Race Analysis: WTS Cape Town, 33rd Annual St. Anthony’s Triathlon

Credit: ITU/ Delly Carr

The World Triathlon Series has one more southern hemisphere race in Capetown before heading north for the rest of the spring/summer. The sprint race in Capetown will be fast and furious and, most likely, it will come down to the 5k run. If that’s the case it is hard to look beyond Mario Mola. However, with more moderate temperatures, Jonny Brownlee could be a threat if he is recovered from his bout with heat exhaustion he suffered at the Gold Coast race. Joao Silva can also run so look out for him; he had a solid start in Abu Dhabi and looks to be back in form after an off year in 2015.

The women’s race highlights the first races of the season for Vicky Holland and Non Stanford. They both were on the podium at the Rio Test Event and the Chicago Grand Finale. Jodie Stimpson will be racing after a strong start to the year followed by a heartbreaking race at WTS Gold Coast when she had an off day and failed to make the GBR Olympic team. Mari Rabie is racing at home and has had a good start to the year, being in the mix in every race. Others to watch are Rachel Klamer and two Americans, Sarah True and Kirsten Kasper.

St. Anthony’s Triathlon is a classic non drafting Olympic Distance race in Florida, hosting triathletes in St. Petersburg for the 33rd year. A solid elite line up will battle for the $65,000 prize purse. Alicia Kaye is returning to defend her title. However, she is more focused on longer distances after the cancellation of the Lifetime Series and that might take away from her short course prowess. Sarah Haskins was dominant on the Olympic Distance race circuit for years, but, like Kaye, has begun to focus on longer distances. Magali Tisseyre was 2nd last year and and started the season very well at Palmas 70.3 a couple weeks ago. Heather Lendway, Lauren Goss, Kaitlin Donner and Jen Spieldenner will all be in the mix out of the water and will factor into the race. Mirinda Carfrae will make her move on the bike and the run.

On the men’s side the defending champion, Cam Dye, is back. The shorter distance is unquestionably Dye’s strength and he usually gets away from the field on the swim and bike. However, will he still have that short course speed and power? Top Ironman athletes Tim O’Donnell and Tyler Butterfield will also be on the start line but could get gapped in a shorter race. The rising star in 70.3 racing is Sam Appleton and it will be interesting to see how he performs in a shorter race. He did compete in ITU at the beginning of his career so if he can tap into some of that speed and power he could be factor.

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St. Anthony’s Triathlon

Mark

Mark Bowstead

Your last race was your debut Ironman in Taupo in early March (10th place in a big field). How did you recover and is it refreshing to hit some speed and shorter efforts after an Ironman build?
Yes Ironman was my last race, it was a great race for me and I was so happy with the time (8.29) but that only got me 10th. Recovery was very good, I had a week off then a week maintain a bit of fitness (doing what I felt like) as I had another week off coming where I was on holiday with my girlfriend in Florida going to all the theme parks there. it was lots of fun. I haven’t really done any specific work for the shorter distance but I just felt the urge to move away from the usual longer training for a little and to do a race where I can go max from the gun and see what happens. And I enjoy going to St Pete, they put on a great race there. Its like triathlons spring classic.

St. George is on the schedule after St. Anthonys. Will this race blow out the cobwebs and get you ready for a solid race in Utah?
No doubt, with the field in St. George, the pace is going to be like an Olympic distance race for the first part of the race as people try to get a good position out of the swim and onto the bike. Yes, St George is after and i figured with an Ironman base in me doing a shorter race a couple weeks out might help there. I have no doubt it will be on like donkey kong all day in Utah and It will be exciting to see how I stack against the best. I did that race a couple years ago and got destroyed (25th!! haha) so hopefully a little better.

Any more Ironmans planned for 2015 or are you focusing on a strong 70.3 season?
Hopefully an early season Ironman build and then recovery will bode well for the remainder of the season and provide another level of strength in all three disciplines. Thats a good question. I said no initially, but with the this whole qualifying system if I want to go to Kona next year I may do one around October if there is one, then focus on doing better than this year in IMNZ and hopefully that plus a few 70.3’s would be enough. Or do an IMNZ and Cairns double, not sure. But we will see. The remainder of this years focus is boulder 70.3 and Sunshine Coast worlds.

Jen S

Jen Spieldenner

Your last big Olympic distance race was Hyvee in September 2014. You did really well, 6th place in a huge field, if my memory is correct. Are you excited to get back out there for a high octane 2 hours of racing?
Yes, I love Olympic distance racing. I feel like you can push the limits a lot more than you can in 70.3s, which makes for a fun painful day.

Oceanside was not quite the start you wanted. However, I am sure fitness and strength was gained. Did you feel the training starting to gel after the race? And maybe, mixing it up with some speed will take you to another level before St. George?
Training was going really well before Oceanside, but I just wasn’t able to execute on the given day. But that is racing, your fitness doesn’t always translate to the race course, but that doesn’t mean the fitness is not there. I am excited to have another opportunity here at St. A’s to express all the work I put in over the winter and the gains that I made. We will see how it all plays out on Sunday 🙂

Given the quality of the start list (Haskins, Goss, Kaye, Tisseyre) it seems that professionals want to race this distance. Do you wish the Toyota Cup Series, or something similar, would come back?
Of course I wish there was an Olympic distance series in the US. I know I for sure would race a bunch of those races and I would assume a lot of other pros would too.

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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.