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Sports Archives The Altamont Enterprise, July 14, 2011
Athletes of all types take part in annual Pine Bush Triathlon
By Jordan J. Michael
GUILDERLAND The Pine Bush Triathlon on Sunday was of the sprint variety, but it doesn’t stay true to its name. Sprinting through a 325-yard swim, 11.5-mile bike, and a 3.25-mile run would be out of the question.
Edward Hampston, of Voorheesville, who finished third overall, pushed himself to the “maximum discomfort level without getting sick.” He said he recovered in about five minutes.
Courtney Tedeschi, a top runner for Berne-Knox-Westerlo and one of the youngest competitors at 16, had her first triathlon experience because her mother, Maria, accidentally signed up twice. With little time to prepare, Tedeschi was still the third woman to finish, beating her mother by six minutes.
Bridget Sherratt came all the way from Fanwood, N.J. to be the top female finisher, winning by three minutes. She’s completed at least 50 triathlons in her lifetime.
Guilderland’s Craig Tynan, who finished an Ironman in Lake Placid in 2009, finally won Sunday’s event after several tries. Like Sherratt, he was three minutes ahead of everybody else.
In its 11th year, the Pine Bush Triathlon is for serious athletes as well as beginners. The variety of participants is wide and it stays within its range of 425 to 500 people.
“It has its own niche in the community and we’d like to keep it that way,” said race director Brian Robinson. “We have a good number.”
Sunday’s triathlon began at 8 a.m. with a 325-yard swim through the city of Albany’s Rensselaer Lake, which is nestled in the Pine Bush Preserve. There were 10 heats of approximately 50 people each and the swim was an L-shaped route.
Upon completing the swim, participants hustled to their bikes and continued to pedal 11.5 miles through Albany and Guilderland. The bike route ended up going eastbound on Western Avenue to its conclusion near the Guilderland YMCA.
Finally, the athletes used their remaining energy during the run, which has a challenging uphill finish.
From the course
“I never try to get into my ‘red zone’ until the end of the run,” said Hampston, who did the event for the sixth time, finishing in 59:18. “It’s called a sprint, but that’s not what you do because there’s too much energy to lose. I use a pace I can maintain.”
Tedeschi had no expectations after training for only one week for something she had never done. She said her legs felt like Jell-O after biking 11.5 miles. “I didn’t know how it would go and I was a little nervous,” Tedeschi said. “The adrenaline came when I got going. It was really fun.”
Tynan, part of the second heat, was impressed by Sherratt, who was well ahead after a fast swim in the first heat. Sherratt grew up in Burnt Hills and started swimming when she was 5 years old before swimming for Cornell University.
“I had to catch her,” Tynan said of Sherratt, not exactly knowing who she was during the race.
“Quite a few guys were faster on the bike and some guy passed me during the run,” Sherratt said, finishing with a time of 59:32. “I knew I was doing well, but you don’t know what’s going on in the later heats.”
Both Sherratt and Tynan come from experienced triathlon backgrounds. They’re always looking for a race big or small.
“It’s a way to personally motivate yourself,” said Tynan, who had the top time of 55:35. “You come to an event and there’s all these great people. It’s a lifetime thing. There are 70-year-olds still doing this. It’s amazing.”
Sherratt, 41, told The Enterprise that a triathlon leaves feelings of relief and pain. “It’s just a really fun way to push yourself,” she said. “The whole culture is really cool and it makes you proud. You’re getting off your butt and it’s a great way to teach kids about health and challenges.”
Tynan, 41, has competed in a few half-Ironman’s, but finishing the full Ironman (2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike, and 26.2-mile run) was his bread and butter as an athlete. He’s eying a half Ironman in Lake George in September and getting ready for the Crystal Lake Triathlon in Averill Park in August.
“It’s a couple days before you feel normal again,” Tynan said of completing an Ironman race. “You pay money to beat yourself up. Some people will cry when they cross the finish line. After doing that, I feel like I can do anything. Amazing feeling. Hard to put into words.”
Tynan got an official Ironman tattoo on his right arm after his accomplishment. The names of his two sons and one daughter are written inside the Ironman logo, which is a bulky “M” with a flat top. Above the “M” is a circle that represents a head or an “I.”
“I wanted it to be meaningful,” Tynan said of the branding. “My wife was a little surprised.”
Andrew Limehan started the Pine Bush Triathlon in 2000 with help from the YMCA, Police Athletic League, and Guilderland Recreation Department. Robinson, who has directed the race for four years, said that Limehan did it to further athletics in the community.
The event has 125 volunteers and a budget of $25,000.
“It’s a great triathlon to start with,” Robinson said. “It feels safe. We go a long way for safety.”
It was Hampston’s sixth time, but first under an hour. “It’s not that long, but you still have to push yourself a lot,” he said. “It’s good for a first try.”
“You just have to try it,” Sherratt said. “Once you start, you’re totally addicted.”
Physically, Tedeschi said she wasn’t too tired after finishing, but she couldn’t have done more miles. After a successful first try, Tedeschi plans to make triathlons a summer hobby.
“I’ve never felt such a high level of accomplishment,” said Tedeschi. “It’s the biggest ‘oh my God’ feeling.”