2009 Boulder Triathlon Series Gets Underway
By Lynn DeBruin
June 21, 2009 (Boulder, CO) — Boulder’s Mark Van Akkeren was trying to do something he had never attempted before — compete in back-to-back triathlons less than 24 hours apart.
But after being caught from behind Saturday in the last half-mile to finish second in the Loveland Lake to Lake Triathlon, it was deja vu Sunday at the Boulder 5430 Sprint Triathlon.
“Dude’s an Olympian,” Van Akkeren said Sunday of overall winner Simon Thompson, who finished in 1 hour, 8 minutes and 56 seconds. “The guy just killed me on the run.”
Thompson, who competed for Australia in the 2004 Athens Olympics but spends his summers in Boulder, caught Van Akkeren about a mile into the 5K.
“I felt quite light on my feet,” said Thompson, 31, who was second after the half-mile swim and 17.2-mile bike ride but made up time in both transition areas and on the run. “I had sight of him straight away.”
He’d cruise to the finish, with Van Akkeren coming in at 1:10:08. Marek Dvorak of Boulder was third in 1:10:59.
After days of rain, Father’s Day at the Boulder Reservoir dawned with blue skies and temperatures in the upper 50s. By the time the final competitor finished, it was near 90.
A breeze that picked up early provided some relief, though it made things more difficult in the 5K.
“The headwind made it tougher on the run, but it was great on the bike. We had the wind at our back, and got going 40 mph,” said Thompson.
After winning the 5430 Long Course Triathlon last year, Thompson proclaimed himself “two for two” in Boulder. “I like this course,” he said with a smile.
He’ll be back in August to defend his title in the Long Course — a 1.2-mile swim, 56-mile ride and 13.1-mile run.
Van Akkeren will be there, but probably won’t attempt another back-to-backer less than 24 hours apart.
“I was surprised I had some snap in my legs after yesterday,” he said. “It was welcome, but it was kind of hard to hold on. It definitely was a first-time experience. It was trying, but I basically just turned the brain off this morning and said don’t even think about it.”
Van Akkeren, who won last year’s event by less than a minute, said he thought he’d be sore after Saturday’s race in Loveland. “But I was really good about my recovery yesterday — good nutrition, massage, rest. I did it as a challenge. It was fun.”
What wasn’t to like, he said, what with snow-capped Indian Peaks to the west and the foothills green from all the rain.
He also had nothing but praise for Thompson, 10th at the Athens Olympics.
“He’s on a different level than I am. But I’m working to get to that level,” said Van Akkeren, who planned to compete next in the Pacific Crest Half-IRONMAN in Bend, Ore.
Teri Cady of Louisville, waged her own comeback Sunday in winning the overall women’s title in 1:18:07 — a minute and 46 seconds over Parker’s Steph Popelar.
Once an elite runner and pro 10 years ago, she took time off to have two children — daughter Morgan, now 3, and son Justin, 1.
“This year I decided I’d try to get fit and race,” she said.
“I didn’t expect (to win) at all. There’s so many great athletes in Boulder. But I came out of the water in first and held that (lead),” said Cady, head cross country coach at Boulder’s Fairview High School.
Amanda Durner of Colorado Springs took third.
Others were simply glad to be there.
Ed Weir, 53, Lafayette, crossed the finish line together with his daughter, Jessica, 24, the latter a smoker for six years.
To celebrate Jessica’s 1-year anniversary from giving up cigarettes, they entered their first triathlon.
“It was a family effort to get her to quit,” said Weir. “She challenged me (back), so we did this together. It is cool.”
Mike Adamson, 47, Broomfield, felt the same way.
Though his daughter, Nikki, 18, was able to compete only in the swim portion, they walked across the finish line together.
“She was almost killed in a car accident a year ago last month. It was cool we could do this together,” Adamson said.
For 79-year-old Lyle Langlois of Boulder, Sunday proved that age is relative.
He finished first for his age group, competing in his 83rd multisport event since he turned 70.
His goal is to do 100 by the time he turns 80.
Wife Kay Martin, 72, will be there with him — just don’t expect her to wait for him.
She caught him in the run portion Sunday and patted him on the rear as she went by.
“I said you’re good looking good from the back,” quipped Martin, who finished in 2:29:52, about 9 minutes ahead of hubby.
Langlois, who splits time between Manitou Springs and Phoenix, wasn’t fazed.
“It’s what she always does,” he said.
Then again, he added, “She’s much younger.”
Top 20 Women
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Top 20 Men
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