Butterfield braced for business end of season
Fresh off a third-place finish at the Ironman France in Nice at the weekend, Tyler Butterfield will spend a couple of weeks back home in Boulder, Colorado, preparing for two of his biggest events of the year, the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow this month and the Ironman World Championship in October.
Butterfield used his speed on the bike and run to secure the podium finish after completing the 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike and 26.2-mile run in 8hr 40 min 56 sec, some 7½ minutes behind the winner, Bart Aernouts of Belgium. The 31-year-old heads to Glasgow on July 24 where he will join Flora Duffy, Jonathan Herring and Tucker Murphy as Bermuda’s four triathletes.
“The Commonwealth Games are so exciting,” said Butterfield, a medal contender in road cycling at the 2006 Games in Melbourne. “It’s a point of honour and pride to represent Bermuda on the world stage at such a prestigious race.
“But I’m even more excited for the Kona build-up that comes afterward. There have been some really incredible Ironman performances this season, so it’s no secret that the field in Hawaii will be tougher than ever, and it will take every ounce of focus and determination to make a mark there this year.
“I know I have my work cut out for me, but I’m excited to attack it and to give everything I have toward my goal of racing my best Kona ever.”
After Glasgow, Butterfield will settle into “an uninterrupted block of time back home in Boulder to focus 100 per cent on October’s Ironman World Championship” in Kailua Kona, Hawaii, which he finished an impressive seventh last year. Butterfield’s performance on the weekend came a couple of weeks after his third best ITU World Cup finish of eighth in Huatulco.
The two events represented opposite ends of the triathlon spectrum in terms of sprint speed (ITU) versus long distance endurance (Ironman) as Butterfield showed his talent across the board.
He emerged from the Ironman France swim two minutes off the lead, but quickly formed a chase pack with several other riders, including longtime friend and training partner Mathias Hecht and eventual race winner Aernouts.
The group worked together to minimise the damage done by lead cyclists Jeremy Jurkiewicz and Bertrand Billard, who enjoyed a clear advantage until the halfway point, when Aernouts bridged the gap.
The Butterfield and Hecht group remained a few minutes in arrears, content to ride cautiously on the rain drenched course.
It seemed no rider was immune to the slick roads, however, as nearly all of the top contenders — Butterfield included — suffered minor crashes along the ride’s steep and slippery descents.
Arriving first through third at the transition were Billard, Aernouts and Hecht while Butterfield was fourth, 9:33 behind Billard.
Butterfield quickly found his running rhythm and whittled time away from the race leader, but ultimately Aernouts held on for the win.
Billard fell back, Hecht succumbed to a nagging injury, fast moving Victor DelCorral sped through the field into second and Butterfield kept a strong and steady pace to secure third after equalling his best Ironman marathon time of 2:49:39 and finishing in a total time of 8:40:56.
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