It was the tale of two bikes this past weekend at the inaugural IRONMAN Taiwan. Boulderites Dede Griesbauer and Patrick Evoe represented their Taiwan-based bike sponsor, Blue Bicycles, in grand fashion as they brought home two spots on the podium thanks to some serious power on the bike leg of the race.
Blue Bicycles treated their two athletes to a week of pre-race fun and support, including a pro talk where they were greeted by their Taiwanese triathlon fans. The event even raffled off everything from Blue Bicycle apparel to a bike frame. Griesbauer and Evoe also spent time
at the expo where they displayed their bikes and signed Blue Bicycle gear for the other athletes and locals.
Blue Bicycles has a wonderful staff that, on race day, supported their athletes at the transition stations and on the course; they even updated this writer and fan through private messages all day and night so that I could track our Colorado athletes.
For me, it was a personally emotional race to follow on-line as I cheered and, at times, nervously worried about my good friend and husband throughout the race taking place on the other side of the globe. In the end, the pair put a stamp of success on their first IRONMAN race of 2015 and caused no need for worry.
Griesbauer Grabs the Win
Griesbauer, who won IRONMAN 70.3 Taiwan at the end of 2014, proved again that she is nothing but gold when it comes to racing on the island. Griesbauer did not just win IRONMAN Taiwan, she absolutely threw down everything she had beginning with her speedy swim (51:10). Nevertheless, she had some company coming out of the water with her. But it didn’t take long for Griesbauer to drop the hammer on a very technical bike course through the mountains, and turn in the fastest female bike time of the day (5:05) by 10 minutes.
“When I previewed the course before the race, I’ll admit, I was terrified! As I rode the course on race day, I fell in love with it. The course was everything IRONMAN should be. It was a really hard, honest course,” Griesbauer told me.
Knowing that some of her competitors are strong on the run, Griesbauer knew she had to push the bike to give her what turned out to be an 18 minute lead as she entered T2.
Griesbauer added that she had biked confidently, but had no idea that she had an 18 minute lead. As she got onto the three loop run, she knew that Dimity Lee, was charging full steam ahead. Griesbauer never looked back and never lost her lead, winning by 11 minutes in 9:20:23. Lee finished second in 9:31:31. Rounding out the final spot on the podium was Kim Schwabenbauer in 9:38:35.
“I had enough real estate and a strong enough run to hold on,” said Griesbauer. And that she did! With a solid and gutsy marathon run (3:17) in the heat, the gritty Griesbauer came into the finisher’s shoot giving high fives in an elated emotional state. Watching her tear up as she crossed the line just proved how much winning this race meant to her.
For the last five weeks, she had traveled straight from IRONMAN 70.3 Puerto Rico to Kona in order to get acclimated to the Taiwan heat. It paid off as she took home her third IRONMAN crown of her career and we are glad that Griesbauer is headed home!
During the award ceremony speech, Griesbauer told the crowd, “the saying goes, if you want the rainbow, you have to endure the rain. Well, I have had so much rain, I’d started contemplating the building of an arc. It has really made this particular rainbow something special.” Well said by a deserving champion!
Evoe Fights Back for Third
The saying “it’s not how you start, but how you finish” rings true for Evoe, who on this race day, felt pretty down as he came out of the water (55:41) even though he did not know exactly where he was as far as placement. Little did he know that he was less than three minutes from the second pack of men and only five minutes behind the extraordinary Cam Brown and Fredrik Croneborg, who exited the swim first and second.
Evoe was able to find his groove on the bike after a rough first 20 miles. Before long, he was catching a couple of guys and stayed strong the rest of the race, turning in the fourth fastest bike split of the day (4:42), which helped him make up time and set him up to run down more of the competition.
“Biking through the Rainforest Mountains of Kenting National Park was tough, but unique on the IRONMAN circuit. I did not feel great at the start of the bike and was not in a good place mentally, but I kept pushing and eventually found my rhythm and started to feel good. I pushed pretty hard for parts of the course and eased up just a little during the last 30 miles. I didn’t want to burn out my legs before the run. I really wanted to run well,” Evoe stated.
And that he did, turning in the fourth fastest marathon time of the day (2:57) which allowed him to move from seventh off of the bike to third by mile 15, where he caught Brown and was able to hang on for the final podium spot. Leading most of the day was ex-pro cyclist Domenico Passuello who out-biked everyone by over 10 minutes (4:32). Passuello hung on for the win with a speedy Croneborg chasing him down as he ran the fastest marathon of the day (2:49).
Although Evoe knew he could not catch Passuello (first in 8:25:54 ) and Croneborg (second in 8:28:37 ) on the run, he knew he had to hold off a great champion in Brown, who was only 1:40 back with four miles to go. Evoe was able to pick up his pace and finish strong, capturing third place with an overall finishing time of 8:40:58.
“I was very happy to have a solid race and result after a rough year last year. I love racing in new locations and IRONMAN Taiwan lived up to our expectations of a good, honest, and challenging course in a cool location. This is a race I would definitely go back to again,” Evoe added. I might just have to join him!