SQUAMISH, British Columbia — The race was tough and the conditions dreadful — 2.4 miles of swimming, 112 miles of cycling and 26.2 miles of running, mostly in freezing rain — but Susanne Davis crossed the Ironman Canada finish line last July certain that she had won her category, women age 40-44.
Davis, who comes from Carlsbad, Calif., and is one of the top triathletes in her age group in the world, had been first out of the water and first off her bike — she was sure of it. Spectators using a mobile phone race app that shows competitors’ relative positions called out encouragement, telling her she was ahead by a comfortable 10 minutes. As she ran, Davis looked out for rivals, asking the age of every woman she passed or who passed her, and encountered none from her age group.
Yet there she was, accepting the medal for second place at the awards ceremony the next day, five minutes behind a Canadian triathlete named Julie Miller who seemed to have materialized from nowhere and somehow won the race.