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

Click here for Overall Results
Click here for Results by Age Group

The race has grown up. What began as a neighborhood fun race has become a major professional multisport race and first timer's graduation exercise into the world of multisport racing.


A record crowd for 2001.


Matt Kowalski (Black) pulls away from the elite lead group.

The 2001 Grosse Ile Lion's Club Island Duathlon attracted a record crowd and saw both men's and women's course records fall. Favorable weather conditions and an explosion in first timers drove registration to numbers high enough that on-line registration had to be shut down 24 hours earlier than expected, deferring athletes to day-of registration.


Tom Hardin (left) and Derek Digiovanni look fast and relaxed on the first run.


Previous record holder and champ Eric McBride with Age Group winner (and first timer!) Cheryl Klotkowski.

Overcast skies and temperatures in the low 50s, combined with more than moderate headwinds on the bike course, did nothing to deter an all-out assault on the men's and women's course records. And they both fell.

Returning champions Eric McBride and Michelle Kitze turned in classy and determined performances but a rich prize purse pushed the "new guard" at Grosse Ile to withering run and bike splits.


Todd Briggs shadows women;s winner Heather Gollnick (right) previous champ Michelle Kitze.


Heather Crollnick gave away the first run in favor of an overall record.

A phenomenal performance by Saucony pro duathlete Heather Gollnick blasted the women's course record and unseated former champion Michelle Kitze. Gollnick stopped the clock in 1:16:06, fast enough to win the cash bonus for a new course record, but not fast enough to earn the "Super Performance" prize for winning both the run prime and the bike prime and setting a new course record. Gollnick's 5:55 pace per mile on the first run was tactically smart for the overall win, but not fast enough to win the first run prime.


The first transition proved pivotal for the men's race.


Micheel Kitze looked good on the bike a champion's experience.

That prize went to Michelle Kitze who was 8 seconds faster at 19:26 for the first run (5:53 pace). Overall Gollnick was 2 full minutes faster than Kitze, blasting the course record and taking home the winner's trophy, check and course record bonus.

Eric McBride seemed unstoppable in previous years. The lithe, elegant athlete with the classy demeanor suffered a serious collision with a car while running eight weeks prior to the race. So serious was the accident that McBride's running partner, sadly, remains in a coma. Undeterred, McBride showed up ready to race saying, "I'm flying on the bike". So commanding were McBride's previous victories that he still seemed the favorite.


Bikesport's Ken O'Day blazed to the 6th fasted split of the day.


It was Cheryl Klotkowski's First Duathlon - and First Age Category Win.

Craig Reese, however, had different plans. The opening run saw a pack of the top men pull away and open up a 15-second gap by the second mile marker. Lead by powerhouse Matt Kowalski, who went on to win the first run prime in 17:23 (5:16 per mile pace), the group began to shatter as Kowalski applied pressure on the return leg to the run/bike transition.


What records are made of. Craig Reese at 28 M.P.H into a 13 M.P.H Headwind


Rick Kattouf Raced with Panache to 5th overall.

It may have been Kowalski's day, but Kowalski would use a road geometry bike frame on the windy bike course, while Reese had a triathlon specific geometry position on His Kestrel 500Sci. The winning margin of Reese over Kowalski was only nineteen seconds. You have to wonder how Kowalski would have faired on equipment more appropriate for the course. A triathlon geometry frame would have given Kowalski another thirty-second advantage on the windy East River road. Craig Reese's athletic performance was exceptional, as was Matt Kowalski's, but Reese's equipment selection showed his greater experience and understanding of the sport.


Gollnick Deals the Death Blow on the Final Run.


Grosse Ile is the Race for Happy First Timers.

So powerful was Reese on the bike that he was going 28mph on the return, headwind leg on East River Road. Camera Pilot Mark Trzeciak remarked "He looked incredibly smooth, it appeared effortless." Reese's 1:08:56 won him the race overall and the new course record bonus.


Reese (243) moves through the field on the way to a record.



Andrew Kennedy put together a perfect race and excellent 2nd run.

Notable age group performances were turned in by Cheryl Klotkowski who won the women's 25-29 age category in her first ever multisport event. Klotkowski, a running specialist, had never raced a bicycle before Grosse Ile.

Lyndell Bruley's fine victory in the Women's 50-54 category was a determined effort for the newly wed who has a depth of endurance experience.

 


Reese Stops the Clock in 1:08:56
A new record.


Everyone Has Fun at Grosse Ile.

Russ Hudson, Men's 55-59 winner, showcased his versatility as an endurance athlete. Known for his Ironman performances, Hudson proved his mettle at the sprint distance at Grosse Ile- confirming he doesn't need a 112 mile warm-up for a fast run.

Bikesport's Ken O'Day turned in the sixth fastest bike split of the day overall, including the professionals. O'Day says he is "Not much of a runner" but managed respectable run splits that were overshadowed by his blistering bike ride.

Scores of first timers also got their first taste of multisport racing at Grosse Ile and the event has always been a popular starting point for new endurance athletes.


Liz Gentner's First Grosse Ile Duathlon.


Former Pro Bike Racer, Mike Homan.


Perfect Form: Tom Hardin.


Thanks to Camera Pilot Mark Trzeciak of Bikesport.

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