It was an all-American victory at the inaugural Challenge San Gil in Queretaro, Mexico with Rodolphe Von Berg leading from star to finish, while fellow Lauren Goss had more of a battle on her hands to take top honors.
Read the race recap from Challenge Family below:
After a rainy night and a cold morning in San Gil, Queretaro, athletes were met with a cool day and great conditions for the race.
In the 1.9 km swim, Von Berg took an early lead with a 24:38 swim, taking the lead ahead of a second group pack that was about 30 meters back.
In the chase pack, five Mexican athletes were following Von Berg, Mauricio Mendez, Vinicio Ibarra, Esteban Rosas, Jorge Luis Fuentes and Gil Rivera. They started one minute behind the lead, but in a few minutes Nathan Killam (USA) and Justin Metzler (USA) rode strong on the challenging San Gil bike course.
Von Berg kept a steady and powerful pace that helped him grow his lead to five minutes, and headed to the residential area of San Gil with a new course record of 2:14:49.
The first of the two loops of the run were controlled by Von Berg with a solid pace, and his lead and pace continued until the final six kilometers. The cold temperature suddenly changed to a sunny day and as the temperature rose, so Von Berg’s pace slowed and Maurico Mendez (MEX) started eating into his lead. But, in the end, Von Berg’s record bike split was enough to secure him the champion’s spot at the first edition of the race.
Mendez took over the runner-up spot early on the run, with the second fastest split of the day. A 1:16:39 half marathon helped him pass Jorge Luis Fuentes in the seventh kilomter and hold his pace to obtain a second place finish overall.
Nathan Killam (CAN) set a strong pace on the bike and the run, that helped him get the last spot on the podium, passing Vinicio Ibarra and Esteban Rosas on the second loop of the half marathon.
The women’s race had another great duel with Goss and Mexican Cecilia Perez (a two time San Gil 113K winner) who set the pace on the swim, swimming shoulder to shoulder and exiting the water in 26:06 and 26:08 respectively. Both athletes battled the first part of the bike course, until Goss received a drafting penalty and was passed by Perez, holding the lead until the last climb to Amealco. On the descent, Goss re-passed Perez and arrived at T2 with a 1:20 lead.
Perez once again caught Goss on the second loop, but after a few kilometers of a second shoulder-to-shoulder battle, Goss continued with a powerful pace that gave her a final lead of over three minutes.
Kathy Rakel (USA) rounded out the female podium some 22 minutes down on Perez.