Challenge San Gil was a race of redemption for Justin Metzler who was searching for a performance he felt worthy of his fitness after it escaped him at his last race at IRONMAN Boulder. Metzler capitalized on the opportunity putting together a race he knew he was capable of to take the top step of the podium at Challenge San Gil.
Typically at the front of the field in the swim, Metzler knew he had his work cut out for him with super swimmer and 2016 winner Giardini lining up to contest the race again. Missing the feet of Giardini at the beginning of the swim, Metzler opted to keep his effort in control and cruise comfortably in the group behind Giardini, ready to execute a strong effort on the bike and run.
Facing a minute deficit following the swim, Metzler put in a surge at the beginning of the bike to separate himself from a group of six who started the bike together. Despite putting together a great ride, Metzler fell further behind the leader stating “I settled into my pace, feeling great and riding strong. I was pushing some really serious power – especially with the course starting at 6,500 ft elevation and climbing up to 7,500 ft at the top point – but still could not make any gains to the leader. I did what I felt was my best ride on the day and got off the bike in 2nd with the gap to the lead at a daunting 6-minutes.”
At the start of the run, Metzler felt good but wasn’t anticipating reeling in a 6 minute deficit. “Starting the run I felt just as good as I did on the bike, if not better. 6 minutes seemed impossible when I set off on foot but I continually reverted back to my original race plan – ‘get the absolute most out of my body on the day’.” Mile by mile the gap was slowly whittling down and half way in Metzler upped the pace and the split between the two started dropping quickly. “Before I knew it, I got a split that he was just over 1-minute ahead and then shortly after I could see him up the road. At 17k I made the pass, surging hard and smashing it all the way home to the finish line.”
Executing a race best run in 1:17 Metzler broke the tape in 4:02:08 to win Challenge San Gil by a margin of 1:56 over 2nd place Giardini. Relieved to feel back on track with this win, Metzler said “Half-distance racing is getting so incredibly competitive that winning any race is an amazing accomplishment. I have had a slow start to 2018 but I knew my form was building to a performance like this.”
“Everything finally came together in San Gil and I was able to have one of my best races to capture my second PRO win.”
“We had great weather in San Gil – 70 degrees and dry but the race takes place between 6500-7500 feet, adding an entirely different element to the dynamic. This made fueling especially important throughout the race. Before the race I had 5x PRE-RACE pills and 1 bottle of EFS PRO. On the bike, I relied on 2 bottles of EFS PRO and 1 flask of EFS Liquid Shot, and another flask of Liquid Shot on the run. Equally important to the in-race fueling was my post-race Ultragen as I am planning to get right back to training this week in my final prep for Ironman Canada.”
“The last 4-weeks have been very up and down for me emotionally and physically. I had such incredible momentum at the end of 2017 and anticipated carrying that into this year but for whatever reason it did not play out that way. The breaking point for me was the race just before San Gil, IRONMAN Boulder where I performed well below what I thought I was capable of. My goal for San Gil was simple – push my body to the absolute limit and get the most out of myself on race day. I did not care about the result, I just wanted to have a race I was proud of. Thankfully, I was able to feel good and take the win which was the best of both worlds. This result put my mind back in the right spot and confirms that I am physically in a position to be strong on the back half of the season and test myself again at the full distance at IRONMAN Canada.”
Challenge San Gil
July 8, 2018
1. Justin Metzler 4:02:08
2. Davide Giardini 4:04:04
3. Alistair Eeckman 4:09:23
4. AJ Baucco 4:13:19
5. Diego Baca Hernandez 4:13:20