The most noteworthy events were Ironman Austria; the Pacific Coast Triathlon (U.S. Sprint National Championship), held in Newport Beach, Calif.; and the Xterra Keystone off-road triathlon, held in Keystone, Colo. All three events took place Sunday, with marquee names competing for top finishes in each.
Jurgen Zacks bad luck at Ironman Europe two weeks ago became Tim DeBooms bad luck at Ironman Austria on Sunday.
Zack had been favored to win a sixth Ironman Europe title in Roth, Germany, but was forced to drop out of the race at an early point due to mechanical troubles with his bike.
Because Zack missed the Hawaii Ironman last October due to injury, he needed to earn a pro qualifying slot for this years race with a top finish at an official qualifying event. So after his disappointment in Roth, Zack made an 11th-hour decision to race in Austria, where American Tim DeBoom had been the favorite.
Known as the strongest cyclist in the sport, Zack took over the lead early in the bike leg. His blazing 4:15 split put him 15 minutes ahead of DeBoom at the second transition. DeBoom ran hard to close the gap to 1 1/2 minutes at the finish line, which a cruising Zack reached in 8:07:16. His compatriot Rainer Muller-Horner took third place.
In the womens field, defending champion Wendy Ingraham of the United States had an easy time of it, racing off the front all day and winning by 13 minutes. Tamara Kozulina of the Ukraine was a surprise runner-up and Canadian Lori-Lynn Leach was third across the line.
Pacific Coast Triathlon (U.S. Sprint National Championship)
Chris McCormack and Michellie Jones were winners at the Pacific Coast Triathlon held Sunday in Newport Beach, Calif.
The victory was a title defense for Jones, while McCormack, who is Jones houseguest this summer in her Carlsbad, Calif., home, had not competed in the event previously.
McCormack has been on a tear since failing to make the Australian Olympic Team in April and electing to base himself in the United States this season. Seeking to prove a point, he defeated all comers at two NATS events. McCormack was also victorious at Escape from Alcatraz, the San Diego International Triathlon and the Carlsbad Triathlon, before extending his winning streak at Pacific Coast.
His closest was competitor was Erik Burgan, who finished a minute and nine seconds off McCormacks winning pace of 55:53 in the 0.5-mile swim, 12-mile bike, 3-mile run event. Finishing third was Spencer Smith, who remains at an early point on the long road toward Ironman fitness in October. Defending race champion Emilio DeSoto took fifth place behind 21-year-old up-and-comer Fabio Carvalho of San Diego.
Jones has also been winning a lot of races this year, but unlike McCormack, she will represent Australia in Sydney in September. Her winning time of 1:02:44 would have placed her 10th in the mens pro field. Jessi Stensland of La Jolla, Calif., who is sponsored by Active.com, captured second place in 1:04:56.
Xterra Keystone, Colo.
Defending 1999 Xterra World Champion Ned Overend, 44, of Durango, Colo., won his first Xterra race of the year Sunday in 2:08:26. As one of the worlds most decorated mountain bikers, it was no surprise that the man from Colorado would win on his home turf. The victory was especially sweet, as Overend had finished second at Keystone last year, having been run down by Michael Tobin, after leading on the bike.
This was the third year that Xterra was held at Keystone Resort, where athletes had to brave the cold, 54-degree water, high altitude and a 2,200 foot ascent on the mountain bike.
Ex-Navy SEAL and four-time 2000 Xterra winner Kerry Classen was first to complete the 1K swim, in 12:07. Scott Schumaker 30, of Topanga Canyon, Calif., and John Koenig 30, of Phoenix, trailed him through two laps. Overend exited the water 20th, over three minutes behind Classen.
Classen was able to keep his lead at the start of the 26-kilometer mountain bike course. However, Overend, with more than 15 years of mountain biking experience, was able to navigate the difficult and highly technical Xterra course with by far the fastest time of the day, in 1:10:19.
Overend passed the early race leaders about halfway up Keystone Mountain, and increased his lead to almost four minutes coming into the run transition, proving the master still has it over athletes 10 and 17 years his junior.
Overend was able to maintain his lead from the bike on the 10K trail run. Canadian Mike Vine, 27, caught and passed Classen on the run, and captured second in 2:10:12, just under two minutes behind Overend. Even though he had the fastest run of the day in 40:27, Tobin couldnt catch Vine, whose finish allowed him to maintain his overall Nissan Xterra Series Points lead.
The womens race showcased the talents of local Evergreen, Colo., resident Kerstin Weule, 33, who took first place in 2:37:06. It was her third Xterra Keystone victory. Weule dominated the entire womens race with the fastest swim (12:38), bike (1:33:54) and run (48:34) times of the day.
With 21 seconds separating Weule and Lorraine Barrows, 27, of Laramie, Wyo., in the swim, Weule really demonstrated her prowess on the mountain bike. Pushing hard up the first steep climb, Weule was all smiles as she pulled ahead of Barrows to take the lead for the rest of the race, leaving Barrows and Jenny Tobin, 31, of Boise, Idaho, to duke it out in her dust.
Barrows led Tobin up the hill, and kept her lead on the downhill, despite losing a wheel, and led Tobin into the run transition by over two minutes.
Out on the run, Weule was still ahead, however Barrows was hot on her heels. Things between Barrows and Tobin got even more intense on the run, but Barrows was able to keep her lead, finishing only 10-seconds ahead of Tobin.
It was Weules second Xtera win in two weeks, bumping her up two places to take the lead in the Nissan Xterra Series Point Standings.