Race Analysis: Ironman South Africa, 70.3 Texas + Palmas, WTS Gold Coast

Photo by Zach Miller

The season is officially underway and excitement is going to hit a fever pitch, relatively speaking, with WTS Gold Coast, IM South Africa, Palmas (Brazil) 70.3 and Texas 70.3.

Here’s the short version breakdown:

-Both Brownlees are on the start line and will be barking orders at the peloton
Gomez and Luis are not racing so no Olympic preview—do they plan this??
-It is Stimpson vs. Jenkins for the last GBR Olympic slot
-It is also a big race for the Australians AND on home soil so they are going to be fired up.
Katie Zaferes is fit and ready to rock it—listen to the podcast HERE to get the inside scoop on what Tommy told me ahead of the race.

South Africa is usually very windy, the course is hard and this year it is going to be boiling hot. Look out for some blow ups. Frodeno is out and Swallow is facing a larger group of challengers with the cancellation of IM Melbourne.

Palmas is in Brazil and boasts a strong field vying for 1500 points and a large prize purse. This one will be contested in hot weather as well. I can not tell from social media posts but it looks like Angela Naeth is skipping this one and Leanda Cave might be as well. Cody Beals made the trip after some visa issues which threatened to ruin the whole thing.

-For some reason a slew of professionals decided to hit Galveston and fight over 500 points and a small prize purse. Maybe it is the good scenery and straight forward run course that no one ever gets lost on (sarcasm)? Anyway, Sanders just won in Oceanside and Sarah Haskins is a strong contender for the win on the women’s side. It is supposed to be pretty gusty on the bike course this weekend so it might break up the groups.

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Ironman 70.3 Texas

Sanders

Lionel Sanders

First, the new bike position, how did it feel in Oceanside? It looks great but you never know until you do a really long hard ride in the new position. Are you going to make any tweaks? Aero geeks on triathlon forums want to know!
The new fit is definitely a step in the right direction. I felt fast, yet still comfortable and powerful. I don’t think it is perfect though, and will continue to hone it as the season progresses. Continuing to move my seat back will likely be part of that process. What I was most surprised by was how good my run legs felt. Without a doubt, the old position was negatively impacting my run.

Galveston is quite the opposite from California course and temperature wise (dry vs humid, hillier vs flat)? What, if any, changes will you make this week to get you ready for the race?
The race in Galveston is about as close to my training room as possible. The bike is dead flat with almost no corners. The run is dead flat. The temperature and humidity is very close to the room as well (average of about 72F and 70% humidity in the room). If anything, I would say Galveston is a lot more “business as usual” than Oceanside. There will be some very strong bikers there, so my plan and goal is to leave a little bit more out there on the bike, and see what happens.

I know you have been working with Gerry Rodrigues of Tower 26 a bit on the swim. How is that evolution going? Are you starting to “believe” you can be a fast swimmer? You were only 3 mins back of Potts in Oceanside. Were you “okay” with that gap?
Gerry came to my hometown a couple weeks ago to see me swim in person. Fortunately, he thinks there is still a lot of room for improvement. It’s not going to happen over night, but I am determined to make it happen. One of the big things that he changed in me is my psychology. I used to dread the swim and make comments about myself like “I suck at swimming.” You certainly will never be a good swimmer with that attitude! The 3 minute gap to Potts was okay. Any improvement is good improvement. I by no means am content with that though.

Ironman 70.3 Palmas

LisaR

Lisa Roberts

Panama 70.3 was an amazing race with you just getting into 2nd place with an amazing run. Does that give you confidence for your race in Las Palmas? I assume you are even fitter now!
Thanks! I am incredibly happy with my race in Panama. It does give me quite a bit of confidence coming into Las Palmas, knowing that I can run harder off the bike than I think I can. I do believe my fitness has taken another step forward, not only because of the effort I put in at Panama, but the training I’ve put in since then.

Are you building towards a May/June Ironman race? Perhaps returning to Nice, France?
Yes, I am building toward a May/June Ironman. France is a definite possibility. I have a great love of that race and with a 4th, 3rd and 2nd place there already, the lure to take that final step to the top of the podium is hard to resist! But, then again there is Ironman Texas to consider. Closer to home, for sure. Maybe I should consider a Texas-France double?

Your swim is improving but you still come out of the water a little bit behind. Do you think that plays to your advantage? You don’t have to get caught up in the tactics of being at the front and can just ride your pace (ie, fast!)?
I would like to get out of that @#%* water a bit quicker than I currently am. As much as I like setting my own bike/run pace and working through the field, I feel my slower swim times are a disadvantage. Especially if I want to win more races. But as they say, your biggest weakness can become your greatest advantage!
I do my fair share of bike racing in addition to triathlon, so I believe having better contact to the faster swimmers on the bike may in fact lead to a faster bike split for me – letting my bike racing instincts take over to really see what I can do!

TriPreviewShow (1)

The Triathlon Preview Show

This weekly podcast is your source for all information related to upcoming races in the world of Professional Triathlon. We will bring you analysis on how the races could play out, start list updates and input from the Professional athletes themselves. Hosted by Zach Miller, age group athlete and triathlon enthusiast and featuring input from Emily Cocks, a professional triathlete herself.

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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. 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.