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Competitors had their fair share of a hot, humid, hilly day in Montego Bay at the second-annual Wata Rose Hall Triathlon, an event that also served as the Jamaican National Championships.
But as close as the island is to North America, it was a European duo—Nicolas Becker and Isabelle Ferrer of France—who took resounding victories at the Olympic-distance non-drafting event.
“I had a lot of bad luck with a mechanical problem at Vineman and a flat at the New York City Triathlon, and it was exhausting for me this year,” said Becker. Winning this today, while making a holiday with my girlfriend here, is a very, very good way for me to finish the season.”
Becker set up his day with an untouchable 19:36 1.5k swim, leading the chasers onto the bike by at least three minutes. Those three minutes came in handy when Becker was ushered up to transition, on the first lap. But the lead he had padded on the bike meant he rejoined the course with his lead cut down, but still several minutes ahead of Egyptian neo-pro Omar Nour.
Becker was never threatened the rest of the day, cruising the challenging Cinnamon Hill Golf Course 10k run to take the win in 2:11:55. Nour, an Egyptian with dual citizenship living in Washington, D.C., is just in his second year in the sport after finding it helped him go from 225 pounds to 185—then to his current weight of 165 pounds. Even without owning a bike for some time. “I used to go into the store and do a test ride—then come back an hour and a half later and say ‘I don’t like it.’”
Nour plans to partake in ITU points races next year with the goal of becoming Egypt’s first triathlon Olympian at the London Games. Today, he notched the day’s fastest run in 42:03 to take second over Spokane nutritional expert and coach Ben Greenfield.
The race of tandem duo of blind age group triathlete Aaron Schedes and guide/pro triathlete Andrew Starykowicz went up in smoke in the first 12 miles of the bike, when a t-shirt blew up from the road into the front wheel of their tandem. “I saw it there and thought we’d just roll over it, but there was nothing I could do—the front wheel just locked up and we went over,” Starykowicz said. Schedes added: “I just felt bad because he took the worst of it—I just landed on him.”
After a shuttle to T2, they made a training day of it and headed out for the 10k run. Both are licking their wounds as they prepare for the coming Ironman 70.3 World Championships in Clearwater, Fla.
Washington D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty, who arrived late last night for the race, was shellshocked. “Oh no, I wasn’t getting near that PR,” he said, shaking his head, referring to his personal-best recorded at the Nation’s Triathlon earlier this year. “Not in this heat, not on these hills.” Still, he had a solid enough race to finish top 10 overall—eighth—in 2:42:29.
The womens race was a runaway. French pro Isabelle Ferrer said she too was pleased to end her season with a victory, this after a bunch of bridesmaids efforts back home. “I have been seven times second place at triathlon and duathlon national championships, so to get a nice win here, this is all perfect,” Ferrer said. ‘I love hills—I did Embrunman and Ironman—and being a small climber, I liked seeing the hills on the bike.”
Her 25:32 non-wetsuit swim was fast enough to send her out of the Caribbean in first. From there, she attacked the bike course and grew the lead, backing the swim with a 1:14 bike and a 48-minute run to seal the deal.
2009 Wata Rose Hall Triathlon
Oct. 31, 2009, Montego Bay, Jamaica
1.5k swim, 40k bike, 10k run
1. Nicolas Becker (FRA) 2:11:55
2. Omar Nour (EGY) 2:15:35
3. Ben Greenfield (USA) 2:22:51
4. Barry Holman (USA)2:28:39
5. Peter Ronco (USA) 2:30:06
I. Isabelle Ferrer (FRA) 2:28:21
2. Alexandra Consten (JAM) 2:39:17
3. Jennifer Tetrick (USA) 2:45:42
4. Rachel Heinould (JAM) 3:18:27
5. Michelle Gabay (JAM) 3:51:35