Challenge Aruba: From Sea And Sky

Eric Wynn was on the ground and in the sky at the inaugural Challenge Aruba event. A star-studded pro field showed up for both the half and sprint distance races in this tropical paradise. Per Bittner took the men's race and Yvonne van Vlercken took the women's race at the half-distance. Lisa Norden placed second overall in the mixed-gender field at the sprint distance.

It was a long and hot road to the red carpet in Aruba.

The pro men are off. Chris McDonald (AUS) sports the new sleeved Blue70 textile swim skin.

The age group field followed not long after.

That catamaran is probably a bit faster way to get from A to B than swimming.

Sean Watkins waits patiently for his lovely wife Heather Jackson, who only two weeks ago placed a stellar third at the Ironman world championships in Kona, HI. Heather placed fourth here today.

And it's on to the bikes...

As you'd expect from for an island race, the palm trees were waving and the flags were flapping...

Volunteering is never easy, but maybe it's not quite so tough when you are in Aruba.

In case you needed a reminder, the humongous lighthouse lets you know that you're riding right next to the Caribbean.

Lisa Norden had plenty of options for relaxation after a hard fought battle to come 2nd overall in the sprint race. Pool or ocean? I'm guessing both...

CMB is Caribbean Mercantile Bank, one of the local sponsors.

Superstar Heather Jackson is shadowed by a video crew. Here, Heather is just about to overtake a very special competitor - her mother Diana Jackson!

Linsey Corbin was another popular female pro making the quick turnaround from Kona.

Chris McDonald is better known in the triathlon world by his alias - Big Sexy.

2012 Olympic silver medalist Lisa Norden took second in the sprint race. Overall.

He may be married to Heather Jackson, but Sean Watkins was a great volunteer for all, shown here handing a cup of ice to eventual winner Yvonne van Vlerken.

Per Bittner won the race by a mere nine seconds over David Giardini.

Yvonne van Vlercken had a more comfortable margin to celebrate with at the finish, crossing over six minutes ahead of Linsey Corbin.

Bittner and van Vlercken celebrate their respective victories.

Linsey Corbin knows something about popping bottles. She not only has her own beer sponsor, she has her own beer. But champagne works well too.