Both lost to lightly regarded competitors. Leder avenged Malaysia in March at IM South Africa. Badmann exorcised Malaysia on Saturday, at Ironman California.
She started things out on a good note by exiting the water in 55:45. Even accounting for the wetsuit advantage, that is still a fast swim and put her on good footing.
It didn't take her long to put her famous hammer down on the bike, pedaling her carbon Swiss-made Cheetah to a 5:07:33. To put that bike split in perspective, it was more than 13 minutes faster than the second fastest split among the women, and equivalent to the split ridden by Japan's Shingo Tani, who finished fifth place overall in the men's division.
After the bike ride, it was simply a question of whether she'd fall victim to an act of God. She didn't, and came home in 9:18:48.
The surprise of the race may've been Paula Newby-Fraser, the eight-time Hawaii champ who's lately looked, during Ironman races, like a much-loved but past-the-prime boxing champ coming out of retirement for an ill-advised payday. That Paula didn't race today. There were flashes of the "old" Paula today, especially on the run.
If Natascha makes it look like it's all a ball of fun with that ever-present smile, Paula doesn't, and never has, made it look like anything but the three hours of suffering it is. Suffering though it may be, she historically suffers faster than the other women. On Saturday she ran a 3:12:12, only 30 seconds slower than Natascha ran, en route to a 9:32:39.
During the run Paula swept past Beth Zinkand, who for much of the race looked like the runner-up. She got off the bike with a four-minute lead on Paula and held that margin deep into the run. But she finally ran out of gas, and succumbed to Newby's charge, holding on for third in 9:45:02.
May 19, 2001, Oceanside, Calif.
2.4 mile swim; 112 mile bike; 26.2 mile run
Women's top 10:
1. Natascha Badmann, 55:45, 5:07:03, 3:11:42, 9:18:48
2. Paula Newby-Fraser, 53:17, 5:21:55, 3:12:12, 9:32:39
3. Beth Zinkand, 50:48, 5:20:44, 3:29:41, 9:45:02
4. Holly Nybo, 52:38, 5:30:19, 3:22:38, 9:51:06
5. Nicole DeBoom, 50:03, 5:25:08, 3:33:35, 9:53:34
6. Jill Savege, 48:52, 5:39:27, 3:19:35, 9:53:42
7. Kristen Johnston, 49:49, 5:31:23, 3:44:26, 10:10:18
8. Michelle Deasy, 52:53, 5:42:55, 3:45:45, 10:25:47
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