Rodgers brings it home in Ironman

November 08, 2001 12:00 am

Tuolumne Countys busiest bee is at it again.

Sonora resident Lolly Rodgers pushed the clock back a little further on when she competed in the Hawaii Ironman World Championship Triathlon the third full-distance race for the 59-year-old since 1999.

Although Rodgers time of 16 hours, 9 minutes, 58 seconds was slightly beneath her expectations (good for sixth place in her age group), participating in a world-championship event for the first time more than made up for that.

It was wonderful, Rodgers said. I didnt do as well as I wanted to I usually finish in about 14-and-a-half hours but I finished. The conditions were the toughest Ive competed in. Its funny now, but it wasnt that day.

Rodgers not only had to battle the 1,500 competitors and the course itself (2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bicycle ride, 26.2-mile run), but weather that nearly ended her day prematurely. Between the swimming and running portions of the Ironman, Rodgers and the rest of the field faced the proverbial bike ride from hell. In the 55-59 age group in which Rodgers competed, four of the 12 competitors were unable to finish the biking portion.

The swim and the run were nice, she said. But the bike ride was brutal, as they say.

There were 50-mph wind gusts that nearly blew me off my bike. Even the big guys were being blown from side to side, and the girl in front of me was flung off to the gravel, so it was getting pretty scary.

Then, when we reached the turn-around point, and I thought I would have a tailwind, the wind shifted, and we were still riding into it.

In addition to the big winds, Rodgers was also contending with a bout of tendinitis in both knees, which began to take its toll during the marathon-distance run that concludes the event.