Observations and Images from Ironman Texas

Leslie LaMacchia grabbing an on-course interview with her friend, Pedro Gomes. Pedro finished up in 5th. (Image by John Shughart)

It was a tremendous day and an amazing race in The Woodlands, Texas. With all of the tough age groupers fighting late into nightall and the amazing pro performances, I found myself falling in love with the sport all over again. Plus, the three loop run course made it great for spectating, particularly when you’re posted up next to the Moxie Bridge (will post their video later) where the beer and Blue Nectar Tequila (their sponsor) flows like wine and the dance music never stops.

Matt Hanson and Angela Naeth

First of all, these two should coordinate all future race and interview plans plans. Together, they captured their first Ironman Championships at Ironman Chattanooga last year and together in The Woodlands, they grabbed their second title, $30,000 each and an automatic ticket to Kona.

Hanson proved once again that he can run like the wind in Kona-like heat (2:45 marathon split). I cannot tell you how smooth and powerful he looked out there on the run course. Can he get better and limit losses in the water before October? If so, he’s a threat. I have to admit that I underestimated him despite the fact that I’ve interviewed him twice and know how well he can run. I won’t make that mistake again.

After a blistering bike, Angela Naeth held the lead the rest of the way. The foot race between her and Ironman World Champion, Leanda Cave, was amazing. Leanda shadowed her for a very long time before fading just a bit in the end.

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Leanda Cave

Since her Ironman World Championship in 2012, she hasn’t been much of a factor, and some talking heads (such as me) may have suggested that she’s washed up. With an 8:58 for 2nd place, Leanda certainly made a big statement in a big race. She seems poised for another legitimate crack at Kona.

Joe Skipper

The great thing about athletes is that they get the opportunity to figuratively smack the pundits around with their performances. I did not ask Joe Skipper to be on my show. Frankly, I didn’t know much about the fella. Suffice it to say, he’s certainly gotten my attention now (in addition to $15,000 of WTC’s dollars). Dude went a minute faster than Sanders on the bike and held on for second place overall. Breakout performance of the day for me.

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Image by John Shughart

Image by Zach Miller

Image by Zach Miller

Lionel Sanders

Sanders looked just awful just a couple of miles into the run. He was weaving and staggering, and I thought he was done. His mom and manager were very worried. They told me that their advice to him was: unless you’re hurt or going to get hurt, keep going.

In this day and age, I think most pros would have quit and signed up for another race. Sanders just kept going. The guy is willing to suffer, he’s willing to hurt and we all love him for it. It was also pretty hilarious that he rocked the “I AM THE REAL STARKY” hat at the awards ceremony.

Kelly Williamson

As she stated in her interview, she ran her own race and threw down a best-of-the-day 3:01 on the run. If only these races were longer. Kelly doesn’t actually lose Ironman races, she just run’s out of time.

Image by Aaron Webstey

Image by Aaron Webstey

 

Live Streaming Video

We attempted something new and I think we learned a lot. First of all, a day of live interviews is way harder than it looks and you have to tip your cap to folks like Bob Babbitt who make it look easy. The audio was simply awful the first day and we still aren’t sure why. The levels were perfect coming from the mixer and they were recorded without distortion into the digital recorder.

All we did to fix it was switch from an old HP laptop to King of All Technology’s fancy new Mac. Problem solved instantly. Don’t even get me started on why we didn’t start out using the nice computer.

Thanks for your patience and thanks to BSX Insight for sponsoring the interviews and subsequent podcasts that will be produced from the recordings. Watch all of those interviews on youtube.

On Course Interviews

I recieved some criticism for this. First of all, let me just say that it was intended to be funny. Second, I recognize that not everyone enjoys it. Andreas Raelert was really not in the mood to be asked on a date by the bikini clad Leslie LaMacchia. Others, loved it (see below). It’s a funny bit, but it may have run it’s course already. If you’ve seen it once, you’ve seen it a hundred times. Luckily for all the uptight athletes, I won’t be at another pro race until October.

TRS Racing

Image is property of KBG

Image is property of KBG

It was fantastic to spend the weekend with members of my Huub-TRS Racing crew. It’s our first year as a team and we are 60 members strong. Zach Boring and Sean Murnane (my co-captains) along with Aaron Webstey, my King of All Technology, do a lot of heavy lifting for me and the team. This was a bit of a reward trip for them (except they had to work).

John Shughart drove all the way down from Kansas with a bottle of moonshine and Dave Hansen flew in from New York. He actually exercised. Even Dark Mark graced us with his presence for a few brief moments. Rumor has it that it was Mark who called the police because the Moxie Multisport party was too loud and too fun. Also, I think it was TriEqual’s fault as wll, but I’m not sure how or why just yet.

Zach Miller, also known as TriFantasy, did a great job out there in his new Huub-TRS Dave Scott kit.

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Image by John Shughart

Image by Aaron Webstey.

Image by Aaron Webstey.

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Image by John Shughart

Zach Miller of TRS Racing had a great day, finishing up in 9 hrs and 58 min - 10th in his division. (Image by Aaron Webstey)

Zach Miller of TRS Racing had a great day, finishing up in 9 hrs and 58 min – 10th in his division. (Image by Aaron Webstey)

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Ben Hoffman in T2. (Image by John Shughart)

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Matt Hanson, David Plese and Barrett Brandon (Image by John Shughart)

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Andreas Raelert eventually DNF’d. (Image by John Shughart)

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Rachel Joyce finished 3rd with a 9:05. (Image by John Shughart)


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About the Author

Ben Hobbs
Ben Hobbs is Publisher of TRS Triathlon and host of TRS Radio. Follow @TRS_Tri