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Story and Photos by Tom Demerly. Photo Pilot Mark Trecziak.

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The eighth annual Grosse Ile Lion’s Club Duathlon went off without a hitch in perfect conditions Sunday, May 13. The field of 232 athletes, many first timers, completed the event with near record registration of 249 athletes.

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Race winner Eric McBride.
Race winner Eric McBride.
Last year’s winner and new course record holder Eric McBride repeated his 1999 victory in commanding style. Kristie Kniaziew edged out Laura Sophiea for the women’s win, but not until Sophiea bagged the $100 bike prime in a dramatic sprint. Kniaziew had already won the first run $100 prime, and would have scored an additional $100 "super performance" bonus had she won the bike prime and then the race. Sophiea picked Kniaziew’s pocket for the super performance prime by threading the needle between a camera motorcycle and other cyclists. It was a daring move. (Click to enlarge)
On the way to a $100 Bikesport bonus for first run winner, Kirstie Kniaziew.
On the way to a $100 Bikesport bonus for first run winner, Kirstie Kniaziew.
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Team In Training coach Richard Solomon grabs one for the road in the first aid station.
Team In Training coach Richard Solomon grabs one for the road in the first aid station.
Race director Gene Edwards and wife Jeannie assembled a (literal!) army of volunteers including the Grosse Ile Police, Michigan National Guard’s 1776th Military Police, the Grosse Ile Lion’s Club and the Grosse Ile Kiwanis. All proceeds for the event were donated to the Lion’s and Kiwanis fight to concur blindness. (Click to enlarge)
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Tough man Jon Logan looked strong throughout the race.
Tough man Jon Logan looked strong throughout the race.
The race opened with a highly competitive first run but was not decided until the bike. Because the event is a 3.3 mile run and only a 12 mile bike, the event favors runners. It was a brilliant bike leg that cemented McBride’s victory though. So complete was McBride’s dominance that his lead on the bike was nearly 2 minutes. He clipped off the tailwind section of the bike course at 35mph for minute after minute as he put time on a struggling field that contained supermen Todd Briggs, Pete Bolan, Ell Bruley and others. By the time McBride slipped on his running shoes for the second run, his average speed of 27.04 mph (Click to enlarge)
James Loaring of Canada looks super fit during the first run.
James Loaring of Canada looks super fit during the first run.
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Pete Bolan returns to form in 2000 but says "no" to questions about Ironman.
Pete Bolan returns to form in 2000 but says "no" to questions about Ironman.
for 12.2 miles had obliterated the competition. McBride went on to finish with a 19:33 second run (5:55 pace), much more relaxed than his opening 17:59, for a new course record of 1:06:31. McBride cashed in on the lion’s share of a $1500 prize purse, including two $100 bonus prizes for the course record and the first cyclist back into the transition area. (Click to enlarge)
If you have a magnifying glass you’ll see McBride’s heart rate is 183 beats per minute.
If you have a magnifying glass you’ll see McBride’s heart rate is 183 beats per minute.
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Women’s winner Kniaziew tries to hold off a charging Laura Sophiea on the bike.
Women’s winner Kniaziew tries to hold off a charging Laura Sophiea on the bike.
Kirstie Kniaziew (say "Ni-shev) was a pleasant surprise in the women’s race and tormented World Champion Laura Sophiea throughout the event. Sophiea is a specialist at slightly longer distances, but proved her tactical savvy, experience and power can be put to use at the shorter events. Kniaziew won the first $100 bonus as the first female back in the transition area after the first run with a commanding lead, but a determined Sophiea suffered heavily to catch her on the bike. Sophiea reeled in Kniaziew within one mile of the transition area and outsprinted her for the second bonus, also denying Kniaziew another $100 prize for winning both bonus prizes on the course and the race (the Bikesport "Super Performance" bonus). Kniaziew averaged 23.04 mph on the bike and her second run of 23:01 was at an easy 6:58 pace. (Click to enlarge)
Sophiea used strength and experience to bag 2nd overall and the $100 Bikesport bike bonus.
Sophiea used strength and experience to bag 2nd overall and the $100 Bikesport bike bonus.
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Andre Champoux proved his versatility with a great finish.
Andre Champoux proved his versatility with a great finish.
Although there were some great elite level performances at Grosse Ile, the heart of the race is the focus on first time and entry level participants. Once again, nearly 30% of the field had never done a multisport race before. Additionally, there was substantial crossover from athletes who usually compete in mountain bike races, bicycle road races and even adventure racing. (Click to enlarge)
Bikesport Manager Ken O’Day finds his running legs for the first time at Grosse Ile.
Bikesport Manager Ken O’Day finds his running legs for the first time at Grosse Ile.
  Bikesport General Manager and first time Duathlete Ken O’Day trained for eight weeks on the run to race at Grosse Ile. O’Day is an experienced road and off-road cyclist and former State Champion, but relatively new to competitive running. "I was dreading the second run, and it was pretty tough" said O’Day after the race. When asked if he would do more duathlons O’Day said simply "Oh, yeah!". O’Day’s cycling experience served him well at Grosse Ile, where he passed dozens of riders on the bike. (Click to enlarge)
Betsy O’Day turned power and fitness into a strong second place in her age category.
Betsy O’Day turned power and fitness into a strong second place in her age category.
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Another stand out performance in the age groups was first timer Betsy O’Day (Ken O’Day’s wife). B. O’Day is an off-raod cycling specialist but strong road rider as well. A licensed personal trainer by day, the intense O’Day put together strong bike and run performances for an amazing 2nd in her age category, besting Ironman veteran and top age grouper Sarah Colgrove by 21 seconds. The age category (Women 30-34) was dominated by Robin Woolridge who won in 1:20:06, over six minutes faster than second place. (Click to enlarge)
Dr. Lisa Mails used a custom fitted Seven Cycles Odonata from Bikesport to burn up the pavement on Grosse Ile.
Dr. Lisa Mails used a custom fitted Seven Cycles Odonata from Bikesport to burn up the pavement on Grosse Ile.
  Dr. Lisa Meils piloted her new custom Seven Cycles triathlon bike to a win in the Women’s 35-39 category and made it look easy. Dr. Meils had already competed in the Powerman Duathlon in Alabama earlier this year.  
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Ell Bruley is calm and cool before the race.
Ell Bruley is calm and cool before the race.
In general, this year’s race came off without a hitch. New results processing systems using seven computers and the Champion Chip timing system provided enhanced accuracy in the results and lightening fast timing. (Click to enlarge)
Women’s winner Kirstie Kniaziew.
Women’s winner Kirstie Kniaziew.
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A :41 second run/bike transition for race winner Eric McBride only added to his mastery of the event.
A :41 second run/bike transition for race winner Eric McBride only added to his mastery of the event.
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Todd Briggs rode almost 20 miles to get to the race, and still had the energy to dominate.
Todd Briggs rode almost 20 miles to get to the race, and still had the energy to dominate.
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The classy Laura Sophiea during the first run.
The classy Laura Sophiea during the first run.
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Todd Briggs rode his bike from Grosse Pointe to the race and still kicked butt.
Todd Briggs rode his bike from Grosse Pointe to the race and still kicked butt.
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