No wonder Ruth Astle said she was going to “drown in a bath of champagne” after IRONMAN Mallorca 2021, things just could not get any better.
Ruth, who is still the reigning Kona age-group champion, courtesy of that 2019 success, grabbed her first IRONMAN victory as a PRO on the Balearic Island after holding on to win an epic race.
Astle produced an excellent swim and then followed it up with the fastest bike split of the day to put her in contention for the win heading into T2. Ruth then took over from Lisa Norden on the run before holding off the fast-finishing Justine Mathieux and Kristin Liepold. She also went sub-9, finishing in a time of 8:59:15.
As good as it gets – Astle
Interviewed immediately afterwards by Paul Kaye, Ruth admitted things could not get any better:
“No, it really can’t I thought, In my head I kind of thought if I had a really good day, the kind of day I could have, I should be on the podium. But as you know, I’ve had all these calf issues, you saw me back in Nice when I had to pull out. So I wasn’t quite sure if I was gonna survive the run. Rolled the dice a little bit.
“Felt really great on the swim and the bike, but yeah on the run I was being chased pretty hard. Took me three laps to catch Lisa, and then I knew that the girls behind were running really quickly.
“I had to keep the pressure on, really didn’t appreciate it being a kilometre long – Thorsten, please be nice to us – but yeah, what an epic race.”
Mallorca delivers in style
Not one but two PRO races took place on this Balearic island on Saturday, with Challenge Mallorca also going down. Nicola Spirig, who would claim first in that event, afterwards re-iterated her love for the venue and it was a theme Ruth very much backed up.
“The crowd support here, absolutely amazing. There are so many Brits out here – every time I went past them they were all cheering for me. The amount of age-groupers that as I came past were being great – yeah, it’s been amazing.”
Astle’s calf problems obviously left doubt in her mind as to how she would cope with the run on Saturday, but the way she needed to alter her preparation helped her in another way.
“I think just that overall fitness – I’ve put in a lot more bike miles because of not running – so that I think that came through on the bike. And it’s the perfect kind of course for me – it suits being really aero and being quite strong as opposed to just having pure power.
“Again with the course you could kind of tell when you were catching people with the out-and-backs, that was really motivating. Yeah the run I just felt good, got in my rhythm, didn’t really like the sandy bit, that wasn’t that fun.
“But I think you can’t get better than this – running out here in the sunshine, by the beach – gonna go pop in the sea in a bit and then drown in a bath of champagne!”