The time to escape to Miami seemed right to him. Cuban national triathlete Yunior Rosete was in Cancun at the 2012 ITU Triathlon World Cup when he decided to separate from his group and defect to the United States. He competed under the Cuban flag for the last time, finishing in 32nd place, before walking away and leaving his parents and extended family in Cuba.
Less than two years later, the 29-year-old Miami resident blew away the competition at the 10th annual Mack Cycle Escape to Miami Triathlon, finishing nearly four minutes ahead of second-place finisher Anthony Agnello, 26, of Longwood (2:03:58) in the elite Olympic Division presented by Muscle Milk. Thomas Barton of Miami was third in 2:05:38.
More than 2,150 athletes wanting to prove their athleticism participated in the event on an 80-degree humid Sunday morning in downtown Miami. The Mack Cycle Escape to Miami Triathlon is part of the 2014 Life Time Tri Series,which includes 12 triathlons across the country between May and October. The series also includes Life Time Tri South Beach held on the southern tip of Miami Beach each April.
University of Miami dual medical and PhD student Ola Besser, 29, won the women’s Olympic division in her fifth try at Escape first-place honors, finishing in 2:21:50. That was almost three minutes better than Cori Burnett of Miami Beach (2:24:34).
The shorter Sprint Distance presented by Mack Cycle and Fitness, was won by Vladimir Casanova, a 38-year-old Miamian who finished in 1:01:52. Jupiter’s Rudy Robaina, 34, was second in 1:02:25. Samuel Jumior, 37, of Miami, finished third in 1:04:07.
Crystal Poppell, 41, of Boca Raton won the Women’s Sprint in 1:14:58, nine seconds better than runner-up Monica Rossi-Montero. Julie Lucas of Miami was third in 1:15:29.
Rosete was among the Olympic distance competitors who were ferried to “Escape Island” in Biscayne Bay for a scenic start to the 7:00 am race. He led from start to finish.
With the sun coming up over the horizon, Rosete established an early lead with a strong one-mile swim across the bay to Margaret Pace Park. Then, he covered the nearly 25-mile mile bike course across the Julia Tuttle Causeway and on to Miami Beach and back in less than an hour. The 6.2-mile round trip run across the MacArthur Causeway to Star Island and back proved to be little more than a training run as he coasted to the finish line with no other runners in sight.
It turns out there was a hidden motive behind his dominance.
“I need a sponsor, so winning is important,” Rosete said. “My dream is to make the Olympics, but it’s hard when you have to work also.
“I put in a two-hour morning workout before heading to work, and I end the day with a two-hour evening workout. To reach my goals, I need to be doing this full time.”
After crossing into the United States from Mexico, a family friend paid for Rosete’s plane ticket to Miami. Alone in a city of more than 2.5 million people, Rosete soon met friends who led him to Aventura’s City Bikes, a store where he has worked for more than a year.
Besser was happy to finally win the Escape to Miami event. The doctorial candidate wants to one day focus on breast cancer research. But after starting to participate in triathlons as an undergraduate as UC-Santa Barbara, she found it provides a “sane place” from her studies.
“I have such a love-hate relationship with this event,” she said. “I usually don’t do that well. It’s at the end of the season and the motivation is lacking. The competition is very stiff and the course is difficult. I tend to struggle at this race. Today I was able to put together all my legs to have a great race. It’s a real privilege and honor to win this one.”
The Miami Beach resident was in fifth place following the swimming portion of the race, but surged to the lead on land on the strength of a 1:08 bike split.
“Biking is my strongest leg,” she said. “I’ve been training at UltraBike X, a bike shop on Key Biscayne, and they have a computrainer out there that simulates race courses. It’s been such an advantage to train over there. I’ve made such progress on the bike over the last year.”
Yet she seems to anticipate that the sun is setting on her triathlon career as she focuses on her studies and career.
“You switch off between studying and practice and studying and practice,” she said, looking ahead to graduating with her PHD next August with two clinical years of med school remaining. “That might be the end of it for me. I’ve had my run and it’s time to focus on the priorities.”
Men’s Olympic Division
1. Yunior Rosete, Aventura, FL 2:00:04
2. Anthony Agnello, Longwood, FL 2:03:58
3. Thomas Barton, Miami, FL 2:05:38
4. Eduardo Mansilla, Rawson, Argentina 2:06:55
5. Cristiano Solak, Curitiba, Puerto Rico 2:11:49
6. Frederico Monteiro, Curitiba, Puerto Rico 2:12:42
7. Federico Mendoza, Miami, FL 2:14:59
8. Jorge Herrera, Caracas, Venezuela, 2:15:54
9. Jeff Cuddeback, Longwood, FL 2:16:10
10. Roy Liu, Miami, FL 2:16:11
11. Todd Trudeau, Deerfield Beach, FL 2:17:18
12 Oscar Corredor, Fort Myers, FL, 2:17:54
13. Ryan Post, Fort Myers, FL 2:17:57
14. Marco Del Castillo, Hollywood, FL 2:18:05
15. Timothy Reimink, Miami, FL 2:18:26
16. Frank Green, Miami, FL 2:18:54
17. Rich Wygand, Wellington, FL 2:18:57
18. Guido Perez, Miami Beach, FL 2:19:42
19. Diego Corredor, Cape Coral, FL 2:19:44
20. C.J. Fleming, Deerfield Beach, FL 2:20:13
21. Todd Armbruster, Coconut Creek, FL 2:20:33
22. Javier Pineda, Miami, FL 2:20:53
23. Hector Santaella, Key Biscayne, FL 2:21:25
24. Cliff Drusinsky, Westminster, CO 2:21:34
25. Gabriel Benitez, Hollywood, FL 2:21:46
Men’s Sprint Division
1. Vladimir Casanova, Miami, FL 1:01:52
2. Rudy Robaina, Jupiter, FL 1:02:25
3. Samuel Jumior, Miami, FL 1:04:07
4. Jahan Culbreath, Dayton, OH 1:05:05
5. Carlos Dolabella, Key Biscayne, 1:05:34
6 Marcel Jane, Miami, FL 1:05:46
7. Nick Lichtwark, Fort Lauderdale, FL 1:06:04
8 Sharif Kakooza, Miami, FL 1:07:21
9. Carlos Martinez, Bradenton, FL 1:07:37
10. Abraham Cohen, Miami, FL 1:07:58
11. Leigh Livesay, Jr, Coconut Creek, FL 1:08:16
12. Salvador Aceves, Weston, FL 1:08:39
13. Santiago Pazos, Miami Beach, 1:18 1:08:40
14. Camilo Dibsi , Hollywood, 1:14 1:09:40
15. Anthony Cali, Plantation, FL 4:41 1:11:15
16. Miguel Ramos, Miami Lakes, FL 1:11:38
17. Miguel Franceschini, Caguas, Puerto Rico 1:11:42
18. Anthony Benedict, Fort Lauderdale, 1:11:57
19. Agusti Comabella, Miami Beach, FL 1:12:08
20. Lincoln Whyte, Miami, FL 1:12:12
21. Richard Costa, Miami 1:12:13
22. Buddy Dolan, Ocoee, FL 1:12:17
23. Cristiano Piquet III, Miami, FL Us 1:12:26
24. Graham Walsh, Miami Beach, FL 1:12:55
25. Juan Lopez, Miami, FL 1:13:08
Women’s Olympic Division
1. Ola Besser, Miami Beach, FL 2:21:50
2. Cori Burnett, Miami Beach, FL 2:24:34
3. Gabriela Tupayachi, Lexington, KY 2:28:40
4. Evelyn Salama, Pembroke Pines, FL 2:29:25
5. Valeria Rodriguez, Miami, FL 2:29:44
6. Marianne Curtis, Miami, FL 2:29:55
7. Daniella Draughon, Fort Lauderdale, FL 2:30:41
8. Oriana Bafunno, Miami, FL 2:32:33
9. Emilie Ney, Bay Harbor Islands, FL 2:33:34
10. Rachel Blechman, Miami, FL 2:34:42
11. Sara Weaver, Naples, FL 2:35:08
12. Denise Cavicchioni, Miami, FL 2:38:54
13. Deborah Sakr, Amesbury, MA 2:40:06
14. Vanessa Hernandez, Key Biscayne, FL 2:40:36
15. Alison Mantel, Orlando, FL 2:41:01
16. Corey Walton, Sarasota, FL 2:41:27
17. Audrey Vanderkamp, Delray Beach, FL 2:42:21
18. Kayla Pratt, West Palm Beach, FL 2:42:45
19. Christina Mandich, Miami Beach, FL 2:43:15
20. Melissa Scott, Fort Lauderdale, FL 2:44:54
21. Shauna Nelson, Miami, FL 2:45:28
22. Cailin Hardell, San Jose, CA 2:45:32
23. Veronica Bonilla, Miami, FL 2:45:35
24. Stephanie Shumate, Miami, FL 2:45:43
25. Courtney Premer, Miami, FL 2:46:25
Women’s Sprint Division
1. Crystal Poppell, Boca Raton, FL 1:14:58
2. Monica Rossi-Montero, Miami, FL 1:15:07
3. Julie Lucas, Miami, FL 1:15:29
4. Tiffany Liff, Pompano Beach, FL 1:16:36
5. Carol Hassell, West Palm Beach, FL 1:16:40
6. Deidre Novotny, Fort Lauderdale, FL 1:17:01
7. Ngozi Uwah, Pompano Beach, FL 1:17:24
8. Lisa Schejola Akin, Miami Beach, FL 1:20:05
9. Maggie Rezende, Miami, FL 1:22:11
10. Ashley Heclo, Boynton Beach, FL 1:23:20
11. Maria Linares, Miami, FL 1:23:56
12. Tracy Towle Humphrey, Miami, FL 1:24:10
13. Natalie Leslie, Key West, FL 1:24:20
14. Jocelyn Mendez, Miami, FL 1:25:17
15. Megan Gray, Miami, FL 1:25:18
16. Julia Le, Brooklyn, NY 1:25:36
17. Lynn Herald, Miami, FL 1:25:56
18. Aube Besset Marche, Miami, FL 1:26:26
19. Sajalyn Tovar, Maracay, Venezuela 1:27:11
20. Sarah Haselkorn, Miami, FL 1:28:47
21. Jessica Gill, Wilton Manors, FL 1:28:55
22. Mayerline Bruno, West Palm Beach, FL 1:29:10
23. Aissa Ovalles, Fort Lauderdale, FL 1:29:49
24. Ilona Williams, Coral Gables, FL 1:30:04
25. Emily Northrop, Miami, FL 1:30:23
For more information about the Mack Cycle Escape to Miami Triathlon, please visit escapetomiamitriathlon.com. For more information and updates on the Life Time Tri series, visit lifetimetri.com, “Like” the Life Time Tri Facebook page or follow @lifetimetri on Twitter.
About Mack Cycle and Fitness
Mack Cycle’s Miami store, located at 5995 Sunset Drive, is known around the world as a place for cyclists to find the ultimate selection of quality products and values. Mack Cycle has been named a Five-Star Top 100 Bike Store in the country by the cycling industry as well as one of the Top 50 Triathlon stores in the country as rated by Slow Twitch.
About Life Time Fitness, Inc.
As The Healthy Way of Life Company, Life Time Fitness (NYSE:LTM) helps organizations, communities and individuals achieve their total health objectives, athletic aspirations and fitness goals by engaging in their areas of interest — or discovering new passions — both inside and outside of Life Time’s distinctive and large sports, professional fitness, family recreation and spa destinations, most of which operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The Company’s Healthy Way of Life approach enables customers to achieve this by providing the best programs, people and places of uncompromising quality and value. As of September 29, 2014, the Company operated 112 centers under the LIFE TIME FITNESS® and LIFE TIME ATHLETIC® brands in the United States and Canada. Additional information about Life Time centers, programs and services is available at lifetimefitness.com.
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