Last weekend was the final push for many professional athletes competing in Kona. A 70.3 is a great tune-up test for Kona. It’s long enough to be a great workout but it’s much faster than a full-Ironman and requires less recovery. (for those professional athletes anyhow!)
Andy Potts showed he is in great form by winning Branson 70.3 with the fastest swim, bike and run over 2x winner Ben Hoffman, who usually has stellar bike split but was no match for Potts. Could this be the year that Andy unlocks the key to Kona and sits on the podium? Will he be able to top Tim O’Donnell as top American racing Kona?
Mary Beth Ellis won in a sprint and photo finish at Pays d’Aix 70.3 in her tune-up race for Kona over Frenchwoman Jeanne Collonge, who lead nearly the entire day. This race concerned me for Ellis. In 2011, she seemingly over raced the Ironman distance and by the time Kona came around she had nothing left. It seemed this year, she was pacing herself even with her August win in New York City and dominating form in all distances. But the question remains, with this hard-fought photo finish win, has she used up her mojo? Or will she be able to taper well, utilize this speed and tenacity, to fight against her teammate Caroline Steffen and others for a win?
With a 7th place finish in Cozumel 70.3, Michael Lovato wasn’t mentioned in the race reports. And Andi Böcherer deserves the recognition for tremendous form and that he very much race-ready for a podium spot at Kona. But Lovato deserves a mention, he thrives in heated conditions (actually winning Ironman Cozumel last year after a disappointing Kona), and he probably wasn’t looking for a win, but a speedy tune-up for Kona. His run looked to be the 2nd fastest, and I will guess that his race report will indicate that this was a perfect prep for Kona. Lovato isn’t going to win the race, but a top-10 position is not out of the question, he is one of the most experienced racers on the Queen K and this will work in his favor.
It’s Kona-time people and the countdown has begun! Who are you rooting for?