia Kaye recovered sufficiently from her dive into the Hudson at NYC Tri last weekend? Will Andy Potts get the TRS podcast bump? Where is Calgary, anyways?
The Lineup: Alicia Kaye, Magali Tisseyre, Robin Pomeroy, Emma-Kate Lidbury (4th at Calgary 70.3 in 2014), Lauren Brandon, Ben Hoffman, Matt Lieto, Justin Metzler, Andy Potts (2014 champ)
The course: The Canadian Rocky Mountains make Calgary one of the more challenging courses on the Ironman 70.3 circuit. For their Herculean efforts, athletes are rewarded with a scenic tour of Alberta. Calgary 70.3 starts and ends on Auburn Bay – with a beach-start swim in a 43 acre private lake, with historically fast swim times – then moves on to a point-to-point bike course through the ranch countryside (rolling hills and false flats the first half, downhill and fast the second half), and concludes with an out-and-back run course – mostly flat, with two troublesome hills.
Ironman Calgary 70.3 is a P-500 race with a $15,000 prize purse.
The Men’s Race: A Battle to the End
As the pro men took off on a swim course that would bamboozle many athletes, Andy Potts took the lead. Potts was first out of the water for the men, with Damon Barnett 40 seconds behind. Within seconds, Barnett was followed by Jordan Bryden, Matt Lieto, and Ben Hoffman.
70km into the bike, Hoffman overtook Potts. Although Potts came off the bike in the lead, Hoffman trailed him into T2 by only 2 seconds – and a quicker transition had Hoffman out on the run course first. Matt Lieto was still sitting in 3rd, 1:55 back after fighting hard to stay with Hoffman and Potts during the first two legs – hard efforts that he then paid for on the run. Up at the front, the run course had turned into a dramatic Hoffman-Potts showdown. Hoffman managed to best Potts in a sprint finish, with Hoffman posting a smoking fast 3:50:43, just 2 seconds ahead of Potts’ 3:50:45. Meanwhile, Justin Metzler had run his way up to 3rd place, finishing in 3:57:01 ahead of Lieto.
— Ben Hoffman (@bhoffmanracing) July 26, 2015
Matt Lieto tweeted this riddle post-race. We only sort of understand it, but gather that he worked hard and is happy:
— Matt Lieto (@mattlieto) July 26, 2015
The Women’s Race: What Really Happened During That Swim??
For as fantastic as Auburn Bay Lake was touted to be, swimmers seemed mighty confused by the course. Super-swimmer Lauren Brandon came out of the water in the lead, with Canadian favorite Magali Tisseyre 30 seconds behind her and Emma-Kate Lidbury in 3rd at +1:32. As the ladies crunched out miles on the bike, Tisseyre overtook Brandon. Tisseyre came into T2 still leading the women, with Lauren Brandon following just under 2 minutes later. After making good time on the bike, Alicia Kaye entered T2 in 3rd – just 25 seconds off 2nd place.
Magali Tisseyre crossed the finish line first in a time of 4:07:29, with Kaye in 2nd (4:12:09), while a strong run had brought Malindi Elmore past Lauren Brandon and into 3rd (4:26:12). Brandon appeared to have fizzled out on the run after her speedy swim and bike, but her 1:40:33 split was still enough to keep her in 4th.
One would think the race was over at this point, but not quite. After breaking the finish line tape, Magali Tisseyre was DQ’d half an hour after the finish – bumping Kaye, Elmore, and Barnett up to 1st-3rd, respectively. The DQ was reportedly for “going off course” during the swim – it’s unclear exactly what happened or how the judgment was made, but social media grumblings indicate that many athletes – pro and age group – ended up confused and off course during their journey around Auburn Bay. Regardless, we’re sure Magali would’ve preferred it if officials had handed her the DQ right after the swim instead of letting her race for another 3.5 hours.
Very frustrating DQ. Would have been nice if it had been mentioned that.most of the pro field went off course on the swim.
— Magali Tisseyre (@TriMagali) July 26, 2015
There were issues this morning with our swim course which caused many athletes to be confused. We are reviewing the problems (1/2)
— Ironman Calgary (@ironmancalgary) July 26, 2015