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MONADNOCK CHALLENGE SERIES SPRINT TRIATHLON

Another race to the finish

Sauvola edges Levesque for 2nd straight year

  • The 4th annual Monadnock Challenge Series Sprint Triathlon was held Saturday, Aug. 10, 2013 in Peterborough.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)
  • The 4th annual Monadnock Challenge Series Sprint Triathlon was held Saturday, Aug. 10, 2013 in Peterborough.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)
  • The 4th annual Monadnock Challenge Series Sprint Triathlon was held Saturday, Aug. 10, 2013 in Peterborough.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)
  • The 4th annual Monadnock Challenge Series Sprint Triathlon was held Saturday, Aug. 10, 2013 in Peterborough.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)
  • The 4th annual Monadnock Challenge Series Sprint Triathlon was held Saturday, Aug. 10, 2013 in Peterborough.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)
  • The 4th annual Monadnock Challenge Series Sprint Triathlon was held Saturday, Aug. 10, 2013 in Peterborough.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)
  • The 4th annual Monadnock Challenge Series Sprint Triathlon was held Saturday, Aug. 10, 2013 in Peterborough.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)
  • The 4th annual Monadnock Challenge Series Sprint Triathlon was held Saturday, Aug. 10, 2013 in Peterborough.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)
  • The 4th annual Monadnock Challenge Series Sprint Triathlon was held Saturday, Aug. 10, 2013 in Peterborough.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)
  • The 4th annual Monadnock Challenge Series Sprint Triathlon was held Saturday, Aug. 10, 2013 in Peterborough.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)
  • The 4th annual Monadnock Challenge Series Sprint Triathlon was held Saturday, Aug. 10, 2013 in Peterborough.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)
  • The 4th annual Monadnock Challenge Series Sprint Triathlon was held Saturday, Aug. 10, 2013 in Peterborough.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)
  • The 4th annual Monadnock Challenge Series Sprint Triathlon was held Saturday, Aug. 10, 2013 in Peterborough.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)
  • The 4th annual Monadnock Challenge Series Sprint Triathlon was held Saturday, Aug. 10, 2013 in Peterborough.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)
  • The 4th annual Monadnock Challenge Series Sprint Triathlon was held Saturday, Aug. 10, 2013 in Peterborough.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)
  • The 4th annual Monadnock Challenge Series Sprint Triathlon was held Saturday, Aug. 10, 2013 in Peterborough.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)
  • The 4th annual Monadnock Challenge Series Sprint Triathlon was held Saturday, Aug. 10, 2013 in Peterborough.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)
  • The 4th annual Monadnock Challenge Series Sprint Triathlon was held Saturday, Aug. 10, 2013 in Peterborough.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)

Both Lars Sauvola and Dan Levesque had a feeling the 4th annual Monadnock Challenge Series Sprint Triathlon would come down to another duel.

In 2012, just 11 seconds separated the two — with Sauvola coming out on top — and both figured another close finish would decide the winner.

And once again, Sauvola and Levesque finished first and second overall, but this time Sauvola didn’t have to spend most of the run trying to track down Levesque.

Sauvola, who stood in second after swimming the 0.4-mile course in Cunningham Pond in 9:55 and also had the second best time on the bike in 42:16, was able to catch Levesque within the first mile of the third and final leg of the event and went on to post the best time, 21:02, over the final 3.1 miles of the race and claim a convincing win in one hour, 15 minutes and 18 seconds. Sauvola is the first repeat winner in the event’s history.

“I knew Dan would catch me on the bike. I just tried to keep farther ahead this year so I would have a better chance on the run,” said Sauvola. “I was maybe halfway this year on the bike before he caught me and I just tried to keep him insight.”

Levesque stood in fourth after the swim with a time of 10:39, but then finished the 15.8-mile bike ride in 41:13 — tops in the race — to take the slight lead going into the run.

“Last year, it was the last quarter mile when I caught him, but once I caught him probably at mile one, I figured I’d be able to not go crazy on the run,” said Sauvola. “He’s definitely stronger on the bike and I’m a little faster in the run.”

With a lead of just over a minute, Levesque knew he would have to put in quite the 5K in order to hold off Sauvola. And while Levesque’s run of 23:25 was third out of the field of 83 finishers, Sauvola, who did a full Ironman just two weeks prior, was just too much.

“Lars had a better bike leg this year so I didn’t put as much time into him on the bike so he caught me earlier on the run compared to last year,” said Levesque.

Levesque finished in 1:16:32 to claim runner-up for a second straight year. Both knew it would take a better performance to outlast the other and each achieved a stronger showing. Sauvola shaved almost three minutes off his winning time of 1:18:37 in 2012, while Levesque saw an improvement of over two minutes. Both decreased their times in each of the three legs.

“I spoke with Lars earlier in the year and knowing he was going to be doing the race again, I expected we’d be one and two again, but hoped it would be reversed,” said Levesque. “Both of us went a couple minutes faster than last year, but he just got a little bit faster.”

And while Levesque fell just short of claiming the overall title, his wife, Carrie, was able to top the women’s field.

Carrie finished 15th overall in her second attempt at the MCS Sprint Triathlon with a time of 1:35:15. After placing 34th last year, which was one of her first triathlons, Carrie decided to spend more time training, especially in the swim.

“The swim is always daunting for me and last year when I did this race, I thought I was going to die in the swim, literally,” said Carrie. “And I was glad it happened because I was not going to let that happen again. I’ve been swimming all winter trying to work on it.”

The result was not only a jump in 19 spots, but a time that was more than five minutes faster than a year ago. She dropped two and a half minutes off her swim time, two minutes on the bike and 18 seconds off her run.

“Last year I said I was going to train hard for it and try to win it,” said Carrie.

Carrie outlasted Nicola Fraley by just over a minute for the women’s title. Fraley was 17th in 1:36:20 and also improved her time by more than three minutes.

“A lot of people cut time off their races from last year,” said Race Director Erin Lyons.

And it is not easy for the Levesques, who have three small children, as they have to split up their training. One will go out in the morning, while the other will get their workouts in during the evening hours.

“It’s nice to be able to share this. Dan is a great motivator. He trains so hard and I think it motivates me,” said Carrie. “Sometimes we’re vying for the same training time, but we have to make it work one way or another.”

The winning team, Team Poreba, finished with a time of 1:24:06 and it turned out to be a narrow win over Team Hill. Team Hill posted a time of 1:24:11, as soon-to-be Mascenic junior Tim Fafard almost closed the gap by running the 5K portion of the race almost four minutes faster than Team Poreba.

“I wanted to make sure it was as good as last year and the years before if not better,” said Lyons. “It has to be safe, it has to be fun and it has to be challenging and those are the three big things.”

Glen Dipalma took third overall in 1:25:15 after placing in the top 10 times for each leg, including third in the swim. Michael Kraskouskas repeated his effort as the first one out of the water for the second straight year, completing the swim in 9:28. Kraskouskas went on to place seventh in the bike and 23rd in the run to finish fourth overall in 1:27:59.

“People love being a part of it. They love competing in it,” said Lyons.

John Ladue took fifth in 1:28:20, followed by Reuben Lyons in sixth with a time of 1:28:30 and David Donaway in seventh in 1:28:45. Josh Krook placed eighth, Tory Rysnik was ninth and Andrew Cummings rounded out the top 10.

The Hutton family was well represented with Jim, the father, placing 36th, followed by his two sons, Ryan in 44th and Zach in 46th.

Two local cross-country coaches also got in on the fun, as Erin Kelly of Conant narrowly edged Mascenic’s Mike Smith by one place and 31 seconds. Kelly was 31st in 1:46:43, while Smith was 32nd in 1:47:14.

Money raised from the event goes to the Support4Sports Fund, which provides an opportunity – through “sports-ships” – to children, adults, sports teams and others, in local communities who do not have the resources to pursue opportunities in their desired fields of recreation.

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