Race Analysis: Ironman Lanzarote + IM 70.3 Chattanooga

Photo Credit: Sands Beach Active Lanzarote

The World Champion, Jan Frodeno, is back racing in Lanzarote this weekend. The course serves up a mass start for EVERYONE, big hills, winding descents and lots of wind. Frodeno just needs to “validate” but he’s a competitor and if he is close to the front his competitiveness probably won’t allow him to back off. He will be challenged by fellow German Timo Bracht, David McNamee, Ivan Rana and Jesse Thomas.

The women’s field is smaller so someone could make a bit of money and a name for themselves with a podium finish. Lucy Charles is competing in her debut professional race but should be near the front, men included, after the swim. Diana Riesler is a strong cyclist and will use the tough course to her advantage. Alyssa Godesky, Tine Holst and Caroline Livesey can all challenge for the podium. On a course like Lanzarote the athletes who roll with the punches will finish near the top.

Chattanooga 70.3 is only a P500 race but has a strong field due to the fact it is the World Championship course in 2017. Athletes want to get a taste of what to expect next year. The swim will be fast and keep everyone closer together which favors athletes like Sebastian Kienle and Cam Wurf (who??? read below!). However, Sam Appleton and Leon Griffin are not quick to roll over and can make their moves on the run.

On the women’s side defending champion Ashley Clifford is facing a tough field. Heather Jackson is looking to rebound after an extremely out of character performance in St. George. Magali Tisseyre was 4th in St. George and is a threat for the win. Lauren Barnett was 9th at the 70.3 World Championships last year and is lining up for her first race of the year. A down current swim plays to her strengths; the bike and run. Leanda Cave, Jeanni Seymour (6th at St. George), Mirinda Carfrae and Ruth Brennan Morrey will all be in the mix on Sunday.

Ironman 70.3 Chattanooga

cameronwurf

Cameron Wurf

After racing age group in 2015 (9th overall at IM Whistler with the fastest bike split by 10 minutes) this will be your first race in the pro ranks. We know you have the bike nailed—how has training been going for the swim and run? I saw on twitter that you have been doing some training with Tower 26 in LA.

Last year cannondale supported me to take a sabbatical from racing on the road for 12months with the idea being my hunger to race full time would return. I decided to enter a couple of triathlons to keep me competing in something and also ensure I didn’t get to out of shape. Oceanside was up first and I loved every second of it. I didn’t plan on doing another until listening to Bonner Paddock speak 2 weeks before the Whistler ironman. Here was a guy who’d completed Kona with cerebral palsy and broke 26 bones in his feet in the process!! I asked Cannondale to enter me in the next ironman which happened to be Whistler in 2 weeks time. I obviously hadn’t prepared at all, I’d run 3 times since oceanside and that was my longest run ever. They said I was crazy and should wait and take one seriously but I said I’d be ok, let’s give it a shot. Surprise surprise I loved every second of that one as well and that’s when we started talking about me switching sports again! I’d said I’d give training a go for Kona but as fate would have it I wasn’t meant to train in 2015 and I broke 2 bones in my foot a week after Whistler. I rode my bike 4 times before Kona and basically went along as a tourist to see what it was all about. Even with a broken foot I loved every single second being out on the race course and decided yep, why not, I’ll give this ironman thing a go and here I am lining up in my first race since Kona as a pro in Chattanooga.

Chattanooga has a notoriously fast swim and the current assist tends to keep everyone closer together. Does this play to your strength—the bike? Sebastian Kienle is planning to race, are you excited to ride (and maybe drop) him?

I like the fact that Chattanooga has a fast swim, when I was a rower so many more crews were in the race for the win in a tail breeze, I guess swimming is the same! I’ve been training with the gang at Tower 26, we’ll being swam over the top of at Tower 26!! Hopefully it’s gets me out of the water not to far behind the field, fingers crossed! Luckily I’ve got a really fast wetsuit, need all the help I can get.

That’s exciting to hear Kienle will be there, I doubt I’ll see him on the course at all but it will be an honor to at least line up on the start line with him, that guys a legend, cool.

What is your plan for 2016 after Chattanooga? Do you want to qualify for Kona this year? If so, will you race Cairns or Frankfurt to get enough KPR points for qualification?

After this I’ll race Cairns which I feel will be better suited to me at the moment than the half distance. I simply don’t have the speed in the pool or running to be competitive in 70.3’s but I seem to have the physiology to go at a good pace for a long time. I’ll try and execute my race plan and then after the finish we can think about points. I’d love to qualify for Kona as a pro one day, not really sure how that all works but I guess I could also race Whistler again to tally some points, at least I already know my way around that one.

You were a pro cyclist for a few years. Were you a one day racer or ride more often in the stage races (Grand tour or shorter ones like Tour of California)?

In my cycling days I raced a bit of everything, a few grand tours, a few classics, a few week long races including California‎. I had my better results in TT’s than on the general classification but never really hit my straps racing road bikes, I’d didn’t seem to handle having so many people around me very well. I happy to be doing what I’m doing right now.

MattR

Matt Russell

Coming off a 2nd place at IMTX, where is your recovery for 70.3 Chatt this weekend?

Body feels really good coming off of IMTX. I started running again on Tuesday. Thankfully my body recovers fast and I normally race better with back to back races. However I don’t do many 70.3s so this will feel like a sprint to me.

You are known for fast runs and racing a lot in a year, do you plan on backing off now having secured your KPR points?

I might be known for fast runs but lately I’ve have having the fastest bike splits. I had the fastest bike split at Wildflower a couple weeks ago and again had the fastest bike split at IMTX.

I do race a lot. IMTX was my 3rd Ironman this year and was the best out of the 3. I do plan on taking 8-10 weeks off from racing this summer. Then I’ll jump back and race Ironman Mont Tremblant, Ironman Chattanooga and then Kona. I wouldn’t do IM Chattanooga if I thought it was going to hurt my Kona. Instead, I believe it will help Kona. My racing history shows that my second back to back Ironman is more successful. An Ironman 2 weeks out is a warm up to my “A” race Ironman.

Did IMTX play out like you wanted it too? Looking back is there a certain part of the race were you could of made a different decision to make a run at 1st place?

I was happy with how IMTX went for me. There was nothing more I could do. I was averaging 6:07 mile pace for the first of the 3 loop run course. Patrick seemed to get faster as the race progressed which is crazy to think since it was a very hot and humid race. I was happy with my race. Someone said to me that if it was a legit course (bike was 95 miles and 17 miles short) , I would have went 8:01 and Patrick would have been sub 8.

Ironman Lanzarote

Godesky

Alyssa Godesky

You know how things get blown a bit out of proportion about races (i.e., it was soon hot, cold, windy, etc.). Well, you have been on the course, most namely the bike, for a week now. Is it as tough as they say?

Yes!! The hype is 100% accurate here, and in fact with the winds the past few days I thought it was even slightly under hyped! Wind and climbing is the name of the game. If you can keep your wits about you for that, there are some good fast sections too, but I think it more so depends on your ability to handle the other 2!

At Challenge Wanaka you crashed in some crazy cross winds. Has it been good to feel the wind in Lanzarote this week and become more comfortable with it? Are you rocking a shallower rim front wheel for the race?

Absolutely was the right call for me to be out here riding in these winds early. The island effect with winds is truly unique and can’t be recreated elsewhere- totally worth seeing it head of time. Even though my comfort level is up, yes, I’m definitely rocking a 303 in the front on Saturday! 🙂

How is the run course? Everyone talks about the bike but not the run? I know it goes along the ocean—is it mostly flat yet baked in sun?

Yep–flat and hot and the wind effect will be a factor (it’s one ~20k loop and then 2 ~10k loops). Both in headwind for effort and making it hotter in one direction. I’ve heard though the crowds are great so I’m looking forward to that offsetting some of the pain!!

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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.