So this buddy of mine on the East Coast named Charles Popper hears I'm covering Vineman and the first things he says is (now bear in mind that Charles has a PhD in computer science from Harvard and this is just how the guy thinks), "Have you ever thought about how much energy is wasted in a triathlon?" Matter of fact I have, and have written previously in these pages on how some of that energy might be recovered.
But Charles isn't interested in recovering it, just putting it to good use. "You have over two thousand absurdly fit people stomping around on pavement for 13.1 miles," he says. "Stomping? In wine country? Hello?" Incredulous at my density, he expounds: "Why not have them stomping grapes instead of pavement?"
His idea is to set up vats of grapes along the run route (which he recommends be tightened into 400 short loops to increase production efficiency) and have the athletes run through them repeatedly. Ownership of the resulting primo vino might be somewhat problematical but that can be worked out over a glass or two. The marketing possibilities are near-limitless: Mark (Allen) Merlot, Chainring Chardonnay, Zipp Zinfandel, Beychevelle Bonk, La Crema Carfrae and, not to be forgotten, Pinot Newby-Fraser.
I think the idea has legs.
Chris Lieto took the men's win in 3:54:05, besting Kieran Doe by over six minutes. The two were locked in battle until halfway through the bike when Chris pulled away and worked up to a four-minute lead by the time they entered T2.
Melanie McQuaid took a 1:15 lead into T2, leaving five closely bunched women to sort themselves out behind her. By the time they did, one of them, Mirinda Carfrae, shattered the course record with a time of 4:15:51 with over six minutes on second place Leanda Cave. (Might have had something to do with the fact that Mirinda covered the run leg eight seconds faster than the men's winner.)
Quote of the day: From Mirinda, upon being informed that, six thousand miles away in Germany, Chrissie Wellington had just destroyed her own Ironman world-best time in an insane 8:19. Mirinda, who was runner-up to Chrissie at the Ford Ironman World Championship in 2009 and plans to have another go at her this October, muttered, "Good: Means she just peaked too early."
Class act of the day: Chris donated his first-place winnings to More Than Sport (www.morethansport.org), an organization he spearheads that helps change the lives of children and communities around the world by challenging athletes to sponsor a child. He's trying to get 141 sponsors before the Ironman World Championship this October, one for each mile of the race. Cherie just signed up as one of them (I wanted to sponsor the last 0.6 kid to round out the 140.6 actual miles but she wouldn't let me) so give it some thought and let's help out.
Enjoy the pictures.
Senior divas Madonna Buder, Cherie Gruenfeld and Harriet Anderson on a panel at the pasta party. Twenty-something Vineman wins and no defeats among them.
2009 Ironman World Championship runner-up Mirinda Carfrae discussing, well, the 2009 Ironman World Championship winner.
Perrenial podiumites posing.
Chris Thomas providing assurance that the insurance is paid up through the month
And they're off
Ed Dziedzic accepts a handout from a volunteer inside the La Crema winery.
Chris Lieto captures the win.
Kieran Doe, six minutes back
Mirinda makes mincemeat out of the course record.
Pastor Dan Perkins happily accepting his prize (winners get wine!), and reminding us who made it out of water in the first place.
Harriet Anderson collecting the bottleware
Sister Madonna getting hers. In vino veritas, and a splendid time was had by all!