by Timothy Carlson for Slowtwitch.com, June 11, 2017
High winds in San Francisco Bay led to small craft warnings, leading safety officials and race organizers to cancel the swim at the Escape From Alcatraz triathlon for the first time in its 37-year history.
In the resulting 18-mile bike leg and 8-mile run, Ben Kanute took the men's title by 1:08 over fellow U.S. Olympian Gregory Billington and Lauren Goss edged U.S. Olympian Katie Zaferes by 54 seconds. With a time trial start leaving 30 seconds intervals between the top pros, the competitors raced all out in virtual isolation, the results to be revealed by the timekeepers after everyone had crossed the line.
Defending Escape champion Holly Lawrence opened with a tied-for-women's-best 51:41 bike split she shared with Barbara Riveros of Chile. Seven seconds slower was Lauren Goss, but none of the top contenders had any idea where they stood on elapsed time. Katie Zaferes stood 1:31 back on elapsed time but had little notion what place she occupied.
"I was second to start," said Zaferes. "So I was 30 seconds behind Holly and I am thinking Holly probably got a penalty and Lauren rode really well. So we didn't really know what's going on. "
Goss, who started one minute behind Lawrence, had a better idea where she stood after the bike leg. "I had a minute on her too so when I arrived at T1 one minute back, I knew I was in the game."
Goss knew she has having a special day when she physically passed Lawrence on the run. "For sure I've tried to pass Holly my whole life. She is a teammate of mine. So we are both supportive of each other. You appreciate it when you are going bad and you see your teammate having a good day. And when you are having that good day you appreciate it because you know these kind of days don't come around that often."
After a women's second-fastest 49:28 run - 1:36 better than Lawrence - Goss finished in 1:42:06 with a 54 seconds margin of victory over Katie Zaferes, who closed with a women's-best 49:09 run split. Lawrence finished with a 3rd-best 51:04 run that left her 3rd, 36 seconds behind Zaferes.