Sunday, May 6, 2012 – Crucians lined the drizzling streets with umbrellas, coffees, laughter and cheer the morning of the St. Croix Ironman 70.3!
This race is the qualifier for the Ford Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii. It felt as though the entire island was taking part in this annual event. Volunteers and fans alike lined the streets, side-roads, water stations and transition areas to root on not only the local athletes, but athletes from all over the world.
St. Croix was very excited to welcome back the world-renowned athletes from years past as well as Lance Armstrong! Armstrong decided to add this race to his training circuit to try and qualify for the Kona championship. Armstrong last competed in this event on St. Croix in 1988 at the age of 16 before his cycling career really took off. To now have him back in the game and on our island was quite a unique experience for everyone. It was very exciting to see not only Lance but all of the athletes running and biking around the island the week leading up to the race.
Race day was a wet and rainy mess. It was some of the worst conditions for all of the athletes to compete in. The wet and sometimes flooded roads made for a tricky and dangerous bike portion on an already high-tech course. The weather made for a lot of flat tires and some falls throughout the course. The rain did let up at about 3 hours after the start time with patches of sunshine streaking through and lighting up the finish line.
Andy Potts (United States) was the overall winner with a time of 4:03:31. Two minutes behind him in second was Stephane Poulat (France) with a time of 4:05:25. Lance Armstrong came in third with an overall time of 4:07:08.
Angela Naeth came in first for women at a course-breaking time of 4:28:12. She rode the last portion of the bike on a flat tire! She was worried about losing time so made a precarious judgment call on the course to keep riding on the rim and not lose time with changing a flat.
It served its purpose with her astounding finish!
Overall the event went off extremely well even with the intense conditions. There was a wonderful turnout and true island spirit was felt throughout the entire race. Congratulations athletes!! Until next year on St. Croix, keep training!
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