For Snyder, the win is her second in three weeks, the seventh in two years on the XTERRA Pan America Tour, and the ninth in her career.
“As I approached the finish and heard the announcer call my name as the winner I got goosebumps and broke out in a big smile,” said Snyder. “I’m happy that I had a good clean race without any silly mistakes, got another good hard early season race effort in the books, and was able to take home the win!”
It was all Suzie Snyder all day long, from the swim to the sand shuffle to the finish line.
“I think the weather gods were on our side today, it was overcast for most of the race which was a huge relief because the course was challenging enough,” exclaimed Snyder. “The bike course has some steep climbs and soft dirt that can really zap your legs, unless maybe I just had tired legs from the past couple weeks? My legs felt cooked when I began the run, so thankfully there was just one good hill right at the start, and I knew I had a 3.5-minute lead so I felt that if I focused on maintaining a smooth tempo and high cadence to regulate my effort and temperature until my legs loosened up, I should be safe. The temps were increasing but the legs started to come around on the forested single track loops so I tried to push it a little more there before hitting the soft deep sand over the last mile which I knew would be slow and tough to run hard through.”
Maia Ignatz, last year’s runner-up on the Pan Am Tour, was putting on a hard charge behind Snyder and had passed Kara LaPoint to move into the second spot and was closing in on the lead before taking a wrong turn.
“Well, today was bittersweet,” said Ignatz. “I had an amazing day, but I missed the second small loop on the run and ended up disqualified. It would have been close, I think, and its a tough lesson learned, massively disappointing and heartbreaking. I will do better next time. Onward and upward.”
As a result of the miscue by Ignatz, Kara LaPoint, who was on her third race in as many weeks just like Snyder, finished 2nd here in Costa Rica for the second year in a row.
“I had a solid race today, and am really happy with my performance,” she said. “Coming in my legs were a little bit tired from having raced the past two weekends, and all the travel along with that, but I ended up feeling pretty strong out there. I had a great swim, stuck with Laura, who has my “favorite feet” to hang on to (she is ALWAYS strong on the swim and always nails the sighting!), so I was really happy with that start. She, Maia and I all started the ride together. I was able to pull away fairly early and get a small gap. I never really looked back, but I had a good feeling Maia was hanging on not too far behind, as she is always a fighter and I could tell she was strong today. I really tried to keep my foot on the gas, which can be tough on this course when you’re riding alone. Came in to T2 in a solid second position, just a few minutes out of the lead, and was feeling good and ready to run! Maia came into transition as I was heading out, so I knew I had to be quick, as she’s so amazing on the run! I put it all out there and maintained 2nd for the first couple miles before she came flying by, looking super strong. I was absolutely gutted for her when I found out what had happened at the finish, and it definitely made my result much less sweet. For the rest of the run I just tried to stay relaxed and efficient. I knew I had a decent gap behind me, but you can never let up too much, as you never know what can happen out there! It was a hot run, but not nearly as bad as last year for me, where I really suffered, and I was super happy to finish strong and still feeling good. I am especially happy to have continued to improve my performances over each of the last three weekends, and feel that I’m steadily inching my way closer to the front, which is exciting! It’s been an amazing experience here in Costa Rica, and throughout my whole travels these last three weeks. Wouldn’t trade it for anything!”
Annie Bergen from Canada finished in the third spot, Laura Mira Dias from Brazil finished fourth for the third time in four years at this race, and Liz Gruber rounded out the top five.
1 Suzie Snyder, USA 2:41:44
2 Kara LaPoint, USA 2:42:31
3 Annie Bergen, CAN 2:50:57
4 Laura Mira Dias, BRA 2:51:52
5 Liz Gruber, USA 2:53:43