Race Analysis: Ironman 70.3 Miami, Los Cabos, Turkey + World Cup Tongyeong

IM 70.3 Miami

Leanda Cave will attempt to get redemption this weekend at her home race, Miami 70.3. She will be challenged by athletes like Sarah Haskins, who looks to rebound after injuries stalled her 70.3 racing (and Ironman debut) this spring and summer. The men’s side is highlighted by 70.3 specialists like Michael Raelert, who was DQ’ed at Silverman 70.3 for multiple drafting violations, Taylor Reid and strong cyclists Andreas Dreitz, Andrew Starykowicz and Cameron Dye. On a flat course like Miami, it could be ITU style with a large group reaching T2 together, thus turning into a foot race.

Leanda cave

Are you excited to get out there on your home course and do your fitness so justice with a really hard effort?

Yes.  I am racing.  Not sure how I will be on race day after my Kona crash, but at this stage I am feeling pretty good.  I’ve not been able to do a lot to test my body, but one thing I know for sue is that I will be well rested!
Any plans for an Ironman this fall?

I have signed up to race Ironman Cozumel.  I thought about IM Arizona, however if I had any major problems with my body, this may have been too soon to get them fixed up.  I also like the idea of Cozumel because it will be hot and humid, and that’s what I will be ready for.  

Taylor RTaylor Reid

This will be the first 70.3 race that I have ever returned to. It will have been just over one year since I did my first 70.3. Miami is a great city for a race. A lot of the time Ironman races are in the middle of nowhere but not this one. Transition is right downtown and you get a great crowd.

This race will be flat fast and hot. There are some big guns showing up and I think the person who can go to the darkness and stay there the longest will win.

Dye_InterviewCam Dye

I am looking forward to finishing out my 2015 season with the 70.3 in Miami. As with all 70.3’s these days it is a really strong field so it will be another good chance to test myself against the best in the long course world. Based on the start list there look to be quite a few solid swimmer/bikers so hopefully we can separate the race early and get things split up on the flat course that will be very tough for the weaker cyclists.

Were you pleased with your 3rd place at both Timberman and Silverman?

I was very pleased with Timberman, as I felt like I put together a very solid race and was simply beaten by better guys on the day. Silverman I wasn’t as happy with. I didn’t feel like I rode the way I can, and although I got third in the results I was really 4th on the day. I learned a lot at both races that will hopefully serve me well in the future, but its interesting how in racing you can feel so differently about finishing in the same spot at different races.

Will 70.3 Worlds be the main goal for this upcoming season? Or do you have another focus?

This is a great question, and at this point one I still don’t have an answer for. The course down in Australia seems as though it will be very similar to the old Clearwater days which is a worst case scenario for me. If it does turn out to be a flat course where the group will all ride together, then I may spend next year continuing to figure out the distance and focus in on Worlds when it comes back to a tougher course in Chattanooga in 2017. Other than that I am not even sure what races outside of Ironman/70.3 will have pro fields next year so I will hold off really dialing in a schedule until more of that is known.

IM 70.3 Los Cabos

On the west coast, professionals have chosen to race in Baja California at Cabo 70.3. The bike is hilly so things will probably be a bit more strung out leading onto the run. Amanda Stevens is fit and after a DNF at Kona, she will be firing off the front to do her fitness some justice. She will have to look out for Magali Tisseyre, this years’ 4th place finisher at the 70.3 World Championships. Carrie Lester could be a threat if she has recovered from her monster effort at Ironman Chattanooga where she destroyed the field. A tough bike course suits Melanie McQuaid, however, the heat—not so much. On the men’s side Cody Beals is psyched about the tough bike course. He will be challenged by David Giardini, Leon Griffin and James Cunnama on the bike. Look out for strong runners coming through in the heat; Chris Baird and Chris Leiferman could threaten to crack the podium.

DSC_1794Davide Giardini

You have had a consistent season with some podiums along with several top 10 finishes, what are you looking to take away from this last 70.3 race?

Who said it’s my last 70.3 race? 😉 As expected for a $50k purse race, there’s quite a few hitters (and BoCo training partners) on the Cabo start list, even though not nearly as stacked as Miami. I’m looking to take away a pay-day; the bigger the better, ideally a podium. 

Going into next season where is your focusing going to be?  Staying with the 70.3 more or taking a shot an Ironman?

Having seen the training required to be competitive in Ironman these days, I have no desire nor time to go thru that right now or next year. Too busy with “my other job” selling BioAstin Hawaiian Astaxanthin at Costco’s! I also recently started working with Matt Dixon of Purplepatch to get some guidance in this sport that I kinda fell into it somehow, so I’m definitely going to rely on his knowledge and expertise. 

Is there anything in particular that stands out on the Los Cabos course that you are looking to take advantage of?

People that know me, know that I probably haven’t looked at the course yet. I’m definitely looking forward to take advantage of the mean surf breaks post-race! 

cody BCody Beals

Why did you pick Los Cabos 70.3 over Miami 70.3?

Three reasons: the pro field, the course and the tax implications of racing in the US as a Canadian.

Los Cabos probably offers a better shot at the win I’ve been chasing after taking seconds at 70.3 Cozumel and Silverman. There are certainly no cherry picks on the North American 70.3 circuit these days, however Miami is pretty much guaranteed to have a stacked pro field. Sure enough, the field turned out to be half the size at Los Cabos, though there’s still some stiff competition. I haven’t shied away from racing the best this season, but at this point, a win is worth far more to me than another podium.

The more challenging Los Cabos bike course suits me by offering a better opportunity to string out the field than the flat and fast Miami course. Last year in Miami, the top ten pro men remarkably all rode bike splits between 2:02 to 2:04.

Under the US-Canada Tax Treaty, professional athletes can claim exemption from US withholding tax (at a default rate of 30%) on earnings up to a specific threshold. Total prize money from my four US races this season is currently just below the threshold and one more US race would tip me over, in which case I’d owe 30% on the total amount. I’d have to go through some convoluted process and likely hire an accountant to claim back foreign tax. No one warned me about the headache that is foreign tax law when I took my pro card. Apparently pro triathletes should consider accounting night school!

How has training been going since Silverman?  Any key workouts that you feel have really helped to move you up the podium to the top spot?

I hit my training pretty hard in September leading into 70.3 Cozumel and Silverman while I was in The Woodlands, Texas. The three weeks since Silverman have been quite a contrast back home in Ontario. I’ve been very light on the training and heavy on the naps, home cooking and quality time with family and friends. I felt thoroughly trashed—physically and mentally—after three races in three different countries in five weeks. My coaches and I decided to err on the side of more rest and sacrifice some fitness, rather than attempting to draw out the peak form I carried into 70.3 Worlds two months ago. Racing this late in the season is uncharted territory for me, but I feel recharged and ready to go spelunking in the pain cave one more time this year. It’s a delicate balance between recovering while remaining sharp, focused and willing to suffer.

World Cup Tongyeong

Finally, the World Cup season wraps up in Tongyeong, Korea. The US men are all there looking for valuable Olympic selection points. Eric Lagerstrom and Joe Maloy have the goods to finish at the pointy end of the field to wrap up their seasons on a high note. For the women, the Japanese are strong and racing close to home. Lisa Norden is on the start list but her last few seasons have been a series of injuries; hopefully she can turn it around this weekend.

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photo credit: Bay Side Miami, FL via photopin (license)

About the Authors

Zach Miller
Zach Miller is a sports enthusiast and age group triathlete living in the The Woodlands, TX. He is the Host of The Triathlon Preview Show. Follow @trifantasy The Triathlon Preview Show: iTunes Podcast
Emily is a professional triathlete and swim coach living in Napa, CA. Emily swam for the University of Michigan and completed her first tri in 2004 at the Chicago Triathlon. She worked for seven years as a paralegal, followed by three years as an Assistant Swim Coach for the University of Illinois-Chicago. Presently, she lives and trains in Napa, California while working for the Napa Valley Swim Team and coaching several age group triathletes.