Repeat winners from The Rock

Moments after repeating as champions of their respective groups and delighting the thousands of spectators at Sunday’s Accenture Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon, Andy Potts turned to Leanda Cave and whispered, “We were on the ’07 podium and now on the ’08 podium together; hopefully, we’ll meet here again next year.”

On a gorgeous, sun-drenched San Francisco morning, Potts and Cave, along with 2,000 brave triathletes, jumped from the Hornblower San Francisco Belle into the frigid Bay waters.

It took the 32-year old Potts only 22 minutes to complete the first leg of the triathlon, a 1½-mile swim from Alcatraz to the Marina Green beach. The Colorado Springs resident ran with bare feet the half-mile stretch to begin the 18-mile bike portion of the race. Potts never relinquished the lead and “pulled a few veteran moves” in the final leg of the race, an 8-mile run highlighted by the 400-step sand ladder at Baker Beach. He finished the course in 2 hours, 1 minute and 57 seconds. Graham O’Grady of New Zealand captured second place, finishing at 2:02:32.

After the race, the 30-year old Cave, a native of England and resident of Mill Valley, credited her repeat victory to a newly purchased lightweight carbon-fiber bike. Cave easily negotiated the hills of San Francisco and assumed the lead five miles into the bike leg of the race.

Potts hopes to join Matt Reed and Jarrod Shoemaker on the USA Olympic team in Beijing by winning the 2008 Hy-Vee Triathlon in Des Moines on June 22. Upon reaching the finish line on Sunday, Andy’s first gesture was for his wife Lisa and one-year old son Boston to share the moment.

“I was euphoric, it’s such a great feeling to share the experience with my friends and family,” she said. “It’s hollow not to share [victory] with loved ones.”

Cave, with a winning time of 2:15:37, was keenly aware throughout the race of her primary competitor, 2006 champion Becky Lavelle of Los Gatos, who reached the finish line 15 seconds after Cave. The race was Cave’s “first and only speed session this year.” Her next event will be the German Alps Iron Man competition in July. The Iron Man is four times the distance of a triathlon with a marathon foot race as the final leg.

Potts and Cave weren’t the only winners to repeat from 2007. The team from Stanford University beat out 50 competitors to win the Corporate Challenge Relay.

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