By Glen Miller
El Reno Tribune
Canadian County was once again represented well in both races of the 2017 Route 66 Triathlon over the weekend, with 18 competitors coming from county towns.
There were six racers who took part in the Olympic distance, which is a three-stage race starting with a 1,500-meter open water swim in Lake El Reno. The race then transitions into a 40-kilometer bike ride through Adams Parks and out onto Route 66. This stage consisted of a double loop of 20 kilometers. The third stage was a 10-kilometer race around the south side of Lake El Reno, which followed a double-loop format as well.
The top county finisher in the Olympic race was Mustang race veteran T.J. Tinja. The 40-year-old completed the stages in two hours, 29 minutes and 11 seconds to place 15th overall.
Yukon’s 26-year-old Zachary Ricks was 17th overall with a time of 2:30.29, followed by Mustang’s Brad Palmer in 43rd place. The 53-year-old, also a veteran of the race, posted a time of 3:00.34.
El Reno’s Salem Stevens, taking part in her first-ever triathlon, was the fastest woman finisher from the county. The 19-year-old completed the course in 3:16.18 as she continues to train for next month’s Half Ironman Triathlon.
Yukon 50-year-old Amy Downs was 77th overall with a time of 3:32.16, while Yukon’s Chris Figueria placed 84th with a time of 3:52.49.
The Route 66 Sprint Triathlon, which started 30 minutes after the Olympic field, was also a three-stage race starting with an open water swim of 750 meters.
Contestants then moved to a 20-kilometer bike ride, a single loop of the course, before moving into a 5-kilometer run around the lake.
Canadian County boasted three placers in the top 10 of the 144-race field as Yukon 31-year-old Jesse Martin won the race with a time of 1:06.40.
Right on his heels was El Reno 30-year-old Michael Cullen, who ended up placing fifth overall and was fourth among the male finishers with a time of 1:12.10.
Cullen, who was second in his age bracket, posted a 13:47 swim, followed by a 34:15 effort on the bike before running the 5 kilometers in 23.13.
Mustang’s Steve Bussjeager, who organized the race for 11 of its 13 years before stepping down to focus on race training, took eighth overall. The 65-year-old posted an overall time of 1:15.40.
Yukon’s Stephen Taylor (32) took 12th overall with a time of 1:17.
El Reno High School alum and current Yukon resident Joshua Williams (35) was 23rd overall with a time of 1:25.50. Williams was 18th among the male racers and third in his age bracket after posting a 15:24 swim, 38:28 bike and a run time of 29:42.
Piedmont’s Spencer Christensen was 36th overall with a time of 1:30.04, followed a spot back by Yukon’s Zack Carter at 1:30.29.
El Reno’s Cara Roman Nose was the fastest female finisher from within the county as she posted a time of 1:34.17 in her second Route 66 Triathlon.
The 20-year-old college track runner, who will be a junior at Western State Colorado University in the fall, logged a time of 16:58 in the swim. She had a 47:31 effort on the bike and ran the 5K in 27:44, which was the 11th fastest time for females.
Roman Nose was 16th among females and second in her age group.
Okarche 17-year-old Tyler Christensen ended up placing 50th with an overall time of 1:35.39. Jennifer Thompson of Mustang was 58th overall with a time of 1:42.32, while Alena Croy of Yukon was 67th at 1:43.31.
Editor’s Note: These are the times and finishes listed for contestants listing their home residence inside Canadian County.