PC:Cesar Gomez

Just two shorts weeks ago, Justin Metzler finished 4th at IRONMAN Ireland and followed that up by defending his Challenge San Gil title at the half distance race this past weekend.

Regarding the draw to return to race in San Gil, Metzler said “I think it takes a particular type of athlete to race well in San Gil as it is a brutal and honest course- not to mention the race is set at 6,200 ft elevation with the bike course topping out at 7,700 ft! It starts off with a non-wetsuit swim in the warm waters of Lake San Gil followed by a demanding 90k ride. The first part of the bike course starts out undulating and the latter half has a big 30 minute climb followed by a screaming descent back into T2. The run is completely on cobblestones and rock which adds a unique element and challenge for the entire field.”

Though he won in 2018, Metzler didn’t perform to his ability in the swim and made a point to consciously push the pace in the water this year. With a quick transition, Metzler ensured he was at the front of the race heading onto the bike, commenting “With such high altitude, it’s tough to find the line between what is hard and fast and what is going to send you over the edge and blow up. I felt like I was right there in the swim, exiting with 2 super-fast swimmers in a quick 23:30 for 1.2 miles.”

PC: @challengesangil

For the first 30 minutes on the bike, Metzler was looking to create some separation from the pack stating “I have been putting a lot of emphasis on my bike in training, so this was a great opportunity to put some of that to the test. At the first turn around (about 20 miles) I had 3 minutes on the field and was able to settle into a rhythm. As I backed off the power a bit, I realized how big I had gone in the swim and early stages of the bike and started to worry a bit! It took me about 20 minutes to recover, so I drank and ate as much as I could to prepare for the impending big climb on the second half of the course. Assuming the gap was about the same to start the climb, I rode strong but conservative and smart. I bombed the downhill and got off the bike feeling ready to run but also well aware of the effort I just put out on the ride.”

PC: Cesar Gomez

Charging hard in the opening miles of the run, Metzler opened the gap to second place to about 5 minutes by the 10km mark. While holding a solid lead on the run, Metzler said “I was able to take a deep breath with a decent hold on the lead, but I wasn’t forgetting that I just raced an IRONMAN 2 weeks ago! Anything can happen in long course triathlon, so I kept pressing and pushing myself all the way to the finish tape.”

PC: @lalobadillo_

Posting the race best bike and run split, Metzler successfully defended his title in a time of 4:00:22. Exuberant to repeat his victory at Challenge San Gil, Metzler said “This is a special race for me as I had the pleasure of winning the event in 2018. It was a unique experience wearing bib #1 and having all eyes on me to win again. Having just raced a full IRONMAN in Ireland 2 weeks prior, I had no idea how my body was going to respond. Thankfully, all of the training I did before the IRONMAN shined through and allowed me to have a great performance winning the race by 7 minutes and improving my 2018 time by 2 minutes.”

“Being able to defend my win at Challenge San Gil was a special moment in my career that I won’t forget anytime soon! “

PC: Cesar Gomez

With race day temperatures around 80 degrees, Metzler said “I knew that I would be expending a lot of energy and my nutrition had to be spot on. I had 1 bottle of EFS before the race start, 3 bottles on the bike, and a full flask of EFS Liquid Shot in the early stages of the run which was the game changer of the day, allowing me to finish feeling strong and in control and of course Ultragen immediately post- race.”

Challenge San Gil
Querétaro, Mexico

1. Justin Metzler 4:00:22
2. Elliott Bach 4:07:41
3. Arturo Garza 4:10:40
4. Diego Baca 4:12:21
5. Brandon Krout 4:25:11