ALEX PILGRIM RACES IN USA THIS WEEKEND

Alex Pilgrim racing in 2014 in the UK
Alex Pilgrim racing in 2014 in the UK

Leading Bermuda junior triathlete Alex Pilgrim, pictured in blue and red, races this Sunday 3rd May in  the USA Triathlon Youth Elite Triathlon for 13-15 year olds.

Last year as a 13 year old he placed 13th in the same race so it will be interesting to see if he can improve on that result this year. The Youth Elite race, along with the Junior Elite race for 16-19 year olds, is one of only 4 qualifying races for the USA Elite Youth Championships and the USA Junior Elite Championships, to be held in West Chester, Ohio on August 1sst and 2nd, and has therefore attracted a combined total of over 300 elite youth and elite junior triathletes.

Alex’s race will get underway at 12.30PM EST or 1.30PM Bermuda time and consists of a 375m swim, 10km ( 2 lap) draft legal bike and 2.5km run. The race is part of the East Coast Triathlon Festival featuring adult and less competitive junior races.

More details for the race and results can be found at :

EAST COAST TRIATHLON FESTIVAL 2015 WEBSITE

TYLER BUTTERFIELD FACES STERN TEST THIS WEEKEND

TYLER BUTTERFIELD
TYLER BUTTERFIELD

After his 3rd place finish at Ironman 70.3 Brasilia, the Latin American Championships, on 5th April, Tyler Butterfield will face a stern test this weekend in the Ironman 70.3 North American Championships in St. George, Utah.

This weekend’s stellar field includes Sebastian Kienle of Germany, the 2012 and 2013 Ironman 70.3 World Champion and the 2014 Ironman World Champion and a host of other leading long distance triathletes including :

Tim Don of the UK, who is a close friend of Tyler’s and like Tyler is based in Boulder, Colorado. Don took gold ahead of Tyler at the 70.3 Latin American Championships this month and won bronze at the 2014 Ironman 70.3 World Championships and was 3rd in this race last year just 7 seconds behind Canada’s Brent McMahon. McMahon not only took silver last year but won the 2013 event.

The USA’s Ben Hoffman who was the silver medallist at the 2014 Ironman World Championships is one to watch.

Canadian Lionel Sanders, 4th at last year’s 70.3 world championships,  Australia’s Tim Reed, 7th at last year’s 70.3 World Championships, and Tim O’Donnell of the USA, 2nd at this month’s Latin American Championships, will be others to watch.

Between 2009 and 2012 Andreas Raelert of Germany finished 2nd twice and 3rd twice at the Ironman World Championships and was 2nd at the 2008 Ironman 70.3 World Championships and won the 2010 Ironman European Championships. Since 2012 Raelert has not had the same success at major races but if fully fit could well challenge for the podium.

Luke McKenzie was 2nd at Ironman World Championships 2013 but has failed to reproduce that form since then but cant be ruled out for a top finish.

So it is a stacked field and a top 5 finish would be a great achievement for Tyler and I am sure he will be aiming for at least a top ten finish.

The St, George North American 70.3 Ironman Championships 2015 gets underway this Saturday 2nd May at 7AM Utah time which is 10AM Bermuda time.

You can follow the race and get results at the following link :

http://www.ironman.com/triathlon/events/americas/ironman-70.3/st.-george.aspx#axzz3YdEXBIVP

NOT FLORA’S DAY AT WTS CAPE TOWN DESPITE A GREAT EFFORT ON THE BIKE

FLORA DUFFY
FLORA DUFFY

Flora Duffy finished 27th today in the World Triathlon Series Cape Town, the 4th race of the series.

Due to the water temperature, the 1500 meter swim was shortened to 750 meters which did not work in Flora’s favor as the field was not as spread out going into the 40km bike ride. Duffy however tried hard to get away on the bike taking American Katie Zaferes, ranked 2nd in the world, and the UK’s Helen Jenkins with her as they opened up an 11 second gap early on. However, Olympic champion Nicola Spirig from Switzerland, a very strong cyclist, pulled a large chasing group back to the three leaders and despite Flora’s repeated efforts to get a group away, a group of over 20 started the 10km run together. Flora’s efforts on the bike, and perhaps her heavy WTS and Xterra race schedule, took its toll on her as she soon dropped off a strong pace on the flat run. In the end she faded to 27th, some three and a half minutes off the winner, the UK’s Vicky Holland, who broke away from a group of 10 to win from the consistent Katie Zaferes and Nicola Spirig.

After this latest race Flora dropped from 5th to 6th in the WTS world rankings with Zaferes taking over top spot after another podium finish, due to the fact that Gwen Jorgensen of the USA, who won the first three races in the series, decided to sit out this race.

FOR MORE ON THE CAPE TOWN RACE AND FULL RESULTS GO TO THIS LINK :

http://www.triathlon.org/results/result/2015_itu_world_triathlon_cape_town/270577

FLORA DUFFY RACES THIS WEEKEND IN THIRD WTS event

FLORA DUFFY AT THE SWIM START -WTS GOLD COAST 2015
FLORA DUFFY AT THE SWIM START -WTS GOLD COAST 2015

It’s hard to keep up with Flora Duffy as she blazes a trail across continents in WTS and Xterra races. After finishing 5th at the WTS (World Triathlon Series) race on the Gold Coast, Australia two weeks ago and first at the Asia Pacific XTerra Triathlon Championships in Australia last weekend, Flora swaps her mountain bike for road bike this weekend as she takes on most of the world’s best female triathletes in the WTS Cape Town. Having competed in 2 out of three WTS races this season Flora lies fifth in the world rankings after a 3rd place finish in Abu Dhabi and a 5th place in Gold Coast. Gwen Jorgensen of the USA has dominated the WTS series this year with her dominant run but has opted not to participate in Cape Town leaving the way open for someone else to top the podium for the first time in 7 races.

Cape Town has become Flora’s third home (the other two being Bermuda and Boulder, Colorado) as she has used Stellenbosch, nearby, as a training base for a good part of the year. Flora will feel ” at home” in Cape Town, where she has already raced this season, and will no doubt want to do well for her growing fan club there.

Flora gets underway at 9.55 AM Bermuda time ( 14.55 PM Cape Town time) on Saturday 25th April with the men starting at 10 AM Bermuda time on Sunday 26th April.

FOLLOW THIS LINK TO THE ITU ARTICLE PREVIEWING THE WOMEN’S RACE :

WTS CAPE TOWN 2015 – WOMENS ELITE RACE PREVIEW

Flora features prominently in the pre race article on the International Triathlon Union’s website. The article features a picture of Flora. The race can be watched on the BCC or by signing up at http://www.triathlon.org for the TriathlonLive feed.

FLORA DUFFY REFLECTS ON HER SEASON SO FAR.

Flora Duffy with Tyler Smith and Erica Hawley all of whom raced so well on the weekend ( see previous posts on this blog).
Flora Duffy with Tyler Smith and Erica Hawley all of whom raced so well on the weekend ( see previous posts on this blog).

After a spectacular start to the 2015 season Flora Duffy reflects on her season so far racing both Xterra ( off road triathlons involving a swim, mountain bike and cross country run) races and World Cup Series races (triathlons involving a swim, draft legal road bike and road run – as for Olympics and Commonwealth Games and known as WTS (World Triathlon Series) races.)

Are you surprised by your World Cup Triathlon Series performances so far and your world ranking of 5th ?

I am very surprised with my WTS performances! I knew I was in good form but my results exceeded my expectations. The dynamic of both races has played to my favor though- being a small group away, but my running has improved a lot so I can hold my own off the bike now.

Is the World Cup Series changing now with more women willing to lay it on the line in the swim and the bike ?

Yes, a lot of people are willing to work the swim and particularly bike portion now. Since Gwen (Ed : Jorgensen of the USA) is such a phenomenal runner, the only way to beat her is to work the bike hard. However, saying that, she can run up to 90 seconds quicker than anyone else so it needs to be a fair gap off the bike. But all in all, the bike is playing more of a role in each race.

You have had  solid runs after such an effort on the bike in the World Cup Series ; is the run an area where you feel you can still improve ?

I still have loads of room for improvement ! This past winter, I worked really hard on my running while in Stellenbosch (Ed : South Africa). I have been working with a run specific coach, and running with a great bunch of speedy girls. I still need to run 45-60 seconds faster off the bike, but that will be a progression over the next year building into the Olympics.

How are you feeling going into the Xterra Asia Pacific Championships as “the one to beat” ? How are you handling the pressure ?

I have to admit that going into every Xterra as the favorite is getting a little old, but something I am coping with fine. You win the wold championships, and you must get comfortable with always being the favorite ; nothing new, and something that I am proud of. (Ed : Flora won the Xterra Asia Pacific Champs 2015 on the weekend by over 3 minutes to record her 10th victory out of 11 Xterra World Series races IN 2014-2015, including a commanding win in the 2014 World Championships in Hawaii)

Do you think Xterra racing along with racing World Cup Series races is helping you perform in both or are you concerned that it might all catch up with you especially with all the travelling ?

For me, Xterra and WTS racing go hand in hand ; that would not be the case for everyone but I’m able to train specifically for WTS racing, and still race Xterra. it is a lot of racing, so I never rest up or taper for Xterras (unless it is the World Championships). I’ll race less Xterra next year (2016) but for now it is a good mix which keeps me happy. And a happy athlete is a fast, successful athlete.

When do you hope to be back in Bermuda ?

I’m scheduled to be back in Bermuda for the Tokio Millennium Triathlon at the end of May. Tokio are a new sponsor of mine, so I am very keen to be in Bermuda to do the race and show my support. However, the London WTS race is the same weekend, and given that I am 5th in the series, I might have to go and race in London, but that has yet to be decided.

What are your observations generally on your season so far ?

Thoughts so far on the 2015 season: Very happy and excited to be moving in the right direction as Rio 2016 quickly approaches.

MORE ON TYLER SMITH AND ERICA HAWLEY’S EXCELLENT PERFORMANCES

Erica Hawley (9th) and Tyler Smith’s (6th) performances last weekend in the Central American and Caribbean Junior Elite Triathlon Championships were all the more commendable as they had not only overcome the 30 degree + heat and 100% humidity but also the language barrier. Other than Erica’s high school Spanish and a Trinidadian bi lingual coach they had no way of communicating at the race.  However the race was held on good, flat roads on a naval base and was well organized.

TYLER SMITH EXITS THE 750M SWIM AT THE CA AND CARIB JUNIOR TRI CHAMPS 2015
TYLER SMITH EXITS THE 750M SWIM AT THE CA AND CARIB JUNIOR TRI CHAMPS 2015

Tyler again suffered a mishap in transitition when bumped by a fellow competitor who knocked over his bike and dislodged a shoe from a pedal when he was poised to go out with the lead group after the swim.  He then had to work hard with two others to get back up to the leaders at the end of the 3rd of four laps on the bike. A group of 12 exited T2 together and Tyler ran his way into 6th on the flat but slightly long 5km run.

ERICA HAWLEY DUG DEEP ON THE RUN
ERICA HAWLEY DUG DEEP ON THE RUN

Erica got off to a strong start ( beach start) and swam in a lead pack of 5 girls. She came out of the water 4th with a time of 10:42. These girls formed the first group  on the 20km bike with a chase group 20 to 30 seconds behind . Their group of 5 managed to stay away although Erica would have liked them all to work harder. Communicating in the group was difficult as she was the only English speaking one!

The run was tough in the heat and while Erica lost some places she hung on well to finish  9th overall.

 Both juniors have another 2 years in this Junior category so their performances were especially encouraging.

RESULTS AT THIS LINK :

2015 CENTRAL AMERICAN AND CARIB JUNIOR TRIATHLON CHAMPS RESULTS

HAWLEY AND SMITH WITH TOP TEN FINISHES IN CENTRAL AMERICAN / CARIB CHAMPS

After taking top honours in last weekend’s Catlin Sprint Triathlon, 17 year olds Erica Hawley and Tyler Smith produced impressive performance today, Saturday 18th April, in Guatemala finishing 9th and 6th respectively in the elite draft legal 2015 Central American and Caribbean Junior Triathlon Championships for 16 to 19 year olds.

Erica Hawley at CAMTRI Sarasota Triathlon 2015
Erica Hawley at CAMTRI Sarasota Triathlon 2015

IMG_1086

With internet connection sketchy in Guatemala the results are yet to be posted….more to follow.

FLORA DUFFY DEFENDS XTERRA ASIA PACIFIC CHAMPS TITLE

FLORA DUFFY ON HER WAY TO WINNING THE XTERRA ASIA PACIFIC CHAMPIONSHIPS 2015
FLORA DUFFY ON HER WAY TO WINNING THE XTERRA ASIA PACIFIC CHAMPIONSHIPS 2015

Flora Duffy continued her remarkable sequence of XTerra wins as she dominated the women’s field this weekend at the XTerra Asia Pacific Championships in New South Wales, Australia.

Looking to defend her title, Flora got off to a great start exiting the water first in 17 mins 24 secs for the 1500 meter swim with Chile’s Barbara Riveiros, who took the silver medal, out in 19 mins 15 secs.  Flora then posted a 1 hr 34 mins 27 secs for the 34km bike, as well as the quickest transitions, to extend her lead to over four minutes going into the run. Although Riveiros clawed back almost a minute on the 10km run Duffy posted a 40 min 26 secs for the run and finished in 2 hrs 36 mins 40 secs with Riveiros  three minutes back in 2 hrs 39 mins 47 secs. Jacqui Slack was well back in 3rd in 2hrs 47 mins 06 secs.

Flora’s time was good enough for 8th overall

Official website report :

DUFFY DEFENDS APAC TITLE

Flora Duffy took most of the drama right out of the women’s race right from the start with another dominating performance on her way to her 10th XTERRA Championship win in 11 tries since the start of the 2014 season.

The 27-year-old two-time Olympian from Devonshire, Bermuda had the fastest swim (almost two minutes over Barbara Riveros), the quickest bike (more than two minutes over Riveros) and the second-best run split (less than one-minute behind Riveros) to take the tape in 2:36:40, a full three-minutes in front of Riveros.

Of note, Riveros was also the runner-up to Duffy at last year’s XTERRA World Championship and the pair are amongst the very best on the highly competitive ITU World Triathlon Series.

“It was a tough day out there,” said Duffy.  “I really wanted to defend this title, and it’s a lot harder defending.  I seem to be the favorite no matter what.  I wanted to attack the swim and nail the bike, ride the technical bits as best I could.   I had a few issues out there, though, with a couple mechanicals and a little crash.  It was super muddy.  Then I just tried to run steady, and not push too hard. I’m really happy with how it went.”

Duffy, who was fifth at the ITU WTS race on the Gold Coast here in Australia last week, now heads back to her home-away-from-home in South Africa for next weekend’s ITU race.

“Flora is on fire, she’s very strong.  I knew it.  She’s racing good in ITU as well and I’m super happy for her,” said Riveros, who was in second the whole way but still had her share of misfortune.  “I fell in the mud puddles, didn’t realize it was so deep, and I couldn’t get out of there.  The guy behind was asking if I needed help getting out of there.  But it was great, a beautiful course, and I’m happy to have raced here and qualify for XTERRA Worlds.”

Behind Riveros Jacqui Slack was in third and in control, Suzie Snyder was fourth, and Lizzie Orchard ran her way into fifth.

“Mud!” said Jacqui Slack, as if the one word could describe the whole day.  “Wow, that’s a really tough course.  It’s awesome but you have to keep pedaling all the time, a real power course.  There’s no let up, you can’t rest and in the muddy sections you have to keep pushing all the time.  The competition was amazing here, and it was really close at the end for the third through fifth positions.”

Indeed it was, with just one-minute separating Slack, Snyder, and Orchard.  Carina Wasle finished sixth and covered in mud, Caroline Steffen was seventh in her XTERRA debut, Jessica Simpson placed eight and won the XTERRA Australia title for being the top Aussie, and Renata Bucher and Belinda Hadden rounded out the top 10.

Steffen, of Ironman fame, had a big smile and lots of stories to tell at the finish line.

“It’s awesome.  Lot of fun.  Bit muddy and dirty, but I really enjoyed it,” said Steffen.  “And, I’m happy to be at the finish line in one piece, my coach was so worried.   This is an awesome place, a great event with great organization.   I’ve never run on the beach before.   In Ironman we’re on the road three times longer, and we try to keep a steady heart rate, fast but steady.  Here it’s red-lining the whole time.  My body was screaming, like what are you doing to me.   That was quite painful.  Actually very proud of my performance.  I went off a few times but apparently that’s normal.  And in the forest it’s so green, I actually thought I was in the movie Lord of the Rings and was a bit scared being out there all alone.  There were puddles and mud everywhere, and the sun was coming in through the trees.  To be able to run through the forests was good fun, we don’t get that on the road.  It’s so different.  Swim, bike, and run but just so, so different.  I really enjoyed it.”

Steffen hinted at a possible run for the “Outrigger Double” – an award given to the top amateur and professional athletes with the best combined times at Ironman and XTERRA Worlds.

“Maybe after Kona I’ll go to Maui, why not!” exclaimed Steffen.  “It looks beautiful, and if my performance today was good enough I wouldn’t turn it down.”

RESULTS AT THIS LINK :

ASIA PACIFIC XTERRA CHAMPS 2015 RESULTS

HERRING AND OLCHESKI – BELL CROWNED 2015 NATIONAL TRIATHLON CHAMPIONS

JONNY HERRING
JONNY HERRING

Jonny Herring lived up to his reputation as pre race favorite as he dominated the field from start to finish today at the Catlin National Olympic Distance Triathlon Championships 2015 in windy and, on the run, wet conditions. Martina Olcheski – Bell’s hard work over the past few seasons paid off as she took advantage of Karen Smith’s pre race decision to withdraw after the bike due to a plantar injury, to hold off a fast finishing Julia Hawley and take her first national title.

Herring exited the water in 25 mins 32 secs for the 1500 m swim ( suggesting the swim was long) well clear of second placed Karl Wilson ( 27:06) and was never passed as he posted the fastest bike split for the 40km  in 67 minutes flat and a strong 10km run, historically his weakest discipline, of 39 :40, the third fastest of the day, to win comfortably in 2hrs 13 mins 27 secs.

Behind Herring there was a real battle for 2nd between Mark Wilcox and last year’s third place finisher, Mark Robinson. They came out of the water together but it was Robinson who pulled away on the bike with the second fastest bike split of 67 : 26 with Wilcox almost three minutes behind in 70 mins 13 secs. However, Wilcox’s stamina and never say die attitude saw him reel in Robinson on the run as he posted the 2nd fastest run of the day of 38 mins 30 secs to finish second in 2 : 17 : 51. Robinson was a comfortable 3rd in 2 : 18 : 32 after a 41 mins 33 sec run. As expected Matt Thompson and Karl Wilson produced all round solid performances to take 4th and 5th respectively with the amazing Kent Richardson, at 56 years old, in 6th.

Martina Olcheski – Bell emerged from the water with Karen Smith in 27 mins 50 secs with veteran Hawley almost 4 mins back. Smith put in a 1hr 14 mins 33 secs for the bike to open up almost a 3 minute cushion over Olcheski – Bell ( 1 hr 17 mins 30 secs ) before pulling out to avoid risking aggravating her plantar injury before June’s Island Games. Meanwhile Hawley was eating into Olcheski -Bell’s lead posting a 1 : 15 : 02 bike. She then made some inroads into Olcheski- Bell’s lead on the run with a 42 : 53 run but Olcheski- Bell posted a solid 43 : 18 run to take the title in 2 hrs 30 mins 52 secs with Hawley just 27 secs behind in 2 hrs 31 mins and 19 secs. Kirsten Palmer was 3rd in 2 hrs 33 mins and 33 secs.

Meanwhile there were no surprises in the Catlin Sprint Triathlon as junior Tyler Smith was as dominant as Herring and junior Erica Hawley was an impressive 3rd overall to take ladies honours. 17 year old Smith posted easily the fastest swim ( 750 meters) , the 2nd fastest bike and easily the fastest run to finish in 1 hr 3 mins 9 secs. 15 year old Matthew Oliviera, last year’s winner, was equally impressive posting the fast bike split to finish 2nd in 1 hr 8 mins 21 secs. Chris Harkness took third overall.

Erica Hawley, who next weekend races with Smith at the CAMTRI Central American and Caribbean Junior (16-19) Championships, warmed up for that event with a strong performance on a difficult course as she posted the 2nd fastest swim and third fastest run to finish in 1 hr 16 mins 05 secs, comfortably ahead of 2nd placed Amer Mehta ( 1 : 20 : 12). Megan Berry, home from college in the UK, was third in  1 hr  24 mins 58 secs.

CATLIN 2015 TRIATHLONS RESULTS