Robert Husseman, The Triplicate

Triathletes join Crescent City Triathlon

Dalton Alexandre stood outside Fred Endert Memorial Pool, staring anxiously into the Sunday morning fog. He bounced around, stretched his legs, and shook out any nervousness he had in him.

Alexandre, a senior at Del Norte High School, was part of a two-man relay at the 28th annual Crescent City Triathlon with his friend, Isaac Blundell. Blundell completed the 500-yard swim and the 12-mile bike ride, leaving the 3.1-mile run for Alexandre.

"This is my first one, so I'm pretty nervous," admitted Alexandre, a football player and track athlete at Del Norte High. "My main goal is not to get lost on the course. I'm setting the bar low."

Alexandre was far from the only triathlon rookie coursing around the streets of Crescent City on Sunday. The Crescent City Triathlon's beauty is in its simplicity - a multi-event test of mettle open to all, with competition available for those seeking it.

"It's a good way to get hooked" on the sport, said Sue Hagerty, a registered nurse at Sutter Coast Hospital who has competed in half-Ironman triathlons. "It's fun, easygoing. It's very family-oriented."

Many families made the early-morning journey to the pool, with Mom and Dad doing the triathlon or duathlon (1.25-mile run, 12-mile bike ride, 3.1-mile run) and the sons and daughters entered in the kids' triathlon. Entrants as young as five and as old as 12 covered 50 yards in the pool, up to six miles on the bike and up to a mile during the run.

The swimming portion of the triathlon was conducted in shifts, with two participants in each lane. Once out of the pool, they jogged out to a transition area, got on their bike, and navigated the course in the pea-soup fog.

"When I was running, I couldn't even see (Battery Point) lighthouse!" Hagerty said.

The moisture in the air kept the triathletes comfortable during the biking and running portions of the event.

"It was perfect weather," said Daniel Draskinis, a graduate student in sociology at Humboldt State University in Arcata. "Not too hot, not too cold."

Draskinis, 22, is a member of the Humboldt State club cycling team. As an undergraduate student at California State University, Long Beach, he was a member of the club triathlon squad.

A veteran of "15 to 20" competitions, including national collegiate events, Draskinis' biggest hurdle was getting his mind right in anticipation of the staggered start in the pool.

"I was nervous at first," he said. "I went to Starbucks and got a coffee. I came back, and I was even more nervous."

Triathlons, of course, are much more about the journey than the destination. Eleven-year-old Catherine Holper of Eureka was participating in the second triathlon of her life Sunday; the sixth-grader had finished second in her first triathlon and wanted to see how she could do in Crescent City.

"I would think that you want to place," Holper said. "Even if I didn't, it would still be fine. It's just good that you finish."

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