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With the day preceding the Avia Wildflower Long Course Triathlon featuring pouring rain, athletes were left to sleep in tents under the rain with hopes that the morning would bring clear skies. Luckily for the athletes the skies cleared the morning of the race, leaving ideal racing conditions and temperatures that peaked in the mid-70s. American Andy Potts used the ideal conditions to charge past the field on the run and win his second race in less than a week after claiming the title in St. Anthony’s triathlon in St. Petersburg, Florida. Spain’s Virginia Berasategui re-emerged on to the triathlon scene by taking the lead early and holding it to the end. If her name sounds familiar, it’s likely because Berasategui ran her way to a sixth place finish at the Ironman World Championships in Kona.
For the second race in a row, Potts found himself in a position other than first coming out of the water. Australian Clayton Fettell was the first athlete to emerge from Lake San Antonio with a time of 22:17. Potts was right on his tail at 22:19, with several athletes emerging about 30 seconds after the super swimmers. Onto the bike, Swede Bjorn Andersson powered through the hills to take the lead early on. Behind him, several athletes vied for the top chasing spot and a chance to run Andersson down. Following Andersson into T2 were New Zealand’s Torenzo Bozzone, Potts, Spain’s Eneko Llanos and American Bjorn Andersson. American Jordan Rapp quietly worked hard on the bike, posting the second fastest bike split of the day. Once onto the run, Potts quickly found his way to the front and refused to let anyone else come close posting the fastest half-marathon of the group at 1:14:38. The run split was three minutes faster than any other competitor and gave him the overall win at 3:59:41. Llanos repeated his second place performance from last year’s race, finishing with a time of 4:03:04. Brazil’s Reinaldo Colucci used a strong run to finish in third at 4:03:34, with Rapp finding his way to fourth at 4:04:15.
Unlike the men’s race, the women’s race featured only two leaders throughout the day. Despite a very strong swimming field, Great Britain’s Leanda Cave emerged from the water alone in first at a time of 24:58. American Kristen Peterson and Australian Pip Taylor followed together and worked to chase down Cave. Cave held the lead through the beginning miles of the bike, but Berasategui used her strong climbing ability to take the lead on the hilly course. After hammering through the bike course in 2:39:01, the question became whether or not Berasategui would have enough left to hold the lead through the run. The answer turned out to be yes as the Spaniard posted the fastest half-marathon split of 1:26:44 and won the race with a time of 4:35:00. Cave held her second position and finished with a time of 4:40:13. Hungary’s Erika Csomor came back on the run after battling mechanical problems on the bike to finish third at 4:41:14. American Tyler Stewart continued her comeback after suffering serious health issues on the Ironman Arizona course in 2008 by finishing fourth with a time of 4:4:45.
Avia Wildflower Long Course Triathlon
Lake San Antonio, Monterey County, Calif.
May 2, 2009
1.2-mile swim, 56-mile swim, 13.1-mile run
1. Andy Potts (USA) 3:59:41
2. Eneko Llanos (ESP) 4:03:04
3. Reinaldo Colluci (BRA) 4:03:34
4. Jordan Rapp (USA) 4:04:15
5. Joe Gambles (AUS) 4:05:09
1. Virginia Berasategui (ESP) 4:35:00
2. Leanda Cave (GBR) 4:40:13
3. Erika Csomor (HUN) 4:41:14
4. Tyler Stewart (USA) 4:43:45
5. Heather Wurtele (CAN) 4:45:22