Frank hits milestone in Sunday’s triathlon

SALISBURY — The racing gods were smiling on Jason Frank and Donna Smyers on Sunday morning as they dominated their respective male and female competitors in the Vermont Sun Triathlon held at Branbury State Park in Salisbury.
Frank, 32, became the first athlete to break the one-hour barrier in three different runnings of this sprint triathlon, which consisted of a 600-yard swim, 14-mile bike ride and 3.1-mile run. The Burlington resident’s winning time of 59:51 was just 47 seconds off the course record.
For the women, the amazing 57-year-old Smyers of Adamant finished in 1:09:00, nearly five minutes ahead of runner up Joyce Holsten, 41. Smyers was the first woman to finish the swim, and she rode her bike faster (37:05) than all but six men to open up a five-minute lead on Holsten, who also had a strong bike as the second best among women in 39:16.
In a sprint triathlon, because the distances are relatively short, transitions are a very important part of the overall time. Smyers was faster by about a minute in each of her transitions from swim to bike and bike to run. Holsten, a former elite biker, was racing in just her second triathlon. She outran Smyers by nearly a minute in the 5K to finish with an overall time of 1:13:54. The transitions accounted for two of the very experienced Smyers’ five-minute margin of victory.
Cory Coffey of Vergennes was second overall in 1:03:29. Race organizers said that for the still improving Coffey, it was a great result. His swim (11th best among men at 9:09) put Coffey over a minute behind Frank, who posted the best swim of the day (7:58). Frank was 20 seconds faster in transition but only 32 seconds better on the bike as the two set the standard for bike speed on the day with times of 33:02 and 33:34, respectively. The next best bike was 36:02.
Coffey concluded his race with a 19:09 run. It was good enough to hold off David Sinclair, who had the fastest run of the day, 17:20. Sinclair claimed third overall in 1:03:46.
Frank’s great race almost didn’t happen as the battery to his bike’s electronic shifting gear system died as he was warming up.
“I was stuck in one gear,” he said. “Chas (Lyons) from the Bike Center saved me. He was able to allow me to shift into my different cogs. Without his help I wouldn’t have been able to race. I was distracted from my pre-race routine last night because my one-year-old child was sick and I didn’t charge the battery.”
Sunday’s weather was just about perfect for triathlon racing. The wind was from the south so the north facing shore was calm, but the wind out on Route 7 gave the riders a nice little push. The air was warm, not too hot to make the run uncomfortable.
Coffey led the local field but there were other fine performances beginning with New Haven’s Kyle Flack, who used a 40:46 bike segment to power his way to second place in the men’s 25-29 age group. Cornwall’s Erik Mackey had the 13th-best bike time of the day (38:15) to help him take third in the men’s 35-39 group (1:21:51). Middlebury’s Jacob Brookman, just 14 years old, placed second in the 19 and under group in 1:50:25.
Two Lincoln women finished second and third respectively in the 45-49 group. Devon Macleod was second in 1:29:35 and Jennifer Nault third in 1:36:41. In the 55-59 group, Middlebury’s Lin Larson had a faster time finishing second in 1:24:34.
For complete results of this past Sunday’s race go tovermontsun.com and click on the Triathlon logo.
The Vermont Sun Triathlon Series concludes with two events on Aug. 10 — the third Vermont Sun Sprint Triathlon and the Lake Dunmore Triathlon, an Olympic-distance race (1,600-yard swim, 28-mile bike, and 6.2-mile run). For entry information or to volunteer as a helper, contact Vermont Sun at 388-6888 or log into vermontsun.com.
DONNA SMYERS OF Adamant was the female winner of Sunday’s triathlon at Branbury State Park in Salisbury. SMYERS, 57, completed the course in 1:09:00. Photo by Pat Hendrick Photography

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