Austin Tri-Cyclist Blog

Monday, March 14, 2011

RACE REPORTS: The Blue Norther & The Cronometro

If you didn't race this past weekend, you missed out. Good weather, great courses, friendly people, expert organizers, and the local superstars, aero-helmeted and out to crush your dreams – you have to love a city where you can race twice in a weekend, and some months twice every weekend, within an hour's drive.

The Blue Norther Duathlon, Sunday, March 13

The night before the race, you set your alarm for five, then realize you'll be "springing forward" for what's really a 4 a.m. wake-up call. Ah, the things we do for fun...

Yesterday the 21st annual Seguin Sunrise Lions Club Blue Norther' Duathlon, a long-standing ATC favorite and one of the first races of the season, was held at Texas Lutheran University in Seguin. The 3.1-mile run/14-mile bike/3.1-mile run event is small (at about 150 participants), but attracts many of the fastest age groupers in the area. The run course is two loops, on quiet campus and neighborhood streets, and the bike course is gently rolling, with very little traffic. It's the perfect setting for an early season test run for your equipment (and person), and an all-around good time. Post-race, they served up snacks like baked potatoes and homemade chocolate-chip cookies, along with a healthy dose of small-town hospitality (volunteers don't get any friendlier than this) and live bluegrass music.

The top three in each age group took home a medal. (Click here for results.) Matthew Russell was first overall male at 1:08:40, with Weslie Anderson coming in second overall about a minute later, and Tony de Silva at third a minute after that. The top three women finishers were Kat Hunter, Marla Briley, and Erin Anderson.

But perhaps more importantly, the ATC smack talk finally came to proving time. Corey May bested the rest with 1:17:41, taking first in the 40-44 age group. Adam Stroobandt came in second of the ATCers, and first in 25-29. Flu-stricken (we'll be kind) Don Ruthven was third in the rivalry and his age group. Tim Dove was fourth, and first of the Clydesdales with a 1:21:43. Not quite a party to the rivalry and heated debate, but in the ATC jersey were Missy Ruthven and Rita Stroobandt, competing as a relay team, with Missy on the bike and Rita taking the overall female lead for both runs. And Tony de Silva, third overall, and John Trowbridge, first in the 45-49, were racing for ATC, as well.

All proceeds from the Blue Norther' and other Lions Club projects go to charities, including the Seguin Women's Shelter, EATS food bank, Teatro de Artes, scholarships for Seguin high school seniors, and other local programs.

Big thanks to the volunteers and organizers who are out, year after year, making this event run smoothly! And thanks to Chris Garlington, Thomas Bressie, and Sara Askey for the photos!

Race website

The 2011 Cronometro Time Trial, Saturday, March 12

That "good weather" we mentioned doesn't exactly apply to the Cronometro. The day was warm, but the wind was strong enough that even Mary Poppins would have balked at a deep wheel. Still, many riders had them, with the first overall male finisher and female finisher on HED Stinger 9 fronts and disc rears.

The Cronometro attracts many of Austin's cycling celebrities. David Wenger took first (again),with a time of 30:47.4 and an average speed of 27.9mph on the 14.3-mile course. Stefan Rothe came in second with 31:31.2, Brant Speed third with 31:43.3, John Korioth fourth with 32:19.7, and Gray Skinner fifth with 33:10.0. Some of Austin's top female cyclists were present, as well, including Maggi Finley (triathlete and newcomer to the Austin scene), Nadia Barrera, ATC's Missy Ruthven, Jenn Mix, and Annick Beaudet. Kat Hunter came in first overall female with a time of 36:53.8 and an average speed of 23.3mph, Maggi was a close second at 36:56.9, and Nadia third at 37:20.1. In the road bike category, the top five finishers were Brant Speed, David Wenger, Gray Skinner, Patrick Darragh, and Frank Kurzawa. (Click here for all results.)

The course was a little different this year, two loops vs. one, due to road construction. But there was still one massive hill to contend with (twice), which also happened to be on the section of road heading straight into the wind...

Like the Blue Norther, the Cronometro is a race with character. And you don't have to be the fastest of the fast to enjoy the atmosphere and the company. The time trial's start is at J. Lorraine Ghost Town in Manor, a collection of Old West replica buildings, complete with a saloon and a jail with squeezable bars. This year, the first 100 to register got a free "Ghost Burger," and a live band played on the outdoor stage. And the post-race isn't a lengthy award ceremony, but a never-ending raffle of prizes (stick around and you're almost certain to get something, if not multiple somethings), like Tifosi sunglasses, Polar bottles, Pure Austin gym memberships, and Driveway passes, just to name a few. The best part about the Cronometro? A trail ride leaves from the same location earlier in the morning, so while you're unstrapping your P2 from the roof, cowboys in full chaps are saddling up their horses and readying the wagons. Two beautiful, slightly antique modes of transportation and a ghost town - can you get much better than that?

Race website

Check back for race reports from upcoming events:

Fayetteville Stage Race, March 19 & 20

Enchanted Rock duathlon, March 27

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