Triathletes test stamina at races in U.S. deserts

Two local triathletes extended their aced season by heading south to the desert areas of Nevada and Arizona.

AUDREY ERLANDSON RAN in the 2011 World Long Course Championship in Nevada.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Two members of the Comox Valley Triathlon Club extended their race season this year by heading south to the desert areas of Nevada and Arizona.

Audrey Erlandson, an experienced triathlete, took part in the 2011 World Long Course Championship, which was held Nov. 5 in Henderson, Nev.

The event should have involved a 4K swim, 120K bike and 30K run. However, the swim was due to take place in the man-made Lake Las Vegas, but on the morning of the race the lake temperature was only 3C and organizers cancelled the swim on safety grounds.

This still left the challenging 120K bike and 30K run, which Erlandson completed in 7 hours, 49 minutes, placing her 27th in the world in her age group.

“That was one of the hardest race courses I have ever raced!” Erlandson said.  “The hills … made riding Mount Washington a breeze. Just being able to represent my country again at a world championship race made all the ‘hurt’ go away. Great way to end my triathlon season!”

Don Blacklock, a 65-year-old local doctor, took part in Ironman Arizona, which was held Nov. 20 in Tempe, Arizona. The event, which was his first ever Ironman, consists of a 2.4 mile swim in Tempe Town Lake, a 112-mile bike through the Sonoran Desert and finished with a 26.2-mile run around Tempe Town Lake.

One of Blacklock’s incentives to take part in the Ironman was a wager he made with his old college roommate, who bet him $5,000 he could not complete the distance. Blacklock was due to take up the bet a few years ago but suffered a major sporting injury, which prevented him from taking part in any form of sport. Having sufficiently recovered from his injury he set himself the task of winning the $5,000.

Blacklock completed the event in a time of 15 hours, 20 minutes, which placed him eighth in his age group category. “He is also believed to be the only Comox Valley senior to have completed an Ironman, but we’re open to be proved wrong!” a Comox Valley Triathlon Club spokesperson said.

When asked for his thoughts on the race, his response was unprintable but Blacklock has already signed up for his next Ironman (Ironman Canada) to be held in the Okanagan in August 2012.

“The Comox Valley Triathlon Club was started three years ago and has members of all standards, ranging from the likes of Audrey and Don to pure novices just beginning triathlons,” said the spokesperson said. “The club provides the opportunity for members to train together, providing them with regular group rides, open water swims and periodic instructional courses.”

Next year’s membership opens in January, with a membership sign-up event beginning at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2012 (location to be announced). The sign-up will consist of a short talk on a triathlon related topic, coffee, cookies and maybe more and at least one substantial draw prize.

For more information about the Comox Valley Triathlete Club or about the sign up event, e-mail graham53@telus.net.

– Comox Valley Triathlon Club

 

 

 

 

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