Growing bunch set to tri for title

If Sunday’s second build up triathlon is anything to go by, the Cayman Islands Triathlon, sponsored by Scott’s Equipment, will be a closely contested affair at the end of the month.

Some 60 individual athletes and five teams took up the challenge, competing over two distances.

Those preparing for the longer Olympic distance event on 29 November took on a standard sprint distance event, composed of a 750 metre swim, a 20km bike and a 5km run. The athletes preparing for the sprint distance race at the Cayman Islands Triathlon completed a 375m swim, a 10km bike and 2.5km run.

The field took to the calm waters off Public Beach at 7am, churning it up into something resembling a crazy washing machine and drawing fascinated stares from tourists out for an early morning stroll.

First out of the water in the longer event was Ian Washbrook, closely followed by top triathletes Jasper Mikkelsen, with Mike Ridsdale and Martin Van Zyl, who was celebrating his birthday by taking part in a triathlon, hot on his heels.

Mikkelsen flew through transition and passed Washbrook before they managed to get on the bike course, with Van Zyl and Ridsdale chasing hard. Dean Gaffigan rounded out the top five heading out on the bike.

Mikkelsen kept pushing hard, as Ridsdale caught and passed Washbrook and then Van Zyl to move into second on the road. Gaffigan kept up the charge, passing Washbrook but still failing to gain on the flying trio in front of him.

Mikkelsen was first back into transition, but with a mere 30 seconds on Ridsdale, who had pulled back some 20 seconds on the flying Dane during the bike leg.

Ridsdale was quick to close the gap on Mikkelsen and by the end of the first lap of the run course he was well clear of Mikkelsen in second, with Van Zyl clinging to third. Gaffigan soon gained Tom Stephens for company on the run and they systematically hunted down Van Zyl.

By the finish line, Ridsdale was the clear winner, followed home by Mikkelsen, Stephens, Gaffigan and Paul Tanguy, who managed to pass Van Zyl on the final lap.

Mikkelsen, who is set to take part in the Half-Ironman World Championships in Clearwater, Florida on 14 November, is building up for that event, and dosed his effort in the build-up tri.

However, Ridsdale’s performance makes it likely that the Cayman Islands Triathlon will be a closely contested affair. Another contender for top spot on the podium, Marius Acker, has been steering clear of the build-up races, preferring to keep his form a closely guarded secret.

In the women’s race Pam Travers took the lead from the swim, almost two and a half minutes clear of Alyssa Dodson, with Justine Plenkiewicz and Julie-Anne Pearson close behind.

Travers managed to hold onto her lead until the start of the run, when she was passed by a flying Pearson, who had caught Dodson and Plenkiewicz out on the bike course. Pearson held her lead to the finish, taking the win with Travers in second and Plenkiewicz in third.

In the shorter distance, it was top cyclist and turned surprise triathlete Steve Evans who took the win, with Helen Wauchope home first among the women.

The next build-up race is set to take place on 15 November, with online entries available through tricayman.com. The event will start at 7am from Public Beach.

  • Full results of the second build-up triathlon is available on caymanactive.com.
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