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Triple threat

Jeff Miller

To most people, Ironman triathlons would only be something to do if the alternative choice was spending an hour with Regis Philbin.

But Grass Valley’s Dave Keogh thinks differently. The 46-year-old doesn’t mind a 2.4-mile swim, followed by a 112-mile bike ride, with a 26.2-mile run to polish it off.

On Saturday, Keogh will be racing in the 15th-annual Vineman Triathlon in Sonoma County.

The Vineman has the longest history of any triathlon in the continental United States, and is one of many triathlons competitors race in with hopes to qualify for the Ironman world championship in Kona, Hawaii.

“I would love to be able to go to Kona eventually,” Keogh said.

A berth to the final is not out out of the question for Keogh.

In Folsom’s mid-May California Man Ironman, he finished in the top 150 out of nearly 400 racers, and eighth in his age group.

It was also his first full Ironman-distance triathlon.

In April, Keogh took part in a half-Ironman (the distance of each event is divided by two), in Auburn, where he finished in the top 100 overall and 12th in his age group.

With that under his belt, he expects to be finishing closer to the top, as he now knows what to expect and how to handle himself. In his first full Ironman, Keogh’s bike-to-run transition proved to be to his distaste as he had not paced himself well on two wheels.

Finding it took too much time to get his feet under him, he has changed his game plan.

“I’ve increased my training dramatically,” he said. “I’ve been working out the flaws … and I know what to expect. I just have to race my own race.”

The goal Keogh has in mind for the Vineman is to finish in the top five in his age group – a sign to himself that he should train this year to qualify for Florida, the qualifier for Kona.

Keogh’s title has not always been triathlete. Not until 1982 did he have an interest in that athletically-elite world.

For any triathlon fan old enough to remember, 1982 featured Julie Moss’ heroics as she crawled the final stretch of the championship to finish 29 seconds behind the winner.

“One of the things that got me into this craziness,” he said, “was when I was sitting on my couch 20 years ago watching Julie Moss crawl across the finish line.

“I was like, ‘Oh, I’ve gotta do one of those!”

At the time of his revelation, he was a property developer living in the Bay Area.

It took him until 18 months ago to move northeast to his Grass Valley home to be nearer to his family.

Perks came with the move.

“It’s an incredible area to train,” Keogh said.

The combination of living near his two children, Cody, age 11, and Carly, 8, and his racing, has formed a beneficial relationship for one another.

“When I do events like (triathlons),” Keogh said, “The kids realize that they can accomplish anything. That really helps my overall focus – they see what it takes to set a long-term goal and work toward it.”


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