In a race won by 2005 Kona champion Faris Al-Sultan and 2011 Ironman Australia winner Caroline Steffen, Australia’s Luke McKenzie finished a credible 6th but had a tough day at the office which started with taking in a mouth full of water after being pushed under, loosing the feet of the front swim pack and red lining while trying to catch up at the half way ‘run’ mark in the swim. All of this in 14c water temperatures and once out on the bike it got even colder. Luke managed to get himself sorted on the bike but did end up loosing 10min to Al-Sultan. He came in to T2 with 2,3,4,5 and hit the run course with numb feet.
Al-Sultan was quoted during the week in the media as saying he was essentially not in great form. Does that mean we should be watching out for him when he is in form in October?
Caroline Steffen had a great race (obviously) until she started the run and things started to get difficult. Coming off the bike with a 16 minute lead and a new bike course record Steffen was rightly feeling upbeat about her chances of winning the race. She felt like she had frost bite and by the first kilometer was in trouble. “I had to stop the first time to stretch my legs because of very bad cramping. My lower back, ass, hamstring and calf, just cramping. I had never had this happen before.”
In the end McKenzie just missed out on 5th in the last 4 kms when he was passed by Sydney Olympic silver medalist Stefan Vuckovic.
10 time Ironman New Zealand winner Cameron Brown and ITU turned long course triathlete Sam Warriner from New Zealand both raced in Germany with mixed results.
Cameron Brown and Sam Warriner both battled tough conditions at the European Ironman Championships in Frankfurt, Germany.
A poor bike leg saw Brown well behind going into the run, and although he was impressive over the marathon he could only push up to seventh place.
Brown struggled in the cold conditions and had even more bad luck with a puncture 100km into the bike, heading off on the run 24 minutes behind leader Faris Al-Sultan.
“I could not ride my bike to save myself, there was no power coming from my legs and I just struggled in the cold weather,” Brown said.
“Sorry but I rode like a girl. I don’t think I have ever ridden so bad before, but that’s racing.
“At least I came right on the run and ended up running into seventh place. A day to forget but qualified for Kona. Time for a rest and on a plane back home to NZ tomorrow to see the family.â€
Brown eventually finished in 8:31:47, with Al-Sultan nearly 20 minutes faster in 8:13:50.
Meanwhile, Sam Warriner battled hard in the women’s field with a strong bike and run but couldn’t catch winner Caroline Steffen of Switzerland.
Steffen won in a time of 9:12:13, 30 seconds ahead of second-placed Lucie Zelenkov while Warriner finished fifth in 9:18:04.
Steffen rode to a 14 minute lead off the bike with Lucie Zelenkova second through transition and Warriner two minutes further back.
Warriner pushed hard on the run but was overtaken close to the finish by Sonia Tajsich and Yvonne Van Vlerken to surrender a spot on the podium. Just six minutes separated the top five finishers.