Photos by Jay Prasuhn
The Day Two enduro was a masochist’s dream: 750m swim, 5k run, 40k bike, 750m swim and finally a closing 5k run. With five events run concurrently, there’s no chance to settle in. Lots of chances to blow up, cramp up and generally ball-up. Add high humidity that brought on the cramps and even a deluge that fell on the men, and it was a crapshoot.
Despite overcast skies (including a deluge that took place during the men’s swim), athletes immediately began to feel the effects of either their previous day’s effort (the swim, bike and run time trials), the tropical humidity or both. Exiting the water, athletes began keeling over to cramps. Spanish ITU ace Mario Mola had his chance to qualify for the Highbourne Cay finale squelched when hamstring cramps forced him to drop to the sand at the shore. Nearly eight minute later, his cramps subsided, but with it went his finale chances.
“I think I was like most of us, cramping badly with the swim,” said Holly Lawrence. “I’ve never gone from a swim run and bike back to a swim and run. Your legs are doing all kinds of things!
While the quickest short-coursers flexed on Day One, a mix of attrition over a bit more distance as well as the conditions saw positions change on Day Two… and change again. And again. Friday’s Stage 1 winner, Aaron Royle, held his own in the opening swim and run, but on the bike the pace being set by South African ITU Star Richard Murray was too much, and he faded late in the bike and further in the closing run.
Things were largely status quo through the opening swim, with the main group exiting the first 750m swim en masse. But immediately out onto the run, it was World Cup podium regular Murray who broke away early to earn a buffer by the time he was due in to start the 40k bike. And on the bike, he continued to pour fuel on the flames, hammering out to a 45-second lead through the first of eight laps.
“I just put my head down and rode as hard as I could,” Murray told LAVA. “Yesterday I think a lot of guys raced really hard, and body management became really important. Yesterday I couldn’t run 30 seconds faster but decided to be smart… and it seemed to be working today.”
As others gave chase, American non-drafting ace Cameron Dye wound up like a massive flywheel and began picking off athletes, moving through the chasers with ease. “I ran within myself and didn’t get too caught up when the ITU guys went away,” Dye said. “And I took the 40k the same way I’d do normally, slowly picking off people.”
To his word, Dye rode up to Murray at the 30k mark and into the lead. And resisting his natural urge to jump on the wheel, the ITU pro sat at his 15-meter draft
“When he came past me, I knew I had to get on him and had to go hard to… and it was hart to have to leave that 12-meter gap. I had to back off and I was like “I don’t wanna back off! It was a different feeling.”
On the run, Murray used his short-course speed to roll away to the stage win, with Dye finishing second.
“Y’know, for a few moments I didn’t think I was gonna be able to finish the last run; the legs were locking up, the hamstrings and quads were really sore. We were both really hurting, but I was really happy to grab the win.”
Dye, too, was thrilled, a fall of targeted preparation in Boulder, Colo. paying dividends. “I’m right where I wanna be going into tomorrow, and I think I’ve got a little something,” Dye said. “I think tomorrow will be my best of the three days; last year I gained a lot of confidence on that course, outsplitting Richard and (Javier) Gomez and the other guys. We’ll see what happens.”
Jorgensen played to her strengths, exiting at the front of the swim. From the start of the first 5k run, she would establish control, breaking away from a pack of six women to start the bike with a 25-second lead.
But Day One leader—reigning 70.3 World Champion Holly Lawrence—would make a game of it. After exiting in the chase 30 seconds behind, the Briton powered to the front of the race, joined Jorgensen… then rode away solo, to upwards of a minute gap late in the bike.
“My strength is my bike, and these girls are so fast on the run,” Lawrence said. “That was my go-to” to hammer the bike and try and get some distance.
“After that it was a matter of not dying,” she added with a laugh.
Behind, the chasers— a collection of short-course aces including Jorgensen, Aussies Ellie Salthouse, Emma Moffatt, Dutch pro Rachel Klamer, Americans Lauren Goss and Sarah True, and Katie Zaferes and Bermuda’s Flora Duffy, later joined by Helle Fredericksen of Denmark— assembled, some testing the limits of the 12-meter drafting rule, with Goss, Klamer and Fredericksen made by course officials to complete a penalty 200 meter run before finishing.
Behind, Ironman aces Mirinda Carfrae, Heather Wurtele and Leanda Cave chased along vainly, unable to match the group’s pace.
While Lawrence had nearly a minute lead headed into the final swim and 5k run, it would be negated quickly. Again, Jorgensen seized control of a chase pack shrinking due to attrition, closing the gap out of the water and simply running first from the chasers out of the water, then capturing and passing Lawrence 2k into the run. Jorgensen would away solo with the stage in the final 5k run. Duffy would recover from calf cramps to take second on the day, Salthouse third and Lawrence fading to fourth.
Lawrence said that despite sitting in second overall (on cumulative time) headed into the finale with a manageable 45-second deficit to Jorgensen, she’s not putting any pressure on herself. “ My goal was to finish within the top 10,” she said, “and anything after that is a bonus.’
Indeed, Jorgensen’s lead is not unassailable; while Lawrence will start just 45 seconds in arrears, season-long ITU nemesis Duffy is also just 55 seconds back.
Sunday’s grand finale takes the top 10 male and female finishers from Nassau to the nearby private island of Highbourne Cay to race the ultra-exclusive finale: a 750m swim, 20k bike, 5k run sprint race. And with that, athletes are racing in pursuit format, with the race leaders taking off immediately at the start and all subsequent athletes starting based on their time gap to the leader.
Check in Sunday for a complete post-race report and gallery.
Island House Triathon
Stage 2: Oct 29, 2016, Nassau, Bahamas
750m swim, 5k run, 40k bike, 750m swim, 5k run
(Stage 1 and 2 Cumulative/Finale Qualifying Times—top 10 advance)
- Richard Murray (RSA) 2:42:54
- Cameron Dye (USA) 2:43:59
- Terenzo Bozzone (NZL) 2:44:12
- Aaron Royle (AUS) 2:45:03
- Brent McMahon (CAN) 2:45:16
- Eric Lagerstrom (USA) 2:45:21
- Leon Griffin (AUS) 2:45:44
- Sebastian Kienle (GER) 2:45:50
- Joe Maloy (USA) 2:45:51
- Lionel Sanders (CAN) 2:46:21
- Tim Don (GBR) 2:48:06
- Tim Reed (AUS) 2:48:59
- Mario Mola (ESP) 2:50:51
- Tim O’Donnell (USA) 2:51:47
- Trevor Wurtele (CAN) 2:53:13
- Jorik Van Egdom (NED) 2:55:44
- Ben Hoffman (USA) 2:57:48
- Barrett Brandon (USA) 2:58:46
- Andreas Dreitz (GER) 3:05:05
- Gwen Jorgensen (USA) 2:56:54
- Holly Lawrence (GBR) 2:57:39
- Flora Duffy (BER) 2:57:49
- Ellie Salthouse (AUS) 2:59:24
- Helle Fredericksen (DEN) 3:00:09
- Sarah True (USA) 3:00:29
- Rachel Klamer (NED) 3:00:50
- Emma Moffatt (AUS) 3:01:19
- Katie Zaferes (USA) 3:01:55
- Lauren Goss (USA) 3:02:48
- Alicia Kaye (CAN) 3:04:26
- Magali Tisseyere (CAN) 3:06:25
- Leanda Cave (GBR) 3:06:45
- Heather Wurtele (CAN) 3:07:13
- Mirinda Carfrae (AUS) 3:07:36
- Lauren Brandon (USA) 3:08:52
- Carolina Routier (ESP) 3:09:26
- Lisa Norden (SWE) DNF