Tuesday, September 29, 2009


(Rich Cruse Photos: BOUS '09 Champs Brian Duffy, Jr. & Bethany Handley.)

(Mission Viejo, CA - September 27, 2009) We've come to expect excellence from Duluth's Brian Bich and he has yet to disappoint. Last Sunday he placed 7th in the most competitive head-to-head men's amateur triathlon of the year. On a seriously challenging course, one that previously yielded a 2:05:52 men's course record, Bich threw down an astonishing 1:57:33.

With a time like that, who beat him?

Well, 1st and 4th places were hard earned by Pennsylvania's Brian Duffy, Jr. (1:52:53) and Connecticut's Chris Thomas (1:56:11), the men who appear to be the frontrunners for 2009 U.S. Athlete of the Year. Third went to two-time AOY Honorable Mention Mark Harms (1:55:08) of Wisconsin, who cracked the Top 15 (2nd American) at Tri Worlds two weeks ago. The runner-up spot was earned by mercurial 20-year-old Ohioan Ross Hartley (1:55:00), who has won eight of the nine races he entered this year prior to BOUS, and all in course record time. Fifth went to former German pro Jens Beck (1:56:45), who represented Alaska, and sixth went to Rusty Pruden of Washington, who was only 9 seconds in front of Bich. Pruden has been dominant in Pacific Northwest racing this year and placed 6th overall (3rd 25-29M) at AG Nationals.

As you can see, Brian was in good company.

And then there were the studs who Brian beat. Guys like Nebraska-based Minnesotan Sam Hauck (12th in 1:59:58) and fellow uber-masters Luis De La Torre (10th in 1:59:09), 41, of Hawaii, and Arizona's Cam Hill (18th in 2:02:47).

Eden Prairie's Brook Mutzenberger turned in a respectable effort in the women's BOUS race, which was won by reigning 25-29W national champion Bethany Handley of Oklahoma. She (Brook) placed 17th in 2:19:14, which was almost 5 minutes faster than the old CR. (New "citizen's" course records were set on Sunday. Carlsbad, CA's decorated Charisa Wernick popped a 2:15:36, and Torrance, CA's Ian Mikelson turned in a 2:00:30. No other woman in the 900-member citizen's race dipped under 2:20, while 17 BOUS athletes managed to do so.)

A popular feature of the BOUS event is the Fastest State Competition. The five fastest teams, based on combined times, took home Waterford Crystal awards. Team Wisconsin took the title, as they did in 2007. Their margin over 2nd-placing Team Pennsylvania was 23 seconds.

Team Minnesota placed 7th.


1. WISCONSIN - Mark Harms (3rd) & Cindi Bannink (3rd) - 4:04:45
2. PENNSYLVANIA - Brian Duffy, Jr. (1st) & Beth Schutt (4th) - 4:05:07
3. WASHINGTON - Rusty Pruden (6th) & Kimberly Pancoast (2nd) - 4:06:15
4. OHIO - Ross Hartley (2nd) & Andrea Myers (16th) - 4:14:10
5. ALASKA - Jens Beck (5th) & Larrel Lockard (14th) - 4:14:53
6. NEW YORK - Kevin Crossman (13th) & Meghan Newcomer (6th) -4:15:03
7. MINNESOTA - Brian Bich (7th) & Brook Mutzenberger (17th) - 4:16:47
8. IDAHO - Kyle Grisham (15th) & Amy Alexander (7th) - 4:17:02
9. HAWAII - Luis De La Torre (10th) & Maggs Morris (18th) - 4:20:22
10. ARIZONA - Cam Hill (18th) & Kara Middendorf (15th) - 4:21:17

Susan Grant's Inside Triathlon story.
Rich Cruse photography other story links coming soon.