Team time test of true grit

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Missy Janzow, right, and Leana Elliott finished in first place in the Aero division.

When my husband mentioned signing up for the Tour de Gruene Team Time Trials a few months ago, I thought it sounded like a fun challenge and something different to test my cycling skills.

The idea originally arose because Matt and his buddy, Don, were going to secretly sign up in a sort of prank on their fellow cycling friend, Lee.

The plan went something like this: Don and Matt would sign up without Lee knowing (Lee is arguably one of Victoria's strongest cyclists), do additional "secret" training, go ride the course prior to the time trials; and then proceed to beat (insert cough) Lee.

Well, the secret plan did not go quite as planned, with Lee finding out the two had registered when the teams were disclosed the week prior to the competition. Matt and Don unfortunately lost out to Lee and his teammate, Jeff, despite a very strong showing by both teams.

I asked my training partner and friend, Leana, to join me in the women's Aero division. We had ridden a fair amount over the summer, but I hadn't been able to train sufficiently the past month because of an illness and a lingering knee injury.

However, nothing was on the line as we headed to Gruene to test our cycling abilities, so we merely looked at it as a fun road trip and a chance to see how we stacked up against other women cyclists in the state.

I have only done one other cycling time trial, but it was an individual time trial, and it was pancake flat.

I can remember how challenging the time trial was, with the attempt to go full throttle for the length of the race. The team trial would be a bit different, with the chance to draft off of your teammate and recharge from time to time.

The Tour de Gruene time trial competition started in 1984 and past competitors have included former professional cyclists Eddy Merckx and Lance Armstrong. This year, Kevin Hamilton, a USA cycling team member, was there racing.

The team time trial is a competition where teams take off at staggered 30-second starts, and race against the clock for a chance at the podium and prizes.

The course changed this year from the traditional course, and the distance was increased to 27 miles with 1,200 feet of climbing.

The course is described as hilly and challenging, but that didn't keep the event from filling up with 300 teams registered. Teams could sign up in one of two divisions: Aero or Merckx (road bike) and then further categorized by estimated speed and ages.

Four teams from our area traveled to Gruene on Sunday to test their limits.

The two-man teams entered in the Merckx category were: Matt Janzow and Don Porr, Lee Keeling and Jeff Martin, and Thomas Gwodz and James Gilman. Missy Janzow and Leana Elliott were entered into the women's Aero division.

The start was a true time trial start with starting ramps and a countdown to signal each team to start. The course proved challenging with many short and steep climbs as well as a handful of long, sustained climbs.

Winds were blowing 5 to 10 mph as we made our way around the one-loop hilly course.

Here are the team results from our area: Lee Keeling and Jeff Martin, third, 21.2 mph average; Matt Janzow and Don Porr, second, 20.8 mph average; Missy Janzow and Leana Elliott, first, 19.4 mph average; Thomas Gwodz and James Gilman, sixth, 18.4 mph.

Ironman Florida

Two Bay City triathletes traveled to Panama City Beach, Fla. last week to compete in Ironman Florida.

The 140.6-mile race has been taking place in the Florida panhandle since 1999.

The 2.4-mile swim takes place in the Gulf of Mexico; the 112-mile bike route is a one loop fast and flat course; and the 26.2-mile run is a two loop flat course.

Jim Humphries competed in his first Ironman race. He had an exceptional race with a finish time of 11:12:38, finishing 34th in the 50-54 age group. He completed the 2.4-mile swim in 1:22 (2:08/100 meters), the 112 mile bike in 5:27:47 (20.5 mph average), and the 26.2-mile run in a time of 4:07:02 (9:27 per mile average).

Paul Sacco was there competing in his second Ironman, and had a very strong performance cutting 20 minutes off of his previous time. He covered the swim in 1:12 (1:51/100 meters), the 112-mile bike ride in 5:39:46 (19.78 mph average), and the 26.2 mile run in 4:35 (10:31 per mile average).


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