Race Report: 2011 Amica Mid-Summer Sprint Triathlon

Submitted by Dave Campbell

Race morning at Blue Lake Park began cool and foggy for the 400 participants in this year’s Amica Mid-Summer Triathlon on Sunday, July 31. By the time the athletes had made their way down to the lake, however, the fog had had lifted bathing us in glorious warm sunshine befitting the day’s name. Athletes competed in a Tri-iT (novice) triathlon, a sprint duathlon, an Olympic-distance triathlon, or the TRI NorthWest Regional Sprint Triathlon Championship event.

While the Olympic event traditionally has some outstanding competition, the sprint triathlon had the biggest field, offered a regional title, and was the one I chose to compete in. Athletes tackled the 750-meter, counter-clockwise swim in warm, calm, pleasant Blue Lake in waves, separated by three minute intervals. 17-year-old Conor Smythe of Portland ripped through the swim in the mid 70s water in 10:30 with Beaverton’s Jason Morgan, starting in the large, third wave just slightly behind in 10:34. 35-year-old Jennifer Briggs of Eugene was fastest woman in 12:08, sixth overall with another teenager, Rachel Borrows, age 15 from Hillsboro, only a second slower. With the wave starts and intermingled genders, athletes had to focus on getting through the course as fast as they possibly could as overall positioning was hard, if not impossible to determine, while faster athletes passed starters from earlier waves in their march forward. Running your own race – always the rule in triathlon – was especially true today.

The bike course, lengthened to 16.1 miles last year to fit the Amica series format, is flat and breezy on Marine Drive along the Columbia River. With only a dip under an overpass and another dip down to the turnaround, the course is flat, fast, and very straight with the only a slight wind to contend with this year. Not long off a two week riding adventure in the high mountain air of the Italian Alps, I posted the fastest time with 38:06, an average of over 25 miles per hour, to move into the men’s lead. Kristina Lackner, my girlfriend and partner on the Italy trip (where we climbed 48,000 vertical feet over 21 passes) was fastest woman by a minute and a half (41:28 and 10th overall) to take the lead in the women’s race.

Of course, with several minutes between waves and top overall competitors in all age groups no one really knew their position so we all just kept the hammer down. The sight of at least a couple younger and very fleet footed runners flying back from turnaround confirmed my suspicions that while a Masters win was possible, an overall victory was likely a stretch. The most impressive was a small, lightly built young man (27) from Boise, Idaho in a Blue one piece suit who was running beautifully. Sure enough Rick Floyd, averaging 5:35 per mile, moved from fourth off the bike into the overall victory with a butter smooth 17:21 5K run. Smythe, who held his own on the bike in 40:17 (4th best bike split and 3rd off the bike) moved up to second and dominated his age group in 1:13:20, 27 seconds behind the victorious Floyd. I was third overall in 1:13:39 (Top Master) with a 19:31 run (10th best overall) that I was happy with.

Meanwhile my partner was suffering a similar but much more closely contested fate in the women’s race. Running a 20:26 (18th overall and 2nd among the women) Lackner lost the overall by just three seconds to 36-year-old Melissa Lind of Hermiston, Oregon. Well down after a 15:27 swim, Lind had a lightening fast transition and then rode a solid 42:50 bike to enter the run 15th overall of the 156 finishers and 2nd among the women. Her blazing 19:24 run (9th best overall on the day) gave her not only the age group win but the overall women’s title in 1:21:27. Lackner joined me as best Master in 1:21:30.

44-year-old Ken Hyland of Colton, OR had the second best run on the day in 17:45 to claim second in the Masters in 1:17:19 ahead of Kevin Gustafson of Prosser, WA (1:18:17). Nate Youngs of Boring, OR won the 30-34 in 1:17:56 (5th overall). Perhaps the most impressive men’s performance was 59-year-old Mark Jensen of McCall, Idaho with a 1:18:17 dominant age group performance, which was good for but was 7th overall. Just behind him came another “experienced” competitor, Curtis Troupe, age 54, who won his division in 1:19:32. Dana Alvares of Portland was top 45-49 in 1:22:00. Andrew Lubash of Beaverton was top 18-19 performer in 1:24:59, Connor Wege of Portland, Jeffrey Oram of Redondo Beach, CA won the 35-39 men in 1:22:28 and Kirk “The Eternal One” Rose of Albany, OR won the 60-64s in 1:31:56. 67-year-old Jim Gulaskey posted an impressive 1:30:26 as best 65-69. The day’s oldest finisher was 71-year-old Jim Vitale of Las Vegas, NV in 2:17:04.

Lauren Taksa of Mount Shasta, CA was third overall among the women in 1:23:40 to also take the 30-34 title, 51 years young Jodi Marthaller of Medford, OR managed an impressive 6th overall en route to winning her age group title in 1:30:41 and claiming second amongst the Masters. Borrows hung on to 7th in 1:31:19 and won the 15-17 year-old age group. Tiffany Davis of Canby, OR was tops in the 18-19s in 1:48:10 and Ursula Barton of Portland won the 20-24s in 1:45:25. Becky Dan of Portland was first amongst 25-29s in 1:40:12. Kelley Biskey of Portland topped the 45-49s in 2:01:48 and the amazing Llona Ney Clauson of McCall, Idaho left many a younger competitor in the dust posting 1:48:33 to win the 55-59 year old category. The oldest lady to finish was Maryjean Filberti of Washougal, Washington who broke the tape in 1:58:08 at 62 years young.

For complete results for this year’s Amica Mid-Summer Triathlon & Duathlon, visit www.racecenter.com/results.

With at least two months of really nice weather remaining in the Northwest, there are still a wide variety of running, cycling, and multisport options to finish up the season. One of the most exciting events is a new long course triathlon (and duathlon) back at Blue Lake Park September 3-4, aptly dubbed the StumpTown Triathlon. Wherever your fitness takes you enjoy the ride and see you at the races!


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