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Mayflower International Triathlon and Plymouth Iron Distance Triathlon and Aquabike - Beth Lamie
On Sept. 5th and 6th, the Plymouth Rock Triathlon Festival celebrated its second anniversary, hosting 3 races over the Labor Day weekend. Athletes from as far away as Queensland Australia came to Plymouth to compete in either an Olympic distance triathlon, an Iron-distance Aquabike (swim and bike), or the only Iron-distance triathlon in New England.
MAYFLOWER INTERNATIONAL DISTANCE RACE
On September 5th three hundred athletes ages 16-73 made their way to the jetty behind East Bay Grill at 10 am to jump into the calm waters of Plymouth Harbor, and 20 minutes later the first athletes finished the one-mile swim exiting the water right by the historic Mayflower II. They ran along the coast, passing the Plymouth Rock and jumped on their bikes to start the 25-mile second leg of the triathlon. Coming back into transition right beside Plymouth Rock, the athletes then did a 6.2 mile run back and forth along the scenic waterfront as hundreds of spectators lined the course to cheer them on. In a New England summer that saw rainy days more often than sun, the brilliant sunny skies and dry mid- 70 degree temperatures contributed to ideal race conditions. Jesse Kropelnicki of West Roxbury, MA was the male winner, with a time of 2:07:09, followed by Thomas McWalter and Patrick Wheeler. The woman’s winner was Crystal Anthony of Beverly, MA, followed by Florence Cretien and Jaime Windrow.
IDT AND IDA
Early the following day, athletes began setting up their transition area as the sun was coming up on Plymouth Harbor. Although the skies would remain clear all day, a 15 mph wind was picking up which – except for the moderate temperatures – made for ideal training conditions for Ironman World Championships in Kona a month from now. The small but elite field entered the water at 7 am and 49 minutes later, Dede Griesbauer, winner of Ironman UK and Ironman Brazil led the rest of the field out onto the bike course. Griesbauer was doing the Iron Distance Aquabike as a training race for Kona. She was followed out of the water 3 minutes later by Mike Lamie and Peter Russo. Lamie, 49, who recently won his age group in Lake Placid who was also doing the Aquabike to train for Kona, as was Russo, 44, an elite veteran triathlete who is no stranger to the Ironman World Championships. As the 3 Aquabikers headed out on the course, they were followed by Ray Botelho, last year’s Plymouth Ironman winner who was doing the full Ironman again, and pro triathlete, Tim Snow, who just raced Lake Placid in a time of 9:26 and was doing the Aquabike to train for Ironman Cozumel.
The top five athletes were soon joined by top female age grouper Lisbeth Kenyan and although Peter Russo quickly took the lead and held it, the others continued to trade places on the bike for the next 112 hilly, windy miles.
By the time they got back to transition, some 5 hours later, the top 3 men in the Iron Distance Aquabike division were Peter Russo, Tim Snow and Mike Lamie. The top women in the Aquabike division were Dede Griesbauer, Lisbeth Kenyan, and newcomer Neil Withington (a.k.a. Mary Houbolt). Withington, who trains with Pegasus Elite Athlete Management, took up the sport last year at the age of 58(!) and has been dominating her division and younger divisions, especially on the bike.
As the Aquabike finishers enjoyed the ample post race food and took in the exquisite scenery, Ray Botelho and the Iron distance triathletes began the marathon portion of the race: 26.2 miles that was run as 4 spectator-friendly 10K loops along the Plymouth waterfront. Dave Sousa, of Brockton, MA, who finished 3rd here last year was 2nd behind Ray Botelho, and 28 year old Megan Wiseman, doing her first Plymouth Iron Distance Triathlon was the woman’s leader. Heather Ramsay Bushey was doing her first marathon as a relay with her brother, Peter Ramsay who did the swim and bike, and they were running in memory of their sister who passed away earlier this year.
The sun began to set in Plymouth and the glow sticks came out as iron men and women, many first-timers, ran through the 6 enthusiastic aid stations four times to complete the 140.2 mile journey, but before that, Ray Botelho had defended his title and a new female winner had been crowned in Megan Wiseman. Dave Sousa held on for second and finished in under 10 hours, with Jerry DeZutter finishing 3rd. Newcomer, Kendall Connerty of Hanover, MA finished second place for women, and Deborah Battaglia of Salt Lake City was third.