Americans Cameron Dye and Sarah Haskins took the titles at the Toyota U.S. Open in Dallas, Texas, part of the Life Time Fitness Series. The race was the seventh and final race in the Race to the Toyota Cup Series. Heading into the race, both Dye and Haskins led the point tallies for the series, and their victories gave them the final points they needed to win $30,000 and a new Toyota car for the series. The total prize purse for the U.S. Open was $60,000, and for the Toyota Cup was $149,000.
Dye had raced the series consistently this season and just got a win last weekend in L.A., but he had only led the standings by 2.5 points heading into this race, so he needed a win to capture his first Toyota Cup. “This was the goal at the beginning of the year,” he said. “I knew if I won today, I’d give myself a shot.”
Haskins had been dominant all season, having won all six of the Life Time Fitness Series races she competed in. This is her third Toyota Cup win (she also won in 2009 and 2011). “The non-draft Race to the Toyota Cup series was a huge focus for me, especially after missing the Olympics and being the Olympic alternate,” Haskins said after the race. “I really focused on the non-draft and started racing in March, started training really hard in January, and the last couple weeks have been really tough for me, mentally and physically, just because my body is getting really tired. I’m just so happy to accomplish the goal.”
The race took place in chilly conditions in Rockwall, Texas, just outside of Dallas. The athletes started in Lake Ray Hubbard with air temperature in the high 40s but water temperature in the 70s, so several of the pros opted to race in swimskins rather than wetsuits.
In the men’s race, the lead pack out of the 1500-meter swim had Dylan McNeice at the front with Cameron Dye and four-time Olympian Hunter Kemper just a few steps behind. The pack, with seven men total, also included two-time Olympic medalist Bevan Docherty and American Ben Collins, ranked second in the Toyota Cup standings.
On the 40K bike, with air temperature close to 50 degrees, Dye used his bike strength to build a lead over the pack. He pulled into the lead by mile 5, and by the halfway point had pulled away from the pack to post a 54:26 bike split. Ben Collins pulled into second place and was one minute back entering T2. They had built a huge gap over the rest of the men, with the chase pack coming through about 4:20 off the lead. The pack included Kevin Everett, Docherty, Kemper and James Seear.
Dye had built enough of a lead on the bike that no one could catch him on the 10K run. He finished in a final time of 1:50:04, while Collins came in second 44 seconds later. Kemper, who was ranked third in the series leading into the race, pulled into third on the run posting a 32:52 run split. “I knew it was going to be a super hard race on the bike, and that’s my strength, so I knew I had to try and play to that and see if I could hold on,” said Dye after the race. “I felt pretty good on the run. They put together a super hard run course. It’s either up or down the whole way—there’s no flat. It definitely took its toll. But it was good enough to hold on, so I’m psyched with that.”
Regarding the cool temperatures, Dye said, “I struggle in the heat, but this was a little chillier than I would like. You come to Texas and expect it to be hot. But I think I did a pretty good job. Some of the guys put on arm warmers or raced in their skinsuits. I warmed up in a wetsuit and was able to stay warm before the start, which is usually the key for me. My hands were freezing on the bike, but I figured once I got my run shoes on, I was all right.”
In the women’s race, Sarah Haskins was first out of the water with Lauren Brandon right behind her. Alicia Kaye, who won the L.A. Tri last weekend and ranked second in the standings, was a minute back. Another 30 seconds behind her was a group of four women including Lauren Goss and Annabel Luxford.
The women’s race turned into a battle between the Haskins and Kaye. By the end of the 40K bike, Kaye had made up the one-minute deficit and pulled ahead of Haskins by 10 seconds. Luxford came into T2 about two minutes down, Brandon was three minutes down, Goss was the fifth woman into T2 3:30 down and Petersen was 4:20 down.
On the run Haskins posted a 36:57 10K run split on the hilly course and took the lead back from Kaye. Haskins took the title in a time of 2:01:17, with Kaye finishing 17 seconds later. Goss made up ground on the run with her 36:06 run split to round out the podium.
In the Life Time Fitness series totals, Kemper passed Collins in the standings to be the runner-up in the Toyota Cup series and take home $20,000. Collins took third and $10,000. For the women, Kaye took home second place and Luxford was third.
Toyota Life Time Fitness U.S. Open
Dallas, Texas – Oct. 7, 2012
1.5K swim, 40K bike, 10K run
1. Cameron Dye (USA) 1:50:04
2. Ben Collins (USA) 1:50:48
3. Hunter Kemper (USA) 1:52:28
4. Bevan Docherty (NZL) 1:52:46
5. Chris Foster (USA) 1:52:51
1. Sarah Haskins (USA) 2:01:17
2. Alicia Kaye (USA) 2:01:34
3. Lauren Goss (USA) 2:03:59
4. Annabel Luxford (AUS) 2:04:51
5. Jillian Petersen (USA) 2:06:52