Ironman Louisville had 2 first time Ironman Champions on Sunday. Patrick Evoe upset last years’ champ Chris “Big Sexy” McDonald in a race that started with Evoe’s risky breakaway at mile 70 on the bike and ended with an impressive and unstoppable win. On the women’s side, Bree Wee put forth the gutsiest performance of her life to hold on to the win when 2nd place Jackie Arendt was, at one point, only 30 seconds away from taking control of the race when Wee put forth another gear and surged ahead.
Bree’s blog is the first one I ever followed regularly. I thought she was in for a breakthrough a few years ago, but then she struggled with inconsistencies in her performances but with an incredibly positive attitude. She admitted in her blog that she nearly lost her pro license this year due to a paperwork screwup, she’s lost most of her sponsors, she’s been self-coached for the past three months (formerly coached by Jimmy Riccitello) and she was coming to grips with the fact that she might have to go back to teaching in order to support herself. In this race, perhaps she was the underdog, and who doesn’t love to see the underdog rise to the top. When I saw that she had the lead by 1-1/2 minutes again, I said to myself, “Hold it together Bree–you can do this. Believe in yourself.” And she did it, while Arendt, so hungry to better her 2nd place from last year, had to settle for 2nd again.
It’s Chris McCormack who’s said that champions are people to take risks and sometimes they blow up in your face, but other times, they put forth a performance of a lifetime. Both of these first time Ironman wins are going to be remembered by Evoe and Wee for a long, long time.