Boulder Peak 5150, a historic and truly unique race took place today with a hotly contested pro field taking part.
The race combines the difficulty of racing at altitude with a grueling 10kms of climbing soon after the swim exit and a partly off-road spectator friendly looped run making it a favourite for amateur and pro athletes on the U.S circuit. On top of the refreshingly different course, 750 Hy-Vee qualifying points were up for grabs making the race particularly enticing for pros targeting the biggest prize purse in the sport.
The strong swimmers were flying with young Joey Lampe finding his form after finally working out the rest/training balance at altitude and getting out with Dylan McNeice and Cam Dye. Soon behind, Michael Fox, Matty Reed and Kris Gemmell set about closing the gap. Only, Cam Dye saw to it that gap would be extended averaging somewhere around 400 watts throughout the 42km course building an uncatchable lead. Matty Reed rode well and must have been feeling particularly fresh considering he normally races this race the day after a lifetime fitness event.
This was an awesome result for Lampe after a stressful morning with a flat riding to the race and then losing his helmet. He was unsure ow e would go given that this race is at high altitude, “Grant Giles (Aeromax Team) prepared me well and I was confident despite having a stacked field.”
The bike course would be one of the hardest on the Olympic distance circuit with a solid climb up the infamous Old Stage Rd and with Lampe being a big guy it was going to be interesting to see how he coped. He rode strongly to hold on to a top position. “I was off the bike in fourth position and was passed early on in the run by Gemmell and Michael Fox but stayed at my pace and managed to pin back Fox and pick up Conrad Stoltz for a fourth place over all. I am happy with the result and looking forward to racing a good field at Racine 70.3 this weekend.”
The main 2nd swim pack mover was the ‘Caveman’, Conrad Stoltz who after his usual poor swim was flying through the hills to jump off the bike in 2nd place with the quickest ride of the day only to incur a 1 minute penalty for not dismounting in time.
Trying to run a quick 10km at 1600m altitude applied it’s usual brakes on the field and made for some fairly laboured breathing. Cam Dye ran a steady split to take a comfortable win proving once again how much of a force his swim/bike combination is. Matty Reed ran into 2nd with Kris Gemmell having the quickest run to finish 3rd.
The young Aussies Joey Lampe and Michael Fox did brilliantly with Joey running the 2nd quickest run split to finish 4th ahead of the Caveman Stoltz while Fox held strong landing in the prize money with a solid 6th place. Both athletes again showing that they have a big non-drafting future ahead of them.
For Fox this was a step in the right direction with his usual strong swim setting him up for a good result in a strong field. “I actually got dropped from the first group in the swim. I was roughly 30sec down with Matt Reed. We managed to reel everyone in before the bottom of Old Stage Rd for the climb apart from Cam Dye who was well off the front.”
Fox received some great advice from guys like Ambrose, Crowie and Tyler Butterfield to make sure he was at the front at the top of Old Stage Road (the course summit). “This worked well for me because I had the likes of Matt Reed and Chris Gemmell to mimic on the decent. Some of the stronger riders came past on the flats including Conrad Stoltz and Joey Lampe.”
Fox took off out it T2 slightly harder than he had planned. “I ran past Joey and tried to reel in Conrad in 4th place but I faded late in the run to be overtaken by Joey again (who actually went on to catch Conrad).”
A somewhat disappointing race from Tim Reed who completed this race as his first pro Olympic distance event in 2010 riding through the field to come 2nd. Tim struggled in the swim, 2 minutes off the pace and while he biked back a minute into the guys ahead he also struggled on the run. Perhaps not training at altitude this year making the transition difficult.
In the women’s race Laura Bennet showed her class across all formats of the sport winning the race a minute and change ahead of the increasingly versatile Mellissa Hauschildt (Rollison) with the main difference being the swim time. Melissa’s ride particularly impressive, nearly 2 minutes ahead of any other female. Jillian Peterson finished 3rd closely followed by Amanda Lovato.
It is good to see Hauschildt back racing after a foot injury put her out action for a couple of months and forced her out of Ironman Cairns.
Melissa knew that this race was going to provide her with a tougher challenge than normal with Laura Bennett racing. “I was expecting she’d put 3 minutes into me. As for the bike – I thought I could pull back 2 minutes. If this went to plan I’d still be 1 minute down. 1 minute usually wouldn’t phase me but today it will. In the last four weeks I’ve done a long run of 7km and haven’t been able to do anything above jogging pace.”
Melissa’s prediction was correct and she started the bike almost 3min down. “Out on the bike course I had moved into third place quite early and then was on a mission to chase down the leader. This was a tough bike course – from transition its a gradual climb, about 2% gradient right up until Lee Hill Drive, about 8km in. Then it turns into a 12% climb up Old Stage Rd. I moved into second place just before the climb which lasts about 2km before we take a steep decent.”
In to T2 Melissa was 1:15 down. “I made up 1:59 on Laura. But lost another 13 seconds in transitions. This time I didn’t bolt out of transition. I knew I had to run conservatively for the first half so that I can at least make it home. If I felt good at half way I thought I could pick it up. I didn’t feel great. I ran 36:58 to take home second place.”
This result for Michael Fox should be enough to make Hy-Vee. If he doesn’t his lifelong goal of beating Tim Reed has been accomplished and he’ll be happy about this.