The 70.3 Worlds Races That Didn’t Go To Plan

  • By Jené Shaw
  • Published Sep 11, 2012
  • Updated Oct 31, 2014 at 4:39 PM UTC
Photo: Steve Godwin

You’ve heard the triumphs of Sunday’s Ironman World Championship 70.3 event, but here are some of the tribulations that affected pre-race favorites.

The combination of a difficult course and temperatures near 100 degrees left plenty of carnage on the Ironman World Championship 70.3 course. Many of the pre-race favorites didn’t have their best days—some just simply had bad races, others dealt with mechanicals, drafting penalties and nutrition issues. Here, a few of the races that didn’t go as anticipated:

Because she was absent from this race in 2011 in lieu of racing the Hy-Vee Triathlon 5150 U.S. Championship, many were expecting Mirinda Carfrae to take the 70.3 title. But a new nutrition strategy—trialed with success in training—left her with an upset stomach almost immediately into the bike.

She told us what happened:

“I’ve been playing around with my nutrition a bit. There are a lot of studies that show that the more carbs you can absorb the better off you are, and especially when you go to long-course racing the better athletes can absorb a lot more carbohydrate. You can train your stomach to absorb more. So I’ve been working on trying to increase my carb uptake and this new mixture I’ve been using has worked just fine in training, and I wanted to try it in Vegas—in the heat and under race conditions—before Kona.”

“I guess I underestimated how hot it would be. I never take plain water on the bike in a half—in an Ironman I always have a water bottle—but in a half I just have Coke in my last bottle and my first water bottle are just calories, like a sports drink. I was really thirsty and drank a fair amount of [the carb mixture] early on and, because it was higher in carbohydrates, it basically shut down my system right away and my stomach just didn’t like it. After 25K or so into the race it just all came back up and I was in a bit of bother because I was still feeling really thirsty but passed the first aid station and didn’t grab any water because I didn’t have any place to put it. It wasn’t until after that I started to vomit and it felt like forever until the next aid station where I could get some water to try to dilute the concentrate that was in my stomach. By then it was game over. I couldn’t bring myself back around and at that point was pretty disappointed.”

“Throughout my whole career I’ve stuck to the same [nutrition] plan and never had any issues. You’re always trying to find ways to better yourself, and I was looking at ‘Okay, if I can absorb more carbohydrate on the bike then that’s going to put me in a better place when I start the marathon in Kona.’ I’ve got a plan that’s pretty solid and that’s worked the last few years in Kona that I’ll go back to and definitely will be using this year. I just wanted to try something different, and it wasn’t ideal to try it at a world championship event but I didn’t want to try it in Kona.”

“It felt great in training; I thought it was the best idea ever because in training I had no issues at all. If that had been a cold race I’m sure I could have been able to handle it a lot better. Anyway, you live and you learn.”

RELATED: Mirinda Carfrae Looking For Second 70.3 World Title

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Jené Shaw

Jené Shaw

Jené Shaw is a contributor for Triathlete magazine, a six-time Ironman finisher and a USAT Level 1 certified coach

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