Tom Zaferes followed his surprise breakthrough win at the San Francisco Triathlon at Alcatraz with an another emphatic victory in California and Radka Vodickova ran away from Becky Lavelle to take the women's crown at the Triathlon at Pacific Grove.
Zaferes combined a race-best 19:46 swim in the kelp-clogged waters off Lovers Point with a 5th-best 58:47 bike in the middle of a 7-man breakaway pack and a 4th-best 32:59 run to hit the line in 1:52:46 with a 13-seconds margin over runner-up John Dahlz and 25 seconds on third-place Steve Sexton.
Zaferes' time was 4:48 off Chris McCormack's 2001 race record.
Zaferes, Dahlz and Sexton were the three survivors of the 7-man bike breakaway entering the final mile of the 10k run when Zaferes observed a vulnerability in his rivals. "At the last turn around they both yelled, "Water! Water!" and I knew that was the time to go. I was keeping my heart rate down and taking long strides and didn't take water the whole run and I thought when they asked for water "It is now or never."
" He surged right before the last turnaround with a mile to go and gapped Steve [Sexton] and I pretty badly," recalled Dahlz. "I tried to reel him in but the gap just stuck. I ran out of my mind today and before the race I wouldn't have believed that I would be in the same area code as these boys. I was just hanging on for dear life."
Sexton, who finished second to Ethan Brown at this race last year, was philosophical about taking the final spot on the podium. "I didn’t really feel my legs like I would have hoped," said Sexton. "Either on the bike or the run. It’s been a tough season. I sprained my ankle three times early in the season and I've been favoring my right side and not generating much power on the left. I'm happy with this finish because it will give me enough money to fund the rest of my season."
In the women's race, Radka Vodickova, Becky Lavelle, Lauren Brandon and defending champion Annie Warner broke away from the pack with a 20:45 swim that put two or more minutes on the rest of a 9-women field. On the bike, Vodickova, Lavelle and Warner worked well together and soon dropped Brandon. Near the end of the bike, Lavelle and Vodickova also dropped Warner with a surge. At T2, the duo polished off a 1:05:30 split that left Warner 1:10 back and started a battle for the win.
"t first, I thought Becky Lavelle was stronger, but at the end of the first lap she started slowing down and I thought she had pushed her pace too hard because she could not break away. So I made a ,move."
Lavelle, a six-time Pacific Grove champion who is styill comin g nack after taking a year off for the birth of her daughter Caitlin, said he had reached the end of her string. " I think I was out of my comfort zone but I thought, 'Hey, what do I have to lose?' I started cramping going down that hill on the first lap and [Vodickova] gapped me and increased it on the second and third laps."
After falling four places back of Annie Warner's 10th place finish at Hy-Vee last weekend, Vodickova got a slight measure of revenge as Warner felt a bit tired after her non-drafting race in Iowa. "Hy-Vee took a lot out of me," said Warner. "This race was draft legal, so it was a bit easier. But I think I haven’t fully recovered yet and clould not stay with them on the bike."
The Triathlon at Pacific Grove
Pacific Grove, California
September 10, 2011
S 1.5k / B 40k / R 10k
1. Tom Zaferes (Aptos CA) 1:52:46 -- $2,000
2. John Dahlz (South San Francisco CA) 1:52:59 -- $1,500
3. Steve Sexton (Pilot Hill CA) 1:53:11 - $1,000
4. Brian Lavelle (Los Gatos CA) 1:54:07 - $800
5. Brandon Barrett (San Mateo CA) 1:54:44 - $700
6. Dylan McNeice (NZL) 1:55:33 - $500
7. Ethan Brown (Lowell, MA) 1:56:05 - $400
8. Bryan Rhodes (NZL) 1:56:16 - $300
9. Ritchie Nicholls (GBR) 1:57:31 - $200
10. Derek Oskutis (Chula Vista CA) - $100
1. Radka Vodickova (CZE) 25:01 - $2,000
2. Becky Lavelle (Los Gatos CA) 2:06:13 - $1,500
3. Annie Warner (Nine Mile Falls WA) 2:07:22 - $1,000
4. Alexis Smith (Monterey CA) 2:13:25 - $800
5. Emily Cocks (Napa CA) 2:14:14 - $700
6. Julia Grant (NZL) 2:15:09 - $500
7. Lauren Brandon (San Mateo CA) 2:16:00 - $400
8. Zana Buttermore-Baca (Boulder CO) 2:21:23 - $300
9. Maggie Conley (Portola Valley CA) 2:25:55 - $200