Australian Luke Bell has won Lake Stevens 70.3. After some recent good form with third placings at Kansas 70.3 in June and Memorial Hermann Ironman in May this year Bell went toe to toe with fellow Australian Paul Ambrose for most of the race until managing to edge home on the run just over 0:01:18 quicker.
Kiwi Graham O’Grady is putting in some consistent results however would like them to consistently be 1-3 placings. O’Grady has raced 3 half ironman races in the previous four weeks for a 1st and two 4ths. This is a fair bit of racing and he must be looking forward to getting back in to a solid training routine.
O’Grady and Matt Lileto almost didn’t make the race after some transmission troubles on the road trip to Washington. Luckily they got to Everett and then had plenty of assistance from friends.
The plan for O’Grady was to lead the swim then settle down on the bike. “As it was I lead the swim but only by a handful of seconds. Early in the ride I gave up the lead not by choice but because my legs weren’t doing what my mind wanted them too and for the next 30km’s I was riding like I was on a recovery ride, slipping back to 6th place with the rest of the top 10 not far behind. I then saw Matt (Lieto) on the side of the road with a broken chain, I felt so bad for him that our troubles were still continuing and that I couldn’t do anything to help (was ready to give him my wheel if he had a puncture) I thought I have to muster on and get to the finish no matter what.”
O’Grady found his legs and managed to settle down in to a good rhythm on the bike and get to T2. “I managed to come in off the bike in third place beside Jeff Symonds but a good three minutes down on the leaders. We set off into the 13 mile two loop run. Jeff and I ran side by side for the first 6km until the reality of the pace and what I would potentially be like at the 16km mark (more than likely a bit like the manvans drive shaft and casing) I drifted off and settled into a rhythm that I felt a little more comfortable at.” In the end O’Grady ran into the finish shoot in 4th place was stoked. “I could have easily have pulled the pin during this race as things were so awful at points but I hung tough and showed that some will and stick ability you can change the outcome and be proud of a race.”