Plata and Petersen run their way into a win at the 14th annual Triathlon at Pacific Grove
Posted: Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Eric Gilsenan- Tri Cal TV
A world class field of elite men and women triathletes hit the 59 degree waters of Lover’s Point in Pacific Grove at high noon this last Saturday, September 13th.
In the men’s race the pro field stayed together on the first of two ‘Kelp Krawl’ loops in the friendly confines of Monterey Bay. By the time the second loop was done though the field had spread out a bit with one large lead group lead by Cameron Dye and Brian Fleischmann. A second chase group was not far behind with Chris Tremonte and Reto Waeffler working together to exit the water.
The four loop bike course was practically ‘set on fire’ by the lead six pack of lads, the two Brian’s, Lavalle and Fleischmann, Cameron Dye, Victor Plata, Joe Umphenour and Kiwi Callum Millward. The six of them stayed together the entire 40K. The chase pack stayed together just about a minute down on the lead pack, that other six pack consisted of Steve Sexton, Kevin Collington, Kevin Everett, Canadian Jamie Stevenson, John Dahlz, and Jeffery Piland. When all the pedaling was done Lavelle came in to T2 in first, with 5 of his fastest friends close behind. Sexton, one of the chase pack as planned dropped out of the race in T2 to keep himself fresh for USAT Nationals Sept 20th
Like last years event this draft legal race came down to the three loop run, the six amigos staggered out of transition strung out by only a few seconds in between each other. Lavalle still in the lead but not for long, Plata, Umphenour, Fleischmann were right on his tail. With the last two years elite champions on course and in the lead pack you knew that experience would play a key to strategy in this 10 mph cat and mouse chess match.
Plata gladly let the 2006 PG and TriCal Series Champ Fleischmann take a long pull on the leg with the nasty headwind, Fleischmann was looking back hoping someone would pull ahead and help him save some extra energy expended running into the normally steady afternoon southern breeze off the Pacific. No one was so kind or competitive on the first loop but on the second Plata and Umphenour picked up the pace and put a hurt on the other four which started there own man on man battle.
Umphenour is a solid veteran of the draft legal format but just a first timer at PG, in his second to last draft format race before he steps up to the 70.3 distance races of his future he knew he was in for a brutal last 2 miles. This is where experience for Plata paid off and in the last mile Victor put the hammer down, dropped Joe like first period Chemistry and ran like a scalded cat into the finish chute for a $2,500 payday.
In the women’s race the field hit the water just ten minutes after the men and just like the men stuck together for most of the first of two loops in the bay, buy the time the second loop was done a four pack had formed and exited the water together. Annie Warner who recently put a lap pool in her backyard reaped dividends off that investment and was first out of the water followed closely by Jillian Petersen, Becky Witinok-Huber, and Alexis ‘OJ’ Smith. Eileen Swanson and Kelly Couch were the chase group out of the water.
The four women who exited the water together also stayed together all throughout the picturesque bike ride. Becky Witinok-Huber was off the bike first, followed by Alexis Smith, Annie Warner and Jillian Petersen bringing in the rear of the lead group. Couch and Swanson worked together most of the ride to reel in and catch the lead group but the gap was too large.
Petersen a former track star at University of Missouri just recently bumped from the Colorado Springs based USAT Elite Developmental team to the USAT National Bronze level team ran her way into first place in the first few minutes of the run leg and never looked back, she ascended the small Pacific Grove hills like an angel and ran down the swales and dales like the devil finishing off her competition with a smile while maintaining her lead all three loops.