Construction on Gas Well and Kalifornsky Beach roads is finished, so let the bikers reign again!
Most cyclists competing in Sunday’s Tri-The-Kenai Triathlon were happy to see the road leg return after two years away. The 2017 race didn’t run and the 2018 version had cyclists tearing up the Tsalteshi Trails in lieu of using the roads, which were unable to be used in the annual race due to the installation of the intersection lights at Gas Well and K-Beach roads.
But Sunday in the staging area at Skyview Middle School, racers were generally pleased to be back on the pavement.
“I’m not a mountain biker,” said intermediate women’s runner-up Linda Barnack. “I am not a technical rider.”
“I didn’t like that at all,” said men’s intermediate winner Adam Dixon, who in 2018 completed his first Tri-The-Kenai on the trail course. “I had to get a rental bike. I’d never ridden a mountain bike before.”
Many of the top finishers were self-described road bikers, naturally, but the road segment was a return to tradition for the race.
Dixon celebrated his 51st birthday with a victory in the adult men’s intermediate race, which consisted of a 1,000-yard swim (20 laps in the Skyview pool), a 20-mile ride (two laps of the race route) and a 10-kilometer run on the Tsalteshi Trails.
Dixon won the race in 2 hours, 6 minutes, 8 seconds, almost three minutes ahead of men’s runner-up Jon Iannaccone of Kenai, who finished in 2:09:00. Homer’s Dan Miotke took third in 2:10:54.
Katra Wedeking of Girdwood won the women’s intermediate race in 2:27:21, beating Anchorage’s Linda Barnack by 1 minute, 37 seconds.
In the sprint triathlons, which measure half the distance of the intermediate races, the men’s race went to Tyler Osland 1:02:14, while the women’s sprint event went to Anchorage’s Jenny Kimball in 1:06:45. Sterling’s Morgan Aldridge finished second in 1:09:44.
In the youth races, Kaytlin McAnnelly of Soldotna won the girls event in 35:41, beating out Kenai athletes Emily Moss and Madison McDonald. Murphy Kimball won the boy’s race in 27:59, ahead of Jack and Chase Laker of Kasilof.
The adult relay race was won by Diminishing Returns from Kenai, while the youth relay victory was won by Hypersonic Nines of Soldotna.
In the men’s intermediate race, Dixon came out of the pool running third or fourth, but relied on a strong cycling leg to take the lead and pull out as big a lead as he could leading up to the run leg.
“Mile three (of the run), I looked behind me, there’s all these switchbacks and I could see him,” Dixon said. “I figured he’d catch me, because my (run) time wasn’t all that good.
“The bike is where I excel.”
Dixon lives in Homer in the summers and winters in Mexico, and has plenty of triathlon experience under his belt. He said he has several more planned this summer, including triathlons in Campeche, Mexico, and Waco, Texas.
Men’s runner-up Jon Iannaccone of Kenai said work left him with minimal time to train last year, but with more time to prepare this summer and with Dixon in his sights, he felt like the top step of the podium was a reality until the cycling leg.
“I tried to stay with him for maybe two miles where I could see him, and all of a sudden he was totally gone,” Iannaccone said. “I never saw him again.”
“I knew by mile three when I was leading, I felt pretty good,” Dixon added.
In the women’s intermediate event, triathlon veterans Wedeking and Barnack staged a duel in the pool with several other female contenders, but both blazed through the transition area to escape ahead of the pack.
That’s where Wedeking made her move.
“She crushed the bike,” Barnack said.
Wedeking, 45, said with dozens of triathlons under her belt, she knew how to tackle each leg.
“I think the bike course is so fun because every time you climb, the downhills are so rewarding,” Wedeking said. “I crush a hill, then get an awesome reward.”
Barnack, 32, ended up finishing in 2:28:58.
“It’s hilly,” Barnack said of the course. “The bike course is hilly, the run course is hilly and sandy, and you’re just like, ‘Keep moving forward’.”
Barnack said chasing Wedeking on the run leg turned into a challenge when she began receiving splits from volunteers at the aid stations.
“There’s an aid station you pass by twice and on the first time, they said she was like five minutes ahead,” Barnack recounted. “The next time around they said three minutes, and I thought I can’t make that up.”
In the sprint races — which is 500 yards of swimming, 10 miles of cycling and five kilometers of running — Osland proved his worth in the triathlon community.
Osland is a newbie triathlete competing in just his second triathlon race ever, but pulled out the victory in 1:02:14, beating out a quartet of peninsula athletes. Kenai’s Jason Moore took second in 1:04:59, Soldotna’s Benjamin McGarry was third, Soldotna’s Kevin Lauver was fourth and Kasilof athlete Mark Laker rounded out the top five.
“I kind of got interested last year with the mountain bike (leg),” Osland said. “I’m just borrowing gear, I don’t even have a bike here yet … I can’t even do a flip-turn in the pool.”
Osland, a 2003 SoHi grad, works for Southcentral Communications and said racing triathlons are somewhat of a goal fulfilled for him, adding that he has felt the itch to compete in a triathlon for years, but finally took it up last year in the Tri-The-Kenai.
“I didn’t do any of this stuff growing up,” Osland said. “I played hockey, and I surf … I cross-country skied when I was in seventh grade out here (at Tsalteshi), and I haven’t been back until last year.”
Osland said between surfing worldwide in the summer months and snowboarding in the winter, triathlons are something he could use to stay ready and fit for his active lifestyle.
“It’s a good motivator to push me throughout the summer to train,” he said. “It’s something to go for, it’s local.”
2019 Tri-The-Kenai Triathlon
Sunday at Skyview Middle School
1. Jenny Kimball Anchorage, AK 1:06:45, 2. Morgan Aldridge Sterling, AK 1:09:44, 3. Kristine Percival Anchorage, AK 1:10:12, 4. Elena Hartford Anchorage, AK 1:10:57, 5. Stacey Pault Kenai, AK 1:11:59, 6. Melinda Greig Anchorage, AK 1:12:16, 7. Elizabeth Calabro Anchorage, AK 1:15:00, 8. Alina Rykaczewski Homer, AK 1:16:06, 9. Naomi Gallien Anchorage, AK 1:16:32, 10. Isabella Dammeyer Soldotna, AK 1:18:00, 11. Courtney Ruckel Indian, AK 1:19:38, 12. Brandy McGee Homer, AK 1:20:31, 13. Meg Paulson Anchorage, AK 1:22:09, 14. Jennifer Neff Anchorage, AK 1:23:39, 15. Eden Lunsford Anchorage, AK 1:24:59, 16. Gloria Reyes Anchorage, AK 1:24:59, 17. Kari Dupree Anchorage, AK 1:25:23, 18. Sue Parry Girdwood, AK 1:26:36, 19. Elizabeth Mary Thomas Girdwood, AK 1:27:58, 20. Sherry Pederson Homer, AK 1:29:31, 21. Julie Laker Kasilof, AK 1:29:37, 22. Mj Motta Chugiak, AK 1:33:18, 23. Jaylee Brendel Anchorage, AK 1:33:26, 24. Sara Bundy Soldotna, AK 1:34:17, 25. Marjorie Moeller Kasilof, AK 1:35:39, 26. Alexis Kaferstein Seward, AK 1:36:05, 27. Joan Nelson Wasilla, AK 1:36:44, 28. Krista Etzwiler Homer, AK 1:36:53, 29. Andrea Stineff Homer, AK 1:40:34, 30. Jennifer Waltenbaugh Homer, AK 1:41:44, 31. Kathryn Crowley Homer, AK 1:43:39, 32. Christine Boivin Anchorage, AK 1:43:43, 33. Dana Cordle Homer, AK 1:44:51, 34. Jessy Hilliard Palmer, AK 1:46:25, 35. Dagmar Mlynkova Anchorage, AK 1:48:21, 36. Judy Krier Chugiak, AK 1:50:53, 37. Meagan Nelson Wasilla, AK 1:52:47, 38. Vicki Illg- Lowe Homer, AK 1:54:05, 39. Karen Weston Homer, AK 1:55:26, 40. Eleanora Mayo Anchorage, AK 1:57:11, 41. Nancy Chambers Anchor Point, AK 2:00:54, 42. Rachel Gilbert Kenai, AK 2:01:19, 43. Tamara Miller Soldotna, AK 2:02:22, 44. Rebekah Koch Kenai, AK 2:11:56, 45. Kristin Webber Kenai, AK 2:12:33, 46. Kimberly Dodge Kenai, AK 2:41:02
1. Tyler Osland Soldotna, AK 1:02:14, 2. Jason Moore Kenai, AK 1:04:59, 3. Benjamin McGarry Soldotna, AK 1:10:15, 4. Kevin Lauver Soldotna, AK 1:12:03, 5. Mark Laker Kasilof, AK 1:13:40, 6. Michael Crump Anchorage, AK 1:16:06, 7. Chad Flanders Saint Louis, MO 1:16:08, 8. Daniel Mangione Kenai, AK 1:24:26, 9. Samuel Dye Eagle River, AK 1:25:52, 10. Carl Kincaid Sterling, AK 1:26:49, 11. Eric Pederson Homer, AK 1:28:01, 12. Jaydin Dufrane Anchorage, AK 1:30:12, 13. Kevin Chambers Anchor Point, AK 1:33:10, 14. Darrell Rhoades Wasilla, AK 1:34:34, 15. Michael Hilliard Palmer, AK 1:35:40, 16. Dustin Briggs Kenai, AK 1:38:28, 17. Mark Mcgarry Anchorage, AK 1:41:33, 18. Domenic Cordle Homer, AK 1:44:06.
1. Katra Wedeking Girdwood, AK 2:27:21; 2. Linda Barnack Anchorage, AK 2:28:58; 3. Natasha Dye Eagle River, AK 2:29:55; 4. Lauren Grippo JBER, AK 2:40:45; 5. Caitlin Upton Anchorage, AK 2:41:37; 6. Mandy Hawes Girdwood, AK 2:47:35; 7. Madeline Ramuglia Anchorage, AK 2:49:35; 8. Amanda Miotke Homer, AK 2:53:00; 9. Afton Milliman Anchorage, AK 3:05:14; 10. Mari Rueter Anchorage, AK 3:08:26; 11. Wendy Roberts Anchorage, AK 3:09:14; 12. Kayla Guerrero Anchorage, AK 3:11:25
1. Adam Dixon Homer, AK 2:06:08; 2. Jon Iannaccone Kenai, AK 2:09:00; 3. Dan Miotke Homer, AK 2:10:54; 4. Karl Romig Seward, AK 2:14:28; 5. John Krellner JBER, AK 2:23:33; 6. Brandon Ruckel Indian, AK 2:30:45; 7. Ethan Davis Anchorage, AK 2:53:27; 8. Jason Gilbert Kenai, AK 3:10:20; 9. Yonatan Ben Shabat Anchorage, AK 3:10:22
Adult relay results
1. Diminishing Returns Kenai 1:14:29; 2. Thee 3 M’S Kenai 1:14:33; 3. We Keep Tri’N Kenai 1:49:54
1. Kaytlin Mcanelly Soldotna, AK 35:41, 2. Emily Moss Kenai, AK 36:37, 3. Madison Mcdonald Kenai, AK 37:42, 4. Sophie Kimball Anchorage, AK 38:44, 5. Emmaclare Dammeyer Soldotna, AK 38:47, 6. Bailey Conner Soldotna, AK 41:20, 7. Valarie Mcanelly Soldotna, AK 42:30, 8. Liberty Miller Soldotna, AK 44:24, 9. Katie Nye Soldotna, AK 46:49, 10. Tatum Dufrane Anchorage, AK 53:12, 11. Dotty Brown Soldotna, AK 53:58, 12. Svea Miller Soldotna, AK 1:13:41
1. Murphy Kimball Anchorage, AK 27:59, 2. Jack Laker Kasilof, AK 29:12, 3. Chase Laker Kasilof, AK 30:07, 4. Johnpaul Dammeyer Soldotna, AK 33:21, 5. Brodie Wedeking Girdwood, AK 35:31, 6. Cedar Ruckel Indian, AK 35:31, 7. James Dammeyer Soldotna, AK 37:04, 8. Carson Hawes Girdwood, AK 38:27, 9. Alek Mcgarry Soldotna, AK 39:29, 10. Dwight Brown Soldotna, AK 40:29, 11. Ian Mcgarry Soldotna, AK 40:30, 12. Caleb Long Soldotna, AK 41:54, 13. Joel Moss Kenai, AK 42:56, 14. Tyson Ruckel Indian, AK 44:30, 15. Leif Laker Kasilof, AK 46:55, 16. Max Hawes Girdwood, AK 47:06, 17. Carson Humphrey Anchorage, AK 58:24, 18. Parker Allen Anchorage, AK 58:41