After winning silver at the 2012 London Olympics almost a year ago, Swedish triathlete Lisa Norden already has her sights set on Rio 2016.
That's why this season she's mixing it up a bit, competing in various distances and both draft-legal and non-drafting races to keep from burning out.
Norden, 28, won the Boulder Peak Triathlon on Sunday with a time of 1 hour, 59 minutes and 30 seconds. Boulder resident Tim O'Donnell finished first for the men in 1:48:48.
Her win at Boulder Peak, a non-drafting race, came three weeks after a commanding performance at the half-Ironman distance. Norden won 70.3 Syracuse by more than 20 minutes, further proof that she can dominate across the triathlon spectrum.
Norden typically competes in International Triathlon Union or ITU triathlons, which are draft-legal, but her 2013 schedule includes a wide array of races.
"One (reason) is to keep my head fresh because it's a day job," Norden said. "You need to wake up in the morning like 'Yes I'm going to go train today.' If you always do the same things, you lose that a little bit, so including other races, new distances keeps you on your toes a bit."
Norden came out of the water behind a handful of female competitors, but she made up that time on the bike and crossed the finish line more than three minutes ahead of New Zealand triathlete Nicky Samuels. Samuels completed the 1.5-kilometer swim, 42K bike and 10K run in 2:02:37.
The women started roughly 15 minutes before the men, which gave Norden plenty of time to cross the finish line first overall and earn an extra $1,000 in prize money. The pro field competed for $35,000 in prize money.
Men's winner O'Donnell, who specializes in long-course racing, climbed up the 15 percent grade on Old Stage Road first for the men on his bike, and knew the race was his from there. Riders climb 1,283 feet in the first six kilometers of the bike leg before reaching the top of the punishing hill, which racers call simply "Old Stage."
"In my opinion, the guy to the top of that hill first wins the race," he said.
The 32-year-old, who hugged fiancee and fellow pro triathlete Mirinda Carfrae after crossing the finish line, won Ironman Brazil at the end of May. Because he's been training for the full Ironman distance, O'Donnell said racing the shorter Boulder Peak course made him "hurt a little more."
Australian Jimmy Seear, who moved to Boulder to live and train full time in March, finished second in 1:50:06, just ahead of Australian Josh Amberger, 1:50:43.
Seear said he checked the water before the swim, and noticed that the water stayed shallower longer on the north end of the start line. By starting north or left of everyone else, he was able to run a bit farther out before swimming, which gave him a slight advantage.
His swim time of 18:23 was the day's fourth fastest.
"Everyone else went to the inside (right side)," he said. "If you go left, you can run longer."
For the amateur triathletes, race organizers again executed a new swim start, which they debuted earlier this year at the Boulder Sprint. They made a few tweaks to the new swim start, which organized competitors by their swim ability, not by age, as is traditional.
At the Boulder Peak, organizers asked triathletes to self-select which wave to start with based on their estimated total swim time.
Scott Fliegelman, founder of Boulder's FastForward Sports and consultant for Ironman on the new swim start, said organizers spread out the waves more at the Boulder Peak than at the sprint. It took roughly 15 minutes to get everyone in the water at the Boulder Sprint, compared to 25 minutes at the Boulder Peak, he said.
The larger gaps between waves alleviated some of the congestion many triathletes said they felt during the Boulder Sprint.
"What we made as far as adjustments smoothed everything out," Christen said. "We're already getting great feedback from athletes. We just made the adjustment to slow everything down."
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1. Tim O'Donnell, 1:48:46; 2. James Seear, 1:50.06; 3. Josh Amberger, 1:50:43; 4. David Thompson, 1:51:44; 5. Brian Fleischmann, 1:52:01; 6. Tom Davison, 1:52:20; 7. Kevin Collington, 1:52:45; 8. Mark Bowstead, 1:53:13; 9. Denis Vasiliev, 1:53:34; 10. Ryan Bice, 1:53:48.
1. Lisa Norden, 1:59:30; 2. Nicky Samuels, 2:02:37; 3. Lauren Goss, 2:04:02; 4. Flora Duffy, 2:05:21; 5. Jeanni Seymour, 2:05:33; 6. Lindsey Jerdonek, 2:06:24; 7. Jennifer Spieldenner, 2:07:04; 8. Daniela Ryf, 2:08:38; 9. Uli Bromme, 2:09:42; 10. Suzanne Huse, 2:13:47.