Submitted by Craig Dean –
The annual Pacific Crest Weekend Sports Festival on June 22-24 drew endurance athletes from all 50 states and several countries to the beautiful resort community of Sunriver, Oregon.
The weekend was highlighted by the Long Course Triathlon and unseasonably chilly conditions leading up to the start of the race. After delaying the race for an hour from the previously scheduled 9am start time, race directors made the difficult decision to shorten the bike course away from the snow packed mountain pass of Mt. Bachelor and onto the lower elevations of the 28-mile Olympic bike course.
As triathletes are generally a hardened bunch, most of the entrants took the change in stride and focused on the job at hand.In the transition area, athletes chatted and joked about what lay ahead on the chilly and rather wet bike ride. Some participants traded tips and techniques for battling the harsh conditions with a few key garments that could be added before the ride. The normally quick transition from swim to bike was going to be a bit more involved than usual. A few veterans from the similarly harsh Boise 70.3 race just two weeks prior, shared from their experience and helped others prepare for what lie ahead. Moments before the start, the sun peeked out from behind the heavy clouds and offered some much needed hope to the masses inching their way to the water’s edge.
An elite wave of silver caps lead the charge into the clean and crisp waters of Wickiup Reservoir. Returning champion, Kevin Everett out of nearby Boise, ID, bolted from the opening gun and swam the majority of his leg uncontested, covering the 1.2-mile clockwise course in 25:34. Kevin commented after the race that the beauty of the nearby hills dusted with snow and the warm (looking) sun in the skies above made the swim a pleasant journey.
Meanwhile, a couple minutes behind Kevin’s wake, a small chase pack developed. In the pack were a couple silver capped elites as well as two speedsters from the red cap wave that entered the water one minute later. A second chase pack of silver capped elite racers trailed Everett by roughly five minutes. In the pack was three-time women’s champion Mackenzie Madison alongside OSU standout Molly Macgraw, as well as a trio of males battling their way for position. Macgraw lead the pack out of the waters with a 31:39 split with Madison tight on her heels for the short run to the bike racks. Behind the women, the trio of men emerged in near unison in what would become the cover shot for Bend Bulletin’s Sunday sports page. The top women’s swim split on the day came out of a later wave when Nicole Pressprich crossed the timing mats with a 29:16 swim split.
Everett wasted no time at the racks as a result of wearing his arm and leg sleeves under his wetsuit while on the swim. After the race he commented that the temporary sun that poked through the sky just after the swim made him contemplate the necessity of his thermal vest that lay draped over his waiting bike. Kevin adorned the vest and still turned a quick 1:17 transition. The 2nd and 3rd elite’s out of the water, Tom Campbell and Todd Riley, flipped positions in transition and rolled out of the park just seconds apart. Riley nearly matched Everett’s blazing pace on the bike while pedaling clear of all chasers. His 1:09:23 bike split was second only to Everett’s 1:08:09.
While the top two males sailed clear from the field, the men’s race was tightening behind them. Campbell held comfortably in 3rd position nearly two minutes ahead of pursuers Nick Alden and Cameron Dorn. Alden and Dorn traded positions late in the ride when Dorn flipped his chain and had to stop momentarily to flip it back into place.
On the women’s side, Macgraw loaded onto her bike first out of transition, about a minute up on Madison and nearly three minutes clear of third place Julie Glade. Macgraw held onto the women’s lead for nearly half of the bike before Madison reeled her in. Madison held onto the lead for the remainder of the ride, but didn’t create a gap on the rest of the field. Joanne Gilchrist utilized the top women’s bike split on the day (1:19:17) to eat into the leader’s margin and pull into T2 in 3rd position just seconds behind Macgraw. Anne Heiner quietly picked off riders ahead of her and eventually joined Glade in pursuit of the leaders heading into the run. The women’s race would be decided on the run and the twisting bike paths in Sunriver.
As one of the top professionals in the Pacific Northwest, Kevin Everett had only the clock to compete with while winding his way around tight turns and weaving bike paths of the resort community. His four minute lead on Todd Riley coming out of transition exploded to a 13 minute margin of victory thanks to his race best 1:19:31 run split (6:08 pace). Riley fought hard to hold onto 2nd position overall by running over two minutes faster than his run split at the 2011 Pacific Crest long course and held off his nearest pursuer by 40 seconds. Riley turned to wait for the 3rd finisher at the line when Cameron Dorn out of Waterloo, SC sprinted home. After having his chip stripped during the swim and chain pop during the ride, Dorn overcame early adversity to pass Alden in the opening miles of the run before gobbling up Campbell several miles later. Campbell completed his masters win by pacing an identical run split (1:27:33) to that of 5th placed overall Alden.
The women’s race was separated by less than six minutes for the top five heading into transition. The run shuffled the deck for everybody except the leader, Madison, as she held onto her thin lead with a 1:38:09 run to the line. Charging hard behind Madison was Ann Heiner and her 1:36:27 run split. Heiner started the run in 5th position and picked off competitors until she hit the tape within two minutes of the winner and good for 2nd place overall. 95 seconds later, Gilchrest crossed the tape after an impressive 1:39:46 run split to grab 3rd place. A few minutes later, Glade completed her gutsy run and late pass on Macgraw to finish in 4th place. Macgraw hit the line just 20 seconds in arrears.
For all the competed in the 2012 Pacific Crest long course triathlon, it was a test far greater than merely swimming, biking and running. The unseasonable wintery conditions altered the course and challenged the athletes to compete against a fourth element – Mother Nature. Congratulations to all that displayed the wonderful spirit of camaraderie and perseverance that thrives in our Northwest triathlon community. The conditions may never repeat themselves in the races future, but the bond amongst the athletes certainly will.
A special thanks to AA Sports, presenting sponsor Sunriver Vacations and the community of Sunriver for hosting and supporting this fantastic annual event.
For complete race results, CLICK HERE.
Men’s overall winner: Kevin Everett – Boise, ID 2:56:02
Women’s overall winner: Mackenzie Madison – Eugene, OR 3:36:06
Age Group Winners:
M 16-19 Ian Merkel – Redlands, CA 4:15:57
M 20-24 Cameron Dorn – Waterloo, SC 3:10:35
F 20-24 Molly Macgraw – Corvallis, OR 3:43:05
M 25-29 Chris Depner – Corvallis, OR 3:20:19
F 25-29 Anne Heiner – Portland, OR 3:37:44
M 30-34 Nick Alden – Eugene, OR 3:14:16
F 30-34 Julie Glade – Seattle, WA 3:42:45
M 35-39 Todd Riley – Bend, OR 3:09:37
F 35-39 Kristin Yarris – Salana Beach, CA 4:02:59
M 40-44 Tom Campbell – Renton, WA 3:12:22
F 40-44 Joanee Gilchrist – Chico, CA 3:39:19
M 45-49 Raymond Whitlow – Yamhill, OR 3:23:54
F 45-49 Sheila Donahue – Dundee, OR 4:09:12
M 50-54 Rob Saxton – Sherwood, OR 3:58:58
F 50-54 Carol Beebe – Bellingham, WA 4:34:22
M 55-59 Ross Wheeler – Kirkland, WA 4:22:38
F 55-59 Christina Anderson – Issaquah, WA 5:46:38
M 60-64 Bob Jordan – Lake Oswego, OR 4:36:54
F 60-64 Sharon Jensen – Bellingham, WA 6:00:11