Brown, Warner top elites at Pacific Grove
Ethan Brown of Lowell Massachusetts and Annie Warner of Nine Mile Falls, Washington each earned their first pro wins on a sunny day at Pacific Grove
Posted: Saturday, September 11, 2010
Ethan Brown and Annie Warner earned their first professional victories and $2,500 apiece at The Triathlon at Pacific Grove under bright blue skies Saturday.
Brown banked 14 seconds on the swim and 43 seconds on a windy bike against closest rival Steve Sexton, then held on for a 30-seconds margin of victory with a swift 31:30 10k run that gave back 27 seconds to Sexton. Brown's 1:545:32 finish thus ended three years of career frustration during which he finished second three times -- at the 2008 Canadian nationals, at the 2008 Scott Tinley's Dirty Adventures and at the 2009 Mazatlan Continental Cup, plus a third place at the 2008 USA Triathlon elite nationals.
"This is my first professional win and I am really excited about that," said Brown, a 25-year-old resident of Lowell, Massachusetts, a key mill town in the Industrial Revolution and the home of beat writer Jack Kerouac.
Sexton, the 2008 USA Triathlon Collegiate champion, finished second at Treasure Island and third at San Francisco Triathlon at Alcatraz, so his runner-up finish at Pacific Grove completed a podium slam at Tri-California's three Olympic-distance California races. "That's nice, but I want to be the horse that wins these races," said Sexton. "Today I lost a little time the first lap of the swim when I got tangled in the kelp. I knew if I wanted a chance for the win, I had to catch the lead pack on the second lap of the swim. Once I did, I worked hard on that long run to the bike. When the front pack [Kyle Leto, Brian Fleischmann, Sexton, Brown, and John Dahlz] working hard and staying together, I had a feeling it would be between me and Ethan [Brown] on the run."
When a short-lived surge on the third lap of the bike by Brian Fleischmann failed to hold, Sexton's intuition proved correct. Starting the run, Brown flew from 5th to 1st with a redline surge. When Brown leveled off to catch his breath near the end of the first run lap, Sexton seized on that flicker of hope and closed to within five seconds of Brown. "But after he had a rest and gathered himself, Ethan started to run hard again and it was just a little faster than I could match," said Sexton.
Despite his disappointment, Sexton says the three podiums have fueled a renewed confidence. "Last year was hard," said the UC Berkeley grad. "I passed out twice in the heat at races in Ecuador and Chile, and fell out of contention when someone ran into me at the Pan Am Championships in Oklahoma and knocked my bike shoe off the pedal. All that got me down and I lost confidence. Now I believe I belong with the best triathletes in the country and for the first time I believe I have a chance to make it at the elite level."
Warner came out of the kelp-ridden, low 50-degree waters of Lovers Point 49 seconds behind top swimmer Kristen Peterson and 5 seconds back of key rival Amanda Felder. Digging hard into the coastal winds on the out portion of the 3-loop, out-and-back bike course, Warner joined with ITU-veteran Felder in the draft-legal format racing. The duo caught up to Peterson's solo charge halfway through the second loop.
At the bike-to-run transition, Warner made up a little time on Felder, which she never relinquished. Warner's race-best 36:26 run was 1:10 better than Felder's 10k and gave her a 2:13:12 finish and a 1:14 margin of victory.
"I've been a professional for six years and this was my first win," said Warner, a 31-year-old resident of Nine Mile Falls, Washington. "I was 4th here at Pacific Grove last year and had a third at Kelowna, British Columbia one year."
Warner shed a tear when she recalled how happy this would have made her late father, Kim Warner. "My dad did Ironman and about 40 marathons," she said. "He was my biggest fan and he knew I could win - and helped me to believe it myself. If he could have been here, it would have meant a lot. He died a year and a half ago of lung cancer. he battled it hard and never gave up."
Warner herself battled confidence issues stemming from a hard-to-diagnose hip problem early this year. "It's getting a little better," she said. "This win gives me confidence I can run with fast women off the bike. " She credits her coach, Barb Lindquist, as well. "She has always believed in me and what she accomplished has been an inspiration."
Felder said she wanted to win but was focused on the USA Triathlon Elite Championships in Tuscaloosa in two weeks and had a three-hour workout the day before Pacific Grove. "When I got off the bike my legs felt a bit heavy. I played it conservative and hoped to reel her back in but Annie was too tough today."
The Triathlon at Pacific Grove
Pacific Grove, California
September 11, 2010
S 1.5k/ B 40k/ R 10k
1. Ethan Brown (Lowell MA) 1:54:32
2. Steven Sexton (Pilot Hill CA) 1:55:02
3. Brian Fleischmann (Colorado Springs CO) 1:56:00
4. John Dahlz (South San Francisco CA) 1:57:32
5. Kyle Leto (Walnut Creek CA) 1:57:44
6. Tom Zaferes (Aptos CA) 1:58:10
7. Kenneth Rakestraw (Newport Beach CA) 1:59:25
8. Barrett Brandon (San Mateo CA) 2:00:19
9. Dan McIntosh (Denver CO) 2:00:28
10. Nicholas Thompson (Danville CA) 2:00:35
1. Annie Warner (Nine Mile Falls, WA) 2:13:12
2. Amanda Derkacs Felder (Cupertino CA) 2:14:26
3. Julia Grant (NZL) 2:17:47
4. Kristen Peterson (Boulder CO) 2:18:09
5. Emily Cocks (Napa CA) 2:19:01
6. Madeleine Oldfield (Boulder CO) 2:21:35
7. Jennifer Tetrick (Washington DC) 2:26:35
8. Florence Chretien (South Salem NY) 2:28:06
9. Kelly Dunleavy (San Anselmo CA) 2:28:44