By Bill Plock
Colorado triathletes raced this weekend, in Texas and Colorado. In Galveston Texas, not only did the Colorado pros make a big impact, but one well known age grouper, Betsy Mercer raced in redemption of her 2019 attempt in Galveston where she was stopped 100 yards from the finish line because of weather. At Cherry Creek State Park, The Barking Dog Duathlon kicked off the multi-sport season with about 150 athletes racing.
Betsy finished fourth in her age group but cried at the finish line, not because she finished, but because her friend Michael Jones finished his first 70.3. Said Betsy, “I didn’t cry this time when I crossed the finish line, I cried when Michael did. That’s the beauty of triathlon, the community you’re a part of.”
Maybe similarly, Boulder Pro Jeanni Metzler who finished second to Skye Moench after a blistering, race best, 1:15 half marathon is with her husband, pro, Justin (finished 9th) at the podium spot. Skye said on her Instagram, “a big congrats to the ladies racing today, I was running for my life!” Skye was recently on the 303Endurance Podcast talking about this race and her comeback from a crash in 2019, listen here (303 Endurance Podcast with Skye Moench)
Boulder’s Sam Long shook off a disappointing swim to finish third behind Lionel Sanders and Ben Kanute with the fastest bike split of the day averaging nearly 28mph for 56 miles. Sam finished behind Ben by six seconds and just ahead of Castle Rock’s, Matt Hanson by ten seconds.
When asked if this race could’ve actually been the best situation possible to set Sam up for the rest of year he said, “That’s a great way of looking at! I discovered how much much I can push on the bike and run and that I can get myself back in the race. I’m pretty sure this was a one off swim and lit my fire for the next races!”
Whether a pro, or age grouper, the joy of racing is clearly more appreciated than ever after a rough 2020 season. In Cherry Creek, the Barking Dog Duathlon kicked off the multisport season in Colorado. Dana Willett (good friend of Betsy’s btw), said this after the race, “Great weather and so much gratitude to be back out there! Every- Single-Racer, gave encouragement on the course. Our lungs were burning but we found the breath to say “good job!”, and “you got this!” I couldn’t slap the smile off my face.”
A 1,000 miles south, Betsy said, “Galveston holds a special place in my heart because it was the very first triathlon I ever did, of any distance. That was back in 2009 (I believe). About 6 years ago the damage to my left leg became more significant after I developed osteonecrosis, which is a disease of the bone. I thought I’d never run again. Two years later, I did run again. 3.1 miles at Without Limits’ Summer Open. I cried at the finish line I was so happy. Slowly I began to think maybe I could do distance again. Two years ago I chose Galveston because it had been my first ever race. I just wanted that feeling of finishing one more IM event. I wanted to close that chapter of my life on a positive note. All was going fine in the race two years ago until a massive storm came in when I was halfway through the run. Hail, lightning, crazy winds. It was insane. Right before I crossed the finish line they called the race. I ran past the volunteer trying to pull us off the course and went across the finish mats, but they had turned them off minutes before. It was a DNF. I was devastated. I cried for hours.”
When asked about her future Betsy said, “I don’t know if Galveston is forever in my past, it’s one of my favorite events. I have one more race to put in my rear view mirror. IMFLA in November, ten years after I did my first full there at age 35. Then I swear, I’m retiring.” We shall see 🙂
Well done Colorado….congrats to all who raced!