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Americans Jordan Rapp and Christine Anderson took the victories at Saturday’s LeadmanTri Bend Life Time Epic 250 in Bend, Ore.
The inaugural LeadmanTri Bend promised to feature a beautiful and tough course, and it did not disappoint. The LeadmanTri series, which debuted in Nevada in 2011, showcases long-course races with an emphasis on the swim and bike and a (comparatively) short run (learn more about tackling these distances here). The Bend race offered athletes the opportunity to take on the 250K distance, made up of a 5K swim, 223K bike and 22K run, or the 125K distance, made up of a 2.5K swim, 106K bike and 16.5K run. The pros raced the 250K version and athletes like Jordan Rapp (USA), Mathias Hecht (SUI), Bend-local Matt Lieto (USA), Christine Anderson (USA) and Jackie Arendt (USA) came out to compete.
The morning kicked off with cool, calm conditions and a swim in Cultus Lake. New Zealand’s Bryan Rhodes led the men out of the water, with Hecht following not far behind. Pre-race favorite Rapp came into T1 two minutes and 40 seconds back of the leaders. Hecht quickly took the lead, but on a bike course that is 223K (138 miles) long, the stronger cyclist eventually took over. Rapp came into T2 with a three-minute lead over Hecht thanks to a field-leading 5:43:44 bike split, and he never gave that top spot up. He followed the bike with an equally strong run and crossed the finish line in 8:08:52 to take the LeadmanTri Bend win and add another belt buckle to his collection. Hecht finished in second eight minutes later, with American Thomas Gerlach claiming third.
In the women’s race, it was American Kristin Peterson who took control of the swim. She started the bike with an 80-second lead over Anderson and fellow American Rachel McBride. Her 6:44:53 was easily enough to help her keep the top spot into T2. She headed onto the 22K run in first, with Americans Mackenzie Madison and Anderson in pursuit. Unlike the men’s race, the women’s top-five saw quite a bit of shuffling on the run. Anderson, who is a first-year pro and won USA Triathlon’s Age Group Triathlete of the Year award for 2011, ran her way to the front, taking the victory in 9:30:26. American Haley Cooper-Scott earned the second position at 9:34:03, with fellow American Trish Deim taking the final podium spot in 9:36:14.
The LeadmanTri Series will next head to Tempe, Ariz. on April 14, 2013 for the LeadmanTri Marquee Epic 125.
Bend, Ore. – Sept. 22, 2012
5K swim, 223K bike, 22K run
1. Jordan Rapp (USA) 8:08:52
2. Mathias Hecht (SUI) 8:16:57
3. Thomas Gerlach (USA) 8:28:16
4. Matt Lieto (USA) 8:32:57
5. Karl Bodine (USA) 8:35:00
1. Christine Anderson (USA) 9:30:26
2. Haley Cooper-Scott (USA) 9:34:03
3. Trish Deim (USA) 9:36:14
4. Kristen Peterson (USA) 9:36:51
5. Mackenzie Madison (USA) 9:44:59