Flora Duffy continued her astonishing season with another totally dominant display in the Xterra World Championships in Maui today, Sunday 29th October. Flora established another record by winning four world championships in a row, the only athlete to have achieved that feat.
Flora emerged from the water with the leading men in just over 19 minutes with Chilean Barbara Riveiros a minute back and the other leading contenders such as Laura Philipp of Germany a further two minutes back. Once on the bike Flora extended her lead in near perfect course conditions and by T2 had almost 5 minutes on Rivieros. Flora then maintained her lead to the finish and once again beat a large number of the male professionals. Rivieros came in 2nd with Laura Philipp in 3rd.
To add to the day, Bradley Weiss of South Africa, one of Flora’s training partners and close friend of her fiance, Dan Hugo won a very tight men’s race holding off last year’s winner Mauricio Mendez who produced a very strong run to move through the field on to the podium with former winner Ruben Rufaza in 3rd.
As she has done all season, Flora showed that she is strong in all three disciplines and led from start to finish in a performance that more than matched her leading from the front record setting performances on the ITU World Series circuit this season. Repeating as both ITU World Series and XTerra champion in such competitive fields has already established Flora as one of the legends of the sport at the age of thirty.
Flora will now race in Thailand in her first long distance road race in Ironman 70.3 Thailand. Many think that Flora’s extraordinary mental and physical strength are ideally suited for this type of long distance racing so her debut in this race is eagerly anticipated.
My apologies to Ashley Estwanik and Allison Petty for this oversight. I am travelling and was relying on the results posted on Bermuda Timing which showed Allison Petty as the womens’ champion. I did query the result as I understood from Ashley that she was racing and from Allison that she was on a team, but I did not hear back.
Geoff Smith rolled back the years and defending champion Ashley Estwanik again dominated to take the 2017 XL Catlin Olympic Distance National Triathlon 2017 titles today ( Sunday 29th Ocotber).
51 year old Geoff used his excellent swim / run to give himself enough of a cushion over his nearest rivals going into the 10km run to hold off the fast finishing Corey Brunton. Steve Smith lost time on the swim to Geoff but matched him on the 40km bike with both of them posting sub 63 minute times. However Steve dropped back on the run and was eventually passed by Corey but held on for a solid 3rd place podium finish.
Geoff, who finished in 2:14:07, also had to contend with a fast closing Ashley Estwanik who not only took overall female honours but also finished an impressive 2nd overall less than a minute behind Geoff and almost repeating last year’s 1st place overall finish. Ashley exited the water in 26 min 05 secs just 2 seconds ahead of Maddie Durkin, who finished 2nd in last week’s National Sprint Championships. However, once on the bike Ashley wasted no time in dropping her rival with a quick 1:06:31 bike split to Maddie’s 1:15:03. As expected, she then ran one of the fastest times of the day ( 40:54) to win comfortably in 2:14:56. Maddie was a solid 2nd, and 8th overall, in 2:28:50 with Becky Shepherd 3rd in 2:32:47.
For full results and swim / bike /run splits and age group, team and junior results use the link on this blog to Bermuda Timing.
Such has been the focus on Flora’s performances in the ITU World Series this season that you would be forgiven for forgetting that Flora is also the queen of XTerra racing, having won the past three world championships. And this Sunday, 29th October, Flora will once again swap her road bike for a mountain bike as she goes for her 4th win in a row.
Flora has astonished the world of triathlon by the margin of her victories in ITU racing but over the past few years her winning margin in these XTerra championships has been even more astonishing. Last year, for example, she produced the fastest swim, bike and run and in the process beat 25 of the men’s elite field finishing the the 1 mile swim, 20 mile bike and 6.5 mile run in 3 hrs 15 minutes. Former winner Lesley Paterson of Scotland finished 2nd ten minutes back in 3 hrs 25 mins.
Although Flora will start as the favorite XTerra racing is also unpredictable in particular as the bike leg in this format is far more likely to produce mechanical problems or crashes. Touch wood, Flora will avoid those two scenarios on Sunday.
Flora’s focus this year has been on ITU racing and on Sunday she will come up against a host of talented triathletes who have been racing the international triathlon circuit all season and will be race hardened. However, Flora’s absence from the circuit should not affect her performance as she is renowned for her bike handling skills and has had time since Rotterdam to hone those skills before these championships.
Nevertheless this year’s women’s championships has attracted a particularily strong field and two athletes stand out in that field :
Lesley Paterson has been one of the most consistent athletes at these championships having won it twice and finished 2nd four times in her last 7 attempts. Paterson has battled Lyme Disease and other issues over the past years but the Scottish Rocket is known as a tough competitor and wants that crown back.
Laura Philipp of Germany, better known as an Ironman 70.3 racer, has been the surprise package in XTerra racing this year as she appeared at XTerra France, her only XTerra race to date, and took the title with the second fastest swim, fastest bike and fastest run to beat established XTerra Tour stars Brigitta Poor and Helena Karaskova by eight minutes. Philipp finished an impressive 3rd at Ironman 70.3 Worlds this year and won four other 70.3 races so comes into this race with very impressive road credentials and clearly the endurance qualities needed to succeed in this type of racing. Since 70.3 Worlds she had focused solely on her preparation for this race and may pose the biggest challenge yet to Flora.
Others to watch will be Susie Snyder of the USA, 3rd last year, Helen Karaskova, who took the European tour title in September after four wins and Brigitta Poor, who won 6 races in Europe this season including the European Championships in Denmark. This will be her first appearance in Maui.
After alot of rain, the course conditions this year are likely to be especially tough with practice on the bike course being cancelled ealrier this week. Follow the action on Sunday on http://www.xterramaui.com starting at 9AM Hawaii time which is 4PM Bermuda time.
Last Sunday’s ( 22nd October) Ironman 70.3 Miami fetured two Bermuda triathletes.
Competing in the 40-44 Age Group , Zoe Roberts finished in 6:14:34.
Zoe emerged from the 1.2 mile swim in 40th place in her age group in 55 min 11 sec but by the end of the 56 mile bike she had moved up to 15th with a time of 3 hrs 41 sec. Zoe then fell back three places on the run with a 2:11:57 for the 13.1 miles to finish a strong 18th in her age group.
Wenda finished an impressive 5th in her 50-59 age group . Wenda set herself up for a strong race as she was 5th after the swim in 51:07. A renowned cyclist on the local bike scene, she then moved into 3rd with a 3:04:26 bike. Her efforts took their toll in the run as Wenda clocked 2:48:16 to finish in 6:49:00.
In very tough conditions Alan Potts and Karen Smith took overall male and female honours respectively in the 2017 Aon National Sprint Triathlon Championships.
Potts, who has consistently been in the top 5 in recent local events, took his first major title to win the 750m swim, 20km bike and 5km run in 1 hr 4 secs to hold off Geoff Smith ( 1: 01:26), and another 50-59 athlete, former national champion Neil de ste Croix ( 1:02:02).
Karen Smith once again became national female champion finishing 7th overall in 1:05:08 ahead of the ever improving Maddy Durkin who despite crashing on the wet roads came home 2nd in 1:08:02. Becky Shepherd completed the top three in 1:12:13.
There were some close races for age group honours with Steve Petty ( 1:17:04) holding off a fast finishing Charlie Duffy (1:17:08) by four seconds for 60+ honours.
Maria Duffy had an impressive time of 1:20:33 to take the female 60+ title.
Other winners were :
Female Age Group
Rebecca Harrison (16_19), Maddie Durkin ( 30-39), Karen Smith (40-49), Sharon CRAIG (50-59)
Male Age Group
Alan Potts ( 30 – 39), Steve Smith ( 40 – 49 )
First across the line and winners of the team open category were Team Potato in 58:10 with Jacks, Yorst, Jenks taking female team honours and Aon appropriately the first company team.
The Tri – a Tri winners were Stacey Hoyle and Garth Fleming
The poor weather conditions meant a number of individuals and teams did not make the start line and the wet roads also took their toll with pre race favorite Matt Thompson having to withdraw after suffering a hairline crack to his fibula in a bike crash. Liz Stewart, who has been racing so well this season and very promising junior Tommy Marshall were two others who crashed on the bike and were unable to finish.
After an impressive 7th place finish in this year’s 70.3 Triathlon World Championships, it seemed as though Tyler Butterfield, was peaking well for his biggest challenge of the year, the Ironman World Championships in Kona on October 14th.
I met with Tyler in Kona for breakfast on the morning before the race and for a quick dinner that night. Despite a bike crash two weeks before that left him sore , he looked and sounded ready for the big race. With wife Nikki and the three kids, mum and dad, Debbie and Jimmy, and brother Spencer on hand and Flora Duffy flying in for the race, there was certainly plenty of Bermuda support.
In the end it wasn’t to be his day. A good swim of 48 min 48 secs left Tyler well placed going into the 180km bike and for the first 70km or so Tyler was up with the leading group. But the brutal pace set by former professional cyclist Cameron Wurf of Australia, Germany’s Sebastian Kienle and Canadian Lionel Sanders saw the rest of the pre race favorites either opting to drop off the pace or getting dropped. All three of the leaders shattered the course record of 4 hrs 18 mins with Wurf setting a new course record of 4 hrs 14 mins. Tyler gradually lost time to the leaders and entered T2 with a bike time of 4: 35 :10 and the realisation that it wasn’t to be his day.
When he passed me on Alii Drive at mile 4 of the run Tyler was clearly suffering and by the time he passed again after the turn on Alii his pace had dropped off. I found him stopped at mile 8 with dad Jim and ready to call it a day after apparently suffering from stomach problems on the bike and run with pain in his side from his bike accident and cramping.
He did however continue on and ran for a few kilometers with defending champion Jan Frodeno, who was having severe lower back pains. In the end he ran a steady pace, stopping at the aid stations and finished the marathon in 3:56:18 for a total time of 9:27:22.
However, after a DNF last year in the end all that mattered was finishing and for that he should take great credit. Sometimes there is glory in just getting across the line regardless of where you finish.
At the front of the race Canadian Lionel Sanders put in a tremendous performance to hold off last year’ sensation Patrick Lange until the last few kilometers before being overtaken by the German who once again produced an outstanding run of 2 hrs 39 mins 59 secs ( just short of his record run last year) to take the overall win in a new record time of 8 hrs 1 min 40 secs. Sanders held on well to take 2nd in 8:04:07 with Scotland’s David McNamee, who swam , rode and ran with Lange for much of the race, taking an impressive 3rd in 8:07:11 with the consistent Kienle in 4th. The amazing Daniela Ryf took her third female title in a row with another dominating performance but relative newcomer Lucy Charles from the UK, showed that she will be one to watch as the 24 year old, who led for much of the race, was 2nd in her first appearance at Kona after only getting on a racing bike for the first time in 2014. Another up and coming triathlete, Sarah Crowley of Australia, was 3rd.
After previous 4th and 7th place finishes at these championships Tyler can be proud of his outstanding achievements. There is no doubt that the quality and depth of the mens field is making it tougher every year but as the 40 year old Andy Potts showed with another top ten finish this year ( he was 7th), experience can count for alot in this test of both physical and mental preparedness, and Tyler should chalk this one down to some more valuable experience.
Whilst chatting to me at around mile 15 of the run I mentioned to Tyler that Jan Frodeno’s status as a legend in the sport would be further cemented by the fact that despite back to back wins in the previous two years he went through alot of suffering to finish. Tyler said to me that he would never have that legend status but I pointed out to him that it was he who had first put Bermuda on the triathlon world map with his junior world bronze medal and subsequent wins and podiums in so many races. I reminded him that he has been an inspiration to so many young and old Bermudian triathletes, including Flora Duffy.
I hope Tyler will be on the start line next year but if not then he should be proud of his achievements and the contribution he has made to the sport of triathlon in Bermuda and as an ambassador for the island.
HERE IS THE DEAL : As a Bermuda resident, sign up an overseas participant for ITU World Triathlon Bermuda 2018 and your entry will be for FREE (a $110 saving for the Sprint distance race entry and a $140 saving for the Olympic distance race entry)
DEADLINE : Offer ends OCTOBER 31st, 2017
(i) Get the overseas participant to enter by going to http://www.tribermuda.com (ii) Make sure the overseas entrant completes the box provided for your name and EMail (iii) The race organisers will then EMail you a voucher number which you can then use at http://www.tribermuda.com to sign yourself up for free.
As a busy triathlon season draws towards a close, it is amazing to think that at the beginning of next season the world’s best triathletes will be coming to the island for the first WTS Bermuda event. On April 28th 2018 we will not only see Flora Duffy racing on her own patch as the reigning World Champion, but also the likes of Ashleigh Gentle and Katie Zaferes, Mario Mola, Javier Gomez and Jonny Brownlee going all out along Front St and powering up Corkscrew Hill. It promises to be a special weekend indeed.
In addition to the elites, there are also of course the 2 biggest age-group races the island will have ever staged, with over 1,000 competitors expected to take on Sprint and Olympic distance courses. The courses are still being finalised but competitors are going to be racing on largely the same circuits as the elites on a fast and technical route around Hamilton. These races are open to everyone and while they will have all the trappings of a full ITU event, there is no qualification requirement. Anyone can join in and enjoy the challenge.
For an event of this significance to the island, the organisers want to attract as many participants as possible. So ask your friends and family over to enjoy the race, some warm weather training and some Bermuda hospitality….but don’t wait – offer ends October 31st 2017.
Any queries, please send an email to email@example.com.