Triathlon is as simple as 1-2-3

"Photo: Curt Gordon, Brandon Henry and Peter Oakley pose together after monopolizing the top three placings at Tri-the-Rock. Oakley is the first South Whidbey person to win the 4-year-old race.Jon Jensen/staff photoThree South Whidbey triathletes who have been training since spring for the Hawaii Ironman made this year's edition of the Whidbey Island Triathlon their own private jaunt through the park last weekend.Langley's Peter Oakley was the overall race winner, outswimming, outcycling and outrunning his nearest competition by almost 4 minutes. He joined 207 other triathletes at 9 a.m. Saturday as they plunged into the waters of Lone Lake to start Whidbey Island's toughest endurance event.It was a dream race for the 38-year-old Oakley, who had never been an endurance athlete before competing in the first Tri-the-Rock triathlon in 1996. He placed 40th in that race. But by this spring, Oakley, an electrical engineer by trade, had started training for Ironman distance triathlons, which are more than five times longer than the half-mile swim, 19.5-mile bike, and 3.8-mile run featured at Whidbey's race. The training paid off when he blasted to the head of the field early in the bicycling section of the race. After that, he only looked back once -- while running on Maxwelton Road toward the finish line at South Whidbey Community Park.I didn't see anybody behind me, Oakley said after his race.Still, two of his training partners were stalking him. Clinton's Curt Gordon and Langley's Brandon Henry battled each other through the bicycle and and run portions of the race, straining to make up the 4-minute advantage Oakley built during the half-mile swim in Lone Lake. Gordon, a former Langley High School cross country runner, came the closest, outpacing Henry by 59 seconds. Unfortunately for him, he would have had to run a world-record pace to catch Oakley, who was on his way to setting a Tri-the-Rock course record.He did not have access to quite that much speed.I probably ran as well as I could've expected, Gordon said.The only way he could have caught Oakley, he said, would have been through skullduggery and the help of race director Jerry Cole.I'm really disappointed Jerry couldn't find a way to trick or trip Peter, he joked.The format of this year's race was different than in past years. The race's swim start in Lone Lake went out in two separate waves beginning 5 minutes apart. Men and elite-level triathletes started in the first, while women started in the second.Weissman paces women athletesThe new start order did not seem to affect the speed of either wave. In fact, the gulf between first place and runner-up in the women's race was almost as wide the one in the men's race. Age grouper Karin Weissman outraced elite triathlete Stacia McInnes, who had her best performance Saturday since winning the 1996 Tri-the-Rock. Weissman's winning advantage of 3 minutes, 52 seconds on a total time of 1:41:04 was quick enough to take her past some of the fastest men in the race. Her finish was made all the more impressive by the fact that she started in a separate women's swim heat 5 minutes behind the men.Competition was not the only focus of the athletes competing in Tri-the-Rock. Just finishing the event was of paramount importance for Langley's Patricia Buchanan, who at 50 made the race her first triathlon ever. She decided to do the race after her daughter, son, and son-in-law told her they were signing up. After quitting smoking five years ago, Buchanan said she though the race and the training program leading up to it would be a good way to get in shape.I started in February with a harebrained idea, Buchanan said. I don't know what got into me.She finished this year's race in 2:36:57. Next year, she said, she will be faster.For the remainder of the field, the race was nearly perfect. One competitor was disqualified for only riding one loop of the two loop bike course, while another racer set himself back by riding three loops. Hundreds of volunteers and triathlon fans kept the athletes moving along the course. At the 9 a.m. start time, a volunteer in a kayak even made sure the triathletes stayed on course during the foggy swim in Lone Lake by leading them toward the buoys marking the race course.A number of South Whidbey competitors placed high in age group competition, including Barb Jaksa, Sheila McCue, and Kurt Johnson.Race director Jerry Cole said this year's entry list was as large as last year's, even though a competing triathlon in Bainbridge drew a few triathletes away. Tri-the-Rock will return next year, with race day set for Aug. 4.Tri-the-Rock 2000 winnersOverallMen - Peter Oakley 1:32:03. Women - Karin Weissman 1:41:04.Elite men - 1. Peter Oakley 1:32:03 2. Curt Gordon 1:35:56 3. Brandon Henry 1:36:55 4. Kurt Billett 1:39:17 5. Rich McKeown 1:40:02.Elite women1. Stacia McInnes 1:44:56 2. Margo Navarre 1:46:32 3. Rachelle Jensen 1:49:28 4. Chris Latham 1:59:43.Age group16-19 Men - 1. Ryan Thomas 1:57:5120-24Men - 1. Charles Berg 1:41:23 2. Kyle Graebner 1:52:28 3. Kevin Rindal 1:57:12Women - 1. Heather Roehrs 1:56:08 2. Kami Johnson 2:01:23 3. Amie Campbell 2:02:00.25-29Men - 1. David Stonich 1:45:51 2. Jason Rudolph 1:48:22 3. Peter Donovan 1:59:40. Women - 1. Karin Weismann 1:41:04 2. Laurette Lambregts 1:57:37 3. Anne-Marie Kessler 2:00:27.30-34Men - 1. Mike Wilson 1:48:11 2. Brian Landau 1:49:41 3. Barry Gjerdum 1:50:33.Women - 1. Vallerie Keller 1:57:29 2. Sarah Pralle 2:02:51 3. Mary Powers 2:06:38.35-39Men - 1. Roger Senn 1:39:39 2. John Morton 1:51:45 3. Michael Wiser 1:53:47. Women - 1. Chris Farrias 1:48:55 2. Susan Reinfeldt 2:00:11 3. Karen Stash 2:02:11.40-44Men - 1. Jonathan Green 1:51:07 2. Dave White 1:54:02 3. Tim Lane 2:01.21. Women - 1. Barbara Jaksa 2:03:01 2. Julie Billitt 2:03:39 3. Anne Zorich 2:04:31.45-49 Men - 1. Bruce Drager 1:48:38 2. Nick Tillotson 1:51:24 3. Kurt Johnson 1:52:22. Women - 1. Ginny Price 1:54:41 2. Debbie Newell 2:08:31 3. Sheila McCue 2:11:55.50-54Men - 1. Frazer Mann 1:56:38 2. Tom Davis 2:01:30 3. Mick Donahue 2:08:18. Women - 1. JoAnn Rosdahl 2:25:28 2. Barb Schultz 2:31:23 3. Patricia Buchanan 2:36:53.55-59Men - 1. John Quam 2:01:34.60 and overMen - 1. Jerry Milhon 2:21:53 2. Thad McCarthur 3:12:18.TeamsUnder 99Men - 1. Mauro team 1:42:15. Women - 1. Born team 2:02:33. Mixed - 1. Jacobson team 1:42:45 2. Perkins team 1:46:23 3. Carlson team 2:02:11.Over 99Men - 1. Windecker team 2:03:35 2. Economu team 2:03:46 3. Bloom 2:22:46. Women - 1. Momentum team 2:05:43 2. Sutherland team 2:17:07. Mixed - 1. Olson team 1:52:51 2. Sirott team 1:57:41 3. Kaz team 2:26:25. "

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