The Sub7/Sub8 Project was an ambitious endeavor to push the limits of human endurance. Four elite triathletes—Blummenfelt, Joe Skipper, Kat Matthews and Nicola Spririg—set out to clock times never seen before at the Ironman distance. This special event allowed each athlete to have a team of up to 10 pacers. Blummenfelt and Skipper were aiming to break the 7-hour barrier, while Matthews and Spirig were attempting to go under 8 hours.
In the end, Blummenfelt beat his head-to-head competitor Skipper in the men’s race and smashed the 7-hour mark with an incredible time of 6:44:25. Riding the latest version of the prototype CADEX triathlon frameset and Aero WheelSystems that he used to power to victory at the Ironman World Championships in St. George, he completed the 180km bike split in an astonishing time of 3:24:22 for an average speed of 52.8 kph.
Blummenfelt made his biggest gains on the bike, beating his target time of 3:49 by nearly 25 minutes. The strategy going in was to aim for a fast but steady pace on the bike and conserve enough energy to go all out on the run. While Blummenfelt's swim and run were slightly off his target times, it was still enough to break the 7-hour barrier with room to spare.
Each of the pacers on the bike leg was also equipped with the new CADEX triathlon bike. The team of eight other riders included Adam Duggleby (UK), Axel Dopfer (GER), Chris Fennell (UK), Gruff Lewis (WAL), Kyle Gordon (SCO), Matt Bottrill (UK), Philip Williams (UK) and William Perrett (UK). In addition, Blummenfelt had one pacer for the swim, Lars Botellier (NED), and one for the run, Barnaba Kipkoech (KEN).
More details on the frameset and WheelSystems will be unveiled later this month.
“That was tough,” said Blummenfelt, who over the last year has also won an Olympic gold medal and Ironman World Championship. “Even sitting back there on the bike, the guys were pushing so hard. It has been two years of planning. It’s all crucial to get a dialed in team. The team put together a great performance.”
Following the bike leg, Blummenfelt chased down Skipper, who had the lead through the second transition. Running a 3:33 min/km pace, the Norwegian caught and passed the Brit at the 18km mark and kept it up to the finish to take the historic win.
“A massive thanks to Joe and his team for the tough battle,” Blummenfelt said afterward. “Luckily we managed to sneak just in front. Another thanks for the Pho3nix [Foundation] for organizing this. It’s been an epic challenge.”