A pair of sixth place finishes at the biggest race of 2021
With the 2021 Ironman World Championship in Kona postponed until February, the Ironman 70.3 World Championship in St. George emerged as arguably the biggest race of the calendar year. And with all eyes on them, Trek triathletes Skye Moench and Ben Kanute shone bright.
Both finished sixth. For Moench, the result confirmed the great form she showed early in the season. In what has been a particularly long year, especially coming off a pandemic-disrupted 2020, Moench was able to re-find her stride.
“I felt no pressure going into this race, which to me is a good thing because I had nothing to lose by just going as hard as possible and playing my cards the way I wanted to,” Moench said afterwards. “I rode the bike particularly hard to be in a good position off the bike, and then gave everything I had left on the run. The course and racing was tough, but I think I thrive when things get really tough.”
“This race really lifted my spirits for a lot of reasons,” Moench said. “I feel like I had a strong start to the year in April and May and then haven’t necessarily had a standout race since then. I was working towards Kona as my big race for the second half of the year, but that was recently canceled. I’ve had some other uncontrollable circumstances in my life the last few weeks, so there’s been a lot of adapting and plan changing. But I’ve just tried to roll with it and focus on enjoying the opportunity to race.”
Moench is a Utah native, so the result was particularly meaningful to her. She finished fifth at Ironman 70.3 St. George earlier in the year.
“I am from Utah and get a lot of support from so many Utah locals in attendance,” Moench said. “It was awesome to feel the love and to get a solid result at the world championships there.”
Ben Kanute still hungry
Ben Kanute was confident heading into the weekend. He has had a strong season and his training leading up to the race felt good.
He had ambitions to finish even higher than sixth, but he’s happy with the effort he gave.
“The whole day can be summed up as ‘solid,'” Kanute said after the race. “This is a good result, but leaves me wanting much more. I am encouraged by a lot of things in this race, and it shows a lot of potential for returning to the same venue for Worlds next year.”
Kanute led the race leaving the first transition after a strong swim. After holding off chasers on the bike for 12 minutes, he felt he was in position for a potential podium place going into the run. He finished just 1:24 out of bronze within a stacked field.
Like Moench, Kanute enjoyed the opportunity to race in front of a (relatively) local crowd as an American. He has had a good season stateside, most recently winning the Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon.
“I always love racing World Championships, especially on U.S. soil,” Kanute said. “It provides a special atmosphere, and St. George was no different.”