Ironman 70.3 St George is known for many things, including a very difficult bike course and possibly an even more difficult run course. It is now known for one more thing, the site of Jan Frodeno’s second North American Ironman 70.3 win, and another course record.
The day would begin with a cold but fairly uneventful swim that saw most of the main contenders bunched up pretty closely. The unrelenting hills and wind of St George were not enough to separate the bikers enough to matter, until the last climb out of Snow Canyon, a long 5 mile grind with a steep pitch at the end. We asked Jan about this particular part of the race and he shared this with us, “This course, and the hills……I am just not built for the hills. I train for it, and I got fit for it, but it was a shame that I could not do more on the bike. I even got dropped on the last climb, I had nothing left... I had to dig really really deep on the downhill to minimize the damage”
This detachment would leave Jan almost a minute in arrears coming into T2. He also shared that when he started running after such a difficult bike, “it didn’t even feel like running. But, the great thing about this distance versus Olympic distance, you can find your rhythm. By 8k of the run, I had lost another 30 seconds on the first guys. I sort of decided ok here we go, it is either go big or cramp. I was fighting the cramps all day, even right out of the swim, but I was 1:25 down and had nothing to lose. And surprisingly the legs held up” In the last half of the 13.1 mile run, Frodo not only made up the 1:25, but did so with almost a mile to spare, allowing him to show his excitement at the win, and his appreciation to the spectators for their support. Jan finished the run in 1:09, setting a new run course and an overall course record by several minutes.
When asked about the rest of the year, he told us “We are headed back to Europe now, close to the Pyrenees to do some real cycling, to get my form up because my next race is a full Ironman, a full 180k, in Frankfurt. It is exciting you know, sort of dipping into the unknown a bit. It really gets me fired up. I have been a pro for 11 years now, and it is something completely new, and that is what I am really looking forward to. And I am hoping to qualify for Kona. And, if I qualify I am not sure if I will race Mt. Tremblant (the Ironman 70.3 World Championship race for 2014) or not, Kona is the big one”.
So, now we wait and watch as history unfolds in front of us. One thing is for sure. It will be an exciting season to watch. Frodissimo and the rest of the ITU invasion of long course racing are changing the game, and forcing everyone to step up!