Van Berkel Outshines the Competition
Most professional triathletes would be pretty satisfied with a seventh place finish at Kona, but not Tim Van Berkel. After interviewing him over the summer, it was clear that, although he was generally pleased with his top-10 finish in his first IRONMAN World Championships, he knew he had more to give and was capable of finishing higher. He had been in fourth as the marathon came to a close, but the Big Island got the best of him at the end, forcing him to slow down.
However, last weekend at IRONMAN 70.3 Sunshine Coast, Van Berkel proved that his Kona fitness is coming along smoothly and that his run fitness will make him a dangerous adversary come October.
As the usual speedy swim suspects—Josh Amberger and Todd Skipworth—led the men out of the water, a chase group of Van Berkel, Luke Bell, Luke Mackenzie, Clayton Fettell, and Terenzo Bozzone formed as they hit the bike. By 70km, the pack was only one minute down, setting up a battle on the run.
Van Berkel would not be denied victory thanks to his fastest run time of the day, 1:13. He turned in a winning time of 3:44. This was more than good enough to hold off second place finisher McKenzie, 3:46, and third place finisher Bozzone, 3:47.
Van Berkel told me that not only did he feel great during 70.3 Sunshine Coast, but that this race was definitely used as a tune-up race for Kona and that he is “pumped” to race next month in the World Championships. I think it’s safe to say that Van Berkel will be ready to challenge for a podium spot and we wish him the best!
Keat Competes at Sunshine Coast
One of the sweetest and fiercest competitors on the women’s side, Aussie Rebekah Keat, took her talents to the Sunshine Coast as well. Keat finished 10th on the day thanks to a solid performance all-around, finishing in an overall time of 4:22:23. We know Keat has had some setbacks this season, but we are pleased as punch to see our Boulder-based gal back at it!
Colorado Pros to Take a Crack at Cozumel
This weekend a slew of Colorado pros will be heading down to IRONMAN 70.3 Cozumel (we’re jealous) as they take on a tough field. Many of Colorado’s 70.3 specialists will be competing as they take on the biking power of Andrew Starykowicz and the zippy run legs of Viktor Zyemtsev. Our male pros consist of Leon Griffin, who is coming off his IRONMAN 70.3 Worlds performance and looking to throw down his usual, fast race.
Also hitting the beachy course is James Hadley, who fell quite ill in his last 70.3, but still managed to finish fifth overall. Drew Scott and Justin Metzler will also up the stakes as they look to take their altitude training with them to Mexico. Finally, Mario De Elias, who just left Boulder after a summer-stint, will be there to add to the mix as well.
On the women’s side, Colorado is representing with a full house of high-end competitors. Lauren Goss leads the way and looks for another 70.3 win this year. Danielle Mack, who has had some great finishes in 70.3s and IRONMANs this year, will add to the stacked field.
Boulderite Jeannie Seymour, who has had multiple successful 70.3s this year, will look to add to her solid season, too. Finally, the speedy Lesley Smith, who finished third at IRONMAN 70.3 Boulder this year will look to compete with her steady, all-day speed and look to catch anyone in front of her once the running shoes are laced up.
Not to be forgotten, retired pro and emcee extraordinaire, Michael Lovato will be on the mic all day announcing all of the racers as they cross the finish line. Have fun out there, gang!
Pros to Tackle Course in Tennessee
Not that it means much to our pros racing, but I must say that, from a spectator’s perspective, IRONMAN Chattanooga is an awesome venue. I had the pleasure of being out there last year to watch my husband and it was the first IRONMAN where more participants looked like they were enjoying themselves than looking like they’d rather experience a root canal.
Our male pros heading down south include Matt Chrabot, Colin Laughery, Doug MacLean, Bryan Rhodes (he’s our summer visitor), and Matt Russell. All of these guys have had solid seasons and are more than capable of contending for a podium spot. I believe this is Laughery’s first IRONMAN with a pro field, so we wish him an extra special good luck!
As for the women, the start list shows Katy Blakemore, who has proven she is extremely tough as well as the veteran Rebekah Keat. We are sure these ladies will head into this race with targets on their backs being the strong competitors that they are every race. Good luck, ladies!