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Vineman veterans, novices push themselves to the limit

  • The 24th Vineman Triathlon competitors swim upstream (even with a snorkel) in the Russian River from Johnson's Beach, Saturday July 27, 2013 in Guerneville. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2013

WINDSOR — New at the Full Vineman Triathlon in 2013: a film crew following novice triathletes for a British reality TV show.

You want a dose of reality? Ask the men trying to run down John Dahlz.

"He's just on another level," Van McCarty said. "I mean, he's gonna have 10, 15 minutes on me out of the water."

Vineman Triathlon in Windsor

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McCarty finished second at Windsor High School on Saturday, more than 21 minutes behind Dahlz. Jady Palko was third, more than 41 minutes back. Dahlz failed in his attempt to shatter the course record as he finished in 9:06.25 in an event that includes a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike ride and 26.2-mile run, but he became the first man to win three straight Full Vineman races.

People would be getting pretty sick of Dahlz if he weren't so damned good-natured.

The UC Berkeley triathlon coach (it's a club sport at the university) called himself "pretty lucky" to get the victory, evidence to the contrary. He's making one last run at hard-core racing before he applies to law schools.

The women's winner was less versed in this event. Bronwen Price-Dierksen not only was competing in her first Vineman. This was her maiden voyage at full-triathlon distance. The Brookline, Mass., native is more experienced in half- and shorter Olympic-length marathons.

She was superb Saturday, crossing in 10:27.47 and denying Polly Crawford a chance to repeat.

Crawford finished second at 10:43.22 and was pretty happy with the result. She totaled her bike in a crash nearly two months ago, and got a new one just last week after spending the intervening weeks on a borrowed ride.

Price-Dierksen was greeted at the finish line with a kiss from her husband, Gregory Dierksen, who finished eighth among the men. They met on the Boston University swim team.


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