Erin Jones edged out runner-up Avery Evenson by 1.2 seconds, and Eric Lagerstrom ran away from Ben Kanute on the final leg of the run to win by 16 seconds, at the USA Triathlon Super Sprint Series triathlon in Milwaukee.
On a cloudy day, on a course consisting of six legs (two times over a point-to-point 325 meter swim, twice over 5 laps which added up to a 4 kilometer bike leg, and twice over two laps which added up to a 1.5 kilometer run), the action was slam bang fast.
Jones emerged from the swim in 4th place and joined a breakaway lead pack that included fellow U.S. competitors Avery Evenson, Julie Stupp and Taylor Spivey. Before leaving the first transition, Spivey overcame a collision with another competitor’s bike pedal which slammed into her ankle. Spivey, a Cal Poly graduate who won the 2014 USA Triathlon Draft-Legal Collegiate National Championship, pressed ahead but encountered another mix-up after the first bike leg which left her completing the first run leg barefoot.
By the end of the first swim-bike-run legs, Jones grabbed a 7 seconds lead on Spivey, who was closely followed by Evenson and Stupp. By the end of the second swim, Jones led and was followed by Evenson, Spivey and Stupp, with a big gap on Johanna Gartman in 5th. During the final bike segment, Jones, Evenson and Spivey dropped Stupp. Coming into the finish chute, Spivey fell back while Jones held off a final sprint by Evenson to secure the $1,500 first prize by 1.2 seconds. Spivey took the final spot on the podium, 8 seconds behind the winner.
“It was a tough race but a lot of fun,” said Jones. “We swam fast, biked hard and ran the same. Plus I was hit by a pedestrian on the bike and bled a little bit. A guy walked across the course and just didn’t see me.”
Evenson shared Jones’ enthusiasm. “It was the most fun triathlon I have ever done in my life,” she said. “I had some technical difficulties but these things happen to everyone. You have to come back from mistakes.”
After the first swim, Ben Kanute, Canadians Alex Hinton and John Rasmussen, and 17-year-old U.S. star Darr Smith led the men’s field, opening a small gap on the first chasers. The chase pack included U.S. competitor Eric Lagerstrom, who neglected to wear a wetsuit and thus lost more ground than usual, as well as fellow U.S. triathletes David Thompson and John O’Neil.
By the end of the first 5-lap bike segment, Lagerstrom pushed hard to join Kanute, Smith and Rasmussen at the front, while O’Neil and Thompson faded. Ben Collins, who has done well at previous Super Sprint events, walked his bike back to the transition area, out of the race due to mechanical difficulties.
After the first lap of the second bike leg, Kanute and Lagerstrom broke away to a 5 seconds margin on Smith and Rasmussen. After one lap of the final run segment where they ran side by side, Lagerstrom made a big move and beat his fellow WTS rival to the line by 16 seconds.
Smith, who finished in 2nd place at the USA Triathlon Junior Nationals last weekend, finished the Super Sprint in 3rd place, 27 seconds behind Lagerstrom and 14 seconds ahead of Rasmussen.
“There was one thing I was unprepared for,” said Lagerstrom, who won the classic Escape From Alcatraz earlier this year. “People said there would not be wetsuits so I didn’t bring one. With the time I lost, I spent the whole first ride trying to catch those guys.”
“I knew Eric was running fast,” said Kanute. “I tried to keep track of him and save energy for the end. But Eric just had faster legs today.”
USA Triathlon Super Sprint Series
August 8, 2015
S 325m / B 4k / R 1.5k / S 325m / B 4k / R 1.5k
1. Erin Jones (USA) 35:46 - $1,500
2. Avery Evenson (USA) 35:47 - $1,250
3. Taylor Spivey (USA) 35:55 - $1,000
4. Julie Stupp (USA) 36:30 - $750
5. Johanna Gartman (USA) 36:37 - $499
1. Eric Lagerstrom (USA) 32:44 - $1,500
2. Ben Kanute (USA) 33:00 - $1,250
3. Darr Smith (USA) 33:11 - $1,000
4. John Rasmussen (CAN) 33:25 - $750
5. Alex Hinton (CAN) 34:07 - $499