The seconds to shave and sacrifice
KEYSTONE – A few seconds can be made up and lost at many different points in a triathlon. Getting out of a wet suit takes precious seconds. The decision to wear socks or bike gloves, they cost seconds. Tying shoes, drinking water, eating something, all ring up in seconds. Then there’s the athletic part. Six seconds isn’t much in a championship triathlon, and local pros Josiah Middaugh and Lisa Isom would have needed a few more win their races.Middaugh took third of the pro men Sunday in the Nissan Xterra Mountain Championship triathlon at Keystone. He finished in 2 hours, 9 minutes and 48 seconds, just a few steps behind second-place finisher Conrad Stoltz of South Africa (2:09.42), but a good half-mile behind winner Mike Vine of Victoria, B.C. (2:05.10). “My biking felt a little flat,” Middaugh said. “I wasn’t reeling people in as fast as I normally do. I got off the bike and put together a real good run, though.”
The race consisted of a 1-kilometer swim through the icy waters of Keystone Lake, a 31K bike ride up and down Keystone Mountain on technical singletrack and a 10K trail run. Middaugh completed his run in 39:14, the fastest time of the day.”I was steadily making up ground on most of the pack,” Middaugh said of his run. “I was about 2:15 off (Stoltz) on the bike. I reeled him in. The race just wasn’t long enough.”Vine beat Middaugh by 30 seconds two weeks ago in an Xterra points series race in Crested Butte. Stoltz, a world champion and Olympic contender, has been staying at Middaugh’s home for the last couple of weeks adjusting to the altitude, along with racer Melanie McQuaid of British Columbia, who won the pro women’s race Sunday in 2:29.54.California racer Jamie Whitmore (2:32.52) took second of the pro women, and the next four finishers came through in rapid succession, beginning with Monique Merrill (2:36.04) of Breckenridge in third, Boulder’s Melissa Thomas (2:36.39) in fourth, Jen Tobin (2:36.40) of Idaho in fifth, and Lisa Isom (2:36.44) in sixth.
“It was a little frustrating,” said Isom, “less than 45 seconds off the podium. I was straining to catch fourth place. (Thomas) looked like she was dying, then she saw me and (Tobin), and I guess that’s the only spark she needed to start sprinting to the finish.”Isom still managed to shave six minutes off of her time in last year’s Xterra at Keystone, and, for the most part, was happy with her race.”It’s really refreshing to see the women’s side getting tough,” she said. “The men’s field has been tough for a long time, but only now has the women’s become really competitive. There are so many things that can lose you seconds in a race like this. But I feel like I did everything.”Isom said she had a Quick-draw tie on her shoes which she forget to loosen before the race. She said she probably spent 20 seconds wrestling with her laces between the bike and the run, but it’s nothing she wants to obsess over.”You can’t do that to yourself after a race,” she said. “But you never know beforehand that it’s going to come down to seconds. You just have to learn something for the next time.”
Pro mountain biker Jimi Mortenson was 18th of the pro men with a time of 2:24.25.Non-pros from the valley finish on topLocal amateur racers in Sunday’s triathlon fared strongly. Dawes Wilson won the men’s 50-54-year-old event in 2:47.55, and Susan Bird won the women’s 50-54-year-old race in 4:26.45. Paul Gorsbold took third of the men’s 25-29 group, and Toni Axelrod took third in the women’s 30-34 category, beating several of the pro women with her time of 2:54.42.
“I kind of ran myself into the ground,” said Axelrod, who finished less than a minute back from the winner of her category. “It was unbelievable how close it was after a three-hour race. It came down to the last mile. You’re racing with the first and second- place girls right at the end.”Axelrod took 15 minutes off of her finish time last year and, like Isom and Middaugh, will compete in the Xterra national championship in Lake Tahoe, Nev., in October.Other top-10 finishers from the Vail Valley included Paul Davis (2:42.09), who took fourth in the men’s 40-44 group; Kevin Deighan (2:56.47), who was fifth in the men’s 45-49; Karl Edgerton (2:59.29), who took eighth in men’s 40-44; Onie Bolduc (2:49.53) who was eighth in the men’s 20-24 group; and Jill Alexander (3:43.49), who finished ninth of women 25-29. Sports Writer Shauna Farnell can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 610, or firstname.lastname@example.org.Vail, Colorado
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