Race Analysis: Ironman 70.3 Panama + Dubai

Photo Taken By: Emily Cocks

Ironman 70.3 Dubai, 1st Stage of Triple Crown

The 2016 season will really get rolling this weekend with 70.3 races in Dubai and Panama. If you were paying attention you might have caught the “announcement” on the Bahrain awards video that the Triple Crown was taking place. If not, the official word came two weeks before the race and after the deadline for entry. Therefore, the lucky ones on the list in Dubai have their shot at a million dollars. The men’s race in Dubai will likely come down to Bozzone and Frodeno, but if the swim gets cancelled look out for Bart Aernouts. On the women’s side it will probably be the Ryf show with Steffen and Abrahams battling it out for the remaining podium spots. A cancelled swim gives an advantage to Abraham.


Jocelyn McCauley

After winning the 2014 Kona as an amateur how was your first season as a professional?

It was very eye opening! Just like most people, I wanted success and I wanted it immediately in my first year, especially after everything came easily to me in 2014. I soon realized that becoming a world-class triathlete takes a lot more than swimming, biking, and running.

What changes have you made this year to get back to the big island?

I made the biggest change at the end of 2015 when I hired a new coach, David Tilbury-Davis. He has helped me change my mindset on several things. For example, I have a better understanding and implementation of the role of good nutrition, recovery, sponsors, routine, and psychology.

Ironman 70.3 Panama, Pan American 70.3 Championships

Panama has the same 100k purse as Dubai but double the KPR points so the start list is deeper. The Canadians have been sitting in the sauna to prepare but Chrabot thinks home and gym saunas are a waste of time (see below). One thing is for sure, Sanders will not be sitting on Chrabot’s feet for this swim. The down current swim will keep everyone close and the race will likely come down to who melts in the heat on the run. The same goes for the women. The better swimmers like Brandon, Haskins and Goss will be out in front but with less time on people like Liz Lyles and Lisa Roberts. Goss will be patient on the bike and won’t be afraid to let people go to ensure a fast run. And, if she runs fast, she is could take the win from Haskins. It’s early season and some athletes will do well and others will melt in the heat; January races are always tough to predict.

Matt C

Matt Chrabot

You have done well in Panama (2nd, 2014) before and the heat does not seen to bother you. How are you feeling heading into this one?

I’m feeling very good heading into Panama and I do well in the heat based on two factors. 1: I do some preparation in the heat. Mostly passive training (sauna and steam room). 2: Genetics. I have smaller wrists and body type. Getting as small and lean as you can is a start.

Are you following the Lionel Sanders protocol of sitting in the sauna all the time?

The saunas I go to are world class (outside of Scandinavia) at local Rec centers or the YMCA. Unless you’re willing to make a big investment, the at-home saunas don’t get hot enough to compete with standard public saunas you find at pools and/or gyms. Whenever I overstay my welcome in a sauna or steam room, I’ll have mild to severe muscle cramps the next day in training.

There is a down current swim like Chattanooga.

High tide is about an hour after the scheduled start. If we’re lucky, the race will start 15 minutes late. The race was delayed just about every year by 30 minutes due to road closures. An incoming tide might slow things down a bit, but I’m not anticipating anything faster or slower than 20 minutes + or – 1min. It’ll all depend on where the race wants to install the temporary “swim exit” stairs.

Linsey Corbin

Linsey C

You had a long break from training and racing last year due to a leg injury. How was the build up for the race? Are you building into the season and getting ready for an early (ish) season IM to start the KPR process?

Yes – the build up has been just that, a build-up. I can’t say I have done anything too crazy in training that leads me to believe I am super-fit right now (I have yet to run 13.1 miles!), but I have done a fair amount of “base” and aerobic work that has made me fit. I started back in mid-November and have about 8 weeks of consistent s/b/r/strength training in me. Most importantly I am healthy – which is more than I can say for 90% of 2015! Yes – I am building into the season. I haven’t put in any of the high-end (aka = fun) work yet. My plan is to race my way into fitness and get some KPR along the way. I plan on racing x3 70.3 events (Panama – regional event, Puerto Rico, Brasil – regional event) and then decide my next move depending on points and how my body is feeling: either a late Spring Ironman or St. Geo 70.3 – regional event. I have no clue how my body will react after not racing for so long and missing all of the training from 2015. Part of me thinks I will pick up where I left off, and part of me thinks I will have a lot of work ahead of me. I really have no idea what to expect.

After the racing break, what are you looking forward to most this coming weekend? Just the whole process of preparing, nerves, racing, the soreness post race, etc???

Honestly? I am looking forward to waking up Monday after the race and knowing my body is healthy & in one piece after a hard-effort. I have had several people ask if I am excited? I don’t think “excited” is the right word for it. I think I’d like to get through the race, know my body can handle the effort, get some fitness out of it – and then I will be excited. I am sure once we are all suited up and waiting for that gun to go – I’ll have more of a “let’s do this” attitude. For now it’s about learning to trust my body again and putting forth a big effort.

Lauren G

Lauren Goss

The race seems to have a group of strong swimmers (you, Haskins, Brandon, Griesbauer, Lendway) and then a group of women that will be chasing (Lyles, Corbin, Gerdes, Jahn, Roberts). Do you think of these dynamics or just worry about executing your fastest race?

Of course I try to think of some sort of strategy before the race. There is an impressive line up of swimmers on the start list. I am going to just focus on having a fast swim start and swim with the front group. I am sure we will exit as a group onto the bike, but I will just race my race at an effort level that I know I can run fast off of. There are quite a few fast runners on the list as well. I am sure the race will be won on the run especially with the conditions.

The run is a big weapon for you. Are you confident that if it comes down to it you can probably out run most, if not all, of the women out there?

My run fitness is pretty good right now for this time of year. I am healthy and have had consistent run training. However, in the heat and humidity you really never know what will happen. I am prepared mentally for the “uncomfortable” and dialed in with my humid condition First Endurance nutrition plan so hopefully I will be ok and run to my potential.

How was the short off season and then quick build up of training for the race? Challenge Florida was a scorcher…perhaps this will help mentally on race day since you did well there???

My offseason was indeed very short. Every year I get mad at myself for not racing in January- Panama especially. My coaches actually advised against racing as they know how draining the season is and how the end of the year results matter more. I am hard headed though so I decided I wanted to race anyways. I had a solid 4 weeks of fun though so I am ready to get back to the start line.


Lionel Sanders

With Kona all but lockup up for next year, how does your racing schedule look for 2016?

I will do mainly 70.3s in 2016, as I think the key to racing a good Ironman is speed. I will do an early-mid summer full-distance race as well, but I am not sure which one yet.

Did you know about the Triple Crown in 2016? If you didn’t know, are you mad? Would you of wanted to race those 3 races? If you knew, why are you not at Dubai?

Yes, I was aware that the Triple Crown would occur again. I still have many lessons to learn both at the 70.3 and the Ironman. Racing in a totally different culture and time zone adds considerably more stress. For now I am content with staying in similar time zones. As well, there is a Freshii and a major Louis Garneau distributor in Panama, so it works well for my sponsors.

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Zach Miller
Zach Miller is a sports enthusiast and age group triathlete living in the The Woodlands, TX. He is the Host of The Triathlon Preview Show. Follow @trifantasy The Triathlon Preview Show: iTunes Podcast
Emily is a professional triathlete and swim coach living in Napa, CA. Emily swam for the University of Michigan and completed her first tri in 2004 at the Chicago Triathlon. She worked for seven years as a paralegal, followed by three years as an Assistant Swim Coach for the University of Illinois-Chicago. Presently, she lives and trains in Napa, California while working for the Napa Valley Swim Team and coaching several age group triathletes.