By Josh Minogue
LOST THE BATTLE, WON THE WAR
Lana Rogers is your 2019/20 Nutri-Grain Ironwoman Series Champion, and she did it with a round to spare. Three wins and a second (and she doesn’t look like slowing down) is one of the most dominant performances I have seen in a very long time.
The funny thing is, the rest of the field hasn’t been bad; Lana has just been so good.
She has moved the needle in terms of what is required to be the best Ironwoman in the world, and now it’s time to see if others respond.
I know it’s early days, but the real question is can Lana go back to back? We’ve had 6 different women win the title in the last 6 summers (Hancock, Plumiers, Mercer, Brown, Cooper, Miller & now Rogers) while it’s an amazing achievement to win the Nutri-Grain Ironwoman Series Crown, you’re in rare air if you win 2 back to back…. Only Kristy Cameron, Courtney Hancock, Denby Stokes and Karla Gilbert have achieved that feat.
KENDRICK VS TANYN
It seems incredible to say, but Kendrick Louis has flown under the radar this summer. After a 10th in the Coolangatta Gold, he may have been written off for the overall title; (by yours truly as well)
But if you know KJL, you know he is a fighter, one of the most tenacious racers in the sport and he refuses to give in; so with one round to go (and thanks to a 2nd, 3rd & 4th) he sits on top of the points table and is in prime position to take the Ironman Series title.
Dropping a round can make things deceiving, Tanyn Lyndon sits second with only 3 results this summer (all podiums) and leads the adjusted rankings, where athletes drop their worst result.
After being one of the most decorated Junior Ironmen of all time, it’s safe to say Tanyn was expected to one-day win one an Nutri-Grain Ironman Series title, but expectation never dictates reality and it’s been tougher than everyone expected for him to fulfill his potential. But that can all change on January 19 at North Cronulla.
The rest of the field isn’t out of the title race, not by any stretch, but these are the two men most likely… Game on boys.
There’s tough, there’s reckless and then there is Matt Poole;
regardless of what you think of the 2017 Nutri-Grain Series Champ, he is one hard hombre.
You’ve seen the photos and heard the details, 2 surgeries, 4 hospital visits, 4 individual races, 1 ironman and a hell of a lot of drama for a 16th place.
Doesn’t seem worth it, does it?
I say it was worth it, half way through the final Ironman, Poole was in 6th and still had the lead of the overall Nutri-Grain Series, but surf can be cruel; Matt faded, guys found waves and 16th was all he could manage.
It was one of the gutsiest performances I’ve seen in the surf, he couldn’t walk on Friday and he raced for an hour against the best Ironmen on the planet on Sunday.
Matt didn’t do it for sympathy, money or notoriety, he did it because I don’t know if anyone wants to win this title more than he does. The old question is… would you lose a limb for the thing you love? Matt didn’t quite get to that point, but he gave it a good nudge.
Expectation is the seed of disappointment.
After having one of the greatest seasons of all time last year; it was always going to be tough for the defending champ to repeat her triple crown heroics. But that doesn’t mean Georgia Miller should be upset with how she has performed this summer.
She has attacked every race this season, sits second on the point score and is the only woman to beat Lana Rogers when it matters most; she is elite in every sense of the word, and has carried herself like a champion all summer long.
Surfers Paradise was only her 3rd Nutri-Grain Ironwoman Series race win; and she is guaranteed to win more in her career, so the future should be bright but compared to last year, this season has seemed a little tough.
Comparison is the thief of all happiness
LAY OFF THE ALMOND CROISSANTS CORY.
Churr Cuz, Kiwi Cory Taylor sure does like the stretch of sand at Surfers Paradise; he has had 2 Nutri-Grain Ironman Series round wins, both at Surfers in the last 2 seasons! But why has CT only hit form this late in the Nutri-Grain Series? I think the answer is Almond Croissants.
Prior to the Coolangatta Gold, Cory went to France for the World Ocean Paddling Championship, and would post on socials the 2 or 3 pastries he would smash daily; when he returned a week later for the Coolangatta Gold he had his worst outing in the event ever, a DNF. Since then Cory has gotten better and better every round, 14th, 9th and now 1st and hasn’t posted one shot of an almond croissant. Coincidence? I think not.
But in all seriousness ,Taylor is one of the best ironmen in the world and Sunday showed he is back in form.
Watch out for the four-times NZ Ironman Champion when we arrive at North Cronulla for the final round, Survival, he is chomping at the bit to go back to back.