February 22-23 2014
The UC San Diego Triathlon team gave us a full weekend of racing with a draft legal sprint tri on Saturday followed by the classic non-draft sprint on Sunday. We Cal Triathletes traveled the farthest for this competition (yes Arizona that includes you- your drive is two hours shorter than ours) but by the end of the weekend everyone agreed that it was well worth the journey.
The draft-legal sprint on Saturday featured a stacked field on the mens’ side, to say the least – it included several full-time professional athletes, as well as top collegiates from around the region, including 2013 Collegiate National Champion Ben Kanute. For Cal male racers Greg Harper, Dennis Roth, and Arthur Tonelli and female racers Anna Kudej, Julie Takagi, and Lydia Roth, the draft legal race looked to be both a challenge of tactics, technique, and fitness. Not only was it different in format from any race they’d done before, but it served as an early-season rust-buster. On top of that, they all raced knowing they would have to double back with the classic the following morning.
In the men’s draft-legal, Greg displayed his blistering swim speed by coming out of the water on the heels in the lead pack and raced his way into 10th collegiate overall. Arthur, coming out of the swim well back, clawed his way up from pack to pack on the bike and hang on on the run to blow away expectations and come in just behind Greg in 11th. Dennis, plagued by his usual transition and early race mishaps which were magnified by the tactical nature of draft-legal racing, turned on the afterburners and logged one of the day’s fastest run splits to finish 20th, just over a minute back.
This was followed by the women’s draft legal. Lydia and Julie exited the swim near the front, with Anna close behind. On the bike, Julie did not allow her inexperience of riding in packs hold her back, as she logged one of the fastest bike splits of the day with a Tony Martin-esque time trial performance, riding either 10 yards ahead or behind a larger pack for the most of the course. Onto the run, Anna, several minutes back, tore her way through the field to finish as our top girl in 8th, and Julie in 9th, followed by Lydia in 14th, who several spectators noted to be “def chillin’”. Probably a wise call, since it would be less than 24 hours before round 2!
In the classic sprint, our men got off to a great start with Greg as the fastest collegiate male out of the water (yawn…). Later through the race, Dennis took charge, finishing 6th in 57:36, followed closely by Greg in 8th with a time of 57:57. Lauri Takacsi-Nagy (17th, 59:24) and Arthur Tonelli (24th, 1:01:25) rounded out the scoring. Way to go guys!
Also a shout out to David Cuban and Ryan Higgins who competed in their first Triathlons today, off to a great start!
Our lovely ladies were also second overall even without the outstanding Erika Erikson (who competed at Panama 70.3 last weekend, notching an astonishing 10th-place result in a world-class field).
Our top four females at SD were Lydia Roth in 8th (1:07:04), Anna Kudej in 11th (1:08:03), Brett Lewis in 15th (1:09:57), and Julie Takagi in 16th, (1:10:04). Also, a shout out to Sara Stellar for completing her first triathlon!
These impressive performances are compounded by the fact that Greg, Dennis, Arthur, Lydia, Anna, and Julie all competed in BOTH the draft legal race on Saturday AND the classic race Sunday. We saw impressive performance by many of the competitors and after calculating the numbers we are happy to report that Cal was overall! That’s what happens when you have so much depth. Way to go bears! What a great start to what is sure to be an unforgettable racing season!