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Vineman Triathlon: Whitney McCain sets women's course record


The 25th annual Vineman Triathlon produced a new course record for the women’s side and a dramatic finish on the men’s side as it came to a close Saturday afternoon at Windsor High School.

Whitney McCain finished in first place and set a new course record with a time of 10:06.38. McCain, 34, from Boulder was told on her first lap of the 26-mile run, that she was on record pace, but she said she didn’t want to know.

“There’s still 16 miles to go and I don’t know if I can hold onto that,” McCain said.

She was able to hold onto the pace and earn a share in the bonus time prize money, though that wasn’t the most important aspect of Saturday’s race, she said.

“If you lose the record, you lose the record,” she said. “If you still come in first, you still get the race.

“That’s more important to me.”

Sarah Jarvis from Flagstaff finished in second place for the women’s professionals and shared the prize money with McCain.

“You ran so great,” Jarvis said to McCain as they embraced at the finish line. “I knew you were going to get me on the run but still, you never know what’s going to happen”

The two competitors congratulated each other as they realized they split the bonus prize money between them. No other competitor finished in the bonus time allotment to earn the prize money.

Just before the third lap, McCain said she passed a runner who looked tired and it gave her some mental fuel to push past.

“If you pass someone who looks tired — even if you are tired — you make it look strong and it gives you that little momentum to put some space between you and them,” she said.

McCain said she could feel the effects of the heat on portions of the bike ride, which played against her nerves coming into the 26-mile run at the end.

“It’s always a mental strain,” she said. “Even if you have perfect weather there will be a mental strain. The heat was extremely challenging today.”

In the men’s race, Max Biessmann was the surprise winner, as he pulled past reigning Vineman champ John Dahlz in the final few miles.

“I’ve had some races in the past where I’ve given up early and pulled out (of the race),” Biessmann said after the race. “I just kept going and kept pushing,”

He finished with a time of 9:30.44 — just 44 seconds past the bonus time.

“I pushed all the way through and I finally feel like I’m getting that mental edge that I’ve worked for a while. This validates that.”

Timothy Mallen finished in an what he thought was unexpected second-place finish, as he said he was really just trying to “hold on for dear life.”

“I didn’t think I could get third, let alone second,” he said. “At the start of the run, I started thinking that maybe I could do it.”

The 2.4-mile swim and the 112-mile bike ride were the focus, Mallen said.

“I approached this race to just swim and bike as hard as I could and see how long I could run,” he added. “To finish out my run like that, I didn’t expect it.”

Mallen, 31, from Yuba City, said that the heat played a huge role in the pace of the day, and explained that when he fumbled a water bottle at an aid station, he knew he would have to take it easier for 20 miles of the bike portion.

Once he made it to the run, however, he caught a glimpse at the success he could have, he said.

“Two miles back, I shook hands with the third-place guy and wished him the best of luck,” Mallen said, “and then a mile later the second-place bike circled back to me.”

Despite the lengthy time in the sun, the support from club members and the surrounding crowd was kept him motivated in the final portion of the race.

“Nothing like running through here and hearing their support,” he said.

NOTES

Barb’s Race — the womens-only half triathlon that was held on Saturday also — celebrated its 14th anniversary. The 350 participants were required to each raise $250 in honor of Barbara Recchia, a long-time Vineman volunteer who faced cancer twice. Lizza Rachetto won the 2014 Barb’s Race with a time of 5:03.41.

Tim Sheeper from Menlo Park won the Vineman Full AquaBike race with a time of 5:50.50, while Evan Kraus finished with a time of 2:46.14 to win the Half AquaBike.