Turns out Lionel Sanders lost his nutrition early on the bike at Ironman 70.3 Oceanside, which forced him to back off the pace a little bit on the bike, he revealed in a recap video posted on his YouTube channel yesterday.
In the end, though, Sanders looks at the race as a positive step as he gears up for the Ironman World Championship in St. George next month.
“I had my adversity in the race and I think I overcame it to the very best of my ability,” he said. “I truly had nothing more to give, but it still was a bit disappointing. But, better to get that out of the way in Oceanside. Admittedly I was quite nervous going into it and I didn’t want to go into the world champs feeling really nervous and not certain of where I’m at. Now I have a good sense of where I’m at and that things are heading in the right direction, so the race served its purpose.”
Sanders said that he lost his water bottle after having made up about 30 seconds on the leaders.
“I lost my frame bottle which contained my maple syrup and my salt,” he said.
He had planned on using Gatorade from the aid stations through the rest of the race, only to realize that the Gatorade bottles used on the course wouldn’t fit in his BTA (between the arms) bottle. That meant he wasn’t able to get many liquids through the rest of the race.
“I knew I couldn’t win the race – you can’t beat Alistair Brownlee and this top-tier talent unless everything goes well,” he said.
Once out on the run Sanders felt very good, but was surprised to see that he was moving through the field over the final stretch of the run.
“I caught Brownlee with 600 m to go – he didn’t respond – and then Rudy (Von Berg) was right there,” he said. “The moment I caught him he started sprinting … then I started sprinting, too. I was impressed with his sprinting – not that my sprinting is super great, but I was impressed that he had that kind of a sprint left. Every muscle fibre in my body was engaged … I just surged that final 20 m or so, and I know its a controversial thing now, but admittedly, in the moment, I thought that I had outleaned him.”
Sanders said that he looks forward to an opportunity to race Von Berg again – suggesting that it might be a good match up at this year’s Collins Cup.