ANCHORAGE, Alaska — For the second year in a row, Alaska welcomed run-bike-ski specialists to kick off the 2022 USA Triathlon National Championship season for the USA Triathlon Winter Triathlon National Championship on Saturday, Jan. 22. The event, held by the Alaska Triathlon Club, is part of the Tri-Flake Winter Triathlon.
Alaskans dominated the event, as Anchorage locals Eric Flanders and Colleen McGovern won the overall titles and Alaska residents took 13 of 15 age-group victories.
Winter triathlon is the perfect multisport for endurance sports enthusiasts who refuse to be snowbound. Athletes from seven total states toed the line on Saturday, with majority coming locally from Alaska, however the roster also saw those representing Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Minnesota, New York and Washington.
Wind, rain and high temperature patterns on race day caused for last-minute course changes due to soft conditions on the bike and run portion. Athletes started with a 6-kilometer run along the Tony Knowles Coastal trail, which features scenic views of the Gulf of Alaska and the Alaska Range. The bike was a two-lap out and back 14k off-road course on multi-use trails, followed by a 6.6-kilometer cross country ski on the world-class Nordic ski trails in Kincaid Park.
Flanders captured the overall victory of the day, gliding over the finish line at a time of 1 hour, 17 minutes and 51 seconds. Along with his first national championship crown, he also won the 35-39 age group. Joining Flanders on the men’s overall podium was fellow Anchorage residents Jason Lamoreaux who placed second in a time of 1:19:20 and claimed the 40-44 age group title and Galen Johnston in third, who crossed the line at 1:21:02 and also seized his 30-34 age group victory.
“I knew the change to the bike course suited me even if the overall time on the bike would be significantly shorter than normal, so I let myself recover a bit before starting my effort. Parts of the bike course got better as ruts formed while others got worse, but several of us race cyclocross and fatbikes through winter, so I felt super confident putting my head down following the fastest rut,” said Flanders of his winning day. “On the ski, I think I had 30 seconds lapping through the stadium and I thought Jason [Lamoreaux] was catching me. I knew if I could really push on the climb back out it would be hard for him to make up more time on the undulating and generally downhill run to the finish. I'd say I was elated when I crossed the line.”
In the women’s race, it was another Anchorage-resident sweep of the overall podium. McGovern crossed the line in 1:38:25 to take the national crown as well as the 25-29 age group. Following in second place was Heather Helzer, who with a 1:42:08 overall time, granted her the overall silver and 35-39 age group win. Closing out the podium in third was Cheyenne Oyen in 1:45:09, who also won her respective 30-34 age group title.
“The race went well. Conditions definitely added an interesting angle to the racing. The warm temperatures and rain made the run and bike especially tricky. It was the kind of day that you just have to embrace the rain and find the joy in being out there grinding,” said McGovern of the course conditions of her race victory.
Sheri Schrock (Cohasset, Minn.), 2018 Winter Triathlon World Champion in the women’s 60-64 age group and three-time Winter Triathlon Worlds medalist, claimed her second consecutive national podium, winning the 65-69 age group title in 2021 and now, 2022.
Top finishers in each age group on Saturday earned the opportunity to represent Team USA at the 2023 World Triathlon Winter Championships, the dates and location of which are to be determined. To learn more about Team USA, comprised of the nation’s top amateur multisport athletes who represent the U.S. at World Triathlon Age Group Championships, visit usatriathlon.org/teamusa.
Winter triathlon exemplifies how the popularity and desire for more multisport opportunities continues to grow in the endurance sports world. In 2022, USA Triathlon will expand its National Championship series to include Gravel and Off-Road Triathlon National Championships as well as hosting the first-ever Multisport National Championships Festival that will feature multisport events such as duathlon (run-bike-run), aquathlon (swim-run) and aquabike(bike-run).
2022 USA Triathlon Winter Triathlon National Championships
6k run, 14k bike, 6.6k cross country ski
National Champions — Complete Results
*Represents a back-to-back title.
Male Overall: Eric Flanders (Anchorage, Alaska), 1:17:51
Female Overall: Colleen McGovern (Anchorage, Alaska), 1:38:15
M25-29: Luke Cvancara (Anchorage, Alaska), 1:33:14
F25-29: Colleen McGovern (Anchorage, Alaska), 1:38:15
M30-34: Galen Johnston (Anchorage, Alaska), 1:21:02
F30-34: Cheyenne Oyen (Anchorage, Alaksa), 1:45:09
M35-39: Eric Flanders (Anchorage, Alaska), 1:17:5
F35-39: Heather Helzer (Anchorage, Alaska), 1:42:08
M40-44: Jason Lamoreaux (Anchorage, Alaska), 1:19:20
F40-44: Morgan Aldridge (Sterling, Alaska), 1:53:54
M45-49: Todd Jackson (Anchorage, Alaska), 1:24:58
F45-49: Pamela Weiss (Anchorage, Alaska), 1:56:54
M50-54: Troy Fritzel (Anchorage, Alaska), 1:31:34
F50-54: Erika Bennett (Anchorage, Alaska), 1:55:36
M55-59: Andrew Duenow (Anchorage, Alaska), 1:36:06
M65-69: Mark Drangsholt (Seattle, Wash.), 1:52:53
F65-69: Sheri Schrock (Cohasset, Minn.), 3:06:06*