2011 CapTex Triathlon

The debut of the historic Cap Tex Triathlon into the race to the Toyota Cup Series offered a first rate field, the warm welcome of still rising triathlon center of Austin, Texas, an exciting crit-style bike and multi-loop run course, and $12,000 to the men's and women's winners. And despite the best of ingredients, sometimes things are just snake bit.

That's sad because Sarah Haskins had a great world-class winning performance that included a race-best 1:02:47 bike and Andy Potts combined a runaway swim, a 6th-best 58:34 bike and 4th-best 32:58 run to take the title, holding off by 13 seconds a race-best 31:16 run by his long time rival Hunter Kemper for the win. Which would have been a fine, happy script -- except that that scenario will forever be overshadowed by the strange swim marshaling snafu. Somehow, misinformed persons piloting a jet ski and another in a larger boat zoomed in front of the leading swimmers as they were on course and approaching the first turnaround buoy. The bad news boats frantically misdirected the pack -- literally stopping all the swimmers but one in their tracks. Andy Potts instead went around the hijacking and for his presence of mind got a 3 minute advantage which held up right to the end.

This photographer was also snake bit - with nobody but himself to blame for positioning himself right behind the men's pro wave on the start pontoon. Unlike ITU start pontoons which are firmly anchored, the Cap Tex swim start pontoon floated majestically unanchored out in the river. So when 30 top male pros launched from the gun, they pushed the pontoon back with a mighty force. The subsequent backlash launched your correspondent into the drink with all his lenses and a second camera getting soaked and knocked out of commission. Holding his main camera and lens above the water with a death grip, the rest of the day's photos were subject to the singular discipline of a wide angle lens and a balky fill flash.

The ultimate bill for restoring the soaked photo equipment up to specs? Unknown. The moment when the swim start PA announcer encouraged the crowd to cheer this dripping wet photog for his style points? Priceless.

Photographs © Timothy Carlson

Andy Potts charges the bike.

Pre dawn light on the Cap Tex swim course.

Hunter Kemper preps his bike.

Tenille Hoogland glides through a pre dawn warmup

Sportsmanship not gamesmanship. Matt Reed helps Cameron Dye zip up.

Pedro Gomez illustrated proper dive form.

Practice makes perfect.

Men's swim start -- the last shot before the dunking.

Andy Potts emerges from the chaotic swim with a 3-minute lead.

Andrew Starykowicz posted s 3rd-best 57:44 bike and finished 8th.

Nicole Kelleher biked a 7th best 1:04:51 and ran a 2nd -best 36:08 to finish 5th.

Hunter Kemper's race-best 31:16 run couldn't quite catch Andy Potts.

Cameron Dye's race-best 55:50 bike left him ought of gas on the run and he finished 3rd.

The Czech Republic's Filip Ospaly took 4th.

Sarah Haskins eased off a little on the run, but her 3rd best 36:12 run still shored up a 3:27 margin of victory.

Andy Potts won with a 1:52:00 time.

Hunter Kemper and Cameron Dye discuss the surrealistic swim.

Sarah Haskins hugs runner-up Alicia Kaye.

Jasmine Oeinck talks with Sarah Haskins and cools off after her 4th place finish.

Matt Reed stretches out after his off-form 6th place finish.