Foley Powers Away on the Bike, Salthouse Late Pass at 70.3 Boulder

Australia’s Ellie Salthouse did not see the front of the race until the closing mile of the run but that was all she needed to pull off the win today. Salthouse was dropped from the lead swim pack but just by 36 seconds. Denmark’s Sif Bendix Madsen would go on to hammer the bike and gap her by almost 9 minutes. Salthouse reeled her in with less than 1k to go on the run. She said, “I never rely on hopes and dreams. I felt really awful from the gun today. I missed that front group on the swim. I got dropped about halfway around. All strategy went out the window after that. I tried to race my plan on the bike but, unfortunately, I was kind of throwing up everywhere and wasn’t able to keep a whole lot of nutrition down for some reason. The bike was a real struggle for me.” She was not sure a win would be in the cards, saying, “I’m not going to lie, I got off the bike a little scared. I wasn’t sure I would be able to run that. I caught her with 1k to go. I could see her with 3 miles to go.” On her 2nd place performance, Madsen said, “On the run I was also a bit tired because I have been struggling a lot with injuries. My running is not at the best right now so I just had to keep fighting for every second and I really hoped she wouldn’t catch up to me at the end but she did and I’m very happy with second.”

Trevor Foley had one of the best swim performances of his young triathlon career. He is usually more than 4 minutes behind the front of the race and his gap was closer to 3:30 in a race taken out by a short course specialist. Foley quickly bridged up to the top-10 on the bike and hit the front of the race on the second lap. He averaged more than 30mph on the bike and built a small lead. That gap was enough to hold off his chasers on the run. In his own words, Foley said, “I started off the day with a really good swim… I’ve never heard less than a 4 minute gap…At 20 minutes into the bike I was into the top-10.” He added, “I still haven’t had much run practice yet but I held it together decently.” He has not had much run practice because he was stuck by a car at the start of the season. He talked through that experience, “It’s very scary. Almost two months ago I got between a cement barrier and a car and lost my memory and that is very scary to not know what happened and go to the hospital. It happened a week before Oceanside so I had a combination of everything booked and then I got super depressed because we were about to leave and it was the start of the year and it was just hard. I’m just super thankful to come out here and break the tape.” Matt Hanson used his trademark run to move up into 2nd place. He was impressed by Foley’s performance, “I finally settled in and started to feel good and then I was able to see second and third off in the horizon so it kind of gave me a carrot to look at. I don’t think I ever saw Trevor after he blew by me on the bike.”

Women’s Race:

A lead pack of four, including Jodie Stimpson (25:32), Valerie Barthelemy, Erika Ackerlund, Sif Bendix Madsen, led out the women’s race. Ellie Salthouse fell off of the lead group but came out only 36 seconds behind. Nobody else was closer than 2:40 to the leaders. Barthelemy is a Belgian short course athlete, with only one long course race start to her name (Clash Daytona 2022 – 8th place). In her short course career, Barthelemy made 7 podiums, won 4 times, and was 10th at the Tokyo Olympics. She decided to return to long course racing after missing out on the Belgian Olympic Team this Olympic cycle. Ackerlund, in a similar spot as a short course athlete from the United States, was making her long course debut. Ackerlund is ranked 50th by World Triathlon. She has made 8 podiums and has won 5 races in her career. Madsen took control of the bike leg early. She built a more than 3:00 lead by the halfway mark. Her lead would only grow en route to a 2:04:50 bike split (nearly 27mph…). Salthouse, Barthelemy, Ackerlund, and Stimpson worked together in the chase pack but could not do much to mitigate the damage Madsen did on their group. The chasing pack of 4 would come into T2 a seemingly insurmountable 8:30 behind.

Madsen was around 2 miles into the run by the time her chasers joined her on the run course. Salthouse made a strong move early in the run to pass Barthelemy, Ackerlund, and Stimpson. By halfway, Madsen still held a 5 minute lead. Salthouse continued to cut into her deficit over the next few miles. The gap was just 3:30 with 4 miles to go. At the 11.5 mile mark, Salthouse was just 46 seconds behind Madsen. A pass now seemed imminent, with the athletes moving at drastically different speeds late in the race. Salthouse soon made the pass and continued to charge towards the finish line. She put together a complete swim, bike, and run performance to claim the victory in 4:06:12. Madsen hung on for 2nd in 4:06:47. Salthouse ran 1:23:32 to Madsen’s 1:32:55. Barthelemy finished 3rd. Stimpson took 4th. Ackerlund was 5th in her 70.3 debut.

Men’s Race:

Making his 70.3 debut, Chase McQueen set off at a blistering pace on the swim. McQueen won the supertri E World Championships in April and is ranked 37th by World Triathlon. He did not make the US Olympic team and has decided now is the time to see if he can mix it up in long course triathlon. He got out of the water in 22:32, nearly 1:00 faster than the leaders at this race last year. Only two others, Greg Harper and Nicholas Quenet, could stick with him. Quenet is coming off of his brave run at 70.3 Chattanooga, where he led late into the race until he collapsed with a little over 1 mile to the finish line. Australia’s Sam Appleton and Canada's Matthew Sharpe were next out of the water, 40 seconds back. Braxton Bokos and Justin Metzler were ~1:30 off the pace. Matt Hanson had a strong swim to come out 2:13 down. Trevor Foley was a little over 3:30 behind the leaders.

McQueen and Quenet traded off pulls on the bike as the early race leaders. At just over 30 minutes into the bike, however, McQueen was hit with a blue card (5:00 penalty). The penalty was for slipstreaming. McQueen used Quenet’s slipstream to get up to his wheel before making a pass. You are supposed to move 2 meters outside of the rider and make the pass without being in their slipstream. The blue card meant that McQueen would have to serve the 5 minutes at the next penalty tent. Something that could have been unintentional and saved him a handful of seconds at best took him completely out of the race. McQueen went from 1st to 17th by the halfway point of the bike. Quenet, left with nobody to work with, was eventually caught by Appleton and Foley. From there, Foley put in a huge effort to drop them and built a small lead into T2. Foley split 1:51:09 for the 56 mile bike. That’s 30 miles per hour!

Foley entered into T2 with a 2:30 lead over Appleton and Quenet. A large chase pack of 7 riders, including Matt Hanson, came in next but were over 5 minutes back. Hanson quickly moved up into 2nd place, passing Appleton and Quenet. Foley still maintained a more than 4 minute lead. It looked like Hanson would have to settle for 2nd place. Foley looked well in control until shortly after the 3:25 mark when he was forced to stop due to a hamstring cramp. With just a little more than a mile to the finish line, he quickly got back into his stride and pushed on to the finish line. Hanson cut the lead to 3:30 at the 11.5 mile mark. Foley would have enough in reserve to secure the victory in 3:33:36. Even with the late race stop, he ran 1:12:56 at more than 5,000 feet of elevation. Hanson came in next at 3:36:47, with a 1:10:41 run split. Appleton rounded out the podium in 3rd place, a solid performance in his first race since his win at IRONMAN Australia at the beginning of May. Nicholas Quenet took 4th, rebounding from his DNF in Chattanooga. Colin Szuch was 5th.

Quick Take #1: What do folks think about the blue card given to Chase McQueen? I have praised Race Ranger for helping to create more fair racing conditions. I have been frustrated by bike drafting in my own triathlon racing. A 5 minute penalty still seems harsh for what the referee say McQueen did. The move would not have resulted in more than a handful of seconds saved. It does not entirely make sense to me to end someone’s day for something like this. McQueen is a short course athlete who was making his 70.3 debut. It seems like a miss for IRONMAN to have this happen. Does this stop someone else from making the jump to long course racing? Does this cause McQueen to not want to race another IM event? The penalty also affected the final placings. Quenet and McQueen would have stayed in front together for a longer amount of time and could have possibly entered T2 with Foley.

Quick Take #2: Regardless of McQueen's result, today was not a coronation for short course athletes. McQueen finished 13th. On the women's side Barthelemy finished 3rd and Ackerlund was 5th. There was a competing T100 event today too. Remember to always respect short course racers but do not always expect them to immediately dominate the longer distances.

Quick Take #3: Eliie Salthouse is an absolute warrior. She battled sickness and did not give up, after being down close to 9 minutes after the bike. She moves up a place from 70.3 St. George and got a well deserved win.

Quick Take #4: As someone who likes to race a lot, it was gutting to see Trevor Foley have to withdraw from a lot of the big early season races, after being hit by a car in training. His running was limited before his season debut at 70.3 Chattanooga. He looked stronger today, even with his slight hiccup on the run. Next up for him are 70.3 Mont Tremblant and IRONMAN Lake Placid. We know he is in great form but will only get better in the coming weeks. He will be a threat in the Pro Series if he can figure out the IRONMAN distance.

Quick Take #5: Matt Hanson will be happy with his finish because it will replace his Oceanside performance in the Pro Series standings and help solidify his current 1st place position. IRONMAN Cairns approaches next weekend so expect the series standings to continue to move around. Hanson will get his rebuttal at IRONMAN Lake Placid in July if someone bumps him off of top spot before then.

Photos: Getty Images for IRONMAN