Sports

Local athletes look to claim a piece of the rock at triathlon

It’s Race the Rock time again and hundreds of bikers will be pedaling their way through downtown Langley, along Bayview Road, over the Saratoga Road hills and along other thoroughfares like Sixth Street and Maxwelton Road for the 2007 Whidbey Island Triathlon.

The race begins at 9 a.m. with a dash into the chilly waters of Goss Lake — the buoys are set by GPS this year to guarantee a half-mile swim — then a 19.7-mile bike ride and a 3.6-mile jaunt through South Whidbey Community Park.

Curt Gordon, who recently taught a triathlon newbie class for Parks & Rec, ran in the first island triathlon 11 years ago.

“It was the start of a great island tradition,” Gordon said.

Last year he finished the course in 1 hour, 41 minutes, 40.6 seconds and vows to do better.

“Hey, who am I kidding? I’m old and slow but I’ll be out there,” he said.

He’ll be joined by daughter Katy, getting in shape for her first cross country season at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Gordon said that most triathletes have been training by swimming, running and biking at least three times a week in preparation.

“The serious ones will be on a five-day regimen, though,” he said.

Gordon recommended everyone check their tires carefully, preferably taking a trip to the bike shop for a proper tune-up.

“A lot of bikers switch to ‘aero bars’ which forces them to hunch down and cheat the wind,” he said. David Gardiner from the Half Link Bicycle Shop will be around for technical, and moral, support.

Gordon recommends lots of hydration for the bike portion. “It’s easier for water to get into the system and there’s time for it,” he said.

The second and final transition comes at the community park as the bikers doff their helmets and bike shoes, grab their running shoes and a quick swallow of water and run up the hill to the waiting trails.

“That’s the best spot for spectators, at the park — lots of action and that’s where the race ends,” Gordon said.

Members of the local Downsound Racing team are sure to put up strong results in overall and age-group categories, as well as the relay team efforts.

Next Wednesday’s edition of The South Whidbey Record will have the full story, photos and race results.

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