Triathlon News & Notes: Iron Cowboy Reaches 101, Olympic Team to Be Finalized, and More

Photo: Janos Schmidt/

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“Iron Cowboy” completes 101 iron-distance races in as many days

100 Ironman-distance races just wasn’t enough for James “Iron Cowboy ” Lawrence. So he tacked on just one more to complete his “Conquer 100” challenge—and then some—earlier this week. For 101 straight days, Lawrence set out on the same course of a 2.4-mile pool swim, a 112.21-mile bike ride, and a 26.2-mile run, both on courses near his home in Lindon, Utah. With a swell of support behind him both in his local community and around the world, the 45-year-old father of five racked up some 12,000 miles of swimming, biking, and running, far surpassing his previous benchmark of finishing 50 iron-distance triathlons in 50 consecutive days (in 50 states). Lawrence, who documented his journey on Instagram, used Conquer 100 as a platform for fundraising, meeting his goal of $250,000 for Operation Underground Railroad, a non-profit focusing on fighting human sex trafficking.

Alistair Brownlee DQ’d for “ducking” competitor in Leeds, hopes for Tokyo dashed

Two-time Olympic gold medalist Alistair Brownlee of Great Britain  all but kissed his return to the games goodbye after a rare disqualification in the World Triathlon Series event in Leeds last weekend. During the swim, Brownlee was judged to have pushed American Chase McQueen under the water and DQ’d for unsportsmanlike conduct. The TK-year-old, who announced earlier that Leeds would be his last WTS race, responded with a Tweet, posting, “I’m very embarrassed about being DQ’d. The swim action was completely unintentional and I’ve had worse done to me in every World Series race I’ve ever done. However, it is a field of play decision and I chose not to protest it.” Alex Yee, the 23-year-old Brit who broke the tape in Leeds, is expected to join Brownlee’s brother, Jonny, on the Team GB Olympic squad in Tokyo. 

U.S. Olympic triathlon team to be finalized next week

USA Triathlon will announce its full 2020 U.S. Olympic Triathlon Team on Wednesday, June 16 at 11 a.m. EST. The much-anticipated announcement will reveal whom the USAT Games Athlete Selection Committee have chosen to take to Tokyo, which will include at least one male and one female. Thus far, Summer Rappaport and Taylor Knibb earned automatic berths for the women, and Morgan Pearson is locked in for the men. The athletes in the running include Kirsten Kasper, Taylor Spivey, and Katie Zaferes for the women, and Kevin McDowell, Matt McElory, Seth Rider, and Ben Kanute for the men. Click here for more about the selection process and who has the best odds to be selected.

Sika Henry shares details about her journey to going pro

Sika Henry was profiled this week by the Montclair Local, a piece revealing details about her journey to becoming the first black female triathlete to earn her pro card. The article shares how she wound up “walking and puking” in her first marathon and later entered a sprint triathlon (which she completed using a mountain bike and said she finished “close to last place”)  to get over a bad breakup. It was during that race when she noticed the lack of representation among the competitors and made a long-term goal to become the first black woman to go pro in the sport, which she achieved to great fanfare more than a decade later. 

Sentencing delivered for driver who struck and killed five cyclists, including top triathlete

The driver of a box truck that plowed into a group of cyclists near Las Vegas, killing five, was sentenced Wednesday to a prison term of up to 40 years. Jordan Barson, 45, had more than nine times the amount of methamphetamine in his system that’s needed to be considered legally impared at the time of the December 10 crash, when a group of about 20 cyclists were taking part in an annual 130-mile ride from Henderson, Nev. to Nipton, Calif., and back. Among the victims was Tom Trauger, 57, a talented age-group triathlete who was part of the Every Man Jack squad and had been on the podium at Ironman World championships multiple times at both 70.3 and full Ironman distances. 

Lionel Sanders offers to pay Jan Frodeno’s way to Ironman Coeur D’Alene in cheeky Instagram post

After posting on his “Spill the Beans” Instagram series that he’s looking for a new challenge between now and the Ironman World Championships in October, Jan Frodeno received a tempting response from fellow pro Lionel Sanders. “Jan, I hear you’re looking for a challenge,” Sanders wrote. “I’m willing to pay for your flight, hotel, rental car, and meals if you come race me at Ironman Coeur D’Alene.” Sanders’ post racked up over 420 mostly enthusiastic comments, including one from Frodeno himself who noted that entries are closed for Coeur D’Alene, set for June 27,  adding, “if you are so fit and racing to go, I might need a few more weeks training.” The two will likely face off in Kona, where Frodeno has won three times and Sanders has placed as high as second.

MMA fighter Nate Diaz talks about using triathlon to prep him for the ring

In a chat with Yahoo Sports’ Kevin Iole, professional mixed-martial arts star revealed that he trains and races in triathlons to help get him stronger in the ring. The 36-year-old, who has been competing in multisport since he was 18, drew a comparison between MMA and triathlon, saying “you have to prep equally and be good in each individual sport…it’s like that in mixed martial arts, you have to put the right ingredients into kickboxing, boxing, and wrestling…you have to have all of your [expletive] together.” Diaz also recently posted a race recap on his YouTube channel, highlighting a recent race in  Granite Bay, Calif. He fights for his next title at UFC 263 on Saturday, June 12. 

Podcast Notes

  • The Triathlete Hour hosts an “Age-Group Special,” featuring Tracy Kochian, recent recipient of USAT’s most inspirational comeback award who shares tips for getting through setbacks, of which she has had several. Later, Nicola Dick, the chairwoman of the World Triathlon Age Group Commission, shares her efforts in getting more age-groupers to world championships.  
  • ProTriNews unpacks the WTS Leeds race, including Lucy Charles-Barclay’s impressive debut and surprises at the start list.
  • Zwift Powerup Tri podcast shifts its focus from physical performance to mental health, bringing on triathlete and Ph.D. Kristen Yax to talk about mental wellness.
  • Greg and Laura Bennett bring on Vicky Holland, a three-time British Olympian who’s headed to Tokyo to try to match or better her bronze-medal performance from Rio in 2016.
  • 2021 WTS breakout star Maya Kingma of the Netherlands is on the MX Endurance podcast to talk about her season so far and what’s next.
  • Matt Dixon shares what it takes to be a coachable athlete, including anecdotes from his own athletes and lessons learned along the way, on the Purple Patch Podcast. 
  • Paratriathlete and Paratriathlon gold medalist Grace Norman heads to the IronWoman Podcast to talk about her journey to Tokyo and shifts in her career and life over the pandemic year.

Jan Frodeno Reflects on His Final Ironman World Championship

Immediately after finishing 24th place at his final Ironman World Championships, the Olympic medalist (and three-time IMWC winner) explains what his race in Nice meant to him.