By Kristen McFarland
Photos by Courtney Johnson
ISSUE #24, Fall 2004 – In a hotly contested race, Susan Williams and Nicole DeBoom duked it out this summer at the Boulder Peak Triathlon. Race Director Paul Karlsson looped the pro run course this year, which made the event especially spectator-friendly, and with the tight competition it was quite an exciting morning. To add to the suspense, the pro women got a 14:36 head start on the men (based on last year’s finish times) with a $1,000 bonus going to the first one across the finish line.
Nicole DeBoom, who had won the last three years in a row wasn’t expecting to win at all this year. “I was positive I wasn’t going to win,” she said after the race, “because I figured Susan [Williams] would be really gunning for it.”
DeBoom had been in the middle of long -distance training for Ironman Wisconsin in September and hadn’t truly rested for the race. “I had my longest day of training in three years on Tuesday,” she added. She hasn’t done a full Ironman since Hawaii in 2002.
“But Susan was probably smart,” conceded DeBoom. “I think she held back on the bike a bit. She needed to. She shouldn’t have gone all out. So I think that helped my chances.”
DeBoom was referring to the fact that Susan Williams would be leaving for the Olympics in Athens later that week and was probably not going to give it all in the race. Williams did admit to easing up on the bike on the second half.
“It was kind of the plan for the day,” she said. “But it’s hard to know if I would have won because Nicole had an amazing run. Even though I did back off on the bike I still faded a lot on the run. So it’s hard to know ‘because I might have faded even more if I would have pushed on the bike more,” Williams said graciously.
As a last race before the Olympics, Williams wanted to race to keep sharp, practice transitions, and stay race-ready. She was glad it was a close race. “It’s good to have competition right there. Obviously in Athens there’s going to be people right with me the whole time, so it’s definitely good practice.”
Williams came out of the water only 45 seconds ahead of DeBoom. Then she added another 45 seconds to her lead by the top of Old Stage Road, a brutal climb. They came in to the second transition only 25 seconds apart.
On the run, Williams was about 15 seconds ahead of DeBoom for the first two miles, but then DeBoom closed the gap and passed her at about the three mile mark. She didn’t get too far ahead, though, only crossing the finish line a mere 15 seconds in the lead. To add to the victory, she was the first across the line, ahead of the men, and collected the bonus prize money. She had never been able to do that since the race has had that format.
In third place was Boulder’s Amanda Gillam, making it a 1-2-3 sweep for the Colorado women pros. She was also surprised at her strong finish.
“This is my best finish of the year!” she exclaimed. “I want to go back to Olympic distance!” she said over and over. “I got on the bike and had a phenomenal ride.” She passed people the whole leg and got to T2 in fourth place. Her run split was the third-fastest of the women and that moved her into third at the line.
Stoltz also makes it four
For the men, Conrad Stoltz, a member of the South Africa Olympic triathlon team in Athens, claimed his fourth Boulder Peak victory to make him undefeated in all his tries on this course. Stephen Hackett and Brian Fleischmann took second and third, respectively.
1. Nicole DeBoom, Lyons, 2:06:33
2. Susan Williams, Littleton, 2:06:48
3. Amanda Gillam, Boulder, 2:13:54
4. Rebeccah Wassner, New York City, 2:15:25
5. Courtney Bennigson, Boulder, 2:16:50
6. Malaika Homo, Clermont, Fla., 2:17:02
7. Kelly Handel, Colorado Springs, 2:17:32
8. Evelyn Williamson, New Zealand, 2:17:59
9. Karen Melliar-Smith, Denver, 2:19:53
10. Linda Gallo, Santa Clara, Calif., 2:20:37
1. Conrad Stoltz , Bend, Ore., 1:55:22
2. Stephen Hackett, Australia, 1:55:56
3. Brian Fleischmann, Colorado Springs, 1:56:42
4. Chris Moffatt, Boulder, 1:57:29
5. Derek Kite, Malibu, Calif., 1:58:31
6. Michael Lovato, Boulder, 1:59:18
7. Courtney Ogden, Australia, 1:59:53
8. Cameron Widoff, Boulder, 2:00:17
9. Andrew Kelsey, Cupertino, Calif., 2:00:41
10. Greg Krause, Denver, 2:00:57