ISSUE #17, August/September 2002 – In the midst of a thirsty summer in the state, the lush Country Club of Colorado played host to an oasis of speed at the Cheyenne Mountain Sprint Triathlon on June 23. Designated the Rocky Mountain regional sprint championship, the race offered a $2,000 prize purse. And its location in the backyard of the Olympic training center attracted several members of the national resident team to vie for top honors against several top pros from Colorado, including Hunter Kemper, Tim and Tony DeBoom, Michael Smedley, Nate Llerandi, Susan Bartholomew Williams and a wealth of multi-sport talent.
The law of racing states that as the distance decreases, the intensity must increase. And at over 6,000 feet, speed brings on oxygen debt that much faster. However, Colorado athletes are well accustomed to such conditions and are always up for the challenge.
Andrea DuBay from Boulder summited 14,410-foot Mount Rainier a week prior to the race and knew “Cheyenne Mountain would be a piece of cake” in comparison. Although she admitted thinking during the race, “I wished I was back on the top of Rainier.”
Brian Fleischmann, a 23 year-old member of the resident team at the Olympic training center, underscored what it takes to excel at shorter races, the focus of the resident team members. Speed is the key to success, which is no secret. “You’ve got to have fast twitch muscles to keep up with guys like Hunter,” he said.
And keeping up with Hunter Kemper was a tough task. Kemper exited the water in third and quickly moved into first on the bike, followed closely by Fleischmann at the turn-around. As they moved into the run, however, Kemper increased his lead and stretched the margin to forty-six seconds over Fleishman. Kemper broke the tape for his second straight win at Cheyenne Mountain in a course-record 57:13, taking a healthy chunk off of last year’s 58:08. With the win, Kemper ended a three-week racing stint that took him to Japan two weeks prior for a world cup race, and Victoria, BC the week before for an ITU points race. Kemper said his pre-race preparation included relaxing with a big tub of popcorn at a screening of The Bourne Identity the night before.
Fleischman took second to Kemper with a time of 57:59. Fleischman is a graduate of Florida State and now lives at the Olympic training center in Colorado Springs. He said his racing is starting to come around after competing in recent events in Guatemala, Saint Anthony’s, and Victoria, BC. “The more I race, the fitter I get,” said Fleischman, with eyes on the 2004 Olympics.
Third place went to Rory Mackie in 59:15. Nate Llerandi, a former top pro in the triathlon scene, who is now back racing at the elite amateur level, took fourth in 59:39. And Tony DeBoom, fresh off his recent victory at the shortened Ironman Utah, represented the long-course specialists by rounding out the top five in 1:00:02.
In the women’s open race, maintaining site of national resident team member Jenny Marine was the chore for the day. Marine, 26, from Naperville, IL, took the lead in the swim and never looked back. Marine put the hammer down on the bike and ran to an impressive 1:05:04 victory.
Susan Williams, off her recent win in Utah, held off a fast charging Gia White from the resident team to take second in 1:06:47. Williams, who is moving up in distance this year, showed she still has the short course speed. She will be competing in her first Ironman this October in Kona. White’s time gave her third in 1:06:52.
In amateur competition, Scott Cain, 1:03:53, and Ann Lantz, 1:10:20, both from Colorado, were crowned Rocky Mountain regional sprint champions with their stellar performances that placed them 15th and 5th overall in the men and women’s standings, respectively.
The champions in the junior division were Erik Davidson, 19, with a time of 1:11:02, and Jasmine Oeinch, 16, with a time of 1:16:52.
Photos by Courtney Stapleton