Race Report: 2013 Pacific Crest Long Course Triathlon

    The annual Pacific Crest Weekend Sports Festival in sunny Central Oregon enjoyed a return of the heat in 2013 after an unseasonably cool race conditions the previous year.  Many traveled from neighboring states (and countries) to join in Oregon’s oasis of sun and geologic formations.

    Out at Wickiup Reservoir, returning to defend his back-to-back wins in 2011 and 2012, was popular pro triathlete out of Boise, ID, Kevin Everett.  As a YMCA youth triathlon trainer and Scott Sports sponsored athlete, Kevin is living the dream.  He teaches what he loves and opens doors to youth to enjoy the fruits of their training much like he has since picking up triathlon after a his success in collegiate swimming.

    The women’s race also featured a returning champion with Mackenzie Madison looking for her fifth consecutive Pacific Crest long course win.  Mackenzie was on hand the afternoon before the race offering book signings and conversation during packet pickup.  She had some close competition coming to the race and likely knew the women’s race would be very competitive.

    In the shallows off the boat ramp, the elite wave waded into the waters of Wickiup Reservoir in anticipation of the start as the crowd counted down to opening plunge.  Early on, it was clear Everett would control the swim and carve his own course around the two-loop swim.  Mini packs of swimmers took advantage of each other’s slip stream in peleton formations well behind the leader.  The morning was clear and the waters calm, which made for relatively fast swimming conditions.

    Everett led out of the water clear of the nearest swimmer by nearly three minutes, clocking  the day’s best swim split at 24:54.  Erik Smith (27:50), Tim Dodson (28:06) and Rick Silverton (28:12) hit the swim exit in the next cluster from the elite wave with splits bettered only by Cary Johnson (27:00), Brett Crandal (27:13) and Mark Frost (27:46) from later age-group waves.    Everett transitioned in privacy and efficiently making his way out onto the bike segment in less than a minute.

    The separation at the front end of the women’s race was measured in body lengths as the top four swimmers from the elite wave exited 70 seconds apart.  First out of the water was Jennifer Luebke in 28:32 with Laura Coombs on her heels – just five seconds back at 28:37.  Madison exited the water within a minute of the leaders nabbing her fastest Pacific Crest swim split to date, crossing the mats in 29:01.  Erin Green trailed Madison by roughly 50 meters exiting in 29:42.  The women’s top split on the day originated from a later wave when San Francisco’s Karen Jeffrey completed her two kilometers of technically efficient freestyle in 26:48.  That was good for the second fastest swim from all of the 403 competitors that completed the opening discipline.

    Everett eased into his 58-mile bike ride free of any immediate chasers, but with good company on the ride from the endurance duathletes that dripped onto the course in pairs while the triathletes swam.  Everett admittedly fed off of the duathlete’s energy and wished them well as he passed them by.   A few minutes back of the leader, the men’s race flip flopped in transition as David Garcia, Doug Christ, Jesse Carnes and Jared Wilson shuffled their order from out of the water to the opening pedal strokes.  Carnes peeled away from the others during the gradual ascent of the false flats that lead to the foothills of Mt. Bachelor.  Carnes was on his way to the fastest bike split of the day (23.5 mph) but by only a slim margin over the crushing effort coming from Gerry Marvin (23.46 mph) who started out of the age group wave.  A few minutes behind Carnes and Marvin, I found spirit in my tempo while moving progressively through the field.  I managed to pull into fourth position with only a slight advantage over Christ by the time the road turned grippy for the serious ascent up to the base of the Mt. Bachelor Ski Area.

    The women’s race developed with thin margins persisting at the front end of their ride.  Luebke transitioned in a flash ahead of Coombs as they hit the pedals just 10 seconds apart.  Madison was a bit more deliberate in her transition from swim to bike which moved her down to fourth position to start the ride.  She eventually reeled in the third place rider (Green) before the opening flats turned skyward towards the Mt. Bachelor.   At the front, Luebke built her lead on Coombs, and the rest of the field, ultimately clocking the fastest women’s split on the ride at 21.72 mph.  Before the end of the bike, Madison reeled in Coombs for second position overall and the top three women transitioned less than four minutes apart.  Coombs entered the run with a solid grip on third position with Green trailing by a modest margin for fourth.  Kara Gordon and Brynje Enderly made significant progress while on the bike to enter their bid for the final prize money slots in the women’s race and entered the run in fifth and sixth position respectively.

    The growing heat on the course could not be ignored as the race turned to the twisting bike paths of the resort community of Sunriver.  Everett was the first to test the amenities at the aid stations and utilized ice in his tri-suit and cups of water over his head to afford some respite from the energy sapping qualities of the rising thermostat.  A talented runner who regularly splits a 1:18 or faster half marathon in temperate conditions, Everett afforded himself the luxury of his wide lead to relax away from a threshold effort on the run.  Carnes trailed the leader by a modest, but increasing margin as he laid down a solid tempo early on his run.  I slipped into third position with Marvin’s exit from competition at the bike-to-run transition.  Behind us all was Rasmus Porgaard hitting the transition in 13th place overall.  He quietly picked his way through the field climbing the leaderboard until I caught sight of him between mile six and seven.  It looked like he was running on a moving sidewalk with the ease in his gate and the speed under foot.  Porsgaard leaned on his run to spring board the field and close the gap on Carnes entering the final miles of the course.

    The tight women’s race left no room for error for any of the hopefuls on the run.  Maintaining proper nutrition, hydration or temperature control would take on additional emphasis.  Experience on the course and running in heat would prove important in the end.   Madison grabbed the overall lead from Luebke and executed her run through GI issues and determination to hold onto her fifth consecutive long course title.  Her 7:21 pace was third fastest in the women’s field on the day and brought her to the tape with a total time of 4:49:07.  The fastest split was posted by Green (7:01) and catapulted her from fourth place to start the run into second place overall at the line in 4:53:43.  Coombs (4:56:29) and Luebke (4:58:35) also stopped the clock prior to the five-hour benchmark capping their brilliant races with third and fourth place finishes respectfully.  The fifth and final “money slot” for the women went to Kara Gordon (5:02:53) who held off a surging Enderle and her phenomenal run (7:06 pace and second fastest woman) for fifth place overall.

    On the men’s side, Everett held form throughout and paced himself (6:56 run split) to the line for his third consecutive long course title and 4:28:21 total time.  Porsgaard held his form to the tape in a magnificent split (6:15 and fastest on the day) to finish second overall in 4:33:53.  Carnes finished moments later in 4:34:30 and immediately congratulated Porsgaard on his fantastic catch.  I brought myself home with a total time of 4:40:19 with renewed respect for long course racing and just ahead of the nearing fifth place runner Doug Christ.  Christ broke the tape in 4:41:44 to complete the money slots for the men.

    There was fantastic camaraderie and competition in Central Oregon for the 18th Annual Pacific Crest Long Course Triathlon.  Athletes completing their first or 50th triathlon crossed the finishing line well into the evening in a show of perseverance and commitment.

    A special thanks again to the AA Sports Ltd. team, volunteers and sponsors that make the Pacific Crest Weekend Sports Festival a reality, and a HUGE success for thousands to enjoy each year.

    Overall Results – 2013 Pacific Crest Long Course Triathlon
    Male Overall:  Kevin Everett – Boise, ID          4:28:21
    Women Overall:  Mackenzie Madison – Springfield, OR      4:49:07

    Age Division Winners:
    M 16-19    Derrick Rubalcava – Vancouver, WA    6:27:57
    M 20-24    Troy Brown – Bend, OR    5:13:16
    M 25-29    Jesse Carnes – Missoula, MT    4:34:30
    W 25-29    Laura Coombs – Bellevue, WA    4:56:29
    M 30-34    Rasmus Porsgaard – San Francisco, CA    4:33:53
    W 30-34    Erin Green – Boise, ID    4:53:43
    M 35-39    Craig Dean – Portland, OR    4:40:19
    W 35-39    Brynje Enderle – Portland, OR    5:03:41
    M 40-41    David Garcia – Portland, OR    4:47:49
    W 40-41    Robin Sayed – Woodinville, WA    5:18:59
    M 45-49    Raymond Whitlow – Yamhill, OR    4:45:26
    W 45-49    Kristy Aalberg – Portland, OR    5:52:08
    M 50-54    Patrick Wagner – Eugene, OR    5:19:00
    W 50-54    Susan Moote – Portland, OR    5:35:53
    M 55-59    Gregg Whittier – Sammamish, WA    5:38:01
    W 55-59    Mad. Journey-Lynn – Sacramento, CA    6:41:28
    M 60-64    Phil Anderson – Portland, OR    5:57:52
    W 60-64    Lajra Williams – Sacramento, CA    8:16:47
    M 65-69    Ken Zell – Portland, OR    6:24:42
    F 65-69      Alisha Kern – Newport, OR    8:06:04

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