In the 7th annual BVI XTri, a triathlon held in the off-road wilds of Smuggler’s Cove and Belmont held on Sunday, Michael Ellis won the event with a time of 48 minutes and 50 seconds. A newcomer to the BVI triathlon scene but an experienced mountain biker and triathlete, Ellis beat second placer Andrew “Tubes Thompson by one minute and twenty-two seconds. Chris Ghiorse was third. Although off-pace on the day, Thompson’s 2009 course record of 47 minutes and 27 seconds still stands. Kay Reddy won the individual ladies and Team Broadsword, once again surprising many, won the team category.
The event started with a 600m, two-lap swim in Smuggler’s Cove which included a trademark sprint around a flag on the beach at the end of the first lap. Competitors then embarked on the five-mile bike circuit which saw the cyclists slog up the north side of Belmont Drive in a leg and lung destroying climb, followed by death-defying descent on the south, before heading west around Steele Point and back to Smuggler’s Cove beach, where the race finished with a two-mile run along Arawak Drive and back along Palm Drive.
A strong climbing ability coupled with a “balls of steel” approach to the treacherous descents ensured that Thompson and Ellis recorded very fast bike times, while those with slightly softer orbs used their brakes from time to time. The Belmont climb and various high speed descents took their toll but everyone finished including Keeble McDonald of the Governor’s team who jogged to the finish with his bike over his shoulder after flatting on the final descent. A bustling West End Ferry dock also provided an amorphous human and vehicular chicane as the riders approached the Jolly Roger turning to the Steele Point dirt track.
Natasha “Tash” Ruscheinski of the Deloitte team was first out of the water with a time of ten minutes and 55 seconds. Tubes Thompson recorded the fastest bike time at 22 minutes and 57 seconds and Nick Clarke the fastest run of the day at 13 minutes and 46 seconds. Team Broadsword once again fielded its entire company to compete but following a last minute injury, runner Sofia Fay was replaced by Nick Clarke who stepped into the breach at the last minute and produced his scorching run time. Hats off to the Ladies Try Team who put in a sterling effort.
Well-known runner Zebalon Maclean had a go at – and won – his first triathlon with a time of 30 minutes and five seconds in the shorter Try A Tri course. Next event on the BVI Triathlon Federation calendar is the National Sprint Championships on May 29.