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VENTURA : ‘Most Excellent’ Triathlon Draws More Than 1,000

More than 1,000 athletes from across the western United States swam, biked and ran under hot and sunny skies Sunday during the fourth annual Mike and Rob’s Most Excellent Triathlon at San Buenaventura State Beach.

Triathletes covered a course that included a 1.2-mile swim around the Ventura Pier, a 52-mile bicycle route up to Rincon Beach and 13.1-mile run to the Point Mugu Naval Air Weapons Station. The race started and finished at the state beach.

The event is one of 12 qualifying triathlons for the Iron Man Triathlon held each October in Hawaii.

For newer triathletes, the event also featured a short course competition with slightly less intimidating distances to cover, said Mike Epstein, the race’s promoter.

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“I think we had a good race out there today, though I think there will be slightly longer times posted due to the heat,” Epstein said.

“We have found that people like this race because the course is so flat.”

Temperatures along the coast ranged from 79 in Ventura to 86 in Oxnard.

Unofficial long course winners were Alex Begg of San Diego and Kim Carter of Encinitas.

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The race offered five categories for women and 10 for men. Athletes ranged in age from 14 to 60.

For Mark Edwards, 37, of Westlake, the heat definitely served to slow the competition.

“This is a fast course, but I think the heat was a strong factor in slowing us down,” said Edwards, who posted an unofficial four-hour, 17-minute time on the long course.

“I like participating because of the level of competition that (the race) attracts.”

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San Francisco-based triathlete Kelly Opbroek said Sunday’s race was fun and a good test of athletic skills.

“I had a little trouble on the swim portion--I wasn’t expecting the surf to be as high as it was,” said Opbroek, 28. “But no one passed me on the run portion, so I think I did pretty well.”

Epstein said the race netted an estimated $5,000 that will go toward Ventura County-based charities.


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