Weekends are supposed to be relaxing…right? If so, this past weekend missed the memo. Not only were we eagerly following the Coeur Girls in some very important races, we were also trying our best to understand the ramifications of different outcomes on the Olympic qualification process and the Kona Points Ranking results.
The first race of the weekend began early for us in California. It was the ITU, World Triathlon Series (“WTS”) race in Sweden and it marked the start of the Olympic qualifying process. We set the alarms for 6:00 a.m. on Saturday and dutifully logged in to the live stream. Now, for those of you who don’t follow the ITU series closely, let us try to explain how it works. Full disclosure, we had to get Tommy Zaferes to explain it to us when he and Katie were down for a photo shoot and an interview with Bob Babbit.
First, ITU stands for International Triathlon Union and it is the organization that presides over triathlon in the Olympics. The president of the ITU is also a member of the International Olympic Committee. The race format is draft legal and it incredibly exciting. As you might expect, there are tiers of races in the ITU so that new pros can work their way up through the ranks. The highest of these tiers is the World Triathlon Series or “WTS”. It’s the Major League of Olympic distance racing and only the best of the best get to suit up for WTS races. The results of the ITU races are used to determine not only the number of slots each country gets for the Olympics but they also determine which individuals get to go.
The race Saturday factored into the process and our very own Katie Hursey was on the line.
Katie put in a strong swim and we were excited to see her biking with the lead group. The lead pack kept up an incredible pace and we started biting our nails when Katie dropped off the back. But Katie is a competitor and she powered her way back to the pack several times.
She hit the run close to the front pack and put in a great effort to grab 7th place which is her best WTS result to date! To add to our happiness is the fact that another American (Sarah Groff) took the win, so it’s a good start for the U.S.A!
Katie on the Run
On Sunday, we had Ironman Louisville to watch. Kate Bevilaqua was the defending champ and we had Ambassadors Jacqueline Brill & Whitley Atkins in the lineup too. To add to the drama, the results from Louisville, Japan and Copenhagen would all factor into the final points ranking. Why is this important you ask? Well, because Coeur Pro Beth Shutt put in an amazing performance the previous weekend at Ironman Mont Tremblant and she was in the mix for a Kona slot.
Mother Nature had been showing off the day before the race with incredible storms, so we were concerned about race day. Fortunately, despite some heavy fog, the weather was good enough to race and the start began as scheduled.
As expected, Ironman Louisville flexed its muscles and made for a tough day. The course contains its fair share of rolling hills and when you add heat and humidity, you get a very challenging event.
Fortunately, both Whitley and Jacqueline had what it takes and they made it home in style. Congratulations to both of you ladies. You are indeed Ironman!
Jacqueline & part of her support crew.
Whitley looking relaxed on the bike
Then for some more great news. By the end of the day, we were pretty sure that Beth Shutt had locked in one of the final seven Professional slots to Kona. Kebby sent her a text to confirm and we literally waited over the phone for a response. When she replied that she was “In”, we cheered and high fived!
Finally, let us share a display of Heart and Courage that gives us chills. But first, imagine this.
You train all year. You’re the defending champ. This is what you do for a living. Then on race day, when you’re in the lead on the run, you’re stomach shuts down. Maybe it was something in the water from all the rain or maybe it was something else. Doesn’t matter. What matters is that when you need it most, one of your systems stops working and you have to withdraw from the race.
So what now? What do you do now? Retreat to your home stay and ask why? Why me? Why now? Scream? Cry?
No, not even close. Instead, you demonstrate a degree of character that is absolutely incredible. You pick yourself up and you go back to the course and you cheer. Not only do you cheer for your teammates but you also cheer for your competitors. That folks is true Heart and Courage.
And that is what Coeur Athlete Kate Bevilaqua did and we cannot express how proud we are of her.
Perhaps Emerson said it best with this quote:
“Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fail.”
Kate you have no idea how inspiring you are. Thank you!
So congratulations to everyone who competed this weekend. You are all inspirational in so many ways and we’re so happy to call you friends.
Have a great week,
Your friends at Coeur.