Perfect conditions aligned with the stunning backdrop in the tourist town of Peguera on the island of Mallorca where Heather Wurtele added to her season’s successes taking top honors at Challenge Peguera-Mallorca.
Mixing things up this season, the Wurtele’s decided to have a European focus to their season to experience different races and destinations. Wurtele landed on the podium multiple times highlighted by a win at IRONMAN 70.3 Campeche and 3rd place at ITU Long Distance World Championships along with a 7th place at IRONMAN 70.3 World Championships.
On race day, the temperatures hovered just warm enough to make it a non-wetsuit swim. Wurtele described the conditions stating “The course here is awesome. The swim is in beautiful, crystal clear water in the bay and I came out just back of the lead pack out of the water.”
The 2-loop bike course required a complete skill set to dominate, which suited Wurtele as she went to to work quickly, catching all but 1st and 2nd place by 30 minutes into the bike. Wurtele benefited from putting in some time on the course before race day commenting “The bike course was a great combination of climbing, technical descents and aero-position rolling hills. It was a lot of fun to ride and being able to ride the loop several times in training really helped me as far as knowing how fast I could take all the corners.” By 40 minutes in, Wurtele had worked her way to the head of the race “I managed to drop Margie Santimaria of Italy just before the end of the first loop of the bike. I had great riding legs and was having a lot of fun riding, so I just tried to stay focused and keep the pressure on.” By the end of the bike Wurtele had opened up a gap of over 5 minutes on both Yvonne van Vlerken, and ITU racer Katrien Verstuyft of Belgium, though Wurtele pushed on not knowing what the time gaps were as she wasn’t receiving any splits to her competitors behind.
The Challenge half marathon run course proved to be a technical one, Wurtele said “The run course was a 4-loop course that was either up or down (except for one ~1km out and back along the beach) with a lot of turns. The crowd support was great and the whole race atmosphere was really nice.” As for the conditions, Wurtele described them as near ideal “It got into the high 20’s by the end of the race but conditions were pretty perfect. I started with two bottles that each had 6 scoops EFS PRO lemon water and got water at aid stations. That and an EFS Liquid Shot flask, and I’m usually golden for a warm race.” Feeling strong on the run, Wurtele kept the pressure on throughout holding a consistent advantage, owning the race to finish in 4:24:42, with almost 4 and a half minutes to spare on 2nd place Verstuyft.
Happy to add another victory to her season and move up in the Challenge series standings with one remaining race Wurtele expressed
“It always feels great to put together a solid all-around performance and take the win. I’ve had a solid season, with only podium finishes, except for the 70.3 World Championships, but I’m definitely aiming for that top step every time I’m on the start line, so it was really nice to be back there!”
October 14, 2017
1. Heather Wurtele 4:24:42
2. Katrien Verstuyft 4:29:10
3. Yvonne Van Vlerken 4:30:57
4. Margie Santimaria 4:33:43
5. Sofie Goos 4:34:40