McCormack exited the water in fifth place, trailing fellow Aussies Craig Walton and Marc Lees, Martin Krnavek of the Czech Republic and U.S. swim specialist Kerry Clausen. Macca shunned shoes for the second year in succession on the long run to the transition area and exited close to the lead, behind Waldo.
"I had him down to about 20 meters by the second big hill on the bike," McCormack said. "I thought to myself, 'I've got him, no dramas.' I hadn't drunk yet, so I did so and then as we came down the hill, all of a sudden he was off in the distance. So I didn't drink from then on and just concentrated on reeling him in."
With the memories of Ironman California still fresh in his legs, Walton's margin of just over a minute heading out on the hilly, eight-mile run wasn't enough to fend off a hard-charging McCormack. Just how much did Walton's tiredness cost him?
"I think it cost him big time," said McCormack, who ran on to a 40-second victory as he took the time to high-five the sun-drenched crowd.
Behind the Aussie duo was Olympic champion Simon Whitfield, who lost time on the bike. Other ITU regulars such as Lees and Krnavek also cycled comparatively slowly in this non-drafting race, with Krnavek unable to escape the bronchial infection that saw him walk to 47th place at last week's ITU "B" race in Shreveport. Ironman World Champion Peter Reid fared poorly in this rare short-course appearance, coasting in to finish 18th.
In the women's race, an invincible Jones racked up her sixth Escape victory. A pattern all too reminiscent of previous years was repeated as Barb Lindquist vainly attempted to maintain her swim advantage throughout the remainder of the course.
Lindquist's bike and run have improved, sure, but so has Jones's swim. This year, the swim specialist was only 30 seconds ahead of the Australia all-'rounder after the mile-and-a-half swim in sometimes difficult conditions, and she must have been shocked to see fast-rising local pro Becky Gibbs only eight seconds back.
Lindquist was able to maintain her lead as far as the second transition, posting an identical bike split to Jones but with only 20 seconds in hand, the race was as good as decided. Jones quickly moved ahead and pulled ahead to a 2 1/2-minute win. Gibbs remained consistently quick throughout the bike and run to hold onto third ahead of Heather Fuhr, whose run split was the fastest of the day.
Race director Terry Davis credited divine intervention for near-perfect race day conditions: "I prayed a lot last night and it clearly worked. Everything came out great and it doesn't get any better than this."
The Lamisil AT Escape from Alcatraz will be broadcast by NBC on June 24, 2 - 3 p.m. EST and 12 -1 p.m. PDT.
Lamisil Escape From Alcatraz Triathlon
June10, 2001, San Francisco, Calif.
1.5-mile swim, 18-mile bike, 8-mile run
1. Chris McCormack, 27, Carlsbad, 2:00:29
2. Craig Walton, 25, Gold Coast, 2:01:09
3. Simon Whitfield, 26, Victoria, 2:02:37
4. Paul Amey, 27, Cardiff, 2:03:35
5. Greg Bennett, 29, Victoria, 2:03:56
6. Martin Krnavek, 27, Prague, 2:05:25
7. Marc Lees, 28, Encinitas, 2:05:31
8. Wesley Hobson, 34, Boulder, 2:05:38
9. Kerry Clausen, 28, Bakersfield, 2:05:47
10. Cameron Widoff, 31, Boulder, 2:07:18
1. Michellie Jones, 31, Carlsbad, 2:16:21
2. Barb Lindquist, 31, Wilson, 2:18:56
3. Becky Gibbs, 26, San Jose, 2:20:50
4. Heather Fuhr, 33, San Diego, 2:22:33
5. Jessi Stensland, 24, La Jolla, 2:23:32
6. Beth Zinkand, 31, Davis, 2:25:11
7. Jody Mielke-Purcell, 29, Engadine, 2:26:22
8. Wendy Ingraham, Walnut Creek, 2:27:18
9. Kristin Armstrong, 27, Boise, 2:27:28
10. Teri Duthie, 24, Boulder, 2:27:38
Ready to catch the swim-bike-run bug? Check out our Give it a Tri section