September 16, 2013
Athletes compete in DeRuyter triathlon
Competition along DeRuyter Lake is now in its fifth year
DeRUYTER — Keith Kutil is a 57-year-old resident of Chittenango. In April, he had major surgery to replace his left ankle.
“It was just years of abuse taking its toll,” said Kutil, who added that the ankle hasn’t been right since a serious motorcycle accident over 30 years ago. Six months later, he was back competing Saturday in the DeRuyter Lake Triathlon.
Kutil, who hasn’t run and only bikes occasionally since the surgery, was tackling the swimming stage of the triathlon, a half-mile stretch of choppy gray water nearly as cold as the frigid air.
The other two-thirds of Kutil’s team, Achilles Heel, was comprised of friend Bob Funk, who handled the 16-mile bike ride, and his son, Seth, who took care of the 3-mile run. The triathlon had men’s, women’s and team divisions.
Kutil originally started competing in triathlons to raise funds for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) research, the same disease that claimed his father’s life in 2005.
“I raised about $22,000 in five months,” Kutil said. “Then I got completely obsessed.”
If not obsession, then dedication seemed to be the hallmark of many of Saturday’s over 60 racers.
Kathy, 58, and Doug Carbino, 46, of Elbridge, competed Saturday as a team, with Kathy as runner and Doug as swimmer and biker.
Kathy Cabrino got into running about three years ago at the suggestion of her husband, who is an accomplished triathlete, competing at the Lake Placid Ironman competition in 2012.
“It’s something we can do together,” said Kathy Carbino through shivering lips as her husband swam the first leg of the race. “It keeps us in shape, and you don’t have to be extremely coordinated to do it.”
Now in its fifth consecutive year, the triathlon is hosted by Jerry Rice, 55, of DeRuyter. Rice owns the lake’s General Store, which marks the start and finish lines of the race.
A lifelong and self described, “cardio freak,” Rice said he started the race because of a show of interest from the community.
“People had suggested I had the right venue to do a triathlon,” Rice said. “I’m too busy to do it in summer, so September works out well.
“Rice said that the turnout for the event is usually dictated by the weather.
“Two years ago it was 80 degrees out and we had over 100 people,” Rice said.
When asked what kept the crowds coming back year after year, especially in 45-degree weather, Rice said it was the laid back feel of the event, which only accepts day-of entries.
“Ours is just a couple of bike racks and some volunteers,” said Rice, adding that many races today feature big-name sponsors and thousands of dollars worth of equipment. “People like that.”
By late morning, the race had a trio of winners. Kristen Roe took first in the women’s division, Peter Edmonds took the top spot in the men’s division and Achilles Heel snagged the gold in the team relay division.
As for those people who might scoff at the idea of waking up at 6 a.m. on a Saturday to traverse almost 20 miles over land and sea in 45-degree weather, Rice had words of encouragement.
“If you’ve never done one, I highly encourage it,” he said. “There’s a great sense of accomplishment when you’re done, and it’s also a great workout.”
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