Michelle Parsons of Team Tri UK and Worcester Triathlon Club started the Powerman World Series for 2012 by winning the first race of the season In Alabama, USA on Sunday.
The Powerman World Series is a group of duathlon races held throughout the year across Europe, North America and Malaysia. The Alabama race was held in the beautiful setting of the Oak Mountain State Park and this year attracted a mainly US contingent of athletes because of the USA Elite Short Course Duathlon National Championships being scheduled for the same weekend in the same venue. Michelle was invited to take part in both races being one of the few European athletes deciding to travel over to the event. The short course Championships were run on Saturday morning over a course of 10km run, 40km bike and 5 km run and with all of eh top US Elite Short course athletes competing she knew she would have her work cut out to keep up with the speedier runners.
Michelle came through the first 10km run in 9th place almost three minutes back from the leaders but once on the bike tore through the field up to 4th position recording the fastest female bike split of the day. Onto the second run she knew it would be a question of holding off as many of the faster runner as possible but in typically determined style she battled her way through to finish 5th overall – a fantastic result given the short nature of the race. Michelle’s post race comment was simply ‘It would have been nice to have had a second lap of the bike!’
Post race it was a case of maximising her recovery time before the long course on Sunday morning. Obviously it was a brave decision to double up but that decision paid off as Michelle produced yet another commanding performance of the bike leg of the long course duathlon to claim overall victory.
The first run was 10 kilometres through the forest out and back with two turn around points. It was a rolling course but did have one climb between the 5th and 5th kilometre markers. Michelle sensibly took the first run at her own pace keeping the leaders within sight and came into transition in 4th place overall. Americans Laura Kline and Bridget Campbell were in first and second place respectively having completed in the first run in just under 39 minutes and neither had raced the day before. Michelle was into transition about 2 minutes behind them and after a swift transition was onto her bike and sound eating up the ground to the leaders.
The bike course was three laps of 20kms in the state park itself. Michelle soon surpassed all three leaders on the bike and set about building a lead in readiness for the second 10km run. The weather was much warmer than in previous years but there was still some breeze on the bike hindering really quick times.
Behind Michelle, it was only Kline who was staying within touching distance but by the end of the bike Michelle still had almost a 3 minute cushion. Her bike split was 1.48.12 for the sporting 60km course leaving her with the same 10km run to clinch victory.
The turn around points on the run were good markers of how fast the chasers were running and it was soon obvious that Kline had save something for this final run as she started to eat into the lead. The Tri UK athlete however dug in to hold her off and came home to win in an overall time of 3 hours 15 minutes and 16 seconds with a fast finishing Kline just 40 seconds behind in the end.
The male winner was Caleb Goldkamp in an impressive time of 2.53.36.
Michelle returns straight back into action at home with a sprint distance duathlon at Newent on Sunday before taking a short break from duathlon racing before starting the European part of the Ironman and Powerman season.