By Lynn DeBruin
August 29, 2010 (Fort Collins, CO) – Cody Waite rode the final nine miles of the rugged XTERRA Lory Triathlon minus the bicycle seat that had fallen off when he negotiated a tight turn. And Tracy Thelen was still feeling the effects of a 24-hour race she and her husband had won just a week earlier in Gunnison. Despite the difficult odds, both pros held on to win overall elite titles in the second annual event that featured a half-mile swim in Horsetooth Reservoir, 12-mile single-track bike ride and 4.8-mile run.
“It was weird,” Waite said of pedaling without the entire carbon-fiber seat post after it caught on his shorts and fell off. “You’re used to having the seat to balance and it wasn’t there, so it took a while to adjust.”
The other tricky part was not being able to take his hands off the wheel to get a sip of water.
“Luckily it wasn’t a very long or hot race, but your mouth gets kind of dry,” said Waite, who is ranked fifth in the U.S. among XTERRA pros. He covered the course in 1 hour, 32 minutes, 24 seconds.
Joe McDaniel, 28, Colorado Springs, took second in 1:33:07, while Patrick Valentine was third overall among the men (1:33:37).
Thelen finished in 1:47:28 to win the women’s elite title. Jamie Brede was second in 1:50:10.
“I knew Jamie was probably closing in on the bike because she’s a strong cyclist. But I never saw her. And you have to focus on what’s in front of you not behind you, and if they catch you, they catch you,” Thelen said.
She held on despite feeling the effects of the 24 Hours in Osage, where she and husband, Nick, won the coed duo by setting a record with 19 laps.
“I’m not recovered from last week,” Thelen said after Lory. “And I could feel it on the bike and on the run. It’s probably not the smartest decision I ever made to do this race.”
But the challenging race would serve as a tune-up for the XTERRA USA Championship in Ogden, Utah, on September 25. Thelen races for Operation Rebound, which raises money for servicemen and women as they recover from injuries.
McDaniel was racing in only his third XTERRA, and using it as a tune-up for a full-distance triathlon in Cedar Point, Ohio.
“I wanted to throw this race in to see where I’m at fitness-wise,” said McDaniel, who made up most of his time on the run.
Though he didn’t race in the event last year, he liked the fact that event organizer Lance Panigutti added a hill climb and descent early along the 12-mile bike course.
“It was good, not crazy technical, but great for racing,” McDaniel said.
An added bonus was competing in a race Panigutti put on for Without Limits Productions. It was the first time they had crossed paths since their epic duel at the 24 Hours of Triathlon World competition.
“It came down to one triathlon and we didn’t know where we were on the course,” Panigutti recalled. “We kept passing each other. Since then he’s gone on to become a great pro and I’ve gone on to put on races and it’s great to have him at my race. I couldn’t be happier.”
McDaniel, whose team raises money for premature and terminally ill children, said the last few hours of that 24-hour race seemed like a dream.
“You just kept going with what you could, but you were in and out of fuzzy haziness,” McDaniel recalled. “It makes you appreciate these races.”
Both men had an even greater appreciation for 24-hour events when neither was able to finish the following year. At Lory, McDaniel didn’t mind being runner-up, especially after having to circumnavigate Waite’s seat.
“That’s something you don’t see that often,” McDaniel said.
Thelen agreed. “That’s pretty impressive, riding the entire thing without a saddle. Kudos to Cody.”