Soldiers to race overseas for Sand Key Sprint

By JESSICA MUNDIE, Times Correspondent
Published September 12, 2007

Dozens of volunteers are already in place for the fourth annual Sand Key Sprint Triathlon, to be held at Sand Key County Park in Clearwater on Sept.23.

Race director Bev Buysse Team Amino Vital has enjoyed a successful career as a top age-group triathlete, swim meet competitor and national champion lifeguard, but she is putting her training on hold until after the Sand Key Sprint Triathlon.

"Race entries are pouring in, and I'm going to limit the field to 500 entrants," Buysse said. "This is going to be the best year ever, and our proceeds always benefit the Clearwater Community Sailing Center and the work they do, which helps disabled folks get into sailing."

Last month, Buysse got a call from U.S. soldiers based in Iraq. They are triathletes, and they told Buysse they wanted to race in the Sand Key Sprint Triathlon. The soldiers have been training and hoped to race in the military division, starting the event as close as possible to the actual time of the race in Clearwater.

"We just mailed these soldiers their complete race packets, complete with shirts, numbers, and goodie bags," Buysse said. "The captain told me that they would swim in the pool, ride on stationary bikes in the gym and run around the paths in the U.S. Embassy compound. They said they were excited about it.

"Now there will be a very competitive military division in Sand Key Sprint Triathlon. Other active duty military personnel can sign up and challenge these guys over there. We hope it will be great for the morale."

Race distance for Sand Key Triathlon: swim one-third mile, bike 11 miles, and run 3 miles. This race is sanctioned by USA Triathlon. Visit www.sandkeytriathlon.com or call Buysse at (727) 773-5675 for further details.

ROBICHAUX HOPING TO RACE AGAIN: Former junior champion cyclist and triathlete Robert Robichaux survived an explosion while serving in the U.S. Army in Iraq on July 7. Now safely back at Walter Reed Hospital, Robichaux, 24, of Dunedin, credits his fitness - from swimming, running, and cycling - for his survival, including 15 surgeries he has undergone so far.

Robichaux was a student at Clearwater High and one of Florida's first elite junior mountain bike racers on the Caloi/Fast Track Team. Meek & Mighty Mini Triathlon at St. Anthony's Triathlon Weekend was one of his first multisport attempts while a student at Eisenhower Elementary.

"The general came from Fort Bragg and gave me the Purple Heart a few weeks ago," Robichaux said. "It's an honor that nobody wants to get. ... I will come home to Dunedin for the month of October, and I am already working out, despite losing the vision in my left eye. The doctors think that my being a triathlete and a cyclist helped me through this already."

Added Robichaux's grandmother, Winifred Webb: "Robert has an enormous amount of courage. He would love to hear from area riders who knew him from racing."

Robichaux can be reached at Walter Reed Hospital, Mologne House, Bed 20, Room 366, 6900 Georgia Avenue, Washington, D.C., 20307, (910) 574-7777; or at his family's home at (727) 733-4795.

TARPON SPRINGS TRI: Members of the Tarpon Springs Rotary Club hosted last Saturday's 19th annual Tarpon Springs Sprint Triathlon.

Winning the women's elite division for the second year in a row was Kailand Cosgrove, 16, of Tarpon Springs. According to Cosgrove's father Dean, Kailand has been on the ITU junior triathlon circuit, becoming one of the top juniors in the country.

Race distance for Tarpon Springs Sprint Triathlon was swim one-quarter mile, bike 10 miles and run 3.1 miles. Leading the entire way, Cosgrove won with a time of 52 minutes, 35 seconds, followed by 2007 National Duathlon champion Celia Dubey (Team Hersports), 35, of Tarpon Springs, in 53:47.

Overall race winner was Gainesville's Matt Greene (Team Tri Gators) in 49:49; followed by Clyde Ball, 49, of Tampa, with a time of 50:49.

Some local division winners include: Cody Sandford, 12, Clearwater, 1:02:36; Trevor Ninmo, 16, Palm Harbor, 1:05:40; Doug Anderson, 37, Largo, 51:21; Valerie Tanella, 12, Oldsmar, 1:27:58; Barbara Gussow, 24, Oldsmar, 1:04:26; Brandi Szen, 29, Palm Harbor, 59:30; Suzanne O'Neal, 31, Clearwater, 59:28; Christine McDonald, 36, Palm Harbor, 58:28 and Jennifer Sullivan, 42, Safety Harbor, 1:00:10.

For complete results, head to www.altavistasports.com.

HENRY WINS 2 GOLDS AT NATIONALS:Earl Henry of Pinellas Park added several national titles to his collection at the USA Cycling Masters National Track Championship in Trexlertown, Pa., on Aug.27-31.

Henry (Team Squiggle), 65, won the men's 65+ division in the 500-meter event, with a time of 38.178 seconds, the fifth-fastest time of the day.

Henry is on the U.S. roster for the Pan American Masters Championships in Caracas, Venezuela, later this month, as well as the World Masters Track Championships in Sydney, Australia on Oct.16-21.

RAILS TO TRAILS RIDE: For a more relaxing, noncompetitive day of riding, more than 1,500 cyclists will ride 13th annual Rails To Trails Bike Ride on Oct.7, in Inverness. Routes range from 20 to 100 miles, and proceeds benefit the Withlacoochee State Trail. Head to www.railstotrailsonline.com or call (352) 527-3263 for details.

Jessica Mundie can be reached at sptimescycling@yahoo.com Her blog comments can be read at http://blogs.tampabay.com/biking.