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English wins Blue Lake sprint triathlon

by: PAMPLIN MEDIA GROUP: DAVID BALL - Hillsboros Joe English gets through the bike transition area during his win at the Blue Lake sprint triathlon Sunday. FAIRVIEW — An algae bloom at Blue Lake cancelled the swim portion of the triathlon held Sunday at the Fairview park, but that didn’t stop racers from coming through the finish line soaking wet.

The opening swim legs were replaced by a one-mile run. But after two hours of running and pedaling through the park trails under a hot early-morning sun, racers were dripping in sweat and dunking water cups over their head to stay cool.

Tim Dodson of Portland and David Gettle of Weiser, Ida., lined up next to each other for the start of the Olympic-length race and would battle each other throughout the day. Dodson was first to the transition zone, but Gettle didn’t need long to make up the gap during the 40-kilometer bike ride. He zipped to the front of the pack and started the 10K run to the finish line with more than a two-minute cushion.

But Dodson was on the hunt.

He caught his target in the second mile and surged past at a quick pace before throttling back a bit and conserving energy over the last three miles to the finish line.

“He passed me by early in the bike stage, and I just had to keep riding my race,” Dodson said. “I got off the bike and hammered it through those first three miles. Once I got past him, no one else was close to me, so I cruised it in at a slower pace.”

Dodson came through the finish line in 1 hour, 42 minutes, 55 seconds — almost a full two minutes ahead of runner-up David Garcia. Gettle came across in fourth place.

For Dodson hitting the finish line felt like déjà vu.

“I dreamed the night before that I won the race, and that it was the last win,” Dodson said. “I’m 42 and you don’t get many victories after that age.”

But the challenges are still coming for Dodson, who gained a spot in the 2014 IronMan in Hawaii — his first attempt at the legendary race.

“You always have to go north with your goals,” Dodson said. “I’ve always been a sprinter, but now it’s about competing within myself and going the distance. The Iron Man has become a middle-age man’s dream.”

Carrie Suiter, 34, of Eugene won the women’s race in 2:05:19.

? Joe English, 42, of Hillsboro won the shorter sprint triathlon, covering the course in 56:20 to beat runner-up Marco Ramirez by almost a full minute.

Ramirez stayed closely behind English through most of the bike stage before putting on a late surge that got him through the final transition zone with a slight lead. But English closed the gap and regained the lead at the turn-around of the 5K road run.

English is set to compete Saturday at the sprint triathlon world championships in Ottawa, Ontario. He completed his first multi-sport race as an 11-year-old.

“I’ve been able to turn a lifelong hobby into a competition,” English said. “It adds a focus in life and gives you goals to work toward.”

Alyson O’Brien, 24, of Portland won the women’s division in 1:04:50.

View an online photo gallery from the races at daveball.exposuremanager.com.




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