Former Juneau-Douglas and Glacier Swim Club athlete Kristin Jones repeated as the women’s champion in Saturday’s third annual Aukeman Triathlon while Kevin Sellers overcame his runner-up finish from a year ago to top the men’s field.
Jones topped the women in one hour, 16 minutes and 44 seconds and placed seventh overall while Sellers had the overall fastest time of 1:07:15.
“I felt great,” said Jones, who has been training all summer in Flagstaff Arizona with her Northern Arizona University Lumberjack triathlon and swim teammates. “Training at altitude is definitely an advantage.”
Jones was the first triathlete out of the water, topping the 750-meter leg in 10 minutes and 50 seconds. Rounding out the top 10 swimmers were Scott Jones (11:05), Weather Potdevin (13:07), Sellers (13:37), Stephanie Walden (14:16), Richard Forst (15:27), Alan Gross (15:29), Cheryl Fellman (15:30), Cathy Tide (15:33), and Melanie White (15:39).
“I haven’t been doing as much running as I had last summer but more swimming,” Jones said. “You have to take each stage at a time. You have to concentrate on each portion while you do it. On the end of the swim I kick a lot harder to wake my legs up. I mostly pull with my arms during the swim because I don’t use them for anything else. The long run up to the bike staging helps wake you up too.”
Jones stated she had trouble getting her socks and shirt on for the bike. Most of the triathletes were a bit shaky and dizzy coming out of the cold temperatures of Auke Lake and most got a slow transition into the 19K cycle leg.
Sellers took control of the lead one mile into the bike portion, notching the fastest pedal time overall with 30:04. The top ten overall cycle times included: Kevyn Wiskirchen (31:27), Forst (31:44), Jim Ustasiewski (31:52), Thomas Thompson (31:57), Dan Robinson (32:01), Scott May (32:28), Jamie Bursell (32:48), Brandee Gerke (33:21), and S. Jones (33:45).
Sellers, who sprinted to the finish in the final 5K run leg as son Ethan and daughter Annika cheered him on, credited the advice of Cycle Alaska owner John McConnochie for his performance.
“He said to have a well-balanced race,” Sellers commented. “And leave nothing on the table. That was kind of my attitude. I wasn’t really focused on being the fastest in any of the events; I just wanted to be consistent. Having family here to support you is very important. There was some very intimidating competition out here. The hardest part of this competition is finishing.”
The top 10 run times were Jesse Miller (17:45), Wiskirchen (19:39), Forst (19:51), Sellers (19:55), May (20:11), Blake Rider (20:28), Ustasiewski (20:34), Thompson (21:14), Justin Dorn (21:26), and Christopher LaPlante (21:26).
Amanda Compton suffered a flat tire in the first 100 yards of her bike portion.
“I think she figures she lost 10 minutes,” support mechanic, and boyfriend, Colin Shanley said. “Between the few minutes it took to come running back and get it all fixed up.”
More than 80 signed up for this year’s triathlon, a nice jump from moe than 60 participants last year.
“It was a good turn out,” race co-director Tracy Rivera said. “Good race, perfect weather, and lots of great volunteers that made it all come off. Juneau is becoming the tri-central of Southeast Alaska.”
Rivera credited the Aukeman Swim series, a race every two weeks during the summer, for the stronger swim portions of the contest.
“All these folks have been doing a lot of swimming to get ready,” Rivera said.
The Aukeman Triathlon is sanctioned by USA Triathlon. The top 10 overall women were Jones (1:16:44), Bursell (1:19:26), White (1:20:25), Jennifer Watson (1:21:14), Walden (1:21:48), Fellman (1:22:26), Tide (1:23:02), Worden (1:23:29), Gerke (1:23:42), and Kim Rivera (1:1:24:03). The top 10 men were Sellers (1:07:15), Forst (1:11:47), Wiskirchen (1:12:03), Jones (1:12:30), May (1:12:41), Thompson (1:14:32), Ustasiewski (1:18:33), Miller (1:19:22), Dorn (1:19:50), and Gregory Busch (1:20:37).
• Contact reporter Klas Stolpe at 523-2263 or at email@example.com.