Thursday, June 3, 2010

2010 Auburn Triathlon wrap up


By Brad Kearns

The 8th Annual Auburn Triathlon was held on Sunday, May 23, 2010 in
the scenic Sierra foothills town of Auburn. Athletes contested the
World's Toughest Half, a long course duathlon (3k-56mi-13.1mi), and a
new Sprint distance tri of 1k-30k-7k. The duathlon and half starts
were staged to sync the arrival of the leaders into T1 at the same
time, then battle it out head-to-head in the remaining two events. New
spectator-friendly elements were introduced in 2010 - a two-loop swim
course of 1k and a three-loop run course of 7k where long course
racers ran thru cheering spectators in a tented village at the finish
line on each lap. UC Berkeley grad student Craig Fellers bested all
triathletes and duathletes to the finish line, to win the half in
4:57. Fellers, runner-up in 2008 in 100+ degree temperatures, handled
the unseasonably cool conditions this year. “Auburn Half Ironman is
definitely the most fun race out there,” said Fellers, who competes
with the Cal Triathlon team. “The bike course is incredible, more
hills than you can possibly imagine. It’s so much fun. I just had the
absolute time of my life.” Reno's Amy Bottenberg, 2009 World's
Toughest Half runner-up, bested the field by 16 minutes with a time of
5:38.

Leroy Thomas, an Australian living in Roseburg, OR, was the duathlon
champion in a time of 4:37. 49-year-old Duathlon runner-up John Drury
had a dramatic day. A broken wetsuit zipper left him frantic at the
starting line, and race director Brad Kearns suggested he participate
in the duathlon instead. Drury scrambled around T1 in search of
running shoes, finally getting a pair that was "close enough" in size.
Meanwhile the duathlon had started, forcing Drury to play catch up
with the field. “I just kept plugging away and when it was all said
and done, to be able to race and make the most of it is great,” said
Drury. “I really wanted to do the triathlon but the alternative was to
not race at all. It was a pretty unreal day. Anything that could go
wrong did go wrong.” Defending female duathlon champion Mari Chandler
ceded her title to Tanja Tamguney, but was only 3 minutes behind in
the runner-up spot. The Sprint Triathlon was won by Luis Santos, a
Portugese living in Reno, NV, in a tight battle with Nathan Helming,
who was 17 seconds behind. Emily Cocks beat local favorite Robin
Soares to win the women's Sprint Triathlon.

Athletes lauded the festival setting at an all grass soccer park
finish line, and the extreme and diverse challenge of the bike course,
which climbed from Folsom Lake (el. 400') in the Sacramento Valley,
east into the Sierra Nevada, reaching a high point of 2,450' at mile
30. The run course took place entirely within the Auburn State Park,
100% free of auto traffic. Athletes enjoyed scenic views of the
American River several hundred feet below and a challenging 200' climb
on each lap. Complete race stories, photos and results are at
auburntriathlon.com.

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