I will say that I think it might be the best ever pure run performance in a 70.3 race. That course is absurd. It has about 100m less net elevation than St. George, but it all comes at once. St. George is easier to get into a rhythm, both uphill and downhill. That course - Syracuse - you have to grind the uphill and then maintain really, really fast turnover on the downhill. St. George was also short; Syracuse MIGHT be short, but if so, not by much. I started my watch late, and I got closer to an accurate 21.1 than in St. George, which was clearly almost 1km short.
When I saw how fast Lionel ran, I was honestly in disbelief. He passed me on the flats, where it's easier to motor. I almost wished I'd gotten to see him run up and down the big hill, but he was basically gone by the time I got there.
Improvements on the swim and bike are never a given, and - even if they do come - they do not always come without a cost (upper body bulk, for example, or a compression of the hip flexors when getting into a better bike position that may impact running, even if it more than makes up for it in terms of overall race speed or even something as simple as the fact that riding harder - even if you can do it - has a real metabolic cost). But Lionel clearly has truly phenomenal ability as a runner.
Whether he is able to become a more balanced triathlete or not, I think we're in for some fireworks in upcoming races. Hopefully for quite a while.
As an aside, I think we should also appreciate that Andrew Yoder outbiked Lionel by almost the exact same amount that Lionel outran him by, riding solo, on a crazy hard course... And he did it ALL IN THE SMALL CHAINRING! Yoder's Di2 crapped out - by his own admission, he had been lazy about charging the battery, so it's his fault, not Shimano's - and he had to do the whole course in the small ring. Granted, the "hard" parts of that course were certainly doable in the small ring - many of the parts where you NEEDED the big ring you also could have just tucked and coasted.
Not trying to diminish Lionel's achievements. But I think Yoder's 2:07 on that course was also quite remarkable, especially in light of his mishap, which albeit was of his own making... But anyway, a super impressive pair of performances for 1st and 2nd. And a very bright future for both athletes...
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