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Winter Triathlon

Kloser, Best win Winter Nationals

    In baseball, there was Cal Ripken, Jr., the “Ironman.” In commercials, it’s the Energizer Bunny-it just keeps going and going. In the world of endurance multisport, we have Mike Kloser. At 48 years old, the legend from Vail, Colorado, showed he still has plenty left both physically and mentally by repeating as the USA Triathlon winter national champion today. With last year’s female national champion, Colorado’s Kerri Nelson absent, Heather Best of Fairbanks, Alaska, displayed her dominance in the mountain bike leg of this event to claim her first national championship.

    Under a brilliant blue sky with amazing views surrounding the race site, the men’s race was actually quite competitive. Brian Smith of Gunnison, Colorado, used his strength on the run to lead Kloser and Spencer Powlison into T1 by almost a minute. Smith ran a 14:54 over the very challenging 4km run course, with locals Marshall Greene and Steve Larsen following. Kloser seemingly took over on the bike section, leading after both the first and second loops of the three-loop course. Smith stayed close, however, eventually taking the lead and coming into T2 with a 10-second lead. With an extremely quick transition, Kloser exited T2 with Smith and was able to nail the victory with his ski prowess, winning in a time of 1:09:43. Smith, again, was just 44 seconds back, and Powlison, Greene and Larsen finished 3-4-5.

    The women’s race was less dramatic. Best, living in Anchorage, regularly rides and does most of her commuting on snow-covered roads and trails, and her experience on such conditions showed. Though she entered T1 in second place, she put over five minutes on her nearest competitor after just the first two of three loops. Local Bend athlete Sarah Max left T2 nine minutes down on Best but showed her phenomenal skate ski ability by picking up nearly five minutes throughout the 8km ski course and finishing in second place. Karen DeWolfe of Corvalis, Oregon, finished third with her husband and 2-month old baby watching on. DeWolfe had only been on a bike once since giving birth but showed what a strong base and mental tenacity will do.

    — Excerpt from Inside Triathlon, February 9, 2008


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