Heading into August’s Accenture Chicago Triathlon, Steve Johnson’s primary goal was to win the Triple Challenge, which combines results from the sprint, supersprint and international individual races. His secondary goal was to do it by winning each race individually. Mission(s) accomplished.
The 32-year-old Chicagoan claimed victory in the supersprint on the morning of Aug. 23. The next day, he won the sprint which is twice as long and then came back a couple of hours later and won his third race, which was at Olympic distance. Final tally: two days, three races and three titles. “It’s not for the light of light,” Johnson says of the Triple Challenge.
Johnson, who will compete in October’s Hawaii Ironman, said the Triple Challenge actually was not the hardest competition he’s endured. That honor goes to the American Triple-T in Ohio, which features four races over three days on a hilly course, culminating in a half ironman. “Having done that, I was sure I could do (the Triple Challenge) without too much difficulty,” Johnson says.
At the end of the 2005 season, Rebecca Much didn’t just quit cycling, she tried to purge the sport completely from her life. “I sold all my bikes and I was pretty excited about it,” she says. “I was determined to never touch one again.”
Much started her career with XXX Racing-AthletiCo when she was 16. She won a national junior championship and took the silver medal in the junior world championships in 2004 before moving on to the bigger T-Mobile team. Although she won the under-23 time trial national championship in 2005, the pressure had taken some of the fun out of cycling. So she quit.
But last spring, Much went riding with friends, and the itch to compete returned. She spent the second half of 2007 with the Target training team. This year, the 22-year-old Chicagoan joined Webcor Builders and on Aug. 6, won her second under-23 national title. This time, she’s having fun. “I thought there was something better to do out there, but racing is as good as it gets for me,” Much says.