Butterfield free to focus on Hawaii
Tyler Butterfield is free to focus all his energies on making the podium at the Ironman World Championships after he finished tenth in yesterday’s Ironman Cozumel.
The Bermuda triathlete only needed to finish the race in Mexico to guarantee himself a spot at the sport’s biggest event in Hawaii next year.
Butterfield had said before the event that he would like to finish in less than nine hours, and he came close to achieving that, coming home in a time of 9hrs 5min 35sec in a race he finished second in, in 2013.
Out of the water in the lead group in a time of 43:59, Butterfield’s long season finally took its toll on the bike and the run, which he completed in 4:58:58 and 3:13:40, respectively.
Butterfield’s time on the bike was 30 minutes slower than that of eventual winner Stefan Schmid, of Germany, who came home in a time of 8:12:27, with Matt Russell, from the United States, second in 8:14:10, and Michael Weiss, of Australia, third in 8:24:24.
The race was Butterfield’s fourth ironman in less than six months, which by his own admission before the weekend was “not the smartest thing to do”.
Now, though, he can concentrate on Hawaii, and plan for a 2016 fully geared towards finishing in the top three.
That does not necessarily mean that he will reduce last year’s hectic schedule, aware of the fact that his fifth-place in October, and seventh-place in 2013, came after busy seasons spent chasing qualification points.
“I was in a similar position two years ago when I went to Cozumel and came second,” Butterfield said. “I went into Kona in 2014 ranked fifth but had a terrible day.
“Whereas this year and in 2013 I had to race a lot to qualify and placed well. I think it’s important to stay hungry even when the pressure is off. I realise that some pressure makes you race well.”
Whatever he does, Butterfield plans on racing against the triathletes he will have to beat in Kona several times over the course of the next 12 months.
“It’s important to do some of the ‘big league’ races because that can translate into a good result in Kona,” he said.
“They show you when you’re going well, and give you a good correlation of how your training is going. Either that, or you get your ass whooped.”