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Australian Reed races to overall crown at Vineman

  • Jose Luis Montiel puts on his helmet as he transitions from the swimming to the cycling section of the Ironman 70.3 Vineman Triathlon at Johnson's Beach in Guerneville on Sunday. (BETH SCHLANKER / The Press Democrat)

Crowds holding neon signs and ringing cowbells cheered as both amateurs and professionals crossed the finish line at the 24th Annual Vineman 70.3 Triathlon, which concluded at Windsor High School on Sunday.

With announcers keeping the stands updated throughout the race, Tim Reed from Australia was the first tri-athlete to cross the finish line — the tape held high over his head.

“I thought a few other guys were going to come up on me,” Reed said as he continued to congratulate his competition as they finished the race, “but at the running turnaround, you get to see where everyone’s at. That’s when I knew.”

Reed finished in the top spot for men’s professionals with a time of 3:47.43 and credited his preparation as key to his success, he said.

“I rode the back part of the course three or four times over the last two years because I saw that as a real opportunity to get away,” he said.

If you can get far enough ahead, Reed added, you continue to up your advantage.

“If you’re out of sight you’re out of mind,” he said. “I figured if they couldn’t see me than they don’t know how hard I’m going.”

On the women’s side, Meredith Kessler completed the three-peat as she crossed the finish line only to run back to her family and friends lining the sides.

“She’s giving high fives and kissing babies,” said the announcer over the loud speaker.

The 36-year-old from San Francisco employed the same strategy as Reed and said that knowing the track is a huge advantage.

“I came up with a couple of friends on the holiday weekend and rode the course,” Kessler said. “That’s the advantage of only living an hour away.”

With so many technical turns throughout the course, Kessler said that being able to ride the course previously gave her an edge over her competitors.

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