For a weekend in April, 23 of our CalTri athletes headed down to Tuscaloosa, Alabama for the USAT Collegiate National Championship 2011. The conditions of the race were brutal, but at the end of the day, our women’s team came in 5th, our men 3rd, and Overall… CalTri is the THIRD BEST TRIATHLON TEAM IN THE NATION!!! Go Bears!!!
The race course consisted of a 1500 meter swim in the Black Warrior River, two 20 kilometer loops of bike course, and a 10 kilometer run. However, it’s not just the logistics of the race that matter. All our racers went out there and pushed themselves way beyond their limits.
- Jordan came out of the swim 59th, and finished the bike 15th with the fastest bike split of the day (57:58), winning himself another bike frame [PHOTO]. He then killed the run, and ended 7th in the Men’s division, and 5th in the Men’s Undergraduate division.
- Noah had the 19th fastest bike split (1:01:24), and ended 11th.
- Nick had the 18th fastest swim split (20:19.02), and ended 39th.
- Basso had the 14th fastest run split (35:56), finishing 42nd.
- Craig had the 9th fastest bike split (1:00:39)
- Fuentes, despite a bike crash earlier in the week that left his shoulder and hip barely movable, pulled through and had a solid race
- Brice, after some challenging travel issues, brought the focus back to racing and had an all around great race.
- Also racing: Brandt started in the 6th wave, but used his “Champion Claw” to speedily pass by men from the 1st wave (who had a 24 minute head start). CJ PR-ed with 2:18:47! Keith, BCJ, and Trevor went for their first nationals like pros, while Papa Haas and CR battled off painful injuries to finish strong.
The first wave of the women’s race began at 10AM, and by the time the run came around, the temperature was 90 degrees with 75% humidity. Our ladies battled through some intense conditions, and many crossed the finish line delirious from the heat. However, everyone put it all out there. Erika, destroyed with a 4th place overall women’s finish, and a 1st place in the Graduate Women’s division (2:16:32). Christie pushed and weaved her way to the finish line in 22nd. Melissa “MMMMM…” fought hard through a foot injury, finishing 49th. Shannon finished 59th. MP and J. Mill started out the brutal run at an insane disadvantage since both had no water throughout the sun-drenched bike course, but both finished strong. MP was even strong enough afterwards to accurately describe the term “goggles” to a confused Bunny. Robin kicked butt at her first Nationals, and kept Junior in check with his “water moccasin” claims. And as for Michelle… she ended up crying in the arms of our team sweetheart, Mr. Fondles, only able to repeat, “It was so hard”.
Last, but DEFINITELY not least, our president was the toughest champ of the day. Miss Daniela Mehech battled through the heat in the top 10 on the run, pushing to the point where her body surrendered to heat stroke less than a mile from the finish. With a temperature of 107, convulsing from the pain in the foot she collapsed on, and completely delirious…the medics gave her three IVs, and she spent the rest of the day in the first aid tent. She put it all out there, and as CR said: “Daniela, you did more than finish the race, you finished yourself”.
Throughout the day, even though everyone was exhausted, we all made sure to take care of each other. The girls made sure to cheer on the boys right up until it was time to warm-up for their own race. Then, after finishing their race, the boys sat in the sun and used their remaining energy to cheer on the girls with cow bells, signs, and plenty of screaming. At the end of the day, the heat-stricken girls were driven back to the hotel, while the boys graciously took multiple trips gathering up everyone’s bikes and gear from transition. What gentlemen! A special shoutout goes to John Dahlz for being the BEST coach and cheerleader. JD probably ran over 10 miles as he rushed all over the course for both boys and girls giving out splits, nutrition, and emotional support.
Overall, our CalTri Nationals Team raced their hearts out in Alabama. As JD said, “Champions are not made overnight”. Our Nationals Team put in hours and hours of training and preparation before this race, and it showed as they faced off against some tough competitors. We are all very, very proud of you guys!
In the end, it was an epic weekend that showed us what CalTri is made of as individual athletes, but especially, as a team. Go Bears!