Cycling News

Pro athletes describe ‘idiot age group men’ at Ironman North American champs

Pro athletes describe 'idiot age group men' at Ironman North American champs

After a horrible crash at Ironman Texas in 2018, the last thing Caitlin Alexander  wanted to do was head back to the Woodlands to compete in the race again. As a relatively new pro looking for some valuable points in the new Ironman Pro Series, though, Alexander found herself back on the start line in Texas this year, hoping that things would be better this time around.

“It wasn’t,” she said in an interview after Saturday’s race.

As you can read in her Instagram post after her race at Ironman Texas in 2018 (below), Alexander was engulfed by a pack of riders at that race and crashed, sustaining a concussion.

Alexander, who finished the swim in 1:06:45 at this year’s race, had already been caught by a number of age group competitors before she got to the first transition. (The Executive Challenge (XC) athletes left four minutes after the pro women, while the rolling start for the age group competitors began eight minutes after the pro women’s start.) Adding to the challenge for the pros was the water temperature–pros weren’t allowed to wear wetsuits, but age group athletes were.

On the bike…things got tricky

Once out on the bike, things became even more difficult as Alexander and a number of other pro women found themselves being passed by groups of age groupers.

“They talk about it being the ‘party on the Hardy,’” said another pro, Clarice Chastang, referring to the Hardy Toll Road that the bike course follows for two loops. “To say that it was a wild ride would be accurate.”

Chastang describes groups of 20 to 40 people riding together along the course, something she’s never seen in her dozen Ironman races so far.

Another professional, Katie Treston-Torney, crashed after being hit by one of the riders as the pack he was riding in went by.

“I was overtaken by a draft pack of … about 40 AG men,” she wrote on Instagram. “One of the men clipped my back wheel, causing me to go down pretty hard. I think I broke/contused a rib, broke the Boa on my cycling shoe, and lost the ability to drop into my small gears. I sat on the side for a bit and decided to give the rest of the race a go. I couldn’t go into aero for the rest of the race d/t chest wall spasms, so I just sat up and ate and drank as much as I could.”

Super sketchy conditions

Chastang didn’t crash, but was actually pushed by one of the age group men.

“What floored me was that there was a group where the people were riding on their horns so they…

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