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PHU student makes waves on the U23 circuit

By JESSICA MUNDIE
Published April 11, 2007


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Belleair's Graham Steele excels at swimming, cycling, running and triathlons, but like most active high school students, he finds time for fun things like surfing and snowboarding.

Just like in bicycle racing, young triathletes sometimes are called U23 or "under 23 years of age" division. The 17-year-old student from Palm Harbor University is ranked by USA Triathlon as one of the country's best U23 competitors.

"Considering Graham's raw talent, he is so fantastic to coach as a triathlete," professional triathlete Hank Campbell said. "And the amazing thing is that Graham is also such a good student. My wife Carrie and I consider him to be like our own son."

Both Campbell and Steele will compete at St. Anthony's Triathlon on April 29. For details about the St. Anthony's Triathlon weekend, check out www.satriathlon.com.

DAVE SCOTT PARTY: Chainwheel Drive owner Tom Jessup will join with Miami's Aldo Virano (Team Accelerade) to play host at the Meet the Ironman Legend Party on April 26 at 7 p.m. in Clearwater. Scott is a well-known professional and six-time winner at Ironman in Hawaii. For more info, visit www.chainwheeldrive.com.

DUATHLON NEWS: Debbie Farias, 40, of Largo placed second at the Virginia Duathlon on April 1 and earned a slot for the ITU World Championship Duathlon in Gyor, Hungary, in May.

Farias (West Florida Y Runners Club), who is a teacher, said she planned to take the spring break vacation to unwind from the first part of the season by camping and trail running. Farias' time for the run-bike-run event (run 5K, bike 32 K, run 5K) was one hour, 45 minutes, six seconds.

Tarpon Springs triathlete Celia Dubey (Team Hersports), 35, placed second in the 35-39 age division in 1:35:10, also qualifying for duathlon world championships.

Team USA qualifiers for triathlon and duathlon world championships will continue throughout the nation this season. Florida competitors usually have the early-season advantage because of the excellent training weather, which permits critical early-season mileage.

Florida's bicycle racers also enjoy riding the big early-season miles in the sun, jumping ahead of the rest of their competition.

TOUR DE GEORGIA: Many local cyclists are planning to volunteer and spectate at Tour de Georgia on April 16-22. This event is a six-day European style stage race, which will attract riders from all parts of the world, covering 600 miles in seven days.

The 2007 Tour de Georgia will take the riders through Peachtree City, Macon, Thomaston, Rome, Chattanooga, Tenn., Chickamauga, Lookout Mountain, Brasstown Bald Mountain, Dalton, Lake Lanier Islands, Stone Mountain Park and Atlanta.

Tour de Georgia presents the best opportunity for U.S. fans to catch a glimpse of the European peloton without having to travel to see the Tour de France.

For more information, including volunteering at one of the stages, log on to www.tourdegeorgia.com.

Jessica Mundie can be reached at sptimescycling@yahoo.com.

[Last modified April 11, 2007, 06:46:03]


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