Jesse Thomas ran away from the competition to repeat his title at the AVIA Wildflower Long Course Triathlon in a time of 3:58:59. Heather Jackson showed great running speed to take the women's race over Linsey Corbin in a course record time of 4:26:29.
A battle of super fish was imminent in Lake San Antonio and when the fat lady stopped singing, it was Dustin McLarty who managed to beat Clayton Fettell out of the water in 21:01. Defending champion Jesse Thomas needed 23:22 to finish the swim, but with Jordan Rapp and some other fast guys reasonably close, the race to T2 was on.
Fettell moved quickly to the front of the race and dropped McLarty, but behind him the chase was on with Paul Matthews, Jordan Rapp, Jesse Thomas and James Cunnama all riding at full throttle. The chasers slowly but steadily gained on the lone leader and caught him towards the end of the bike segment. Cunnama who had a slightly slower swim and first transition made up for it with the race best bike split of 2:27:28. Rapp and Thomas were next best riding 2:27:32 and 2:27:35 respectively.
Thomas, Fettell, Matthews and Rapp were running together early on, but Thomas managed to dispatch the others and move into the lead by himself. His 1:14:38 run wasn't best of the day, but well faster than any guy close to him, and so Thomas was able to record another Wildflower Long Course win. Rapp came across the line in second place and Cunnama moved past Matthews to take third.
"I could care less about the time," said Thomas. about his sub-4 hour effort. "It just happened. I just felt I was physically capable of racing well and defending. To perform well under the pressure I put on myself and the pressure from outside means a lot to me."
Leanda Cave blitzed the swim course and only Emily Cocks managed to keep the fast Brit in her sight. When Cave came back on shore only 23:58 had expired and now the fun times really began.
Linsey Corbin rode really well and managed the top bike split among the female Pros. Her 2:33:44 was about a minute quicker than the times of bike powerhouses Melanie McQuaid and Heather Jackson. But that was mostly due to a hard effort by Corbin later on in the 56 mile bike segment. Leanda Cave and Magali Tisseyre though had lost almost 4 minutes to the flying Pro from Montana.
Once on the run though no one came close to the foot speed of Heather Jackson. Her 1:21:08 half marathon run on a difficult course was race best for sure and almost 7 minutes faster than the time of Corbin. Charisa Wernick who would end up in 5th position had the 2nd best time of 1:25:22, more than 4 minutes slower than Jackson. So it was no surprise that Jackson ended up with the win and the course record in 4:26:29. Corbin finished second and Tisseyre rounded out the podium.
"It's the perfect race for me," said Jackson. "To win it is just great. And now they have a staircase for all the winners., I will be on it too!"
2012 AVIA Wildflower Long Course Triathlon
Lake San Antonio, CA / May 5, 2012
1. Jesse Thomas (USA) 3:58:59
2. Jordan Rapp (USA) 4:00:22
3. James Cunnama (RSA) 4:02:01
4. Paul Matthews (AUS) 4:03:20
5. Chris Legh (AUS) 4:04:56
6. Clayton Fettell (AUS) 4:07:35
7. Trevor Wurtele (CAN) 4:07:44
8. Dustin McLarty (USA) 4:09:46
9. Stephen Kilshaw (CAN) 4:11:08
10. Nicholas Thompson (USA) 4:11:41
1. Heather Jackson (USA) 4:26:29 * course record
2. Linsey Corbin (USA) 4:32:09
3. Magali Tisseyre (CAN) 4:34:30
4. Leanda Cave (GBR) 4:36:24
5. Charisa Wernick (USA) 4:38:42
6. Rachel Challis (GBR) 4:39:25
7. Rebekah Keat (AUS) 4:39:55
8. Melanie McQuaid (CAN) 4:41:15
9. Jennifer Tetrick (USA) 4:44:31
10. Julia Grant (NZL) 4:44:43