GUILDERLAND Pat Sommo and Dan Krehnbrink have an intimate knowledge of the Pine Bush Triathlon's bicycle course.
The 11.5-mile portion of the Albany-to-Guilderland triathlon passes right by both of their houses, which provides incentive for them to compete.
"The bike course goes right along the route I take to work, so I can take a look at the road conditions and see where all the potholes are," said Krehnbrink, a Guilderland resident. "Sometimes, I ride my bike to work along the course."
"That's why I take this so seriously," added Sommo. "This is my home course."
Sommo was the first competitor to cross the finish line at Sunday's Pine Bush Triathlon. Departing with the second wave of 50 competitors, Sommo surged past the first wave to complete the course in a time of 59 minutes, 33 seconds.
"This is the first year I've followed the (guiding) cop car," said Sommo. "That's been a dream of mine."
Sommo had to wait a while to see if his time would hold up as the lead male competitor. Unfortunately for him, it didn't. Albany's Christopher McCloskey -- who will be competing in the Lake Placid Ironman triathlon in two weeks -- won the overall title with a time of 55:21.
"This was a good warm-up for me," said McCloskey. "It's good to mix it up between endurance (triathlons) and speed."
The Pine Bush Triathlon isn't close to Ironman standards. The 325-yard swim through Albany's Rensselaer Lake, the 11.5-mile bike ride and the 3.25-mile road race are a fraction of the distances Ironman competitors face. The average Ironman includes a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike race and a 26.2-mile marathon.
Still, nothing beats the thrill of making it through a triathlon. Just ask Niskayuna native and 2009 Colonie Central High School graduate Mike Rossi, who won his age group in his first-ever triathlon.