Homer Alaska - Sports

Story last updated at 8:06 PM on Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Sea to Ski takes 'triathlon' up a notch Locals rule in Run-Bike-Ski-Run

By Lindsay Johnson
Staff Writer


Photographer: Lindsay Johnson, Homer News

Third place ironman Chris Parish runs to the finish line at the Sea to Ski Triathlon last Sunday. Behind him, first place men's team biker Isaac Dale (120) accompanies anchor Trevor Kauffman (121) for the last muddy dash.

Last Sunday the temperature was perfect for exercising outside, the sun shone through clouds and a light day breeze blew the right way off the bay.

If there was ever a prime time to run and bike in ski boots, it was then, on the occasion of Homer's Sea to Ski Triathlon.

Nearly 100 competitors and at least as many supporters participated in the 5-kilometer run, 7-km bike and 5-km ski between the Spit and top of baycrest hill.

"It's such a hallmark of spring. It's the best time of the year, the roads are dry so you can run and bike and there's snow on the mountains so you can ski. Great people come out," said second-place ironman finisher Jan Spurkland.

The weather was so fine that the chute from the end of the ski trail to the finish line was covered in mud more than snow, so skiers got to step out of their bindings and run 100-yards to reach the end of the race.

That was one of champion ironman Michael Mumm's favorite parts.

"I like that people who put on events in Homer know how to improvise and make it more fun and interesting for everybody. It was a little bit awkward, especially because I was very tired. It felt kind of like running like a duck-billed platypus," he said.

Mumm finished the course in 57 minutes, 54 seconds, 16 seconds ahead of Spurkland. Third place Chris Parish finished 2 minutes, 37 seconds behind Mumm.

Mumm said he was surprised at his time, since he hadn't trained specifically for the event.

"I've been close before but only won once, so that gave me a little extra grit," he said.

Ironwoman Jane Weibe, sporting a colorful skirt throughout the race, said she felt more casual since the last time she competed in it approximately 10 years ago.

"I have been training my whole life. I didn't train for this particularly. It was good. The run was the most work, the skiing was the most fun, the biking was the dirtiest."

Weibe finished in 1:12.25, more than 12 minutes ahead of second-place Liz Roedl and 13 ahead of Susan Parish.

Her time broke the record for women over 50, 1:16.22, set by Sue Strutz in 2006.

"I thought, 'I better seize the moment and do it,'" said Weibe, who regained the ability to run after a period of injury.

Others seizing the moment included first time Sea to Ski ironpeople and third-place finishers Susan and Chris Parish, a Coast Guard couple who moved to Homer last year.

"This happened before where we entered another race and both got second place. It wasn't the first time we got the same prize. It's pretty unique to Homer, there's not too many places in the world we can do this," Chris said.

"We like to live it up and do everything Homer," added Susan.

Besides claiming the individual awards, Homer athletes swept the top team spots.

The mixed-gender crew of Louis Maurer, Graham Melvin and Jasmine Maurer was the fastest of the teams. Louis Maurer claimed the fastest run split of the day; J. Maurer clocked the quickest women's ski segment and finished close behind Spurkland for a total time of 59:41.

Greta Melvin, Emily Sloth and Emily Chenel were the fastest female team, finishing in 1:09:49, 21 seconds behind the 1998 women's course record set by Nahhani Wills, Tawni High and Syverine Abrahamson. Melvin was the fastest female runner of the day and biker Sloth was second of women only to Weibe.

The winning men's team, composed of Travis Semmens, Isaac Dale and Trevor Kauffman, did the course in 1:00:53.

Mumm was the fastest biker of the day, with a split of 21:09. Leif Danielson, competing on a men's team, did the fastest overall ski leg of the day in 14:18.

Race entrants included 27 ironpeople—15 men and 12 women–and 21 teams—10 mixed, 5 men's and 6 women's—from places as distant as Palmer and the Municipality of Anchorage, Cooper Landing and Soldotna, Pennsylvania and Colorado.

The event was right for a few birthday celebrations, including Kara Clemens, who did her first triathlon with husband, David Clemens, and an evolving outfit of sparkle courtesy of friends Carlin and Paul Rauch, who competed as a team with their boys.

"I'm tuning 40. Going to take it by storm. Not slowing down," Clemens said.

The 90th birthday celebration of Peter Roedl's mother-in-law made it possible for he and his brothers-in-law from New Jersey and California to form a team.

"The timing worked out so they could torture us here," said New Jersey brother Kevin Anderson.

Roedl said his wife was the one who set them up, though she did not participate.

"It was all her doing. But we had a good time and we're going to be back next year," he said.

Organizer Mike Byerly said the end-of-race run might also be back next year.

"I like the run. That might become a part of it," he said



Lindsay Johnson may be reached at lindsay.johnson@homernews.com.