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This year’s race calendar features the 2011 Joint Base Lewis-McChord Triple Threat Triathlon Series as a summer event during the hottest months: June, July and August. Unfortunately the running community cannot catch a break with the weather. Despite the wet summer, the races must go on. And they did.
The second of the series wrapped up Saturday at Shoreline Park. It rained the morning of the race and a steady drizzle continued as competitors began the swimming leg of the triathlon in American Lake.
The rain finally let up as bicyclists transitioned to their running shoes, but the weather affected times and even caused at least one injury on the course.
“A day like today is kind of a mental challenge because it was raining all before the race,” said Lisa Matson, who took first in the elite female division. “On the bike you have to be careful because you don’t want to fall on the corners, but temperature-wise this is ideal for me.”
Competitors raced into the 64-degree American Lake for a 1⁄2 mile swim. While most covered up in wet suits, some braved the chilly water exposed in swim suits.
Nate Dressel, 26, was the fifth swimmer out of the lake, but made up for the deficit on the 15-mile bike ride. He established a two-minute lead that he held on to through the 3-mile run to claim first overall with a time just over 1 hour and 6 minutes.
“I’m kind of a weak runner to begin with so I pretty much have to hold what I’ve got on the run,” Dressel said. “I push as hard as I can on the swim and bike and hope people don’t pass me on the run.”
Dressel did not compete in the first triathlon of the series last month.
“The bike was fast except it was slippery out there,” Dressel said. “It was a little slower than normal because it was so wet.”
One male competitor crashed on the course on his bike. He brought his bike in to transition to the running leg with half of his face covered in blood, but he refused first aid until after he finished the race.
Twelve-year-old David Ling, competing in his first triathlon, took advice from his father heading into the race.
“My dad said take the corners easy on the bike and don’t crash,” Ling said.
Ling was the youngest competitor at the triathlon. He opted to compete in the short swim division, swimming 250 meters instead of a 1⁄2 mile. Ling was the first short swim finisher and he went on to finish the course in just under an hour and a half.
“My dad’s been doing triathlons and I wanted to give it a shot,” he said. “It’s a little harder than it looked.”
Matson is a seasoned triathlon competitor and used her experience in a recent race to fuel her through the Triple Threat.
“I had a race last weekend that didn’t go very well so it was good motivation to do a little better,” she said. “I was still a little tired from the race, but it was driving me.”
The final race of the series is August 20 at Shoreline Park. For more information or to register call 967-4768 or visit www.jblmmwr.com.
More photos from the race click on the following link: