Major League Triathlon Vail Valley At Avon, CO Recap
Cleveland Rock and Roll Make It 3/3 in Avon, CO
Major League Triathlon made their 3rd stop of the 2017 season in Avon, CO this weekend. The 2nd Place Colorado Peaks hosted the #MLT32 athletes at Nottingham Park, in the heart of the Vail Valley.
As always, Major League Triathlon offered another extremely unique and difficult course. The swim took place in Nottingham Lake while the bike and run were held exclusively in Nottingham Park.
Lindsey Jerdonek of the Cleveland Rock and Roll set the tone early with a fast swim and a dominating bike and run combo. Lindsey handed off to Kevin McDowell with a commanding lead of nearly 50 seconds on second place Lauren Goss of the California Cadence and over a minute on Laurin Thorne (PR Islanders), Erin Storie (Carolina Gliders) and Megan Foley (Indy Cats).
While it seemed like it may be a solo effort for the Cleveland Rock and Roll after Jerdonek’s performance, a Kevin McDowell penalty opened the door for the other 7 MLT teams to narrow the gap. Alex Libin (Colorado Peaks), Cam Dye (California Cadence) and Rudy Von Berg (Sarasota Sun) had fantastic circuits bringing their teams closer to the front.
McDowell handed off to Sarah Alexander with a lead over the extremely strong chase group. Paula Findlay (Colorado Peaks – 2nd fastest split) and Chelsea Burns (PR Islanders-fastest split) had game changing performances, but Sarah Alexander’s 9th fastest circuit allowed Cleveland to maintain their lead heading into the 4th and final leg of the race.
While the Rock and Roll maintained a lead, the race was by no means finished. AJ Baucco anchored the Rock and Roll, while coming off injuries sustained from a bike crash just days earlier. Baucco also had some of the top athletes in MLT chasing him down. Dillon Nobbs (California Cadence), John O’Neill of the Colorado Peaks and Dan Feeney of the PR Islanders were all in hot pursuit of Baucco. After a great swim Baucco actually extended his lead over O’Neill and Nobbs. Baucco navigated the extremely technical bike course carefully making sure to not make a mistake and leave an opening for the chasers. O’Neill and Feeney worked hard and eventually caught and passed Dillon Nobbs (California Cadence)..
Bacco held strong on the run, giving up only 11 seconds to O’Neill in second place on the 1 mile run. Baucco ran through the finish arch elated to give his Cleveland Rock and Roll their 3rd win of the season. A gutsy performance from John O’Neill brought his hometown peaks to a 2nd place finish. In what CEO, Daniel Cassidy, has referred to as the performance of the year, Ben Kanute was on a different level. Kanute started the fourth leg of the race in 8th place more than 2:30 minutes off the lead. After a race best swim (5:03), race best bike (6:23) and race best run (4:38), Kanute led his Indy Cats into 3rd Place. Kanute’s circuit time was 1:10 seconds faster than anyone else.
After the race, fans and athletes were treated to a free festival featuring music from Head For The Hills, The Drunken Hearts and Tenth Mountain Division.
With the final race of the season less than 2 weeks away, Cleveland seems poised to take home the MLT Championship Cup in front of a hometown crowd in Cleveland, OH. The next MLT event is on September 9th in Edgewater Park where MLT will headline NEOCycle, the largest urban cycling festival in the USA.