Ironman 70.3 Monterrey
After a few stops and starts the North American season really gets cracking this weekend with Monterrey and Puerto Rico 70.3s. You might think Mexico and say hot weather, right? Well, in Monterrey that is not always the case. In fact, last year, the rain wreaked havoc on the bike course due to four kilometers of slick cobblestones. See the video evidence here:
The 2015 champion, Tim Don, is back to race along with runner up, Kevin Collington. They will be challenged by a long list of strong contenders like Matt Chrabot, Ben Hoffman, Ben Collins, Trevor Wurtele, Cody Beals, Drew Scott and Francisco Serrano.
The women’s race in Mexico boasts last year’s champion, Magali Tisseyre, who won by almost 11 minutes with a smoking 4:00:48 half ironman. If she races like that again the other women are going to have their work cut out for them. However, Heather Wurtele usually comes out strong in the early season and is likely gearing up for a big race in Oceanside on April 2. Camilla Pedersen has come over from Europe to race and she is strong across all disciplines; look for her to be in the mix from the gun. Sarah Piampiano was second last year and will be moving up after the swim with a strong bike and run. Emma Pallant is an unknown to most in North America but she has the bike and run to move up by the time the finish line rolls around. Other contenders include Liz Lyles, who had a mediocre race in Panama, Emma Kate Lidbury and Kirsty Jahn, who placed 4th in Panama at the end of the January.
The weather looks like it might be similar to last year (rain and colder temps). Does this give you some confidence since you know how to get over the cobbles safely? You are right! It seems like the weather on race day could be a challenge again. It’s surprising, as these are not the conditions to be expected around here this time of year! I am not too worried about the wet cobbles section. I like that it adds a technical aspect to the bike race and I do think it is an advantage to have experienced it last year. What was less talked about from last year’s race was the run surface. It was slippery! In some sections, each foot step was a slip and it got quite frustrating. Now I know what to expect…haha. After Monterrey, you start your 70.3 regional Championship world tour, correct? Is Monterrey a good race to see where you are after a hard winter of training and get some insight on anything that needs tweaking? Yes! After Monterrey, the 70.3 regional championship adventure begins!! I’ll be headed to South American champs, North American champs and European champs. Starting with Monterrey is nice. It is fast and flat and I don’t mind that at all for the first race of the year! Monterrey is also an easy trip from California and the timing worked great. I have been back to training for a while now, I am ready for some race action.:))
Ironman 70.3 Puerto Rico
Unlike Mexico, Puerto Rico is guaranteed to be hot and will probably become a race of attrition once endures the relentless hills and heat on the run course. Andrew Starykowicz has won twice in Puerto Rico and only races one way—off the front. Once he grabs the lead it is tough to wrestle it from him. Tim O’Donnell won the inaugural edition of the race and is back to start his 2016 campaign with a win. He has the goods to run Starykowicz down but everything will depend on the gap off the bike. Cam Dye will push the pace on the bike but he has not shown a great run in a 70.3 yet. Other contenders include Frederik Van Lierde, Romain Guillaume and Leon Griffin.
On the women’s side, Sarah Haskins is the one to beat. She has won in Puerto Rico before and remains undefeated at the 70.3 distance. Linsey Corbin is starting her second race of the 2016 season after an injury derailed all of 2015. She had a good race in Panama and should be even more fit for this race. Jeanne Collonge and Tine Deckers are threats as well and will move up during the bike and run.
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