Race Analysis: Island House Triathlon & Ironman 70.3 Austin

Island House Triathlon

Much like many of the athletes racing the Island House Triathlon, no one really has an idea as to how this three day event could play out. Only a few athletes, Carfrae, McKenzie and Griffin, have raced this format in the past. The ITU athletes could be a bit off peak fitness after the Chicago Grand Final and the Ironman athletes are probably fatigued from Kona. Duffy and Hoffman are flying in after racing the Xterra World Champs in Maui on Sunday. Basically, everyone is going in with some sort of baggage, except for the Wurteles and the Brandons, both couples are more rested and probably ready to get after it. A prediction—it gets ugly for everyone at some point during the weekend. Who prevails might be a surprise (ie, not Gwen and Javier).
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Mirinda Carfrae

You are racing women you have never (or rarely) raced in a totally different format. Does this take the pressure off a bit–like it’s new to everyone so you just “race” vs having an expectations of how things will play out?

It’s definitely refreshing to switch from IM specific training to sprint distance training. I always have high expectations of myself but to be honest I really have no idea how I will (or won’t) measure up to the girls racing in this field. The last time I did a race like this was back in 2003 – about 12 years ago.. I loved this type of racing then but I am not sure how my older body will feel about it now. Regardless I am excited to get out there and have a crack.

When I look at the start list it seems like Heather Wurtele might be a good wheel to get on..she will block a lot of wind! Have you thought of any scenarios for the draft legal (2nd day) of the race? Are you recruiting others and have a plan of attack (you can tell us, Gwen won’t read this!)

Ha!! Heather and I usually swim roughly the same times so may find ourselves together out of the water and yes as you point out she is a lot taller and would be a great draft. Although I am hoping to be able to work with her and whoever else we find ourselves with to try and catch up to some of the super swimmers. There are so many scenarios that could play out in the enduro event, but I really haven’t put any thought into trying to recruit anyone. I am sure the ITU girls already know who they will most likely end up working with – at a guess Flora & Lisa will work together as they have in some of the ITU races over the year. Sorry this answer is pretty boring – might have a better one once I get to the island and have had a chance to catch up with some of the other girls.

The ITU gals might have speed but do you think the longer distance specialists have more staying power over a three day event?

That certainly is the hope!! Although I think it will really come down to who has properly prepared for this race, I would think that some of the ITU girls would be out of shape by now and enjoying their offseason before they ramp up for 2016 and Rio (I am talking to you Gwen).

IM 70.3 Austin

Austin 70.3 is a loaded field on the men’s side. Sam Appleton is looking to redeem himself after poor performances in the Kona Beer Mile and the 70.3 World Champs. Most likely, Appleton will have to chase down Andrew Starykowicz, who showed he is back on form after a staggering 1:56:11 bike split in Miami two weeks ago. Austin’s bumpy roads probably won’t serve up the same speeds but Starykowicz only likes to race from one place, the front. On the women’s side look for Lauren Barnett and Corinne Abraham to be charging hard from behind out of the water. Barnett was 9th at 70.3 worlds and Abraham is returning from an infection and subsequent surgery so her fitness is questionable. They will probably be chasing Mary Beth Ellis, who looks for redemption after a disappointing Kona performance.

SAMSam Appleton

Your last race resulted in a DNF (beer mile in Hawaii). I am sure you are physically recovered but often the damage of a DNF is more mental. Were you able to shake off the disappointment and get back into some good training for Austin?

The DNF at the beer mile was definitely disappointing. Being a target race for the year, not performing there was hard to take. However I feel that I have my mojo back and I’ve been able to get some solid training in since. I am looking to get some redemption back from the disappointment.

Did Giant send you their new TT bike to finish up the last races of the year? I mean, they gave Tim Van Berkel one and not you–what’s up with that???

My new Giant is waiting patiently for my return back to Australia. The guys at Giant have one set aside for me so I am pumped to get back home and check it out. I would love to be riding it for the last few races this year but I didn’t want to change anything at short notice. If it’s not broke, don’t fix it!

Are you planning to race Bahrain 70.3 in December? Big $$ and good field with $$ and points on the line. Probably a solid “make up” race for 70.3 worlds?

Being part of the Bahrain Endurance team I am definitely looking at doing the 70.3 there in December. Like you said, it has good dollars and points on the line and topping off the year with a good performance there would be nice. Worlds was a disappointment for me, but with the success i had earlier in the year, I don’t necessarily feel like I need to have a make up race. Although in saying that, I wouldn’t say no to a good result 😉

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About the Authors

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.
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