Lincoln Murdoch and Tom Woods represented Nebraska on Team USA during the 2013 World Triathlon Grand Final in London last month.
Murdoch, of Omaha, placed 6th in the men's 55-59 age group. Woods, of Lincoln, placed 13th in the men's 40-44 age group.
The London competition was the final event in the World Triathlon Series, which draws the sport's most elite athletes. Both men qualified for the event in 2012.
Woods competed against more than 150 men in the Olympic distance: a 1.5K swim, 40K bike and 10K run. It typically takes the 42-year-old about two hours to complete the Olympic course. He finished the London race just shy of 1 hour and 54 minutes.
“I was pleased to do as well as I did...I wanted to be competitive, and I thought I was,” he said.
The water and air temperature was so cold on Woods' race day that officials cut the swim distance in half. The decision helped him – the swim is his weakest discipline.
Running is his strength. Woods was a runner before he started competing in triathlons five years ago. He passed several people on foot during the final leg of the race.
“It it was a quarter of a mile longer, I could have run down a few more guys,” he said after the event.
Woods was the third American to finish in his age group.
Murdoch, 56, was the first American to finish in his. He competed in the sprint distance, which is the shortest triathlon race.
Murdoch said he had “a pipe dream to get on the podium” but finished in the top 10 instead. He missed fifth place by 28 seconds.
“The competition was really tough, and I'm thankful for sixth,” he said. “I'll take it.”
The Omahan ran his fastest 5K since he started competing in triathlons about 20 years ago, but cycling is his best event. Unfortunately, he said, the London course was “meant to slow you down.” It featured speed bumps, and the longest straightaway stretched just one mile. The frequent turns forced cyclists to slow down rather than maintain or build speed.
“They took my strength away when they laid that course out,” Murdoch said.
It rained, too, which caused some accidents. Murdoch biked more cautiously to avoid any falls that would damage his bike or lead to an injury. Though he stayed upright during the event, his cycling time was five minutes slower than what it typically is on a fast course.
He finished the triathlon in 01:13:48.
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