*Cleveland Rock and Roll Take Center Stage at MLT Charlotte*
Eight teams from across the United States of America met in Uptown Charlotte, North Carolina to compete in a unique swim-bike-run team event. The first race of the 2017 Major League Triathlon season took place amidst the cityscape of the 3rd-fastest growing metropolitan area in the country. Sarah Alexander, AJ Baucco, Lindsey Jerdonek, and Kevin McDowell of the Cleveland Rock and Roll took home first place after a hard-fought day under the brutal sun.
The hottest day on record in 2017 led to some blazing performances, most notably from the anchor leg, Kevin McDowell, who measured his effort throughout the swim and bike before setting the streets ablaze on the run. Kevin is, as of May 20th, 2017, the top-ranked male American triathlete in the world (per ITU rankings), and he proved to be an invaluable asset to his Rock and Roll. He started his circuit down by ~15 seconds to Alex Libin of the Colorado Peaks, an extremely accomplished athlete in his own right. After strong performances by all members of the Cleveland Rock and Roll and Colorado Peaks, it came down to a duel on the run between the anchor legs.
The gun went off at 1pm under the 95 degree heat, but luckily the athletes had the Mecklenburg County Aquatic Center, one of the fastest 50 meter pools in the world, as refuge. The pool was covered and water temperature was regulated at 78 degrees Fahrenheit. The swim, though set in a pool, had an open water atmosphere as the lane lines were taken out and buoys were placed in the water. The athletes completed an M-shaped swim course, a 4 laps of a 1500m-long criterium-style bike course, then 2 laps of a half-mile run. The entire course was contained to less than one square mile, offering spectators a unique opportunity to watch the virtual entirety of the fast-paced, dynamic team triathlon event.
The 1st race of the MLT season held true to the typical Super Sprint Mixed Team Relay Format commonly used by the ITU, with the four relay legs composed as female - male - female - male. Major League Triathlon has stated that they will alter this order in future 2017 races, as soon as their next event in Atlantic City on June 3rd, where the hometown Waves will look to redeem themselves on the beautiful beaches and world-famous boardwalk on June 3rd.
1st place - Cleveland Rock and Roll
2nd place - Colorado Peaks
3rd place - Sarasota Sun
4th place - Carolina Gliders
5th place - California Cadence
6th place - Indy Cats
7th place - Puerto Rico Islanders
8th place - Atlantic City Waves