Coeur d'Alene, ID:  With snow on the ground two weeks prior to the race and ski resorts going strong until June 1st, it was apparent that Al Gore had not considered northern Idaho when proclaiming that we are all doomed due to global warming.  When was the last time you raced and noticed hot tubs at the entrance of the changing tents or warming tents scattered around the transition area.  Lake CDA was 59.5 degrees race morning and NA Sports was playing the CYA card at this event.  However, for SB ocean swimmers it was just another day at the office, with respect to the water temperature.  Due to the comparatively small beach swim start zone,  the two loop nature of the course, and 2200 frozen bodies, the swim was a real brawl.   The remainder of the race differed from previous years when temperatures soared, the athletes today faced variable winds on the bike and moderate temperatures on the run, hence the swim was reduced to just a bad dream.  Results-wise, Canadians ruled, with Tom Evans, the pro/semi-pro/dentist putting Victor Zymstev and Michael Lovato in his rear view mirror for most of the day.  Steve Larsen made an appearance and placed fifth.  The pro women were dominated by Heather Wurtele, a newly minted pro, who succeeded in besting the likes of Heather Golnick and Desiree Ficker.  Local results were more interesting, Leanne Clark had a great run to finish her first Ironman event, while Julanne Lum, who has foot surgery scheduled for three weeks following the race, had a great swim and bike and gets the nod for digging deep to finish the race.   Rick Jones finished at 10:42,  using a  great 3:30 marathon.  Tom Hilzer had one of the top swim times at 1:03.  See local results and comments from below.  VB

                                                                                    SWIM      BIKE     RUN

10:46:13 JONES RICK            M35-39 52/364    1:20:45  5:43:08  3:30:14
11:42:44 HILZER TOM          M35-39 121/364   1:03:26  5:59:10  4:27:43
12:22:11 PHILLIPS JEFF       M35-39 163/364  1:09:50  6:04:29  4:55:32
12:34:51 JOHNSON JIM        M40-44 175/332  1:17:14  6:27:32  4:36:35
13:07:26 BIRTALAN VIC       M65-69 1/4           1:15:29  6:37:35  4:50:48 
13:35:24 CLARKE LEANNE  W45-49 29/72       1:21:39  7:09:52  4:37:44 
14:31:40 LUM JULANNE      W45-49 42/72       1:02:39  6:48:04  6:26:22
14:56:47 CLANCY NICOLE   W35-39 108/151   1:22:59  7:32:38  5:49:26


Canadians take top honors at Coeur d'Alene
By Melaina Juntti
two-time Ironman champ added another notch to his belt and a new pro scored her first elite win June 22 at Ford Ironman Coeur d'Alene in the tree-lined northern Idaho resort town. Veteran Canadian triathlete Tom Evans bested his 2007 runner-up showing with a rock-solid 8:34:22 performance that buried second-place finisher Victor Zyemstev by just under 10 minutes. Another Canadian, former star age grouper Heather Wurtele (nee Danforth) won the race she last triumphed at in 2006 - but this time against the big guns, using a killer bike split to crush the seasoned female pros in 9:38:58.Despite skepticism circling about town the week leading up to the race regarding Lake Coeur d'Alene's unseasonably icy temps, athletes were greeted with cool yet much-improved 59-degree waters early Sunday morning. And although the sixth annual event attracted smaller pro fields than in past years, serious action ensued right from the starting gun, as Kiwi Bryan Rhodes and Evans stroked through the 2.4-mile swim elbow to elbow to finish in 51:24 and 51:29, respectively. Defending race champ Zyemstev climbed ashore 30 seconds later to head onto the second leg in third place.As swim-leader Rhodesy faded on the picturesque two-loop bike tour east and west of the city, two-time Ironman champ and perennial Coeur d'Alene top placer Evans worked his magic on two wheels, busting out a day's-best 4:45:37 bike split despite the course's jackknife turns and sometimes fierce headwinds."The wind didn't bother me," said Evans. "The harder the bike, the better."The 2007 second-place finisher took that same swagger onto the run course, where he held tough enough to stave off solid charges from Zyemstev and crowd favorite Michael Lovato of Boulder, Colorado. As an exuberant Evans strode solo through the finishing stretch, Lovato mustered up enough strength to pass Zyemstev for a while but then encountered some troubles that sent him back to the third position. Evans crossed the line over eight minutes ahead of his foes in 8:34:22 for the top spot, while Zyemstev charged in 4:26 ahead of Lovato in 8:43:56. A late-surging Mike Neill of Canada edged ex-mountain bike pro Steve Larsen of Bend, Oregon, for fourth place in 8:53:09.Even though Lovato looked spent after enduring the long-distance slog, the strapping 34-year-old shouted his praise for the northern Idaho event: "This is the best Ironman race in the whole world!" he boomed over the loudspeaker to the cheering crowds surrounding the finishing chute.

But perhaps the most elated of all athletes was Wurtele, who nabbed her first elite win on the same day her husband took second at a half-iron-distance race in Canada. The the 6-foot-2-inch former volleyball star earned her keep in the pro ranks beginning with the swim, as she finished just shy of three minutes up on five-time Ironman champ Heather Gollnick of Florida.

"At first, I was like, 'Oh cool, I finished the swim first," said an elated Wurtele at the finish. But her success didn't end at T1. Wurtele continued building her lead with a dominating 5:16:23 bike split that put her at least 10 minutes up on Gollnick by the second transition. Many wondered if the still strong-looking Canadian could keep up the intensity on the run, especially with an experienced Gollnick and fleet-footed Desiree Ficker not at all ready to concede. Sure enough, although Ficker and Gollnick both turned on the jets and were able to gain some ground on the frontrunner, Wurtele invited no one to her party. The 2006 Coeur d'Alene 25-29 winner broke the tape looking almost as strong as she'd started the day in a smoking 9:38:58.

"I'm a new pro so I really transcended myself today," Wurtele said. "This wasn't necessarily something I was expecting, but I just felt really strong all day. Other women here have such fabulous resumes, so I just tried to not let that intimidate me and hope it worked out. It did."

Gollnick ran in 11:36 later for second, which didn't warrant her signature finish-line cartwheel but pleased the diminutive athlete nonetheless. Ficker began struggling on the second half of the run and wound up pulling from contention, leaving a late-charging Tiina Boman of Finland to muscle her way past Canadian Sara Gross for third place.

Ford Ironman Coeur d'Alene
Coeur d'Alene, Idaho
Sunday, June 22, 2008
2.4mi S/112mi B/26.2mi R

Men's Results
1. Tom Evans (CAN) 8:34:22
2. Victor Zyemstev (USA) 8:43:56
3. Michael Lovato (USA) 8:48:22
4. Mike Neill (CAN) 8:53:09
5. Steve Larsen (USA) 8:56:53

Women's Results
1. Heather Wurtele (CAN) 9:38:58
2. Heather Gollnick (USA) 9:50:34
3. Tiina Boman (FIN) 9:55:28
4. Sara Gross (CAN) 10:03:45
5. Haley Cooper (USA) 10:08:04