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Bike flat foils defending champ's bid to repeat at St. Anthony's Triathlon

ST. PETERSBURG — Matty Reed likes to travel light and fast. But 10 miles into Sunday's bike leg of the St. Anthony's Triathlon, the defending champion wished he had a spare tire.

Ahead of the pack by a minute and a half, Reed blew a tire.

"It takes about three or four minutes to change a flat," the Boulder, Colo., resident said. "In most races, that puts you out of the running. But I had enough of a lead that I thought I might be able to get back in it."

In all Reed's years of racing, it was only his second flat: "Last year in Dallas," he said. "Flat tires are few and far between. It almost never happens. It is just bad luck."

Sister act: Ten years ago this weekend, women's winner Rebeccah Wassner of New Paltz, N.Y., was in London running her first big race.

"My twin sister, who had just finished her last chemotherapy treatment for Hodgkin's, was with me," she said. "We didn't think she was going to be able to go, but in the end, she made it."

On Sunday, minutes after winning her first major triathlon, Wassner lingered around the finish line looking for her twin, Laurel, also a pro triathlete.

"Did you win?" Laurel said as she crossed the line 7 minutes, 16 seconds behind her sister.

"I won," Rebeccah answered, giving her sister a hug.

"I can't believe it," Laurel responded. "I am so happy I could cry."

Deja vu: Former University of Florida standout Kevin Collington said Sunday's swim reminded him of 2006.

"It was pretty rough out there," the former college All-American said. "It was tough."

Collington, who is coming off his first year of full-time training as a pro, recently moved to California so he could be closer to an Olympic training center.

"I got a little distracted by the waves," said the Orlando native, 25. "I am a good ocean swimmer, but that was rough."

In the end, Collington finished ninth, three spots off his sixth-place performance in 2008. "Considering the conditions, I am just happy to make the top 10," he said.

Wipeout: Emergency room physician Vinnie Monseau has seen his share of traumatic injuries. But the 40-year-old elite amateur from Morgantown, W.Va., took time to explain the difference between an abrasion and a contusion after Sunday's race.

"An abrasion is damage to the skin," he said, pointing to a gash in his shoulder.

"A contusion is damage to the muscle and tissue underneath," he said pointing to his hip. "The two go pretty much together."

Monseau, the 2008 Best of the U.S. champion, was rounding mile 23 on his bike when his hand slipped off his handlebar. "I had to lay down the bike to keep from taking out a bunch of other people on the bike," he said.

But Monseau scraped himself up off the street, checked for bones sticking through skin, then climbed back on. He figured he lost more than a minute in the crash but still managed to finish second among the amateurs, just 11 seconds behind winner Christopher Thomas, 37, of Easton, Conn. (1 hour, 31 minutes, 11 seconds.)

"I am worried about my bike," he said. "Flesh will heal, but carbon fiber won't."

Bike flat foils defending champ's bid to repeat at St. Anthony's Triathlon 04/26/09 [Last modified: Monday, April 27, 2009 10:01am]

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