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White, Snyder beat the heat for CapTexTri wins

Brom Hoban

Monday's Capital of Texas Triathlon was a cumulative 32 miles of swimming, biking and running, but Nathan White waited until 31 miles into the race before taking the lead from James Bales.

White, an Iowan, won the men's elite invitational Olympic distance wave. In the women's race, Sierra Snyder, an Austin native now living in Pasadena, Calif. , led from wire to wire, her victory never challenged.

Keith Yoho, a star swimmer for Tomball High School before graduating two years ago, built a nice lead in the 1,500-meter swim, scrambling out of Lady Bird Lake at Auditorium Shores a full minute ahead of White. Yoho maintained his lead through the first two 10K loops of the 40K bike leg, but disaster struck on the third loop. Just on the other side of the Capitol, as he went to shift gears, Yoho's bike chain flew off the chain-ring, getting caught in his brakes and forcing him to make repairs on the fly.

Despite a broken shifter, Yoho was able to get back in the race, but a pack — including White, Bales, recent West Point graduate Nicholas Sterghos, and Denver -based Ryan Borger — caught him as he struggled to stay in contention.

"I felt like giving up at that point," Yoho said. "But I thought, 'I'm in this race, I'm going to keep going.' "

Bales, who had been third out of the water, covered the 24.8-mile bike course in 58:49, a minute up on White. In the first of two 5K loops that made up the 10K run, White caught up to Bales in the first mile but let him lead for most of the race.

"I caught (Bales) at around mile one, and just tucked in right behind him before passing him at mile five," said White, a former track and cross country star for the University of Northern Iowa. "I think my running background helped a lot today."

Bales, a captain in the Air Force and an orthopedic surgical resident at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, said White " put about 10 seconds on me there at mile five, and I couldn't close on him."

White finished in 2:03:09, with Bales second in 2:03:25.

Sterghos took third in 2:05:37, with Borger fourth (2:06:09) and Yoho fifth (2:06:14).

At the front of the women's race, Snyder, a former All-America swimmer for the University of California, had a nearly insurmountable, four-minute lead coming out of the water. Navigating the four 10K bike loops , Snyder padded her lead even further, though Austin's Suzanne Vernau fought hard to catch her.

Vernau, who won the amateur division of the Xterra Triathlon in Waco last week, held second place for much of the way but ran into trouble late, succumbing to heat stress during the run as she crossed the Congress Avenue Bridge. That allowed Natasha Van der Merwe to move into second.

"Swimming is my strength," said Snyder, an emergency room physician . "After the first bike loop, my legs started to feel better, and going into the run, I just hung on because it's my weak link."

Snyder crossed the line in a convincing 2:19:53 as Van der Merwe tried to hold off a fast-closing Leslie Smith.

"I saw Suzanne (Vernau) on the ground by the bridge, receiving medical attention," said Van der Merwe. "I was in second then, but Smith caught me with just 800 meters to go."

"It was hot out there. I feel for (Vernau)," said Smith, who clocked 2:23:09 for second place, ahead of Van der Merwe's 2:23:42. "But we all had the same conditions."