Unless you were under a rock — or actually training — this weekend, you already know that Lance Armstrong finished 2nd at Ironman Panama 70.3 after getting passed about a mile before the finish by Bevan Docherty. And in the biggest news of the weekend the winner of the women’s race, Canadian Angela Naeth, sent me a tweet on the day before the race. I know, it was close enough to Valentine’s Day that it is hard to misread. I think she wants me to help her train for the next race on her calendar. I know Mark Allen is her coach, and I am sure “The Grip” will trust me to push his latest prodigy.
For you endurance junkies, Angela has won at this distance before — Boulder 70.3 in 2011. In 2010 she got 2nd at six 70.3 events and 7th at the World Campionships. The best credential she has in my book is that she is the 2011 champion of the Leadville 250 — it is more XTerra style than anything else. You swim 3.1 K, road bike 223 K with 7,000 ft. of climbing, and finish with a 22 K trail run. I think that race is for ballers and Angela is the 2011 champion. I’m just sayin’…
But the real reason she won in Panama this weekend is because of my amazing pre-race routine advice. On Saturday I sent her a tweet telling her to drink a couple of cups of that Colombian roast coffee before the start of the race and this is what I got back…
Can there be any doubt as to why she won that race? I mean, her training played into it for sure and having Mark Allen the former World Champion at the 140.6 distance doesn’t hurt, but you know if she followed my advice throwing down the fastest bike split of the women’s field wasn’t no thang. I am really glad she kicked in the 1st place door win in Panama. Seriously, I have been cheering for her to pick up a quality win at the 70.3 distance and she did. Congrats Angela — you are now a rock star!
And one other shout out to one of my favorite triathletes — Bree Wee. If you are a triathlete you HAVE to know who this woman is. She is a pro triathlete that religiously blogs about her training and experienced raising her son in Hawaii. She came out of the gate firing all her guns this last weekend and landed a top 10 finish. If you want to read more about her, here is her blog. I love how modest her race report is.
The men’s race was really exciting as well. I was very vocal on twitter and here on my blog on the topic of the way the press was going so crazy about Lance’s return to triathlon. I said things like I didn’t think the attention was fair to the other pros who had spent a lifetime cultivating the sport. I also thought that Lance would come in somewhere in the top 10 pro finishers, but Matt Reed and Chris Lieto had a really strong chance of going #1 and #2. Man did I have it wrong.
Lance came in and rocked the triathlon hierarchy with a dominating performance. Matt Reed did win the swim, but that was about it. I have made no secret about it — I have a man crush on Matt Reed. I love his attitude and style. I would love to go on a training ride with him someday. After they got out of the water, Lieto and Armstrong started hammering through the bike and ended up coming off the bike first and second. Lieto started pounding on the run, but got passed by Armstrong who held the lead until about there was about a mile to go, when Bevan Docherty passed him and held on for the win. That would have been an amazing run to watch.
I am not going to get on the Lance bandwagon yet. I believe he is amazing athlete and I am glad he is back in triathlon. If for nothing else, I am pumped that he did so well at Panama 70.3 because it will elevate the level of competition at that distance. I think it will make Lieto, Reed, Macca, and even Crowie step up their game. It will also create a whole new interest in our sport as people who have seen us on the road and yelled at us to get off the road will now be required to reconcile their love for Lance and his love for the sport of triathlon. You can argue all day long that his presence at events will create a media firestorm. I say bring it on. The new visibility to the sport will bring on new sponsors, new money for other professionals, and innovation that will trickle down and eventually benefit you and I.
In Other News
I know I have been editorializing more lately than actually providing you with running training tips, triathlon strategies, and cycling tips and I apologize. I am over my cold and will be training hard this week because I am tired of the sedentary lifestyle I have had for the last six days. The good news is I feel about as close to 100% as I have in the last week and I am looking forward to getting out and riding, running, and lifting weights.
I am right in the middle of the book written by Matt Fitzgerald about the 1989 Ironman World Championships and the amazing race between Mark Allen and Dave Scott, called the “IronWar”. Matt Fitzgerald is a fantastic writer and I love everything that man puts down on paper. What I love about this book so far is the back story that Fitzgerald weaves. The stories related to the background of each racer and the possible explanations of why they are each so driven and what their motivation to excel is really is enlightening. I can see parts of myself in each racer and love that I can identify with these amazing athletes. Now if I could only run as fast as they do.
Enjoy your training this week!