The 25th annual Mountain Man Triathlon in Flagstaff on Sunday, July 19, is always a fun event for fans, and apparently, it can be very exciting participating in it as well.
With the sun barely peeking its orange and yellow face over one of the distant mountains, hundreds of contestants lined up near the boat ramp which leads straight into Lake Mary.
Although it is the middle of July, it’s still Flagstaff, and the cool 64-degree temperature at 7:10 a.m. makes for chilly water, thus calling for all participants to slip on a wet suit.
Sprint event participants entered the water last with Sedona residents Cheri Raimonde and Samantha Juda ready to go along with Kelly Busche in the mix.
Juda and Busche are graduates of Sedona Red Rock High with Juda the most recent this past May and Busche in 2002.
Busche is currently a teacher for Sinagua Middle School in Flagstaff while Juda is looking to attend classes in the fall at Santa Clara University in California.
The three were spectacular Sunday with Busche the top Sedona finisher at 1:17.51, good enough for 24th overall and only 13 minutes behind the winner.
Busche took only 10:14 to finish the water portion of the race as she sprinted to the next event and finished with a 35:57 time on the bike. In the third event, Busche managed to work her way to a 28:19 time in the run.
“Eh,” Busche shrugged her shoulders almost immediately after finishing the race.
“I think I did OK. My transition times could have been better, and I’m not in the greatest shape, but I was glad I did it.”
Raimonde was next with a 67th place finish overall recording a 1:25.42 time.
Her 15:46 time in the water was still one of the fastest times in the field while completing the bike portion in 35:58, then finishing strong with a 30:09 in the run.
“It was so great to be out there competing against everyone. This is a great course and a friendly environment,” Raimonde said just a few seconds after crossing the finish line while trying to catch her breath.
With Raimonde finishing where she did out of 267 participants in Sunday’s race, Juda did quite well herself, finishing 175th overall with a 1:41.03 time.
“I’m glad I got to go. I probably would have done better if I trained harder, but I wasn’t in it to finish at the top. I did it because I wanted to have fun and see what it was like,” Juda said.
Juda took only 14:13 to finish the swim but took 46:56 to finish the bike time trial, something she says wasn’t the best part of her day.
“I think the bike part was the hardest for me,” Juda said.
In the run, Juda was back to top form with a 36:34 time and crossed the finish line with a big smile on her face as she looked around for a few friends just beyond the wall.
The race winner was a man named Paul Brinkmann of Flagstaff who finished his sprint in 1:04.28.
Todd Witten of Phoenix was second overall with a 1:06.33 time while Dylan Barr of Tempe was third with a 1:07.11 time.
George Esahak-Gage from Phoenix was fourth with a 1:07.33 time, and Eric Yatko from Chandler wrapped up the top five with a 1:07.58 time.