Triathlon Magazine Canada - - FINISH LINE RACE REPORT -

Dave Lipchen’s first-ever ITU World Cham­pi­onship race, at 22, was back in 1998 in Lau­sanne, Switzer­land.

“I had one of my best times, ever,” Lipchen says, still re­call­ing fondly ev­ery de­tail of the swim in clean, clear Lake Geneva and a bike cir­cuit that in­volved a steep climb on cob­ble­stone. “I met friends in Lau­sanne that I’m still in touch with to­day.”

Lipchen – the founder of Wind­burn Multi-Sport Academy in Winnipeg – is now race di­rec­tor of the Rid­ing Moun­tain Triathlon in Wasagam­ing, Man. With as many as 600 par­tic­i­pants, it’s the big­gest triathlon/duathlon event in wheat coun­try. And, for the first time, this year’s race, on Aug. 18, will be an age-group qual­i­fier for the Olympic dis­tance ITU World Cham­pi­onship in Lau­sanne in 2019.

“It makes sense in ev­ery way,” says Lipchen about ac­cept­ing the chal­lenge in his first year as race di­rec­tor “to bring the race up to the next level.”

“Lots of triath­letes have had to travel out of prov­ince, some years all the way to Cal­gary or Toronto to qual­ify for a world cham­pi­onship event,” he says.

Also for the first time this year, the Echo Lake Triathlon, in Saskatchewan’s Qu’Ap­pelle Val­ley, is a World Cham­pi­onship 2019 qual­i­fy­ing event, of­fer­ing two age­group spots for each gen­der. So, prairie triath­letes who fail to qual­ify at that race on July 15 have an­other shot at Rid­ing Moun­tain a month later.—LOREEN PINDERA

San­ders Does it Again

Se­bas­tian Kienle is get­ting down­right sick of push­ing Lionel San­ders to his limit and “bring­ing out the best” in the Cana­dian. Last year, at the Chal­lenge Cham­pi­onship in Samorin, Slo­vakia, San­ders and Kienle put on an in­cred­i­ble show, tak­ing turns try­ing to break the other for 16 km be­fore San­ders was fi­nally able to break clear and run his way to the ti­tle.

This year’s race of­fered up a dif­fer­ent script, this one pro­vid­ing a more heart­break­ing re­sult for Kienle, who ap­peared to fi­nally be on track to beat his Cana­dian ri­val, only to see San­ders come up with yet an­other in­cred­i­ble per­for­mance to take the win.

The day started out as ex­pected with Slo­vakian su­per-swim­mer Richard Varga lead­ing the way out of the wa­ter, but then all ex­pec­ta­tions got thrown out the win­dow from there on. San­ders, who has shown re­mark­ably im­proved swim­ming over the last year had a shocker of a swim, com­ing out of the wa­ter al­most five-min­utes be­hind Varga and 90 sec­onds be­hind Kienle, who he has rou­tinely swum with over the last year or so.

Ger­many’s Flo­rian Angert would come off the bike first, with Kienle two min­utes down and San­ders an­other minute be­hind. Kienle moved to the front by the half­way point of the run, start­ing the sec­ond lap with a 23-sec­ond lead over San­ders. Over the next five km there was no change and it looked like Kienle might fi­nally have found a way to fin­ish ahead.

With three km to go San­ders man­aged to catch and pass the Ger­man, only to sud­denly find him­self be­hind shortly af­ter­wards as Kienle surged ahead. Right after that surge, though, Kienle slowed down.

“I knew that’s when I had to go,” San­ders said after the race.

San­ders would even­tu­ally come across the line just over a minute ahead to suc­cess­fully de­fend his ti­tle. Cana­dian Trevor Wurtele fin­ished 15th.

On the women’s side, Great Bri­tain’s Lucy Charles also made it two in a row, lead­ing from the gun and suc­cess­fully hold­ing off Ger­man su­per-run­ner Anne Haug who man­aged to make up all but two min­utes of a 7:30 deficit after the bike. Fourth off the bike, but un­able to hold off Haug and an­other strong run­ner, Great Bri­tain’s Emma Pal­lant, Cana­dian Heather Wurtele would fin­ish sixth.—TMC

An Un­likely Cham­pion: Find­ing the Path to Ful­fill­ment and Win­ning in Life

Lisa Bent­ley

LISA BENT­LEY RACED for 20 years as a pro­fes­sional triathlete and ranked among the top five in the world for a decade. Her ath­letic suc­cess is all the more re­mark­able be­cause she has dealt with a se­ri­ous lung dis­ease all of her life. Over­com­ing lim­its with out­stand­ing men­tal fo­cus, Bent­ley is shar­ing her knowl­edge to help oth­ers win at life no mat­ter what cards they’ve been dealt.

This book could be de­scribed as a men­tal train­ing man­ual that uses per­sonal ac­counts of Bent­ley’s ac­com­plish­ments to il­lus­trate the power of at­ti­tude, be­lief and de­ter­mi­na­tion. Over time, she de­vel­oped a tool kit of prac­tices that were vi­tal to keep­ing her head and spirit in the best pos­si­ble shape.

Bent­ley be­gan run­ning in grade school and branched into cross­coun­try and track in high school. In univer­sity she was in­tro­duced to triathlon and in 1989, while still a stu­dent, she learned that she and two sib­lings had cys­tic fi­bro­sis.

The di­ag­no­sis solved the mys­tery of a very sick child­hood with nightly cough medicine and many chest in­fec­tions re­quir­ing months of an­tibi­otics. But the di­ag­no­sis didn’t slow Bent­ley down one bit. She was young and feel­ing in­vin­ci­ble. “At least now, I thought, when I got a chest in­fec­tion, I could take the ap­pro­pri­ate an­tibi­otics and get healthy faster! I saw it as a win-win!” she writes.

Bent­ley has won 11 Iron­mans, 16 Iron­man 70.3 races and achieved sev­eral top five fin­ishes at the Iron­man World Cham­pi­onship. She rep­re­sented Canada at the Pan Amer­i­can Games and on na­tional elite teams at the world cham­pi­onships. Be­tween 2000 and 2007 she had at least one Iron­man vic­tory each year.

Among the men­tal tools that Bent­ley used, vi­su­al­iza­tion was the strong­est el­e­ment. She would not give power to the fact of her health lim­i­ta­tions or the tal­ent of other triath­letes. “I had a re­lent­less self-be­lief that I could out­per­form my com­peti­tors. That was not over­con­fi­dence. That was a vi­sion that I tat­tooed on my brain,” she shares. Visu­al­iz­ing back-up plans for any­thing that could go wrong al­lowed her to be­gin a race be­liev­ing any pos­si­ble prob­lem could be han­dled.

Bent­ley fre­quently made as­set lists and up­dated them for spe­cific chal­lenges. In prepa­ra­tion for an Iron­man World Cham­pi­onship, she tal­lied 29 pos­i­tive items about her life and a list of her best work­outs.

“These lists, and their con­stant race day recita­tion, pro­vided me with a per­sonal pep talk out­lin­ing all the rea­sons I could be and would be suc­cess­ful. My lists gave me two oars and in­stilled in me a whole­hearted be­lief that I would find a way to win be­cause I was equipped to win,” she writes.

Wo­ven through her ad­vice is a theme of not win­ning just for the sake of win­ning. Bent­ley wants you to re­flect and un­der­stand what it means per­son­ally, what in­di­vid­ual ful­fill­ment looks like, and how to be your­self rather than im­i­tat­ing some­one else. Be­cause oth­er­wise, win­ning races and reach­ing goals will likely feel empty.

As ex­am­ples, she writes: “There will al­ways be some­one bet­ter than each of us, so fin­ish­ing first can’t be your only pur­pose,” and, “Achieve­ment ver­sus ful­fil­ment is a choice. I achieved the podium more than one hun­dred times, but the mem­o­ries come more from feel­ings of sat­is­fac­tion than from medals.”

Bent­ley’s re­lent­less de­ter­mi­na­tion took her through un­be­liev­ably dif­fi­cult sit­u­a­tions that many peo­ple would have backed away from. She of­fers lessons as an ath­lete who owned her sit­u­a­tion by us­ing strength of mind to be a cham­pion time after time after time.

He­len Pow­ers is a free­lance jour­nal­ist from Dundas, Ont.

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Nancy Clark coun­sels ca­sual and com­pet­i­tive ath­letes. Her Sports Nutri­tion Guide­book, Food Guide for Marathon­ers and Cy­clist’s Food Guide all of­fer ad­di­tional weight man­age­ment in­for­ma­tion.

Lionel San­ders at the chal­lenge cham­pi­onship

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