Lance Armstrong made a long awaited return to triathlon this weekend past with a win in the 34th Superfrog Half Iron Distance triathlon. Exiting the water behind Australia’s Leon Griffin, Armstrong set about catching Griffin on the bike but could not / did not shake him on this occassion. The two lead males hit T2 together and then discover quickly why this is one tough race.
We caught up with Leon the day after the Superfrog to chat about the race and what he has planned for the rest of the year.
Even though he was backing up from the previous day’s Olympic distance triathlon Griffin thought he would still be able to cover Armstrong on the run when finding he was with Armstrong at the end of the cycle leg. “I was originally only doing the F1. My good friend Lars Finanger was the Race Director, so I wanted to support his race. He’d been at me for a while to do the Superfrog also. It was only after I had a DNF at Cozumel 70.3 a week earlier that I decided to go all in and do the double. After a couple bad races in a row I wanted to throw any logic out the window and just have some fun! And it worked.” Griffin said with a smile.
The swim in this race can be tough and this weekend it was no different. Griffin found the going challenging like most in the field. “It was rough with the surf playing a bit of havoc, but I had a miraculous swim and caught a wave that kept me only 30sec or so back from the leader.”
As mentioned earlier upon heading out from T2 it quickly dawns on the competitors why this is such a hard race. According to the organisers the run course has ‘Approximately 4 miles of the course is on the beach (hard packed sand)’. That is unless the tide has recently been in. On the run Griffin was honest with how he found it. “That was brutal. Toughest run I’ve ever done. It was advertised as a ‘hard packed sand run’ but they never factored in a high tide, so it actually ended having about 5 miles in soft sand!!”
I asked Leon if after heading in to T2 with Armstrong was there ever any doubt in his mind that he could run solidly. “I actually did. I thought he’d have a go to get a few minutes on me off the bike, but when he didn’t, I thought “you little beauty I got this covered”. WRONG – never write off Lance Armstrong! He was strong as an Ox and powered away from me in the sand… I was a little disappointed at the time but then he explained later he’d been doing 3-5hr trail runs for all his latest running conquests… so probably doing double or maybe triple the running I had.”
Leon now heads back to Boulder for a few weeks to wrap his US season up, then heads home in a couple of weeks to do a few 70.3’s before calling it a season. “I got myself into a bit of a hole around Vegas (70.3 World Champs) time, but I’m coming out of it now and really looking forward to giving those last 3 races in Australia this year a shake! I’ll race Mandurah, Port Macquarie and Shepparton 70.3s.”
You can follow Leon on twitter by clicking on this link.
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