By Ryan Ignatz
ISSUE #16, June/July 2002 – The ninth stop of the ITU International Points Series found itself in a Caribbean paradise on Mothers Day at the 6th annual St. Kitts International Triathlon. The sister islands of St. Kitts and Nevis are volcanic islands famous for their inviting climate, amiable personalities and luscious sugar cane producing soils. Despite bearing the nickname the “Sugar City,” St. Kitts is home to one of the most challenging Olympic distance courses in the world, which itself is steadily coining its own nickname, “Heaven and Hell.”
The swim took place in the pristine waters of Frigate Bay. The bike course, the real gem of the triathlon, wrapped itself up and down the island’s central mountains, remnants of the island’s fiery formation. The run was staged in and about the Royal St. Kitts Golf Course, which presents its own challenges in the form of rolling hills and sandy trails.
The men’s field hosted over 60 athletes in which seven of the top fifty ranked athletes were present. Included were defending champ Martin Krnavek, world number 6 Shane Reed and brother Matt Reed, 1997 World Champion Olivier Marceau, and South American star Gilberto Gonzalez, to name a few.
At three o’clock, the men’s field took to the slightly choppy, two-lap swim course and soon found themselves chasing Stephan Sheldrake. Sheldrake powered through the swim in a time of 19:53 to be first out of the water with Shane and Matt Reed closely behind.
As guys began streaming out of the water to conquer the steep two lap course, Oliver Marceau of France came on strong out of the first transition. Things started breaking up in the front with Marceau and Matt Reed riding together off the front leaving Bevan Docherty to fend for himself while Jarrod Brauer and Shane Reed rode together with many small groups chasing.
As the men entered the second transition, it was Matt Reed and Oliver Mareau’s group effort to lead out the run with Docherty, Reed and Brauer just under a minute behind. Marceau ran strong off the bike to hold off the others while setting a new course record of 2:09:10. Behind Mareau, the race began to unfold as Shane Reed set a blistering pace in the hot conditions, posting the fastest run split and moving his way up to second overall in a time of 2:09:27. Docherty couldn’t hold pace with Reed and settled into third (2:09:50) with Brauer and Reed rounding out top 5.
The women’s field was smaller, but certainly talented. Jessi Stenstand, Samantha McGlone, Rebekah Keet, and our local Colorado girl, Nicole DeBoom all showed up ready to win. Just five minutes after the men’s start, the horn sounded and the women were off to the typical washing machine swim start. Nicole DeBoom led the way with Tereza Marcel and Laurie Hug also among the first pack.
The out and back bike course with its 4 major climbs per lap didn’t seem to slow DeBoom as she attacked the course and rode solo the whole way putting 1:40 on the next chase pack consisting of Tereza Marcel, Samantha McGlone, Jenny Marine and Jessi Stenstand who posted the fastest bike split.
Jenny Marine, who trains at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, posted nearly the exact bike split as race leader DeBoom, but had lots of time to make up on the run. DeBoom held her off until about 8 km into the run where she was passed, leaving a wide open finish for Marine to savor in a time of 2:34:26, about 30 seconds separated from Nicole (2:35:03). Rounding out the top five, Jessi Stenstand’s fast bike split and steady run held for third place (2:37:50) with Tereza Marcel and Samantha McGlene not far behind in fourth and fifth respectively.
“I felt pretty relaxed throughout the race. I never felt out of my zone during the swim, bike or run. I just didn’t have any speed.” said DeBoom after the race. “I felt strong throughout the race which is exactly where I need to be at this point in the season.”
The US brought many competitors to St. Kitts as it is one of the closer ITU races in this part of the world. Of the many US competitors, Colorado brought a large crew of its own to bask in the heat of St. Kitts and enjoy the festivities the locals provided. Some of the better male finishers were Boulder’s Paul Fritzche (12th), Chris Valenti (14th), and Jimmy Archer (17th), while the stellar performances by first place Jenny Marine (Colorado Springs) and second place Nicole DeBoom (Boulder) were among the few Colorado women.