Angela Naeth, Tim Don in at Daytona, Will Sam Long Get a Golden Ticket? Still 8 more Slots Open

By Bill Plock

Will Boulder’s Sam Long find the Golden ticket to race in Daytona? The “top” 80 triathletes were invited weeks ago and now 12 others have been invited via the Wildcard selection. Eight slots remain and will be awarded in the next week. It feels like the PTO is taking a page from Willy Wonka handing out Wildcards like a golden ticket making their way around the world. Who will be Charlie and get the last golden ticket to race the most lucrative triathlon on the planet? There is a million bucks on the line and no doubt the pro’s want a shot at the prize, especially in 2020. 

The Professional Triathletes Organisation (PTO) is certainly doing its best to make the triathlon season competitive, fun and lucrative with the PTO 2020 Championship at CHALLENGEDAYTONA®  

Today Angela Naeth received a golden ticket. We just interviewed Angela on the 303 Endurance Podcast being released tomorrow so check that out! She has had a very interesting career with some great accomplishments and has overcome a huge challenge with Lyme’s disease. Angela grew up in a small town in a very remote part of British Columbia so learning of her journey is fun and interesting.

It seems the PTO is stirring up the pro triathlon circuit and maybe some fun rivalries will come out of this recipe for wanting to make pro triathlon a better followed sport. The vision is to make the profession more lucrative and more on par with other sports. Having an event like Challenge Daytona will definitely create some buzz. 

What’s interesting about Challenge Daytona is all types of triathletes are vying for the prizes; short course, ITU and long course champions will all be on the start line. No doubt winning Kona at the IRONMAN World Championships will not be replaced as coveted award, but with an event like Daytona, the monetary stakes are higher and it’s very hard to predict who will win. In Kona its a pretty small field of probable winners. But in Daytona it’s hard to know who the favorites are. 

Today we are interviewing Norwegian Olympian Kristian Blummenfelt who holds the world record time for a IRONMAN 70.3 distance. Daytona will be the same distance, so he must be a favorite. But then factor in someone like Tim O’Donnell the fastest American in Kona last year. The list of other athletes with amazing accomplishments is staggering. So many could win. 

And back to Sam Long, if he gets in; he has had an amazing year winning IRONMAN Cozumel 70.3 and the Bear Lake Triathlon earlier this summer with a solid list of pro’s. Check out this video from the Bear Lake Triathlon,

Let’s hope Sam gets the golden ticket—keep buying those chocolate bars Sam!!

Here is some commentary from the PTO and Executive Chairman Charles Adamo about the selection of the first 12 wildcards over the past couple of weeks.

The Professional Triathletes Organisation first selected Vincent Luis, Nicola Spirig, Kristian Blummenfelt and Georgia Taylor-Brown as wildcards for the PTO 2020 Championship at CHALLENGEDAYTONA®

Charles Adamo, Executive Chairman of PTO, commented, “It certainly was not a difficult decision for the non-athlete members of the PTO Board to select these four world-class athletes to join the already star-studded starting line at the PTO 2020 Championship.  With Luis and Taylor-Brown being the reigning World Triathlon Champions, Blummenfelt holding the middle-distance world record, and the pure greatness of Spirig, there is little doubt they will challenge for the title. It will be an exciting prospect for triathlon fans around the world to see these athletes doing battle against the sport’s middle- and long-distance stars.”

The Professional Triathletes Organisation then announced that Tim Don, Flora Duffy, Gustav Iden and Jessica Learmonth have been selected as wildcards for the PTO 2020 Championship at CHALLENGEDAYTONA®.

Charles Adamo, Executive Chairman of PTO, commented, “The second round of wildcard selections were as easy to make as the first. With these four tremendous world-class athletes added to the mix, the PTO 2020 Championship will have an unprecedented field.”

Adamo added, “No one better than Tim Don exemplifies the resilience and integrity of our sport. His comeback from a horrific bike accident is an inspiration to us all. The first championship event run by PTO professionals would not be the same without this seasoned statesman on the start line. While Don brings the experience and breadth of a 20+ year career, Learmonth and Iden, with their recent stellar performances, bring the speed and power of youth, and what can’t you say about the versatile, multi-world champion Flora Duffy? There isn’t any format, distance or style of swim, bike and run she doesn’t excel at. We all look forward to seeing her whiz around the iconic race venue.”

Tim Don, commented, “I am grateful to have been awarded a wildcard spot. After over twenty-five years in the sport, it is great that professionals have their own organisation and now, a championship.  It is an honour for me to be competing alongside my fellow professionals in the PTO 2020 Championship, and while the competition will be tough, the camaraderie will be even greater as professionals unite to make our sport better.”

Charles Adamo, Executive Chairman of PTO, commented “Our third round of wildcard selections is filled with Olympic medallists and a gritty Canadian. With Britain’s Jonny Brownlee and South Africa’s Henri Schoeman joining Jonny’s brother, Alistair, and Javier Gomez on the start line, the star-studded field will have every men’s Olympic medal winner from both the 2012 and 2016 Olympics. Sweden’s Lisa Norden, silver medal winner in the 2012 London Olympics, will join previously announced wildcard selection Nicola Spirig, who denied Norden gold by 9/1000th of a second. Canadian Angela Naeth just missed out on an automatic qualifying spot, but her stellar career and her remarkable comeback after being diagnosed with Lyme disease has earned her a wildcard place.”

PTO 2020 Championships in Daytona, Million Dollar Purse; Will Recent IM Cozumel Champ Sam Long Be Chosen?

In Daytona on December 5th and 6th there is a triathlon festival–the Challenge Daytona Triathlon. There are two days of racing finishing with the PTO Pro Championship. One million dollars will be awarded to top male and female finishers. Pros are invited based on qualifying points and below is a list of the top 40 male and female pros who have qualified. In addition, 10 men and 10 women will be awarded “wildcard” spots. If you are curious how that will work, here is a link to the process: https://protriathletes.org/pto-2020-championships-wildcard-selection-criteria/

The Wildcards will be chosen next week. It will be interesting to see if recent 70.3 IRONMAN Cozumel winner and Boulder native Sam Long gets an invite. On Sams YouTube page in his Cozumel race review he alludes to hopefully being invited to Daytona. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T7LaidPWcAs

Charles Adamo, Executive Chairman of the PTO, commented,“These will be very sought-after openings and the non-athlete members of the PTO Board will have some very difficult decisions to make, particularly as the ITU season is ended and many of the Olympic distance superstars, like Nicola Spirig and Kristian Blummenfelt, are relishing this unique opportunity to have a crack at the PTO 2020 Championship. In addition, the wildcard selection process will allow the PTO to invite some of the young and up-and-coming athletes, giving them a chance to cut their teeth in a championship field. With the top 40 PTO World ranked professionals and the wildcard selections, the field for the PTO 2020 Championship at CHALLENGEDAYTONA® will be one of the strongest fields ever assembled for our sport. It will be exciting to see the best athletes doing battle for the spoils.”

This race is lining up to be a very iconic event with the swim and shorter distance races held inside the track and a spectacular middle distance ride that hugs the coast for a bit. Imagine doing the 5k run of sprint or most of the bike on a race track?? Here is a link if you want to learn more or register. https://challenge-daytona.com

In the pro field there are notable Colorado ties: Tim O’Donnell, Miranda Carfrae, Lesly Smith, Ben Hoffman, Andy Potts, Rudy Von Berg, Sam Appleton, and many others seen training and racing in Colorado over the years.

This video shows the courses:

Watch this to see what Olympian Rowdy Gaines thinks of swimming INSIDE of the Speedway…

The Pro Men in order of rank

Frodeno, JanGER1
Brownlee, AlistairGBR2
Kienle, SebastianGER3
Sanders, LionelCAN4
Skipper, JoeGBR5
Hoffman, BenUSA6
Von Berg, RodolpheUSA7
Wurf, CameronAUS8
Currie, BradenNZL9
Gomez, JavierESP10
O’Donnell, TimothyUSA11
Heemeryck, PieterBEL12
Dreitz, AndreasGER13
Weiss, MichaelAUT14
Aernouts, BartBEL15
Dapena Gonzalez, PabloESP16
Hanson, MattUSA17
Appleton, SamAUS18
Beals, CodyCAN19
Clavel, MauriceGER20
Angert, FlorianGER21
Baekkegard, DanielDEN22
Reed, TimAUS23
Nilsson, PatrikSWE24
Amberger, JoshAUS25
Starykowicz, AndrewUSA26
Trautman, MattZAF27
Koutny, PhilippSUI28
Phillips, MikeNZL29
Russell, MatthewUSA30
Amorelli, IgorBRA31
Boecherer, AndiGER32
McNamee, DavidGBR33
Kanute, BenUSA34
Funk, FredericGER35
Potts, AndyUSA36
Van Berkel, TimAUS37
Weiss, BradleyZAF38
Llanos, EnekoESP39
Goodwin, GeorgeGBR40
Van Lierde, FrederikBEL41
Burton, MattAUS43

The Pro Women in order of rank

Ryf, DanielaSUI1
Charles-Barclay, LucyGBR2
Crowley, SarahAUS3
Haug, AnneGER4
Adam, TeresaNZL5
Lawrence, HollyGBR6
Lester, CarrieAUS7
Jackson, HeatherUSA8
Philipp, LauraGER9
Moench, SkyeUSA10
Sodaro, ChelseaUSA11
Piampiano, SarahUSA12
Bleymehl, DanielaGER13
Kahlefeldt, RadkaCZE14
Findlay, PaulaCAN15
Simmonds, ImogenSUI16
Salthouse, EllieAUS17
McCauley, JocelynUSA18
Watkinson, AmeliaNZL19
Hering, JackieUSA20
Seymour, JeanniZAF21
Carfrae, MirindaAUS22
Steffen, CarolineSUI23
Svensk, SaraSWE24
Frades Larralde, GurutzeESP26
Pallant, EmmaGBR27
Corachan Vacquero, JudithESP28
Kessler, MeredithUSA29
Jerzyk, AgnieszkaPOL30
Smith, LesleyUSA31
Wells, HannahNZL32
Lehrieder, CarolinGER33
Morrison, KimberleyGBR34
Stage Nielsen, MajaDEN35
Tondeur, AlexandraBEL36
Genet, ManonFRA37
Visser, ElsNED38
Annett, JenCAN39
Vesterby, MichelleDEN40
Siddall, LauraGBR43
Watkinson, AnnahZAF44

Sam Long’s New Strategy, New Bike, No Computer, How He Won IRONMAN Chattanooga

By Bill Plock

Sept. 30, 2019–303 had a chance to catch up with Sam today and talk about his win at IRONMAN Chattanooga. Sam has had a very busy race season with mixed results–mostly good but some not as good. Yesterday he tried something new–and it worked, and he won.

He started the year out winning the Napa Marathon and then raced Oceanside 70.3, St. George 70.3, Chattanooga 70.3 (winning it), Victoria 70.3, Boulder 140.6, Lake Placid 140.6, Boulder 70.3, 70.3 IRONMAN World Championship in Nice and now IRONMAN Chattanooga. Exhausting!

PC Ironman Tri @Gettyimages @ironmantri

But in Chattanooga he tried something different. He rode his bike without a computer. And he rode a new bike, not having had a professional fit and only having ridden it about 500 miles. He had the bike shipped from Nice directly to Chattanooga, only having put a few miles on it the week of the race yesterday. And he also discovered something about his bike that explained his slower than expected time in Nice.

Sam’s friends and family cheering from home!

In August he switched from a Trek to a Cervelo P5 Disc, fitted himself as best he could, put in less than 500 miles (about a weeks worth of riding for “Go Long’ Sam Long”) and shipped the bike to France for the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship.

In Nice, Sam said, “I did ok and I did use a computer and I was disappointed in my speed because my watts were actually pretty high.” Not understanding the weird correlation to his speed and watts, when he got to Chattanooga and when reunited with his new P5, he noticed his brake was slightly rubbing—ah ha, that explains it!

Thinking back to recent races Sam said, “I kept getting discouraged on the bike and too focused on watts and speed and all that overthinking sabotaged my last two races. So I decided to change it all up and race without a computer. In recent training rides, I started putting the computer in my pocket trying to get more in tune with my perceived exertion. Then when I got home I would look at the files and I started to teach myself how I felt versus how I was actually doing.”

Yesterday in Chattanooga, Sam’s strategy was two fold and simplified on the bike; to focus on how fast I was going but making sure I felt fresh and not worry about stats, just ride feeling good and taking measures to come off the bike feeling fresh for the run. For example he says, “when I got to downhill, rather than keep pedaling to maintain watts, I simply coasted, enjoying the break and knowing it would help me on the run.”

The strategy clearly worked and he came off the bike nine minutes in front of Matt Russell. When asked how he got such a lead, Sam said, “I don’t like riding in a big group (not drafting, but pacing) so about mile 40 I decided to try to break it up figuring a couple of guys would go with me. And feeling fresh, I simply pushed a bit more and in about five minutes I looked back and noticed nobody responded, so I just said to heck with it, and kept on going!”

Getting off the bike nine minutes ahead also affected his pre-race run strategy. “Originally I was going to take the first lap conservatively and then push on the second. But when I realized I had a sizable gap off the bike, I pushed more than I planned on the first lap and figured to hang on for the second.”

13 miles in, Sam had a 13 minute lead having completed the first loop in 1 hour and 26 minutes, putting him on pace for a 2:52 marathon. He knew that was pretty much impossible to maintain in the heat and humidity. But he kept pushing trying to do the math at how fast his competitors would have to run to catch him. Still worried, they could be doing at least one minute per mile faster motivated him to keep that gap and keep pushing.

“At about mile 22, when I finally realized I was likely to win. My first thought was don’t screw this up and thinking that at my current 7:30/mile pace I was running, if Matt started running a 5:30/mile pace he might still catch me! I wasn’t thinking straight clearly, but I started having doubt if you can believe that!”

Of course nobody caught him nor was going to run that pace late in the race in the very hot weather and Sam crossed the line almost ten minutes before Matt did.

What a day!

Boulder’s Sam Long Gets First 140.6 Win at IRONMAN Chattanooga!

By Bill Plock

With the fastest bike split by nearly 10 minutes and the second fastest run of the day, Boulder’s Sam Long won IRONMAN Chattanooga yesterday, winning by nearly 10 minutes over second place finisher Matt Russell.

Earlier in the year the two battled at IRONMAN Boulder with Matt winning that day. Sam said in post race interview with Dave Downey, “I was up two hours every night for the last two weeks wondering how I am going to beat Matt.” Looks like the wee strategizing worked.

At about 40 miles into the bike, Sam pulled ahead and says, “I wasn’t planning to break away, but I looked back and everyone was gone so I said to myself, go with it!

Earlier in the year Sam won the Chattanooga 70.3 and he told the crowd yesterday, “two of my best days of my life are here, I want to come back here every year for the rest of my career!”

Congratulations Sam!

To learn his behind the scenes strategy read this article:

Hanson, Brandon win IM Boulder, but 4 Coloradans fill rest of Podium.

By Bill Plock

The last edition of IRONMAN Boulder featured two athletes in Matt Hanson (7:57) and Lauren Brandon (9:09) setting two course records on their way to victory. The other four podium spots were filled with Tim O’Donnell and first-time pro Kennett Peterson for the men and Lesley Smith and Danielle Mack for the women. All will be competing in Kona at the IRONMAN World Championships this fall. For Kennett and Danielle, this will be their first trip to the big island as professionals. Danielle won IRONMAN Boulder in 2014. Says Danielle, “I’ve been a professional for 7 years, won 3 Ironman’s and have never competed in Kona….thank God!”

Kennett Peterson and wife Adelaide Perr

The story of the day might be Kennett Peterson who until yesterday hadn’t competed in a full-distance IRONMAN or even ran a marathon! He settled in on the bike early in the race in second place and never relinquished that position. Tim O’Donnell lead through the bike segment with Kennett, Sam Sam Long jostling for second and third and Matt Hanson right behind. The race took shape on the run with Hanson running everyone down with a 2:48 marathon, O’Donnell dropping back with a 3:05 and Peterson held tight with a 2:54. Colorado’s Tripp Hipple crossed in forth place with Boulder native Sam Long rounding out the top five.

The women’s race featured and course breaking swim time of 48:43 and course breaking overall time of 9:09 by Texas’s Lauren Brandon. It was her first IRONMAN 104.6 victory. Says Brandon, “got my Kona spot, and I’m ecstatic!” Off the bike she was 37 minutes ahead of the field, but “with the likes of Lesley Smith running, I knew I had to have a big lead.” Boulder’s Smith indeed had a fast run of 3:11 narrowing the gap by nearly 25 minutes. Smith chased down the field passing seven others on her way to second.

The “Flatiron wars” are complete and was a great battle fought during the last IRONMAN to be held in Boulder. A bittersweet day and much more to come on that!

IRONMAN Boulder “Flatiron War” on Sunday, what a possible farewell!

By Bill Plock

The infamous “Iron War” in 1989 between Dave Scott and Mark Allen at the IRONMAN World championship in Kona is considered one of the greatest endurance races of all time. But this years IRONMAN Boulder is shaping up to have it’s own legendary finish in the pro’s race and what better way to possibly celebrate the last six years of this race? The “Flat Iron War” is about to begin, buckle up!

Tim O’Donnell

There are any number of pros with a good shot to win, but tomorrow, six pro men and two pro women who live and train in Boulder will battle it out. Three of them, Tim O’Donnell , Justin Daerr and Danielle Mack have won IRONMAN Boulder.

Also competing is two time Olympian, top five finisher in Kona, Tyler Butterfield. Now add in a rising star, Boulder native, Sam Long who has won two 70.3’s this year (Victoria just a week ago) with the other Boulder native and “speedo man” Colin Laughery (303 video) and his contagious love of triathlon with Kennett Peterson (303 video) making his pro debut tomorrow and we have the unofficial “Flat Iron War”.

In the women’s race, local pro and Boulder native, 2014 Ironman Boulder Champion Danielle Mack will battle it out with Boulder’s Lesley Smith (303video) in what will surely be a great competition on this final stage.

This will be a fun race to watch. Click on their names to go to their websites and learn more about these amazing athletes!

Boulder’s Mirinda Carfrae and Sam Long win IRONMAN Victoria 70.3

Mirinda “Rinny” Carfrae and Sam Long both had the fastest runs of the day and both overcame deficits to win IRONMAN Victoria 70.3 on Sunday.

Both Colorado athletes are having terrific seasons. It was Sam’s second win in as many weeks having won IRONMAN Chattanooga 70.3 just two weeks ago. Rinny took second in IRONMAN Cancun 70.3 at the end of April.

Sam will be racing IRONMAN Boulder next week (June 9th) so come cheer him on for three in row.

Be sure to listen to Mile High Endurance podcast that will be released during IRONMAN Boulder. Rich Soares and Bill Plock interviewed Sam while he was in Canada preparing for Victoria last week. He shared his plans for that race (along with Boulder) and it seems he executed them well!

Boulder’s Sam Long wins the 2019 Napa Valley Marathon

From the Napa Valley Register
By Marty James


Photo by Marty James
Sam Long of Boulder, Colorado crosses the finish line at Vintage High School in Napa to win the 2019 Napa Valley Marathon in 2 hours, 32 minutes and 33 seconds.

Sam Long, Liza Reichert win Napa Valley Marathon’s men’s, women’s titles

After taking the lead in the late stages of the Kaiser Permanente Napa Valley Marathon, Sam Long of Boulder, Colorado won the overall championship in the Calistoga-to-Napa race Sunday morning.

Long finished the 26.2-mile course in 2 hours, 32 minutes and 33 seconds after passing Zack Sims of Atlanta, who led the marathon at the 22-mile mark. Sims placed second at 2:34:58.

The women’s marathon champion was Liza Reichert of Los Altos Hills, who crossed the finish line in 2:44:06.

Earlier, Chandler Kemp of Stanford and Samantha Diaz of Jackson, Wyoming won the men’s and women’s titles, respectively, in the inaugural Napa Valley Half Marathon. Kemp completed the 13.1-mile course in 1:08:23 and Diaz finished in 1:15:46.

Colorado Pros finish well around the World

Sam Long, IM Canada finish

All eyes were on Tim Don this past weekend as he made his return to triathlon at IRONMAN Hamburg.  While he didn’t hit the podium this time, he finished top 10, and faught a good fight.

Sam Long took the scenic route to Whistler Canada, and after the long drive he seemed no worse for the wear finishing 4th just 2:28 behind Matt Russell.

Marinda Carfrae appears to be back in stellar condition, winning IRONMAN Santa Rosa 70.3.  While the swim was scrapped, she finished a full 2 minutes ahead of Heather Wurtele, less than 12 months after the arrival of daughter Isabelle.

On the men’s side, Tyler Butterfield finished 3rd followed by Tim O’Donnell in 4th.

Congratulations to All!

 

Full results and commentary on last weekends races from IRONMAN here

 

XTERRA Beaver Creek: Colorado Athletes take 2 of Top 3 Mens Slots

“Many people see Sam as simply a professional athlete. Many forget that he is still just 22 years old.

He has a bright future, the conversations we have are not about fitness, but execution of his training, racing and all the little details that make the difference when you are racing the top 1% of the sport. I can’t wait to see him in 5 years.”

-Eric Kenney Sam’s training advisor

 

Mauricio Mendez from Mexico and Lesley Paterson from Scotland captured the 10th annual XTERRA Beaver Creek off-road triathlon elite titles on a beautiful morning in the Rocky Mountains surrounding Avon, Colorado on Saturday, July 21, 2018.

It’s the third XTERRA win of the season for Mendez, the 2016 XTERRA World Champion, and the second for Paterson, who captured the ITU Cross Tri World Title just 11 days ago in Denmark.

 

MAU OF THE MOUNTAIN

The elite men’s race was one of the most exciting back-and-forth, all-out battles in XTERRA history.  It all started with a one-mile swim in the 67-degree calm waters of Nottingham Lake.  The air quality was good despite a light haze in the air from the wildfire smoke coming from the Lake Christine Fire still burning near Basalt, CO.

Brad Zoller was first out of the water in 17:55, followed closely by Mendez and Branden Rakita. The other key players on the day were roughly 1:40-to-2 minutes back with Sam Long (19:38), Ryan Petry (19:43), Kieran McPherson (19:59), and Josiah Middaugh (20:04) exiting the water in places 7th thru 10th.

At mile four on the bike Mendez, after nearly 2,000-feet of climbing, had 20-seconds on Rakita, 38-seconds on Long, :40 on Petry, and 1:10 on Middaugh.

“When we were on the bike I could tell this was going to be a super hard race,” said Mendez.  “The whole race was hard because you didn’t know if it was about pacing or attacking, and I didn’t know how my body was going to respond.”

About one-mile later at the top of the climb (about 9,400-feet) Long passed Mendez for the lead.

“I just hammered the bike, I stayed on the gas the whole time,” said Long.

“He did,” replied Mendez.  “Sam rode super hard, he was attacking, attacking, attacking the whole time.”

At mile 11 Long was still in the lead, Petry had moved into second 30-seconds behind with Mendez on his wheel, Middaugh was 50-seconds back, and Rakita was one-minute behind in fifth.

 

Complete Results