Since there was no live video coverage of the 2014 Ironman 70.3 Worlds, I have taken the liberty of writing a little play-by-play script of the women's race - as I imagine it would be if Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen were commentating!

I've made the best educated guesses I could (about the parts of the race where I wasn't) from the results, from chatting with fellow competitors afterwards, or otherwise just making shit up (just like real commentators!). Please forgive me in advance for any errors, and the fact that Phil and Paul probably would have talked about me a wee bit less in real life. Oh, but that's right, in real life there was no live video commentating, so I can fantasize all I want!  I hope that it's fun to read and sheds a little more light on a pretty awesome day that didn't get the attention it deserved.

Commentary:

Paul: "Welcome to a beautiful crisp morning here in Mt. tremblant, Quebec, Canada, for the 2014 edition of the Ironman 70.3 World Championships"

Phil: "The venue here is stunning indeed. With the morning temps around 7oC, there is a bit of fog on the lake that's just lifting as we get ready to start the race"

Photo Credit: John David Becker

Paul: "We can just see some of athletes getting in the lake to warm up. Two of the first to enter the water, surely wishing each other god-speed, are the Canadian triathlon couple Heather and Trevor Wurtele." 

see what I mean? :)

Phil: "A low flying jet streaking toward the swim start got the heart rates going - though I imagine the athletes towing the line are raring to go already! After the Canadian anthem we will be under way, shortly. The swim always shakes things up but we can expect the cream to rise the top in the later stages of the bike and run."  

Photo Credit: John David Becker

Paul: "The professional men left just seconds ago, but we have the privilege of following the women's race here this morning. It's great that Ironman appreciates the depth of the women's field, and has us providing live commentary to the world on such a big day in the sport of long distance triathlon"

Phil: "Indeed Paul, I really look forward to the battle that is in store for us here at the 2014 Ironman 70.3 World Championships!"

Photo Credit: witsup.com

Paul: "They are off!" 

Photo Credit: Nils Nilsen

Phil: "With the best in the world all in the mix, the swim is not stringing out as quickly as it often does. There are several big groups fighting for position."

Paul: "You would be incorrect in thinking that the women's field is polite and orderly in the water. I have it on good authority that these swim starts can be quite brutal." 

Paul: "A little over half way through, it looks as though the field has split into 4 main groups. A lead pack of about 6, with a similar sized pack less than a minute down, followed by a larger group of around 10, then those struggling a bit off the pace at the back." 

Phil: "Here we can just see Jodie Swallow leading the way out of the swim. She is always a woman on a mission in the water. It's like a shark amongst the tadpoles." 

Paul: "Right on her feet we have Helle Frederiksen, and the rest of the front group includes Mary Beth Ellis, Annabel Luxford, and Daniela Ryf. Women with ITU backgrounds are really raising the bar for the level of swim talent that is required to be competitive in 70.3 racing."

Photo Credit: Nils Nilsen

Phil: "Of note Helle won the prestigious HyVee 5150 - a non-drafting, Olympic distance triathlon - just last weekend, where Jodie Swallow placed third. It will be interesting to see if any fatigue from that event impacts their races here today."

Phil: "Just under 1 minute back from this lead group we have Svenja Bazlen, Radka Vodickova, Meredith Kessler, Magali Tisseyre, Lisa Mensink, and Rebeccah Wassner. We shall see if these women can ride hard to bridge to the leaders and create a large front group here on the bike." 

Photo Credit: Bjorn Ossenbrink

Paul: "It deserves a mention that Magali Tisseyre is a local French Canadian triathlon star and she has just recorded what I am fairly confident is a big personal best swim here today. It appears as though Emma-Kate Lidbury, was swimming alone, just off the back of this second pack."

Phil: "Here comes the main chase pack. This group includes a lot of the strongest cyclists and runners in the sport. They are going to have to ride with real penache, as the French like to say, to have hope of getting to the front of the race here today!"

Paul: "Starting the long run to T2 we have: Valentina Carvallo, Margie Shapirro, Melanie McQuiad, Heather Wurtele, Lisa Huetthaller, Catriona Morrison, Susie Hignett, pre-race favorite Mel Haushidllt, and then Rachel McBride." 

Photo Credit: Nils Nilsen

Paul: "No one ever wants to be 2min back out of the swim, but in a 4+ hr race, a lot can happen. Three Canadians, McBride, McQuaid and Wurtele are in this group they will likely push the pace on the bike."

Photo Credit: Jen Suggars

 Phil: "We can see from the aerial footage, the lovely scenery here in the Tremblant area. Forest, fields, mountains, golf courses. A spectacular venue for this world championship race."

Paul: "It looks as though a bit of fog has descended on the far highway section of the ride course, but with temperatures climbing to a pleasantly cool 15oC, the conditions should be great for fast racing." 

 

Photo Credit: Julien Heon

 Paul: "The 90km bike portion of the race is well under way and it seems, thanks primarily to the efforts at the front by Daniella Ryf and Jodie Swallow, that the lead group has stayed away from the rest of the field. There appeared to be some discourse among the group with the leaders yelling at others to take pulls."

Phil: "It is a tactical race for sure, because even at 12m, draft legal spacing, there is definitely an advantage to being tucked in a group as opposed to riding out front. People may be trying to save their run legs, or the pace might simply be too rich for them to do much else other than hang on for dear life."

Paul: "Indeed. And the wind has definitely picked up, heightening the draft effect. Into a headwind, it may take, for example, 250 watts to ride out in front, but only 240 watts to ride the same speed the legal 12m distance behind. These watts definitely add up over time."

Photo Credit: Nils Nilsen

Paul: "Back of the lead group we have the second pack starting to string out, then Mel Haushildt riding alone. The group gaining the most time however is that of Wurtele, McBride, McQuaid, and Lidbury, now with Cat Morrison who seems to have some up from behind. Margie Shapiro was there as well but seems to have had to stop at the far penalty tent for a drafting violation."

Phil: "A draft marshal has been following this group for most of the race, and though there have been moves made to try to break away by Wurtele, McBride and later Morrison, riders like McQuaid have successfully bridged any gaps that seem to have formed. I think that we are going to have to wait for the last, hilly out and back section of the course to see if anyone can throw a spanner in the works"

Paul: "As predicted, it seems as though Ryf has made a move on this last section of the course!"

Phil: "Those pistons are really firing. She is just dancing on the pedals!"

Photo Credit: John David Becker

Paul: "Ryf has gained a minute or so advantage on Swallow, who is also up the road from Frederiksen, Ellis, and Luxford. Kessler has obviously worked hard to get closer to this group. Behind her now are Tisseyre, Vodickova, and Bazlen."

Phil: "A bit of drama is unfolding in the chase group when Carvallo slotted in between two 12m spaced athletes Ludbury and Wurtele at the base of one of the climbs on Montee Ryan. Wurtele yelled having to slam on her brakes, but the draft marshal missed the illegal move. Angrily, Wurtele put the hammer down to pass 5 athletes to get to the front, but the timing of the move seems to have worked well because she broke away from the group."

Photo Credit: Jen Suggars

Paul: "Yes anger sometimes has a good way of giving the legs more power. Wurtele has now passed Bazlen, Vodikova, and Tisseyre in short order. However, Rachel McBride and Cat Morrison are not too far behind."

Photo Credit: Francois Lefebvre

Phil: "It is great to see so many spectators lining the road on this first steeper climb! Not quite the crowds we see in the Pyranees, but spectacular nonetheless!"

Paul: "Ryf is now into transition with almost a 3 minute lead on Swallow, and  5-6 on Ellis, Fredericksen and Kessler."

Phil: "A lot can happen in a 21km run, but so far it seems that the only one who is going to beat Daniela Ryf, is Daniela Ryf!"

Paul: "Fredericksen is in the penalty tent just outside of T2 for a drafting violation. Ellis, Luxford, and Kessler are off on the run, and here we see Haushildt entering T2 followed closely by Wurtele."

 

Photo Credit: Martin Lacasse

Paul: "The defending champ does not seem to have her usual spunk and fire here today. Normally she’d be charging the course."

Phil: "Wow! Wurtele bolted out of T2! She seems to have packed her suitcase of courage and is no doubt keen get closer to the front of the World Championship race here in her home country."

Paul: "Oh, we are just getting word that Mel Haushildt has pulled out of the race."

Phil: "That is a shame. Sometimes you just think "control to engine room, we need more power” but it isn’t there."

Paul: "Let’s talk a minute about the scenic and very challenging run course here in Tremblant. It is a two loop course and each has a great deal of elevation change with a long climb to Mt. Tremblant proper, a descent back to the lake, then a trip through the ski village up a cobble-stone grade of 24%! Perhaps equally challenging is the even steeper descent, followed by more downhill on cobbles to start the second loop."

Photo Credit: Nils Nilsen

Phil: "The athletes definitely know that It. Will. Hurt.  But the crowds are out in full force in this quaint European style village, and they will be urging the competitors on."

 

Photo Credit: Martin Lacasse

Paul: "Near the close of the first loop, Ryf and Swallow seem to be holding their positions. If she is suffering any fatigue from her dominant win at Ironman Copenhagen only two weeks prior, Ryf is certainly not letting it show."

Phil: "Wurtele has passed Luxford, and now has her sights on Kessler who is 50 seconds up, with Mary Beth Ellis in 3rd another 40 seconds up the road."

Paul: "Annabel Luxford is having a spectacular day given that she was hospitalized with very serious internal injuries following a car crash earlier this season. Her pre-crash form was world class, and we can look forward to more strong performances from her."

Phil: "Also worthy of note is Heather Jackson. A podium finisher at the past two 70.3 worlds she dealt with a hip injury for a large part of the season and was only recently back to running. So far she is out of touch for a top 10 here today, but it is great to see her back and racing well."

Paul: "As much as there can be a great deal of physical agony involved in racing, it is safe to say that is always more agonizing for athletes to have to sit on the sidelines with injury."

Phil: "Well said. I couldn't agree more"

Paul: "Back to the racing action, rounding out the top 11 women at this point we have Rachel McBride, Svenja Bazlen, Radka Vodickova, Cat Morrison and Magali Tisseyre."

Phil: "Catriona Morrison, does not look like herself on the run here today, and appears to be falling off the pace while Vodickova is clipping along. Lisa Huetthaler is gaining time through the field as well."

 Paul: "The battle for the last spot on the podium continues and Wurtele has now passed Kessler to move into 4th position. Ellis is not far up the road and her stride is looking a little forced."

Photo Credit: Chris Martino

Phil: "The women have used all their ammunition to try to catch Ryf, but she was untouchable out in front."

Paul: "Jodie Swallow is gaining ground toward the end of the run, but 2nd place with have to be the best for her today."

Phil: "Heather Wurtele has now managed to run through the field, from 7th to 3rd to capture the final spot on the podium. The lanky Canadian will be thrilled."

Paul: "Look at that spectacular crowd out to cheer for the new Ironman 70.3 World Champion Daniela Ryf!" 

Photo Credit: Nils Nilsen

Phil: "The atmosphere is electric as we see the top women cross the line and embrace. What fantastic sportsmanship!"

Photo Credit: Nils Nilsen

Paul: "American Meredith Kessler caught her fellow contrywoman Mary Beth Ellis who finish 4th and 5th respectively."

Phil: "Rounding out the top ten are Radka Vodickova, Lisa Huetthaler, Svenja Bazlen, Rachel McBride and Magali Tisseyre. Great for the Canadian fans to see 3 Canadian athletes in the top ten."

Paul: "Well Phil, that about wraps it up for us. What a phenominal day here at the 2014 Ironman 70.3 World Championships in Mt. Tremblant Quebec."

Phil: "It will be tough to top today's race coverage, but we sure hope to bring you live to the action next year as the race moves across the pond to Austria." 

Paul: "Signing off..."

 

 

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