Monday, May 23, 2011

Big Points, Big Money, Big Texas IM

On a hot, humid day in East Texas, Spain's Eneko Llanos and Scotland's Catriona Morrison traded in their 2010 Ironman Lanzarote wins for victories at the inaugural Memorial Hermann Ironman Texas 2011 at The Woodlands.

All three men's podium finishers trailed Chris Lieto's 52:56 swim and sizzling 4:15:13 bike by 7 minutes at T2. But apparently exhausted by his bike and the heat, Lieto quit soon after surrendering his lead at the 9th mile of the run.

blueseventy's Cat Morrison who earned St. Croix 70.3 and Galveston 70.3 crowns earlier this year to go with her multiple ITU duathlon world titles and her 2010 Ironman Lanzarote win, overcame a 6-minute deficit after the bike to Belgium's Tine Deckers, and ran a 3:04:14 to take the win by 10:03 over Kelly Williamson of the US, who ran a race-best 3:04:06 to advance from 9th at T2 to second place at the finish line.

Notably, Morrison broke the 9 hour barrier with an 8:57:51 on a hot, humid and mildly windy day

Belgium's Sofie Goos combined a second-best 55:19 swim and third-best but fast 4:55:19 bike with a 3rd-best 3:17:59 run for third

The women's race was also notable for many red-hot women's bike splits over the east Texas flatland plains. Tyler Stewart of the US posted a 4:42:40 bike on her way to a 4th place finish in 9:13:13. Tine Deckers of Belgium, who led by six minutes off her
58:38 swim and 4:44:46 bike, faded to 5th place at the line with a 3:32:02 marathon that brought her home in 9:19:27.

The men

Just as predicted swim ace John Flanagan emerged from Lake Woodlands with a 2 minute-plus lead on a chase pack that was led by Rene Goehler, Timothy O'Donnell and Jan Raphael. Other contenders in the chase were blueseventys Luke McKenzie and Luke Bell

Chris Lieto started the bike segment 3 minutes after the main bunch of contenders but it did not take very long for the Danville, CA resident to take back the time he had lost during the swim. Flanagan held on surprisingly long to the lead on the bike and it took the front bunch until mile 40 to catch the fast Hawaiian. But by the halfway point of the bike Lieto had taken over the lead and started to pull away, with Eneko Llanos also having a small gap. From there though Lieto really turned on the gas and recorded an amazing 4:15:13 bike split and reached T2 with a 7:30 lead over Luke Bell and Eneko Llanos.

From there Bell and Llanos quickly took back even more time and O'Donnell was not far behind either, Belltook to lead off Lieto and was now up front with Llanos in second and O'Donnell in third. When Bell fell back at the 28 kilometer mark, Llanos moved into the front.
In the end it was

1st Llanos
2nd O'Donnell
3rd Bell ( blueseventy )

The women

Dede Griesbauer held the lead for a good part of the swim but it was Kelly Williamson who managed to be first out of the water with a small lead over Dede Griesbauer

Sofie Goos though jumped into the lead early on in the bike and despite a tumble on the bike managed to set the pace.
Linsey Corbin rode well and was sitting in third position at the halfway point of the bike but behind her Catriona Morrison looked like she was ready to pounce. By the time Deckers reached T2 she had a 5:47 lead over Morrison and the fast riding Tyler Stewart was 6:11 behind in third position with her superb 4:42:40 split

Deckers was speedy in transition too and added about 30 seconds to her advantage, but Morrison looked very fluid and fast on the run and moved closer and closer to the leader eventually passing her .By the end, Morrison remained in control, finishing with second best marathon and a 10-minute lead over second.

Big congrats to Cat on an awesome year to date and yet another win..

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