SYRACUSE — There are few things in common between Kosciusko County’s two annual triathlons. The Warsaw Optimist Triathlon and the Wawasee Kiwanis Triathlon are, of course, both triathlons, but aside from that, there is not much the two share. However, this year the two share one very big likeness, Scott Erba. The former Warsaw cross country coach took first overall at the Optimist Tri in June and completed his sweep of the county events by earning first at Saturday’s tri at Lakeside Park in Syracuse.
“The swim went real well, I felt strong coming out of the water,” Erba began, “I struggled on the bike a bit with some calf cramping that was not expected, but I worked through that during the first part of the run. I gradually got my running legs back underneath me and had a good second half of the run. Really the back half of today’s events went pretty well.”
Erba finished with quite a cushion between him and the next closest competitor with a time of 54:49. Nigel Bosch, last year’s winner, took second with a 59:50.
Erba didn’t just win, he won with a unique style in that his warm up was an early attempt through the event’s swim course. So, Erba technically did the swimming portion twice, and still managed to have the fastest time by more than five minutes.
“I learned early on that, for me, a long warmup is critical,” stated Erba. “My warmups kept getting shorter and shorter over the past few years and my race results weren’t what I wanted. So, I went back to longer warmups and that seems to help out quite a bit. As I’ve gotten a little older, I think it’s just taking the muscles a little longer to get loosened up.”
Cara Burris was the top overall female as she clocked in at 1:09:21. Gene Crusil (1:05:13) was the Male Masters winner while Ann Barker (1:12:24) was first for Female Masters. Nolan Rhodes was the top finisher for the 19 and under crowd with a time of 1:11:14. The relay was won by Team Lakeside, with a final time of 1:22:45. Todd Snyder (1:12:06) took first in the Clydesdale division.
My Team Triumph had three teams participate in Saturday’s event, Team Jamin (1:34:49), Team Dea (1:42:46) and Team Mason (1:47:53). My Team Triumph is 501(c)(3) non-profit athletic ride-along program created for children, teens, adults and veterans with disabilities who would normally not be able to experience endurance events such as triathlons or road races.
This year’s event had over 100 people sign up. The length of the bike route was cut short by three miles as part of the traditional course was recently chipped and sealed and race officials wanted to avoid any risk.