Although the foggy weather removed the swim portion of the race, it couldn’t slow down Boulder’s Chris Leiferman. The IRONMAN Mont-Tremblant champion continued his winning ways with a superb performance at the swim-free IRONMAN 70.3 Austin over the weekend. Thanks to posting the second fastest bike and third fastest run of the day, Leiferman grabbed the title with ease in an overall time of 3:23:13. We had a quick catch-up with the rising star as he talked about his race experience before taking on his second-ever IRONMAN later this month.
Colorado Triathlete: What went through your mind when you realized there would not be a swim and how did that affect your race plan?
Chris Leiferman: I was staying pretty optimistic that there would be a swim, but once it got cancelled, I had to instantly start focusing on changing my plan. So I immediately started to strategize. It affected my plan in that, now, I was starting the bike off cold in a time trial situation. Not having the knowledge of where everyone else was in the race was also a stressor.
CT: How did your race unfold throughout the day?
CL: It went well. I biked hard and everything went smooth! I finally had my Blue Triad SL dialed in, which was a great factor in having a strong bike. I did fall off a bit on the run as I was a little excited coming off the bike and that bit me in the butt halfway through the run, but I rebounded and finished strong.
CT: Did you ever realize you were in the lead due to the race format?
CL: Actually, I never really knew that I was in the lead since it was a time trial start. I was the first to cross the finish line, but there were so many others out there trying to blast off a fast split. When I was in the lead of the group, I still had to keep running fast so that my time was faster than anyone else’s. I couldn’t just put it in cruise control and stay ahead of second place.
CT: Besides winning, what were some of the highlights of this race for you and what did it feel like to win?
CL: I had a really solid bike, which gives me great confidence leading into my next race, IRONMAN Cozumel. I still need to learn to run smarter, so it was a learning experience, too. It feels great to win! This was my first half win and I’m super excited to have that under my belt. I know that the swim was cut, but I was the best one out there on the day given the circumstances. It’s still a win and I am super happy with it!
Here’s how the rest of the Colorado, full and part-time, male pros fared in the Lone Star State:
3rd place: Matt Hanson 3:25:43
5th place: Joe Gambles 3:26:53
6th place: Sam Appleton 3:28:00
7th place: Sam Long 3:28:01
14th place: Steven Zawaski 3:43:16
24th place: Robbie Wade 3:53:59