Saturday, August 4, 2012

Women's Olympic Triathlon Live Blog

Watching the live feed online of the Women's Triathlon online. Decided I would like to try a live blog, so I'll be throwing thoughts up as they come to me and as the race goes. Ohh, Dirtbag experimental. It's a 10pm Hawaii time start, 9am London time. First Olympic thing I've gotten to see live. Very excited to see racing at this level.

-Wet suit swim. Bleh.
-Start off a pier thing. Kind of an undramatic and fast Ready Go! 
- Swim is great to watch. Big washing machine behind the lead group. Beautiful strokes, even with the wetsuits.
-Short run into T1.
-Blazing T1, even with wetsuits slowing them down. Saw a helmet get knocked off a bike. D'oh! 

-They said there are 100 turns on the bike course. And it might be raining because, well, London. Sounds fun. 
-Tri is free to watch at the Olympics because the course is so big. Another reason triathlon is awesome. 
-Olympic bike is draft legal, making the bunching and strategy very different from what I'm used to. The groups are so tight.
-Lots of laps on this course. Six, I think. Keeps everyone near spectators.
-One girl already goes down. Front wheel got loose. Looks like her bike got tweaked in the fall.
-So many corners make it hard for the girls to spend any time in aero. Doesn't look like a fast bike course.
 - Cheering for Laura Bennett, you know, because her husband and I are now best friends.
- Tons of people lining the road. So cool.
- Bunch of front tires getting loose. Same spot in the road it looks like.
-Draft legal bike means the run is so very important. Bike is more about hanging with the lead pack and conserving, doing your share of pulling but not too much.
- God, these crashes look like they hurt. Sliiiiiiide.
- Oh, seven laps. Not six. Right then.
- I have transition area envy. 
- Bennett still leading, but only by a second. So really she's just doing a lot of the pulling right now. American Sarah Groff back in 21st at Lap 2, but still close enough to the lead pack.
- Love having the announcers with accents in my ears.
- Bike course goes by Buckingham Palace. How cool would that be? Think Her Majesty is looking out the window checking out the race, corgi in her lap? *Jon Stewart impression of the Queen* "Helloo!"
- Keep getting commercials on my live feed. They are much louder than the race. Ohh, my ears.
-There seems to be some specific spot on the course that women are going down. Looks like they are showing awareness of it now and trying to avoid. Hard with such a big bike group. Really seems like a lot of girls sliding out.
- Two groups right now. Lead group only has about five seconds on the first chase pack. Mini-pelotons.
- I want average speed information. I want to be even more impressed with how closely they are riding to each other by knowing how quickly they are doing it. 
- Attacks are fun. Get out of the seat and blast!
- The runners are working heavy strategy right now. Stay close enough to grab the lead pack off the bike, but don't blow your legs out. Touchy balance, that.
- These bikes don't have the flat wing bars most tri bikes I've seen have. Must be a rule thing. Or a handling thing, since you need drops to stay low but still in control. You know what, that's probably it. Ignore the first part.
- Emma Snowhill's (AUS) selection robbery is big conversation for the announcers. She would be the defending gold medalist, but she got snubbed buy the Aussie selection committee for some reason.
- 4 of 7 laps down at 57 minutes of race time. 
- Right now they are predicting a two and a half minute gap between the leaders and the chase group getting off the bike. Which means someone is going to make a big move soon to try and close that gap.
- Sun is coming out, hopefully it will dry the road. But they are saying they see black clouds on the horizon. 
- Course is so flat. Weee!
- One of the announcers is a Kiwi. Awesome accent explained. He's my new favorite announcer (Behind Vin Scully, naturally.)
- Laps are taking 7-8 minutes. Lead group is sticking together nicely. Haven't seen a crash in a while. Will everyone settle in and wait for the run or will there will be drama? Come on, drama! Two laps to go.
- Draft legal means Lucy Hall looked back at the girl behind her and said, "You pull now," and dropped back. 
- T2 is going to be so fast. There are 22 girls that are going to come out together it looks like. Almost at one lap to go.
- Interesting. Lucy Hall (GBR) looks like she wants to jump away, she's already leading, but she wants someone to come with her. No one is biting. Two Americans, Bennett and Groff, still in the lead pack.
- There is a box at each athlete's transition and everything needs to go into it or there is a 15 second penalty. Don't muss the transition area. 
- 1:17 race time and on to the bell lap of the second leg for the chase group. Two minute gap.
- We are looking forward to a 35 minute 10k. Blazing!
- Doesn't look like any attacking is going to happen. Soon the girls will be pulling feet from shoes to prepare for their flying squirrel dismounts into T2. The ONLY time a super-fast transition matters. 
- Did I mention that the Palace is gorgeous? Because it is. 
- Athletes taking on fluids and probably grabbing some kind of Gu. 1:23 race time, almost back to transition. Looking forward to watching this.
- Damn. In an out in no time. Crazy fast T2. Bennett and Groff still in it. Hall, who lead from the swim, already dropping off the back of the pack. About 1:26 race time.
- McDonalds being the official restaurant of the Olympics is like Jack Daniels sponsoring AA. 
- The announcers haven't been giving any splits or average speeds. This is information I want. It would be cool to know. They've gotta have real time updates. So I'll go with they are running really damn hard. You're welcome.
- Lead group had 22 girls and they have already dropped almost half. Hard to tell who is in there. Aussie, Kiwi,  Spaniard, Swiss, Swede, Brit. Sounds like Bennett is in there somewhere too. Hope so. Go Laura! She took fourth last time she competed in the Games. Looks like she might be getting dropped. No!
- The run is four laps. Tightly packed lead group through lap one.
- Groff in the lead pack one second back, Bennett seven seconds back.
- Midway through Lap Two and the lead group is cut to eight. The pace is very high. 
-Bodies are so different than their iron-distance sisters. Less shredded, but more powerful looking. 
- Groff now getting dropped.
- The math is getting to some of the women. They know their pace and the one getting set is too high. The girls getting dropped off don't look blown out, they just can't hang. Something weird going on with Paula Finlay (CAN). Pulled out of the race. Looks in pain.
- Through Lap Two at 1:42 race time. Half way. 5k pace/ 16.12min. Holy. Crap.
- Seriously looks like there will be a sprint to the finish. Love that. Racing for almost two hours and a sprint still happens. And it looks like Groff and a girl from Spain are running together to close the lead gap. 
- Lead group down to four at 1:46 race time. Leading is a Brit named Jenkins. The Brownlee brothers are expected to win the men's race and they are British too. Could be a big weekend for the Union Jack.
- Aussie, Swede, Swiss, Brit leading. Groff in fifth. Might be closing, hard to tell. Come on!
- Noticed they have to wear the ankle timers just like I do. For some reason I really dig that. One big happy tri family.
- 1:51 into bell lap. About eight minutes to victory. 
- Groff closes the gap! She's right back in this thing! Lead group of five now. Come on, girl!
- 1:53 race time, 2k left. Someone has to make a move.
- Has to be some gamesmanship going on here. 1km left. Waiting for the move. Jenkins getting left?
- Lapping other athletes now. Tight group of four leading.
- No one giving ground. Blue carpet. Big finish.

-  Dead heat! Spirig & Norden tied 1:59.48. Denshem 2 seconds behind. Groff 12 seconds behind them. What do you do with a tie? That was an amazing sprint on the blue carpet, watching them turn it on. Groff fropped off right away, then the Aussie Denshem, and after almost two hours of racing it came down to a 100m sprint. Do they go to the hundredths? They should both get gold. 

-Laura Bennett 17th, 2:29 behind. 
-The three finishers crossed the line and hit the deck exhausted. Waiting for official statement. The clock has them at the exact same time, but maybe they have a photo finish. Unofficial report right now is Spirig. Some replays and good shots make it look like she may have just barely taken it. It'll be thousandths of a second.

Gutsiest comeback I've ever seen from Sarah Groff. Dropped off the back, came back in the last lap to make it a contest. Dropped again at the final sprint but still put herself out there all the way. Brilliant sprint finish after two hours of racing.
More great pictures here. It's also where I stole most of mine.
Hope this live blogging thing worked out ok. I'm going to try it again with the men's race. It was a lot of fun for me, even though I was basically sitting in a chair staring at my computer and pumping my fist, trying not to wake the house. 

1 comment:

  1. Findaly of Canada did finish. Last. Limping in pain. But she refused to not finish.