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Ludington Triathlon sprint races head out into the fog and chilly waters of Lake Michigan Sunday morning. MIsportOnline photo.

Ludington Triathlon sprint racers head out into the fog and chilly waters of Lake Michigan Sunday morning. MIsportOnline photo.

LUDINGTON – Kathy Calabretta, women’s runner-up in the sprint race Sunday TriathlonICONat the inaugural Tri to Finish Ludington Triathlon, hopes to do well at USA Triathlon’s age group nationals later this summer in Milwaukee.

In just which age group, however, isn’t clear.

Lauren Biggs, women's sprint winner at the Ludington Triathlon on Sunday, heads out of the bike after the fourth best swim of the day.

Lauren Biggs, women’s sprint winner at the Ludington Triathlon on Sunday, heads out on the bike after the fourth best swim of the day.

The 65-year-old from Ludington held off hard-charging 25-year-old Katherine McCarthy of Grand Rapids, by 12 seconds, and lost only to middle school phenom Lauren Biggs of Ludington.

Calabretta used the fourth-fastest women’s bike split of the day and a lighting fast 26-second streak through T2 to finish in 1:22:20. Calabretta needed every second to hold off McCarthy, who tore through the rat-maze run course in 19:35 to finish hard on her heels in 1:22:32.

Truth be told there were no women and very few men in 65-deep sprint race who were going to come anywhere close to finishing near Biggs. The 14-year-old women’s sprint winner finished the .75-kilometer (.46-mile) swim, 21-kilometer bike (13 miles) and 5K run (3.1 miles) sixth overall in 1:11:48.

Biggs had the fastest women’s swim (12:14) and bike splits (37:58) and second-fastest run (20:22). Her day was even more impressive when measured against the entire field: She was fourth out of frigid, fog-shrouded Lake Michigan and had the eighth best bike (20.6 mph) overall.

Overall winner Eric Abbott, 24, of Grand Rapids, scorched the bike in 31:20 (a 25 mph average) to win the men’s sprint title in 1:02:17.

Swim leader Aaron Denner, 25, of Grand Rapids, was second in 1:04:56 and 24-year-old Todd Buckingham of Big Rapids was third in 1:05:41.

For complete Tri to Finish Ludington Triathlon results, visit: www.RaceServices.com

Milwaukee’s  finest

A USA Triathlon honorable mention All-American last year,

Kathy Calabretta

Kathy Calabretta

Calabretta has high hopes for her first trip to age group nationals Aug. 10-11, in Milwaukee.

“Brisk,” said Calabretta, about the swim, her accent a dead giveaway of her New Jersey origins. “Once you’re in there you’re not worried about the cold, you’re worried about where you’re going. Once your feet get numb, it doesn’t much matter.”

A runner before taking up triathlon seven years ago, Calabretta praised the run course. “It’s flat,” she said. “It’s pretty, it’s scenic and we watched the Badger go out. I didn’t stop to wave, but maybe next time.”

Biggs things ahead

The only reason Biggs won’t clean up in Milwaukee in August is that it’d

Lauren Biggs

Lauren Biggs

interfere with her performance at USA Track & Field’s youth nationals. That at the fact she’ll be getting ready for her freshman year of high school.

Biggs took the lead in the swim and never came close to giving it up. “The swim was the hardest part. It was definitely really cold,” Biggs said. “It was a little scary.”

Barely into her second year of triathlon competition, Biggs was second woman and 11th overall in the nearly 400-strong field at the Grand Rapids Sprint Triathlon on June 9.

“My dad did them when he was young and since I’m a swimmer and a runner, it just came naturally,” Biggs said.

Blow you away

Overall winner Abbott knew heading out toward Ludington State Park on the

Eric Abbott

Eric Abbott

bike course there’d be trouble when he turned around.

“It was really, really windy,” said Abbot, still out or breath after going back out on the run course to pace home a friend. “I knew that going out. I can’t normally go that fast – 31-32 mph – and that was going up some hills. There’s no way I’m that fast. I knew I was going to get hammered when I turned around.”

He ground down the big gears to average about 22 mph into a close to 20 mph headwind coming back and left T2 with an 4-minute cushion.

“My coach and I are dialing it in for Milwaukee,” Abbott said. “I’m hoping for some good results there.”

Twice the fun

Olympic distance athletes got to spend twice as much time doing a 1.5-kilometer (.9-mile) swim in the 57-degree chop inside Ludington’s breakwaters. Olympic distance triathletes biked 36 kilometers (22.4 miles) and ran a 10K (6.2 miles).

Dave Furey, 55, of Ann Arbor, out-ran 39-year-old Jason Demeter of Elkhart, Ind., for the Olympic title by 27 seconds, finishing in 2:00:08. Women’s Olympic distance winner Angie O’Brien, 42, of Grandville had a cushy 6-minute plus margin coming out of T2, to win in 2:11:59.

Another home-towner, Tomas Lopez, of Ludington, won the duathlon (5K run, 21K bike, 5K run) in 1:20:52. Utica’s Megan Fecteau was the women’s duathlon winner in 1:25:03.

 

 

Competitors in the first of six heats at the Spring Lake Indoor Triathlon crank out some serious wattage on Sunday at the Spring Lake Community Aquatic and Fitness Center. The first wave was made up of Don Correll, Billie Anderson, Bob Glavich, Jim Rice, Jan Host and Laurie Walsworth -- MIsportOnline photo.

Competitors in the first of six heats at the Spring Lake Indoor Triathlon crank out some serious wattage on Sunday at the Spring Lake Community Aquatic and Fitness Center. The first wave was made up of Don Correll, Billie Anderson, Bob Glavich, Jim Rice, Jan Host and Laurie Walsworth. MIsportOnline photo

Joel Anderson, 36, of Spring Lake and Megan Aney, 30, of Muskegon, swept the three-race West Michigan Indoor Triathlon Series with wins Sunday in the season finale at the Spring Lake Community Fitness and Aquatic Center.

Joel Anderson

Joel Anderson

The dynamic duo won in December at the Norton Pines Athletic Club and in January at the Muskegon Family YMCA.

Aney has now won the series twice, her first overall title coming in 2011. “We had a bigger group from the Muskegon Y this year, so that was fun. We all pushed one another harder,” said Aney.

Megan Aney

Megan Aney

Aney dominated the entire field, men and women, in the swim to win the women’s overall on Sunday with 273.03 points. Sarah DePhillips, 30 of Whitehall, was second with 252.70 and Laurie Walsworth, 56, of Fruitland Township, finished third with 236.88.

Anderson’s thin margin on the bike Sunday in Spring Lake gave him the slight edge he needed to score a near-perfect 299.21 points. He needed every single point to hold off USA Triathlon 2011 men’s 30-34 sprint national champion Randall Wood’s fierce challenge. Wood, 31, of West Olive, was second with 293.81 and Larry Haynor, 47, of Paw Paw, took third with 267.75.

Joel Anderson churns out some of his men's best 22.5 laps in the Spring Lake Community Aquatic and Fitness Center's 8-lane pool. Anderson narrowly edged national age group spring champion Randall Wood for the win Sunday. MIsportOnline photo.

Joel Anderson churns out some of his men’s best 22.5 laps in the Spring Lake Community Aquatic and Fitness Center’s 8-lane pool. Anderson narrowly edged 2011 national age group sprint champion Randall Wood for the win Sunday. MIsportOnline photo

Competitors raced six to each heat, starting with a 15-minute swim in the Spring Lake center’s 8-lane pool, followed by 15 minute cycling on Trek bikes set up on Cycle-Ops indoor trainers (both provided by Breakaway Bicycles), then finished with a 15-minute run ‘round the fitness center’s indoor track.

The series’ unique scoring format awards 100 points each for the top men’s and women’s swim, bike and run of the day. Points are awarded as a percentage of the day’s top performance. For instance, if the top woman ran 30 laps, a woman finishing 15 laps scored 50 points.

Men

“I was going for that perfect score today,” said Anderson. “I figured I’d put down a heavy bike and maintain on the run, but it made the run harder.”

Competitors in the fourth heat near the finish on the indoor track Sunday at the Spring Lake Community Aquatic and Fitness Center. MIsportOnline photo.

Competitors in the fourth heat near the finish on the indoor track Sunday at the Spring Lake Community Aquatic and Fitness Center.MIsportOnline photo

 

 

 

Wood gave Anderson a run for his money nearly matching him in the swim and beating him by a ¼ lap on the run (31¾ to 31½).  “Randall did a nice race,” Anderson said. “He pushed hard. He put in a good run. He went after it hard and looked good.”

Anderson’s winning margin of 5.4 points came on the bike, where he rode to a hair under a ½-mile advantage – 9.65 miles to 9.16 for Wood.

Anderson will dial back his training for the next six weeks to recover from a bulging disc, then resume his buildup for Ironman Wisconsin, Sept. 8 in Madison.

Women

Once again, Aney’s complete dominance of the swim leg gave her an unassailable lead from the start. None in the 14-strong women’s field could swim nearer than 73 percent of the swift 23½ laps Aney laid down with her silky smooth swim stroke. In fact, no one in the 40-racer field, man or woman, could beat Aney in the pool – men’s overall winner Anderson posting the best men’s swim of 22½ laps with runner-up Wood right behind him with 22¼.

DePhillips’ 27 laps was the top women’s run split and Walsworth set the women’s biking mark at 8.35 miles. Aney was fifth on the bike (7.18 miles) and second in the run (23½ laps).

Aney’s summer race plans include the Harbor Coastal Crawl Open Water Swim, Aug. 4, in Harbor Springs.

The back of race director Don Correll's t-shirt said it all Sunday at the Spring Lake Indoor Triathlon.

The back of race director Don Correll’s t-shirt said it all Sunday at the Spring Lake Indoor Triathlon. MIsportOnline photo

 Spring Lake Indoor Triathlon

(Feb. 10 at Spring Lake Community Fitness & Aquatic Center)

Overall winners

MEN

Joel Anderson, 36, Spring Lake – 299.21

WOMEN

Megan Aney, 30, Muskegon – 273.03

AGE GROUP WINNERS

MEN

30-34 – Randall Wood, 293.81; 35-39 – Joel Anderson, 299.21; 45-49 – Larry Haynor, 267.75; 50-54 – Peter Shireman, 260.77; 55-59 – Al Angel, 214.84; 60 & older – Don Correll, 244.98.

WOMEN

25-29 – Mindy Bond, 204.59; 30-34 – Megan Aney, 273.03; 35-39 – Naomi Vansingle, 222.47; 40-44 – Dena Thayer, 225.62; 45-49 – Barb Udell, 166.47; 50-54 – Shelley Irwin, 214.10; 55-59 – Laurie Walsworth, 236.88.

Click below for complete results:

MEN

WOMEN

– – – –

West Michigan Indoor Triathlon Series Champions

Overall winners

(perfect series score – 900)

MEN

Joel Anderson, 36, Spring Lake – 887.45

WOMEN

Megan Aney, 30, Muskegon – 818.53

– – – –

Age group winners

MEN

25-29 – Mike Danhof, 541.47;  35-39 – Joel Anderson, 887.45; 45-49 – Larry Haynor, 756.79; 50-54 – Terry Zahniser, 542.92; 60 & older ­ Bill Anderson, 604.10.

WOMEN

25-29 ­– Sarah DePhillips, 749.26; 30-34 – Megan Aney, 818.53; 30-39 – Amy Kelly, 687.98; 40-44 – Dena Thayer, 708.13; 55-59  – Shelley Irwin, 685.75.

Lance Armstrong

Lance Armstrong began his comeback at the 12 Hours of Snowmass mountain bike race in Colorado in Sept. 2008. MIsport photo by Laurie Walsworth.

And, no, I wasn’t glued to the TV listening to Lance on Thursday night.

And, no, I haven’t read any of today’s columns or listened to all the endless debates on sports radio.

No, last night I drove 2 ½ hours to East Lansing and watched my favorite team play basketball – a scrappy group of underdogs who no one picked to contend for the Big Ten title or win even half their games at the start of the season.

And as the season began, I steeled myself for an even tougher year when season-ending injuries to three players forced the coach to reshuffle the roster, putting underclassmen in the lineup sooner than anticipated and moving veterans into less than perfect roles.

Now 15-2 overall and 3-1 in the Big Ten, the Michigan State women are not only in the thick of things, they even gained 12 votes in polling for the latest AP Top 25.

It is the oldest (and maybe best) sports story there is: Underdog overcomes adversity to triumph (I know, there’s a lot of season left, but, hey, I’m a fan, I’ll admit it).

Unlike real life, sports almost always produce a clear winner and definite loser. In real life there are no unambiguous victories (there’s always a cost, always some unanticipated and unfortunate consequence that comes with any victory).

It’s why Armstrong was so compelling, proof that, somehow, no matter how bad things get, plain old hard work can make things better. For Pete’s sake, CANCER then WINNING THE TOUR de FRANCE! SEVEN TIMES!

Best sports story ever. Almost too good to be true, it seemed, and so it was.

I’ve been closely watching Armstrong’s slow fall from grace for years now and was not the least bit interested in watching him hit the pavement last night on Opa. (Or bounce as he’s scheduled to tonight.)

Lance’s (and pro men’s cycling’s) problem was, of course, money. Millions and millions for not just the riders, by for everyone else involved – the international governing body, the bike makers and even, to some extent, of course, the sponsors, all of whom were loathe to kill the Lance than laid the golden egg and, to various degrees, simply looked the other way.

Grossly under funded and sadly unappreciated, women’s cycling has not yet been ravaged by the Greedheads. Retiring British women’s cycling superstar Nicole Cooke angrily put it best four days ago when she told CyclingNews.com , “When Lance cries on Oprah later this week and she passes him a tissue, spare a thought for all of those genuine people who walked away with no reward. Tyler Hamilton will make more money from a book describing how he cheated than I will make in all my years of honest labour.”

The golden egg is gone now for everyone, especially the women – the sponsors that make the sport go are fleeing like bed bugs from a fumigated hotel room.

Women may or may not be more honest than men, but the simple truth is that there has likely been far less cheating in women’s cycling because the risk is far too great and the rewards were already nearly nonexistent.

The solution to cheating in every sport (and if you think the NFL isn’t dripping in PEDs, DUDE! WAKE UP!) is to simply take away the big money so only people who truly love the sport will play.

Which is why, instead of listening to Lance Livewrong confess his sins last night, I went to watch the Spartan women. (I know they’re being compensated with a free education, but other than that, they are unlikely to make any money from the sport which, right now, is a second full-time job in addition to their other full-time job of getting a college education. And most are going to need that education even if they’re one of about .00001 percent of Division I players who’ll reach the WNBA – where rookies make a whopping $35,000 and the top stars pull down a princely $100,000).

They play basketball because they love to play basketball, I think. For proof you need look no further than the Spartans’ bench and high-touted recruit Madison Williams who has, sadly, been a fixture there now for three seasons due to more ACL injuries than any team, let alone one person, should ever have to suffer. You could maybe understand if she looked a little discouraged, but you’ll never see her show it, ever, in public. She is on the floor for every warm-up, every shoot-around. She shoulders her way into the huddle for every timeout and listens intently to everything every coach says. She is the first one off the bench, cheering, every time a teammate makes a play.

There was a lot for Williams to celebrate in the Spartans’ gutty, gritty, come-from-behind win over Iowa Thursday night. If real life is fair (as it so often isn’t) Williams will have the greatest career ever by a Spartan, man or woman.

Whatever happens, she’ll always be one of my favorite athletes.

It’s why I drove to East Lansing Thursday night, rather that listen to Livewrong’s tardy, sad confession.

You go, girl!

Lance Armstrong

Lance Armstrong  at the 12 Hours of Snowmass mountain bike race in Colorado in Sept. 2008. MIsport photo by Laurie Walsworth.

“I rode, and I rode, and I rode like I had never ridden, punishing my body up and down every hill I could find…I rode when no one else would ride.” Lance Armstrong

This is my body, and I can do whatever I want to it. I can push it. Study it. Tweak it. Listen to it. Everybody wants to know what I’m on. What am I on? I’m on my bike busting my ass six hours a day. What are you on? Lance Armstrong

FROM: TWISTING IN THE WIND PUBLIC RELATIONS

TO: LANCE LIVEWRONG

RE: ROPE-ADOPE-A-OPRAH INTERVIEW

Herr Livewrong,

To prevent your Jan. 17 interview from becoming a cynical, vapid and insulting exercise in self-justification, we suggest you revise your above statements as follows, then thank Opa, immediately walk out and permanently retire to Inuvik near the artic circle in Canada’s Northwest Territories:

“I doped, and I doped and I doped like I had never doped before, filling my body with every illegal substance I could find…I doped when no one else would dope.”

“This is my body, and I can put whatever I want in it. I can use EPO, blood transfusions, and steroids. Everybody wants to know what I’m on. What am I on? I’m on everything all day long.”

Saying anything more or anything less would be unnecessary and insulting.

Insincerely yours,

I.M. Aliar

President, Twisting in the Wind Public Relations

 

Greg Madendorp surged into the lead for good with two miles left in the 39th Sgt. Preston Yukon King 6-mile run today at the Muskegon State Park.

The landmark New Year’s Day’s 5K and 6-mile races

67278_112885612108183_2694475_nattracted the largest ever combined field of 396 runners. However three familiar faces were missing who helped make the local race a more important tradition for local runners than the countdown on New Year’s Eve: Race co-founder Jack Kroeze and long-time supporters Hank and Carole Austin. All three died in 2012.

Madendorp’s win in 33:29 Tuesday gave the 20-year-old Grand Valley State sophomore from Whitehall

yet another iconic local title. Winner of the Grand Haven Coast Guard Run in July, Madendorp won the last three Sgt. Preston 5K titles before winning the 6-mile today.

Used to the 5K’s pancake flat course, Madendorp waited until after the long, challenging grind over the 6-mile run’

 

s landmark Block House Hill to make the winning move today. “It’s definitely a hill,” said Madendorp with a grin at the finish. “I’ve run it a few times but never in a race.” Footing on hill was good, Madendorp said, but deteriorated over the final mile of the long course. “Fenner Road was bad, really icy,” he said.

Emily Thomas, 21, of Grand Haven was the women’s 6-mile winner in 39:01.

After two injury-plagued seasons, Alex Meyers, 17, of Scottville, got 2013 off on the right foot by winning the 5K in 17:59. North Muskegon’s Avery Lowe, daughter of race co-founder Clayton Lowe and a regular in the event since age 6, was the women’s overall 5K winner in 20:59.

For complete race results visit Runner’s Edge Race Timing.

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