The cannons of August have signaled the start of some very stirring triathlon contests across the sporting globe. If we were asked which of these races was our favorite, there would be long and fierce arguments touting the virtues of each of these races. Just as none of us at Slowtwitch would back down in our campaigns, neither did any of these contenders blink when money and pride were on the line. So read on, weekend warriors and pros alike, and delve into the tales of courage and derring-do from Germany to China, Washington state to the Live Free or Die folks in Gilford, and appreciate the perseverance of TJ and Sara in Quebec.
TJ Tollakson smashes field, course record; Gross tops women at IM Mt. Tremblant
Iowan TJ Tollakson dominated the men’s field for a career breakthrough and Canadian Sara Gross ran down Amber Ferreira to win the women's title at Ironman Mt. Tremblant.
Sometimes when that long-sought goal has been eluding a great talent for a very long time, when the breakthrough finally happens it is like the roaring flood that accompanies a dam breaking.
T.J. Tollakson had such a day at the Subaru-Ironman North America Championship in Mt. Tremblant. Just three days after his 34th birthday, all the work he put in the past decade evolving from a powerful American überbiker who had to kill the bike and hang on for dear life on the run into a smooth, balanced all-around Ironman contender bore fruit in a big way on a big day.
Against a field that included one of the greatest modern Ironman racers and several other proven talents, TJ Tollakson didn’t just win Ironman Mt. Tremblant. He dominated, crushed and transcended a tough course on a championship day. He started out modestly with simply a third-best 49:43 swim that left him a few seconds behind the illustrious Andreas Raelert (the man who holds the fastest Ironman-distance performance of all time) and Daniel Halksworth (a two-time Ironman UK winner – more Ironman wins than Tollakson coming into this race).
Whereupon Tollakson had his championship moment. Instead of playing it safe and putting a governor on his great talent, the bike, so he might finish with enough energy to muster a decent run – Tollakson unleashed the beast. On a tough, hilly 112-mile course that sucks the life out of many, Tollakson blitzed to a 4:26:55 split that was 9:57 and 8:22 better than the race-best bike splits of the two previous Ironman Mt. Tremblant champions. And despite a valiant try to stay in the game, Andreas Raelert’s best bike effort still gave away 7:43 to Tollakson.
But whereas once Tollakson might have been the one who had spent all his energy and shuffled back into the field on the run, this was a new day. It was Raelert who faded back to 3rd with a 3:08:59 survival slog. Tollakson had become the man with the necessary reservoir of endurance and strength and used to it fashion a 2nd-best 2:54:21 marathon to finish in 8:16:17 with an 18:58 margin of victory over Daniel Halksworth (2:57:38 run) and 22:14 over Raelert.
Tollakson broke Luke Bell’s 2013 race record by 9 minutes 49 seconds. And through all the years of frustration, he kept coming. In 2009 he was 2nd at Ironman Arizona. In 2012 he was 3rd at Ironman Arizona. And in 2013, he was 3rd at Ironman Coeur d’Alene. Today, after a mighty performance, he was on top of the podium.
Sara Gross of Canada had her career breakthrough earlier this year – a win at Ironman Brazil in which she broke 9 hours. This time out, Gross had to dig her way out of a hole she created on the bike leg with a come-from-behind, race-best run that eked out a 3:20 margin of victory over long time race leader Amber Ferreira – a worthy rival who is a snowshoe champion and who just won Ironman Lake Placid.
Gross and Ferreira came out of the swim like Bobbsey triathlon twins in 58:40 and 58:42. Never again would their splits resemble one another. On the bike, Ferreira took control with a 3nd-fastest 5:19:58 split that was 8:16 better than Gross. Lurking in the background, Beth Shutt followed a 1:03:21 swim with a 5:21:16 bike leg, Sarah Graves tried to crawl back from a 1:12:24 swim with a 2nd-best 5:19:50 bike leg and Melanie Burke tried to do the same for her 1:06:57 swim with a race-best 5:17:50 bike split.
On the run, Ferreira’s recent expenditure of energy at Lake Placid burst her Mt. Tremblant bubble. While she could only muster a 3:18:33 run, Gross cruised past on her way to a race-best 3:07:33 marathon and victory. Beth Shutt ran 3:15:12 to finish 3rd, 2:59 behind Ferreira.
Ironman Mt. Tremblant
Mt. Tremblant, Quebec, Canada
August 17, 2014
S 2.4 mi. / B 112 mi. / R 26.2 mi.
1. TJ Tollakson (USA) 8:16:17
2. Daniel Halksworth (GBR) 8:35:15
3. Andreas Raelert (GER) 8:38:31
4. Christian Brader (GER) 8:43:28
5. Matt Russell (USA) 8:46:03
1. Sara Gross (CAN) 9:40:26
2. Amber Ferreira (USA) 9:43:46
3. Beth Shutt (USA) 9:46:45
4. Sarah Graves (USA) 9:51:59
5. Melanie Burke (NZL) 9:54:21
Ruben Ruzafa and Kathrin Müller win XTERRA Germany/ITU Cross Worlds
Ruben Ruzafa of Spain, who has dominated the XTERRA European circuit this year, edged Josiah Middaugh of the U.S. and Germany’s new star Kathrin Müller topped Bermuda’s fast-rising Flora Duffy to win the ITU Cross Triathlon World Championship – which doubles as XTERRA Germany.
Ruzafa, who quit the XTERRA circuit for a stretch on the pro mountain biking circuit before returning late last year, has now won 7 straight XTERRA European Tour events, which cinched this year’s European Tour Championship. His second XTERRA World Championship title last October in Maui makes for an unprecedented 8 straight XTERRA pro victories.
Ruzafa’s win also broke the 3-year hold that 4-time XTERRA World Champion Conrad Stoltz held on the ITU Cross Triathlon world title – as Stoltz faded to 8th at the finish..
Yet as dominating as he has been, Ruzafa had to fight hard to hold off Middaugh’s strong bike and incredible run on the demanding Zittau course.
While the swim rarely defines the men’s XTERRA results, Leonardo Chacon of Costa Rica began the day with a 19:08 split that left him a few seconds back of Germany’s Christian Otto, left him even with Spain’s Roger Delgado, and gave him a 1 minute advantage over Stoltz and 1:21 over Braden Currie of New Zealand, 1:36 over 2011 XTERRA World Champion Michael Weiss of Austria, 2:06 over Ruzafa and 3:22 over the unrepentant mountain drylander Middaugh.
Whereupon Ruzafa unleashed his mountain biking magic, rocketing up the course’s evilly steep 978 meter hill with such alacrity that he made up a 2-minte deficit and gained a minute on Chacon midway through the 36 kilometer loop. Francois Carloni of France was 3rd, with Stoltz, Middaugh Currie and Weiss formed a pack 2 minutes further back. While Ruzafa forged further ahead on his way to a race-best 1:37:11 split, Middaugh broke away from the chasers and dropped both Carloni and Chacon to limit the damage and answered with a 2nd-best 1:38:41 that left him 2:45 back of the Spaniard starting the run.
While Middaugh’s 4th-best 32:21 run surrendered 1:06 to Brice Daubord, 25 seconds to Kris Coddens of Belgium, and 19 seconds to Michael Weiss, none of those men were close enough to Ruzafa’s bike split to make a difference. Middaugh did pick up 1:50 on Ruzafa, but fell 55 seconds short of the win. On top of his 1:41:42 bike split that was 1:39 better than Weiss, Currie’s 33:06 run gave back 1:04 to Weiss, but was just enough to hold off Weiss by 78 seconds and earn the final spot on the podium.
Kathrin Müller of Germany won her 5th 2014 XTERRA European Tour victory in six tries thanks to a 2nd-best 1:57:52 bike split and a 2nd-fastest 36:50 run that got her to the finish in 2:58:35 with a 2:18 margin of victory over Bermuda Olympian Flora Duffy and 3:57 over 3rd-place finisher Helena Erbenova of the Czech Republic. The win gave Müller the ITU Cross Triathlon Women's World Championship and commanding lead for the 2014 XTERRA European Tour with two races left to go.
Duffy started the day with a women's race-best 20:25 swim split that was 23 seconds better than Australian Olympic Erin Densham while Müller left the water 1:35 down and two-time champion Erbenova had her work cut out with a 4:28 deficit.
But the 1000 meter climb and some nasty surprises on the twisty rugged bike course opened the door for Müller, who flew past Duffy on her way to a second-best 1:57:52 bike split that took 4:10 from Duffy and gave up 43 seconds to Erbenova. By the finish of the bike, Müller had a 2:39 lead on Duffy and 3:09 on Erbenova.
Her full-throttle bike didn’t slow Müller down as she posted a 2nd-best 36:50 run that allowed Duffy to make up 21 seconds but left her Bermuda rival 2:18 down at the finish. Erbenova pressed hard but her 37:02 run could only defend 3rd place.
XTERRA Germany – ITU Cross Triathlon World Championship
August 16, 2014
S 1.5k / B 36k / R 9k
1. Ruben Ruzafa (ESP) 2:34:33
2. Josiah Middaugh (USA) 2:35:28
3. Braden Currie (NZL) 2:37:10
4. Michael Weiss (AUT) 2:38:28
5. Leonardo Chacon (CRC) 2:39:00
1. Kathrin Müller (GER) 2:58:35
2. Flora Duffy (BER) 3:00:53
3. Helena Erbenova (CZE) 3:02:32
4. Chantell Widney (CAN) 3:05:00
5. Emma Garrard (USA) 3:05:36
Brittany Dutton, Ben Dijkstra win Youth Olympic Games Triathlon
Brittany Dutton of Australia outdueled Stephanie Jenks of the U.S. and Ben Dijkstra of Great Britain topped Daniel Hoy of New Zealand in a photo finish to win gold at the Youth Olympic Games Sprint Triathlon in Nanjing, China.
Dutton rode a brave solo bike breakaway to win the Youth Olympic Games women's triathlon in Nanjing, China on Sunday. Dutton made her decisive break on the fourth and final lap of the 20 kilometer bike segment and put 20 seconds on the rest of the field. Dutton defended that lead with a race-fastest 17:25 5 kilometer run to finish the sprint distance race in 59:56 with a 37 seconds margin of victory over Stephanie Jenks of the United States and 69 seconds over 3rd place finisher Emilie Morier of France.
“I have a strong cycling background so I thought I would give it a go, had nothing to lose and I stayed away,” said Dutton. “On the run I just had to hold my lead and it worked.”
In a non-wetsuit swim, Minami Kubona led the 750 meters in 10:05, with eventual contenders Dutton at 10:21 and Jenks at 10:26. On the first lap of the bike leg, Kubona, Dutton, Kristin Ranwig of Germany, Sian Rainsley of Great Britain and Venezuela’s Katherine Materano led out of T1 and were quickly joined by Carmen Cortez of Spain. That group of six pushed hard and held the chase group that included Stephanie Jenks, Elizabeth Stannard of New Zealand and Emilie Moriera 20 seconds down.
Dutton made her break on the fourth and final lap of the bike segment and in her wake the two chase groups merged. Given the opportunity, Jenks ran 17:31 and Moriera 17:51 to finish 2-3.
Jenks, of tiny Aurora Iowa, celebrated her 17th birthday with a silver medal. “I went out and gave it my all and raced with no regrets so I couldn’t do anything getter,” said Jenks.
“I am very happy to have a good race,” said Morier. “For me the aim was top 10, so now, in 3rd place – incredible!”
After a 750 meter swim, 20k bike and 5k run in wet conditions at Nanjing’s Xuanwu Lake , Ben Dijkstra and Daniel Hoy reached the blue finish carpet locked together. Only the last ounce of energy led the Brit to break the tape first – and only a photograph could separate the two to the satisfaction of the judges.
Both men were credited with the same finish time for the sprint distance race – 54:43. Emil Hansen of Denmark was 3rd – 6 seconds back.
“I gave it everything and I am so glad this is the result,” said Dijkstra. “I just had to keep on going, none of us were going to give up when there is an Olympic (Youth Olympic) gold medal at stake. So I just has to keep going and going, and know that all the hard work I put in would pay off. [After the race] I was just on the floor I was just exhausted. And now I am over the moon.”
Hoy said he was happy with the silver. “It was a super tough race,” said Hoy. “Someone went down on lap two of the bike [there was] a bit of a break and [some] got away but they got reeled back in. So basically it was all down to the run and it went all the way down to the finish line.”
U.S. competitor Seth Rider finished 12th in 56:23.
Youth Olympic Games Triathlon
August 16-17, 2014
S 750m / B 20k / R 5k
1. Brittany Dutton (AUS) 59:56
2. Stephanie Jenks (USA) 1:00:33
3. Emilie Morier (FRA) 1:00:55
4. Kristin Ranwig (GER) 1:01:18
5. Minami Kubono (JPN) 1:01:24
Ben Djikstra (GBR) 54:43
Daniel Hoy (NZL) 54:43
Emil Hansen (DEN) 54:49
Peer Sönsken (GER) 54:57
Javier Martin (CHI) 55:32
12. Seth Rider (USA) 56:23
Bozzone tops Hoffman in photo finish and McQuaid cruises at Lake Stevens 70.3
It wasn't quite as close as the Nicola Spirig-Lisa Norden 2012 Olympic battle, but for a race twice as long this one will have to do for now.
Terenzo Bozzone and Ben Hoffman had a duel for the ages at Ironman 70.3 Lake Stevens and when the tape was broken the 2008 Ironman 70.3 World Champion from New Zealand edged the American by .79 of a second.
The only time the two fierce competitors were separated was the swim. Clayton Fettell of Australia led with a 23:14 split, 30 seconds ahead of 2nd place Bozzone and 51 seconds ahead of Hoffman, who was 7th.
Precisely halfway through the 56-mile bike leg, Hoffman surged into the lead one second ahead of Bozzone with Fettell, Paul Ambrose and Matt Reed nose-to-tail close behind. By the end of the bike leg, Hoffman’s race-best 2:15:21 split brought him into T2 in the lead followed by Reed (-3 seconds), Ambrose (-4s), Fettell (-5s) and Bozzone (-7s).
Very quickly, Hoffman and Bozzone left the rest behind and politely traded the wind-cutting duties back and forth. At mile 5, Bozzone led by 1 second with Matt Reed 3rd 18 seconds down. At Mile 6.5, Hoffman led Bozzone by 1 second and Reed was 1:02 down. At 9.8 miles, Hoffman led Bozzone by 1 second and Reed was 2:45 arrears. Halfway through the run, Bozzone led by 1 second with Reed 3:38 in arrears.
And so it went until the finale, when Bozzone found that extra ounce of will and energy not to launch a breakaway but rather to gently ease his chest into the tape ahead of his unbroken rival.
Reed, having one of his best days of the year, took the final spot on the podium, 5:41 back of the duelists.
Hoffman, likely sensing this great duel was not a loss but rather a mutual exploration of their human limits, offered simple congratulations on Twitter: “What a day! Tough course and competition… to the wire! 2nd for me. Congrats @terenzo1 @boomboomreed and all racers.”
The race was Bozzone’s best result since his 2nd place at the Ironman 70.3 World Championship last September. Before this day in 2014, Bozzone was 6th at St. George 70.3, 6th at Challenge Rimini, 3rd at Ironman New Zealand and 3rd at Ironman 70.3 Auckland.
All apologies to women's winner Melanie McQuaid, who well earned the very same prize money for her win as Bozzone. But her domination removed all the drama that accrued to the men’s race and so on this day gets second billing.
Like the men, the women's contest quickly developed into a 2-person contest - if not a duel. Liz Lyles swam a women's- best 25:01 split, 1:46 ahead of 3-time XTERRA World Champion McQuaid. McQuaid then grabbed the race by the throat with a women’s-fastest 2:33:12 split that was 6:18 faster than Lyles’ effort and gave the Canadian a 4:32 lead starting the run. Lyles unleashed a race-best 1:22:30 run which took back 2:34 but left her 2:35 back of McQuaid at the finish.
Erin Spitler finished 3rd, 14:08 back of Lyles.
Ironman 70.3 Lake Stevens
Lake Stevens, Washington
August 17, 2014
S 1.2 mi. / B 56 mi. / R 13.1 mi.
1. Terenzo Bozzone (NZL) 3:55:17
2. Ben Hoffman (USA) 3:55:18
3. Matt Reed (USA) 4:00:58
4. Paul Ambrose (AUS) 4:03:34
5. Clayton Fettell (AUS) 4:07:56
1. Melanie McQuaid (CAN) 4:27:08
2. Liz Lyles (USA) 4:29:42
3. Erin Spitler (USA) 4:43:50
4. Sarah Barkley (USA) 4:44:47 * F35-39
5. Liz Noey (USA) 4:46:37
Leon Griffin and Melissa Hauschildt win Timberman 70.3
Australians Leon Griffin and Melissa Hauschildt won Ironman 70.3 Timberman in Gilford, New Hampshire.
On a day in which strong contenders Andy Potts, Andreas Dreitz and Callum Millward either fell back or dropped out with bad luck, 2006 ITU Duathlon World Champion Leon Griffin mustered the steadiest all-around game to take the men’s title at Timberman 70.3.
As usual Potts grabbed the lead with a race-fastest 22:14 swim which left Igor Amorelli of Brazil 52 seconds down and the rest of the contenders well back, including Cupcakes Callum Millward (-2:22), Griffin (-2:25), Dreitz (-2:26) and Chris Leiferman (-2:27).
At 29 miles, Potts maintained a 1:26 lead on Amorelli, with Griffin and Millward at -3:17, and super cyclist Dreitz out of the race due to a an undisclosed issue. Potts was the next to fall victim to bad luck as a mechanical issue cost him 13 minutes before it was fixed. By the finish of the bike leg, Amorelli led into T2, with Griffin 3:18 down, Millward still in the game at -3:20, and plucky Potts persevering at -13:02.
While Amorelli is not by any means the swiftest 70.3 runner in the game, he was having an off day for him as Griffin sliced his deficit to 52 seconds by 3.2 miles, with Millward hanging tough at -1:21 and the rest of the chasers out of reasonable hope – while Potts was conscientiously reducing his deficit. At about Mile 5, Griffin jetted on by Amorelli and built his lead to 1:18 at mile 6.4. Millward, perhaps in need of more cupcakes, was fading fast to fourth (-7:15) while Chris Leiferman took over 3rd place at 5:17 down.
By 10 miles, Griffin had wrapped up a 2:55 lead on Amorelli, with Leiferman a solid 3rd at 5:42 down and Potts just breaking into single digit minutes in 4th place.
Griffin’s 2nd-best 1:16:44 run brought him to the finish in 3:53:46 with a 3:13 margin of victory over Amorelli and 5:33 on 3rd-place finisher Chris Leiterman. Never-give-up Potts ran the day’s fastest 1:15:32 half marathon which brought him, home 4th – 8:53 back of the winner. He could be forgiven for playing the what if game and wondering what would have occurred had he not suffered through a 13-minute mechanical.
Two-time Ironman 70.3 World Champion Melissa Hauschildt is marching through another dominating middle distance year with great success only interrupted by a lone loss to Meredith Kessler at Vineman 70.3. And Timberman 70.3 did not hold another such exceptions.
Doc Amanda Stevens led the swim in 24:11, with fellow Siri Lindley-coached athletes Dede Griesbauer and Valentina Carvallo just under a minute later. As usual, big threats Hauschildt and Linsey Corbin shook the water off confident they could make up their 2:33 deficit.
Sure enough, Hauschildt took charge and had a 46 seconds lead on Valentina Carvallo at Mile 27, with Corbin -2:06, Stevens -2:07 and Griesbauer –2:37. By T2, Hauschildt’s women's-best 2:21:02 bike split gave her a 3:12 lead on Corbin (2:24:14 split), 4:29 on Carvallo, 5:26 on Griesbauer and 7:32 on Stevens.
Hauschildt then unleashed her run and cruised to an easy race-best 1:22:39 split to finish in 4:12;52 with a 7:19 margin of victory over Corbin and 12:34 over 3rd place finisher Carvallo.
Perhaps, after a Kona-validating win in her first try at the Ironman distance this spring in Australia, Hauschildt is saving some energy for her Kona debut.
Ironman 70.3 Timberman
Gilford, New Hampshire
August 17, 2014
S 1.2 mi. / B 56 mi. / R 13.1 mi.
1. Leon Griffin (AUS) 3:53:46
2. Igor Amorelli (BRA) 3:56:59
3. Chris Leiferman (USA) 3:59:19
4. Andy Potts (USA) 4:02:39
5. Christopher Thomas (USA) 4:08:57 *M40-44
1. Melissa Hauschildt (AUS) 4:12:52
2. Linsey Corbin (USA) 4:20:11
3. Valentina Carvallo (CHL) 4:25:26
4. Amanda Stevens (USA) 4:29:07
5. Dede Griesbauer (USA) 4:31:57
U.S.A. duo Tommy Zaferes and Katie Hursey win Kelowna PATCO Sprint
Tommy Zaferes and Katie Hursey of the U.S.A. won the Kelowna PATCO Sprint Triathlon Premium Pan American Cup Sunday in British Columbia.
Zaferes combined a 2nd-best 8:31 swim, 3rd-fastest 28:54 bike leg and 6th-best 15:31 run to finish the half Olympic distance triathlon in a time of 54:24, which gave him a 36 seconds margin of victory over Calvin Quirk of Australia and 44 seconds over 3rd place Daniel Coleman of Australia.
Eric Lagerstrom of the U.S. finished 4th in a time of 55:15, followed by six more Americans - famed runner/new triathlete Alan Webb 7th in 55:52, Alan Libin 8th in 56:13, Jason Pedersen 9th in 56:16, Ryan Bice 10th in 56:54, James Thorp 12th in 57:47 and Nicholas Sterghos 13th in 58:04.
Katie Hursey, an ITU elite rookie who won two ITU World Cups early this year, won the women's race with a race-best 17:07 5k run to finish in 59:36 with a 16 seconds margin of victory over rehabbing former ITU superstar Paula Findlay of Canada and 1:46 over 3rd place finisher Erin Dolan of the U.S.
Other U.S. finishers include Summer Cook 4th in 1:01:35, Sinead O’Dwyer 10th in 1:05:55 and Zara Guinard 11th in 1:07:39.
Kelowna PATCO Sprint Triathlon Premium Pan American Cup
Kelowna, BC, Canada
August 17, 2014
S 750m / B 20k / R 5k
1. Tommy Zaferes (USA) 54:24
2. Calvin Quirk (AUS) 55:00
3. Daniel Coleman (AUS) 55:08
4. Eric Lagerstrom (USA) 55:15
5. Andrew McCartney (CAN) 55:17
6. Rodolphe Von Berg (ITA) 55:45
7. Alan Webb (USA) 55:51
8. Alex Libin (USA) 56:13
9. Jason Pedersen (USA) 56:16
10. Ryan Bice (USA) 56:54
12. James Thorp (USA) 57:47
13. Nicholas Sterghos (USA) 58:04
1. Katie Hursey (USA) 59:36
2. Paula Findlay (CAN) 59:52
3. Erin Dolan (USA) 1:01:22
4. Summer Cook (USA) 1:01:35
5. Allison Hooper (CAN) 1:01:45
6. Ellie Salthouse (AUS) 1:02:11
10. Sinead O’Dwyer (USA) 1:05:55
11. Zara Guinard (USA) 1:07:39
Aussies Sam Betten and Sarah Crowley prevail at Samoa’s Big Warrior half Ironman
A little bit of hell – the tropical heat and the long hill at the Le Mata Pass turnaround at the midway point of the bike – and a lot of paradise – incomparable views of one of the jewels of the South Pacific – make the Samoa Big Warrior Triathlon a great experience. This weekend, Australian pros Sam Betten and Sarah Crowley prevailed at this half Ironman distance race. Betten is a top swimmer and a proven pro as witnessed by his second place finish to Brent McMahon at Ironman 70.3 Philippines. So you can see by his split times, all race bests, that this race is a challenge. [Swim 29:33 – Bike 2:20:14 – Run 1:30:39 – Total 4:20:29]
Australian pro Sarah Crowley outdueled New Zealand pro Julia Grant 5:00:54 to 5:04:57 for the women's crown. And you can see by the way she devoured that home-grown, post-race cool drink in the picture that this is a race to relish.
Samoa Big Warrior Triathlon
August 16, 2014
S 1.2 mi. / B 56 mi. / R 13.1 mi,
1. Sam Betten (AUS) 4:20:26
2. Ollie Whistler (AUS) 4:25:48
3. Stephen Farrell (NZL) 4:49:11
4. Jared Bowden (NZL) 5:24:58
5. Darren Young (SAM) 5:33:28
1. Sarah Crowley (AUS) 5:00:54
2. Julia Grant (NZL) 5:04:57
3. Jo Carrel (NZL) 5:28:25
4. Jaydene Hurley (NZL) 7:22:50
5. Malama Tafuna’i (SAM) 7:34:39