This Tri Was a Success
By PETE DELMOE Chronicle Sports Writer
The weather was almost perfect Sunday for XTERRA’s Wild Horse Creek triathlon at Hyalite Canyon Reservoir. The cooler temperatures made life easier for the biking and running portions of the event. Unfortunately, the swim was the first part of the race - and the water was a chilly 54 degrees.
The idea was to raise money for the Muscular Dystrophy Association, and the Smiths completed the long course while two of their friends did the short course and two other friends volunteered.
Contributors were able to give a donation or they could pay by the mile. Tamera joked that she wanted people to do the former because she wasn’t sure she would finish the race. Tamera said the final count wasn’t done, but they had raised at least $2,100.
Both Mark and Tamera did finish the race, but it wasn’t easy for either.
Mark said that after he reached the halfway point of the 1,200-yard swim, he thought he wasn’t going to make it, but he pulled through.
Tamera said she was just happy to make it to the finish line in one piece.
“It was exhausting but very rewarding,” Tamera said. “It feels good to help. If these kids can tough things out for the rest of their lives I think I can tough things out for about five hours.”
Scott Larson of Bozeman completed the swim portion for his relay team Tuck n’ Run, which took third in the men’s relay. Then, he shivered.
“It was way cold,” said the shaking Larson as he put on multiple sweat shirts. “I wish I would have had a better wetsuit. I’m a little bit out of it right now.”
But for Larson his day was done early and his only job was to warm up and wait for teammates. For many others, the day was just beginning.
The triathlon consisted of a long and short course. In addition to the swim, the long course included a 15-mile bike ride that looped around the water and a 6-mile single-track trail run.
For many of the athletes, the swim is the most challenging aspect - and it can be difficult to recover from, especially with such cold temperatures.
“I’m not much of a swimmer so it takes a lot to catch back up,” said Tom DeLuca of Bozeman, who took second on the short course. “I got in and got disoriented. I probably added 100 yards to my swim by zig-zagging back and forth. That was pretty brutal.”
Near the end of the race, DeLuca said he could see someone in front of him and thought about trying to catch him, but he figured the person was probably in the long course.
“I kept wondering if I should catch the guy in front of me and I said ‘ah, screw it,’” said DeLuca, 46.
Turns out, DeLuca was wrong and the person in front of him was the eventual winner of the short course, Aubrey Curtis who finished in 1 hour, 9 minutes, 8 seconds. DeLuca finished less than 50 seconds later.
Coming in less than 10 minutes behind the two leaders and in sixth place was 11-year-old Landen Beckner of Helena. Beckner, who will be entering the sixth grade, was the first one out of the water in the swim portion and he didn’t slow down from there.
Beckner, who is on a swim team, said he has done other triathlons, but this was his first attempt at an “off-road” course.
“This is more exciting” Beckner said. “I kind of like it better.”
Beckner, who trains all year, usually swims in the morning before going for a bike or a run. One of his goals was to do the short course in less than 90 minutes; he bested that time by more than 10 minutes.
“It’s extremely exhausting,” Beckner said. “You just keep thinking about your goals and what you want and how bad you want it. It’s a little indescribable how good it feels.”
The male amateur winner n there was a pro division as well - of the long course also got his start in triathlons at a young age. Ross McMahan of Incline Village, Nev., started doing triathlons when he was 12.
McMahan, now 38, finished with a time of 2:15:35.
This was the fourth year for the Wild Horse Creek triathlon, but only the second year it has been held at the Hyalite. The first two years it was held at Big Sky.
“It’s so beautiful here,” said McMahan, who has done the last three Wild Horse Creeks. “You need to take a (pre-triathlon) ride because you can’t enjoy it during the race. This is my favorite of all. I wouldn’t make the 12 hour drive if it wasn’t.”
McMahan said his wife also participates in triathlons and they have to take turns at home taking care of their twin 2-year-old sons. He said he travels all over in hopes of making a national or world championship XTERRA event.
What McMahan enjoys best about the XTERRA events is the different groups of people that show up. He said the off-road competitors are usually a little more laid back and come from all walks of life.
Thirty-three-year-old dry waller Cory Hardy from Ennis fits into that group perfectly. Hardy was at the race as part of a relay team representing Team MULETERRO, a group of extreme athletes that Hardy formed just over a year ago in rebellion of participants who took things too seriously.
There are 14 “MULES” on the team, according to Hardy. MULES stands for “Montana’s Ultimate Leaders of Endurance Sports.”
And Hardy’s team took part in the most exciting moment of the day. As Hardy rounded the bend to finish, he was side-by-side with another team’s relay runner. Hardy’s last effort was barely enough as he lunged forward to give MULETERRO the fastest time in the men’s relay by two-tenths of a second.
“That was awesome,” Hardy said. “I heard pounding footsteps and I took the inside corner. That finish made it all worth it.”
Hardy said he was happy his team took first in the relay, but his team wasn’t there for results.
“That doesn’t happen very often,” Hardy said. “We’re here for the beer. I’m going to tap into that keg here in a minute. This Gatorade is killing me.”
Pete Delmoe can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and 582-2670.
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