Matt Reed showed versatility by dropping down in distance to take the Life Time Fitness Triathlon in Minneapolis. Reed, victorious in convincing fashion this year at the 70.3 distance, outlegged Andy Potts and Greg Bennett in a 3-up sprint to take home a $21,000 check.
Aussie Clayton Fettel and Andy Potts led out of the water, but by mile-10 of the bike Matt Reed, Paul Matthews, and Greg Bennett bridged to make it a loose (no-draft) group of 5. Bennett, whose run has been largely sidelined by injury, decided his best tactic was to make the group suffer on the bike. This he did, and in so doing distanced Craig Alexander, Chris Foster, and any other uber-runner who might make a charge from behind.
Bennett's put his four bike-mates under pressure, and he entered T2 with only Reed in tow. Potts was :25 back, Fettel at :27, and Matthews at :40.
Reed, nearly unbeatable these days on the run, moved to the front immediately, and established a :06 lead at mile-1. But Bennett, on undertrained but fresh run legs, clawed back, and the two were even at the halfway.
Potts, down by :15 out of T2, found himself trailing by that same gap at 5k. He made his charge over the last two miles, behind by :07 with 2 to go, and the three were dead even with a mile to the end.
The last quarter was a blazer, Reed reckoned it at 65 seconds, with the 6'5" Reed taking it by a head. Potts, known for his race-ending speed himself, settled for second, and the 37-year old Bennett content with third, 2 seconds back.
"I gave the sprint a good crack, I just didn't have the speed in my legs," said Bennett, but added, "I feel my season is back on track."
"I've been working a lot on my sprint, doing 200 meter intervals in 28 seconds," said Reed of his sprint speed, which one might think an unnecessary skill in the sport of triathlon. But considering the spate of 3-up sprint finishes in recent big races, maybe the men ought to be out on the track one day a week, training with the 800 meter runners.
Matt Reed's unofficial finish time was 1:49:15.
Haskins was out of the water with Sarah Groff, and quickly rode to a solo lead after the latter's bike exhibited audible misbehavior immediately out of transition.
Otherwise the women's bike leg, usually a place where separations are made, served to bring the race together. Becky Lavelle, :10 back out of the swim, and Julie Dibens, :45 back in the swim, each entered T2 right with Haskins. It looked like a three-peat of the men's race, but Haskins made sure that was not to be.
She was :30 up on Dibens at mile-1 of the run, :40 at the halfway, and cruised in with a more than 2- minute margin, in 2:00:48 (unofficially). Lavelle was third, and Rebeccah Wassner was fourth.
1. Matt Reed 1:49:15
2. Andy Potts 1:49:15
3. Greg Bennett 1:49:17
4. Paul Matthews 1:50:50
5. Craig Alexander 1:50:59
1. Sarah Haskins 2:00:48
2. Julie Dibens 2:02:10
3. Becky Lavelle 2:02:38
4. Rebeccah Wassner 2:03:02