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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Monday, July 18, 2005

Lieto, Wee earn Tinman Triathlon victories

The conditions were near perfect at the Tinman Triathlon, and so was the performance of winner Chris Lieto.

By Oscar A. Hernandez
Special to The Advertiser


The conditions were near perfect at the Tinman Triathlon, and so was the performance of winner Chris Lieto.

Lieto, a 33-year-old professional triathlete from Danville, Calif., finished more than seven minutes ahead second-place Kurt Chambers, 24, of Honolulu.

Lieto finished in one hour, 44 minutes, and 21 seconds. Bree Wee, 25, of Kailua, Kona, took the women's title in 1:57:08.

"I was excited to be here. I just came to have a really good race and just have fun," Lieto said.

A total of 852 athletes participated in the Tinman, which celebrated its 25th year. The course included a 750-meter swim at Ala Moana Beach, a 38-kilometer bike race to Hawai'i Kai and back, and a 10-kilometer run around Diamond Head, finishing at Kapi'olani Park.

Lieto's only challenge yesterday was swimming with a broken wrist that he suffered seven weeks ago.

"The swim was a little bit of a challenge, but I did all right," Lieto said. "It's always great to swim in the ocean with such clear and beautiful water."

Lieto emerged from the water in 10 minutes, five seconds — 56 seconds ahead of Chambers; and relied on strong cycling to solidify his lead.

"I've done a little bit of bike racing in the past few months, and I think that helped out with the (headwind), so I pushed it a lot going out ... and on the way back we had a good tailwind, so I could get a lot of speed," Lieto said.

Despite being a professional triathlete, Lieto was aware the Tinman draws some of the best athletes.

"I kept looking back a few times," he said. "I didn't know who (Chambers) was ... so there's always a concern to make sure he didn't sneak up on me in (the final stretch)."

Following the swim, Chambers said he found himself behind the lead pack as he started the bike race.

"I think I was leading a second pack, so I was quite a bit behind at the start," he said.

But Chambers was able to pass several racers.

"During the race, I found out that Chris Lieto was here, and he's one of the best and accomplished pros there is, so I was pretty happy with my result," he said.

Allister Knox, 31, of Maui, finished third in 1:52:32.

"I was really surprised and I'm really happy ... on the run, I just focused on running the best I could, with the fitness I've got, so I didn't even know I was in third," said Knox, who is originally from New Zealand. "I was just trying to salvage the best I could out of this day."

Wee said she got a boost from fellow competitor and friend, Ingrid Rolles, a 28-year-old professional triathlete from Honolulu, who finished second in 1:59:24.

"Before the start, she (Rolles) encouraged me, 'Come on, have a great race,' so she made me feel comfortable with her kindness," Wee said.

Wee also said experience made a difference.

"It's been my problem with triathlon in the past, by doing everybody else's race, thinking about where they are. Today I focused on myself, thinking only about my own pace," she said.

Rolles, originally from South Africa, said she was happy with her race.

"I tried catching Bree, but she's an excellent triathlete," Rolles said.

Rachel Ross, 39, of Honolulu, finished third in 2:01:41.