By Jesse Vineyard/GCU Staff
With an increase in competition, the Grand Canyon University Triathlon Club showed the fruit of its training with their finishes at the Havasu Triathlon in Lake Havasu City.
The Lopes sent six athletes to race in two separate events. Jake and Nick Windauer – along with Troy Clark – competed in the Mountain Collegiate Triathlon Conference Championships, while Kirsten Fotieo, Alysia Kilcrease and Maggie Carrico each raced in the sprint triathlon. Nick finished 14th overall out of 175 male and female competitors with a time of 2 hours, 5 minutes and 21.8 seconds. Jake was 25th with a time of 2:09:30.9, and Clark finished 85th amongst the male group with a time of 2:54:53.8.
The conference championships was an Olympic distance race that consisted of a 1,500 meter swim (0.93 miles), a 40 kilometer bike (24.8 miles) and a 10 kilometer run (6.2 miles). For the Windauers, a race like this was nothing new. For Clark, it was his first ever.
Clark, who also serves as a United States Marine, had to fight through a flat tire within the last three miles of the bike ride, but still impressed his coaches with his determination to finish.
“He was doing twice the distance, but we knew he wouldn’t quit,” Jake Windauer said. “Someone like Nick or I probably would have ended our races with a flat because you still have a six-mile run to do. But Troy definitely finished his first Olympic race with a little style by not quitting.”
Both Nick and Jake earned new personal records at the Olympic distance by shaving nearly six minutes off their previous times.
Fotieo, Kilcrease and Carrico each finished in the Top 40 in the sprint triathlon. This course included a 400 meter swim (0.25 miles), a 16 kilometer bike ride (10 miles) and a five kilometer run (3.1 miles). For both the sprint and Olympic distances, the course also featured a 1,000 foot climb in elevation, only adding to the challenge. Fotieo herself endured her own adversity when she, just like Clark, had one of her tires go flat with four miles to go. Despite losing some ground, Fotieo still finished that portion of the race, and ultimately finished second in her age group (20-24 female) and 24th overall amongst all male and female competitors.
“I’ve never biked competitively before in my life,” Fotieo said. “So when I found out my tire was flat, I had no idea what to do. As more people kept passing me, I just kept going with the flat. Overall, I thought it went well, and I still had a good time.”
Carrico finished eighth amongst all female competitors and 28th overall with a time of 1:13:56.8. Kilcrease was 14th in the female group and 40th overall, ending with a time of 1:22:27.9.
The next races for the team will be individual events spread out over the next two months. According to Windauer, a primary focus in training will be group rides. Putting together the pace with other riders, but also increasing the already growing confidence as a team will be the important factor going forward.
“Riding is 60 percent of all the races,” Jake said. “Living on campus, we all aren’t able to get out very much. Nick and I always do long rides, so if the athletes can come out to those, that’s what we’d really encourage.”