Saturday, November 24, 2007

Colting, Armstrong lead Day One of Ultraman

By: Timothy Carlson

VOLCANOES NATIONAL MONUMENT, Hawaii - The two-time ITU long course World Championship medalist from Sweden lay on the grass in Hawaii's Volcanoes National Park not to celebrate opening a 43-minute lead but to pay the Ultra price.

Jonas Colting winced in pain and tried to hold his throbbing calf after swimming 10km in a race-best 2 hours 26 minutes and biking 90 miles with 8,700 feet of steep climbing in similarly superior 4 hours 42 minutes on the opening day of the three day Ultraman Triathlon World Championship.

His first day total of 7 hours 8 minutes and 57 seconds led Tim Sheeper of Menlo Park, California and two-time Ultraman winner Alexandre Ribeiro of Brazil by nearly an hour. But all Colting could do was stare at his huge calf muscle as it throbbed and contracted like a horror movie.

"I've got the movie monster from Alien inside my legs, trying to get out" said Colting to his support crew. "Give me salt pills!"

Almost precisely two hours later, three-time defending champion Shanna Armstrong of Texas held nasty infected blisters on her neck and back and wondered where she might find some pain pills. "I wore a fastskin suit for the swim to avoid wetsuit chafing and look what I got - infected cuts!" said the 33-year-old ultra star from the Lone Star State.

The woman who shares a domination of her endurance sport and a last name with a world famous Lance was happy about her 44-minute lead over Ultraman rookie Iona McKenzie of Golden, Colorado. And despite fighting a wicked late shoreline current that slowed her 2006 swim by 24 minutes, Armstrong had to feel good about her 3 hours 10 minute swim and 5 hours 58 minute swim.

But there's something about an Ultraman that takes an unholy high pain threshold to get the most out of this unique, three-day triathletic circumnavigation of the Big Island of Hawaii held annually on the weekend after Thanksgiving.

After all, Friday starts with a 10km swim from Kailua Pier to Keauhou Bay, then evolves into a tough 90-mile bike ride over 8,700-feet of climbing to Volcanoes National Monument. Saturday continues with a 171.4-mile bike ride over 8,600 feet of climbing from Volcanoes to Hawi. And Sunday this band of overdistance gypsies wraps things up with a 52.8-mile double marathon along the Queen K Highway from Hawi to Kona.

That is along way to work off a Turkey dinner.

At the end of this first day, Colting's ambition to avenge his 17-second loss of the course record fell 15 minutes behind his torrid 2004 pace.

Ultraman rookie Tim Sheeper of Menlo Park, California hung tough with a second-best 2:38:48 swim and a 5:14:00 bike to finish the day in second place in 7:52:48 and outpace 2005 and 2007 Ultraman World Champion Alexandre Ribeiro of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil by 11 minutes.

While there was no surprise that Armstrong led a strong women's field, 37-year-old Ultraman rookie Iona McKenzie shocked Ultraman veterans with a second best ever first day bike total of 5:48:09 - better than any of Armstrong's first day bikes and topped in Ultraman history only by 1985 Ultraman champion Ardis Bow's ride.

McKenzie, whose only previous notable triumph was her 2006 win against a small field at the inaugural 24 Hours of Triathlon in Boulder, rocketed from 5th woman to 2nd with her an outstanding ride.

Finishing third woman, just 2 minutes 40 seconds back of McKenzie, was another Ultraman rookie, 43-year-old Ann Heaslett of Madison, Wisconsin, whose 3:55:05 swim and very respectable 6:00:53 bike left this notable ultra-runner with hope for Sunday's double marathon. If Heaslett can withstand Saturday's 171.4-mile bike ride, she is then free to unleash a killer run that propelled her to a PR sub-16 hour 100-mile run in 2002. If Armstrong doesn't have more than an hour advantage over Heaslett by the end of the bike, this epic struggle could be barn burner close.

On a sunny, hot, windy day after Thanksgiving, 30 of 31 individual competitors managed to finish within the 12-hour time limit. Only recent Ultraman Canada winner Scott Beasley pulled out with ailments before finishing the bike. Mike Rouse, an accomplished 17-time 100-mile ultra-runner, made the cutoff time with just 46 seconds to spare. Defending champion Jeff Landauer of Roseville California was struck with debilitating cramps on the swim, but managed to struggle to an honorable 10 hour 11 minute finish in 16th place.

23rd Ultraman World Championship
Day One
Kailua-Kona to Volcanoes National Monument, Hawaii
November 23, 2007
S 6.2 mi/ B 90 mi

Day One Results


1. Jonas Colting (Swe) Swim 2:26:21 Bike 4:42:36 TOT 7:08:57
2. Tim Sheeper (Menlo Park CA) Swim 2:38:48 Bike 5:14:00 TOT 7:52:48
3. Alexandre Ribeiro (Bra) Swim 3:07:53 Bike 4:56:27 TOT 8:04:20
4. Scott Gower (Atascadero CA) Swim 2:48:14 Bike 5:32:10 TOT 8:20:24
5. Peter Mueller (Swi) Swim 3:01:48 Bike 5:22:42 TOT 8:24:30
6. Trevor King ( ) Swim 2:54:56 Bike 5:36:234 TOT 8:31:19
7. Jozef Ajram (Esp) Swim 3:34:22 Bike 5:03:15 TOT 8:37:37
8. Marty Raymond (Can) Swim 2:44:54 Bike 6:10:11 TOT 8:55:05
9. Gary Wang (Corte Madera CA) Swim 3:34:12 Bike 5:21:21 TOT 8:55:33
10. Miro Kregar (Slo) Swim 3:27:31 Bike 5:44:59 TOT 9:12:30


1. Shanna Armstrong (Lubbock TX) Swim 3:10:53 Bike 5:58:18 TOT 9:09:11
2. Iona McKenzie (Golden CO) Swim 4:05:07 Bike 5:48:09 TOT 9:53:18
3. Ann Heaslett (Madison WI) Swim 3:55:05 Bike 6:00:53 TOT 9:55:58
4. Venuza Maciel (Bra) Swim 4:00:46 Bike 6:17:33 TOT 10:18:19
5. Suzy Degazon (Glendora CA) Swim 4:18:28 Bike 6:08:15 TOT 10:26:44
6. Michelle Santilhano (Menlo Park CA/ RSA) S 3:44:40 B 6:47:57 TOT 10:32:37
7. Toni Barstis (Niles MI) Swim 4:17:41 Bike 7:00:31 TOT 11:18:12

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