Sunday, March 22, 2015

#50womentokona + it's time for me to race!

I spent most of my Saturday afternoon and evening with the Ironman Melbourne coverage projected on the TV, hitting refresh on Ironman's Athlete Tracker and running math on estimated finish times and placings... and then messaging this information to friends on course. Well, actually messaging back and forth with Luke McKenzie because I was mostly interested in Beth Gerdes' placing. I was betting on top 5. And I was right! Beth placed 5th overall in the race, ahead of World Champions, Ironman Champions and Olympic medallists. She had a fantastic race which included the fastest female run split! That's not the only fantastic race she's had recently either... She took 5th place at Ironman Malyasia (just 4 months after giving birth to daughter, Wynne) and 4th place at Ironman Western Australia (she ran a 2:58!) and 2nd place at Ironman 70.3 Philippines. In fact, she's racked up some 4,500 points in the Kona Pro Ranking, the system that ranks professional triathletes that are seeking entry to the Ironman World Championships in Kona. Btw, that's a lot of points! However, even after those amazing results, she still probably falls short of the ~5,000 points she will need "as a female pro" to qualify. If she were a guy, she'd probably only need ~4,000 points. That's because there are only 35 female pros slots versus 50 male pro slots in Kona. 
Beth with her partner and biggest fan, Luke McKenzie (photo: Delly Carr)
This is why the #50womentokona is tremendously important to me... it bothers me that Beth Gerdes, as a pro triathlete has to spend more money, take more risks and race more races for a shot at qualifying for Kona as a pro, relative to her male partner, Luke McKenzie. She's one of the women that might just be ranked #36-50 in Ironman's KPR at the end of this season... one of the 15 women that, even though she raced more and scored more points than many of the men, falls short because Ironman has a policy of inequality at the professional level of our sport. Of course, it's not just about Beth, it's about all the other talented female professional triathletes that are training hard, racing hard and raising the level of competition in the sport. Heck, the women's race was easily the most entertaining viewing yesterday with podium placings being decided in the finishing chute... after 9 hours of hard racing!   
Podium tees - would love to see the Pro podium wearing these at California 70.3 next weekend!
On Wednesday, I am flying down to San Diego (solo - Blanco is racing an Xterra in Folsom) in order to race the Ironman California 70.3 for my 8th time. The last year has been challenging, dealing with health/hormone issues but I think I finally have everything under control and I'm feeling much better than I did just a few months ago. The details of the road to recovery deserve a separate blog but to suffice to say that I'm excited to race and see what my body will give me next Saturday.
Betty matchy-match
Training has been on a mostly positive trajectory since completing the Coast Ride in January with some good work recently in Tucson at the Hillary Biscay Smash Camp, chasing the GCM (Maik Twelsiek) and Blanco on the bike, as well as meeting up with fellow Betty Designs athlete, Amy, and other great friends.

Lemmon climb when I started to get sick :(

Unfortunately, towards the end of camp, I started to get sick, and while I was hoping to shake it within a few days, it ended up being 10 days of laying low, backing off training and taking things fairly easy.  Fortunately, I started to come around last week and got back into the the swing of things. Some wonderful late winter weather in California helped, as well as the rockstar Purplepatch pros that I get to train with (behind)... btw, they might also be some of the #36-50 women too! #50womentokona
75f and sunny in winter - riding with fellow Brits, Holly Lawrence and Laura Siddall

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