As a defending national champion, Michael Meteyer might expect some preferential treatment from his fellow Madison-area triathletes.
Not at all.
The 52-year-old mechanical engineer was the guy tasked with driving a trailer with nearly a dozen bikes to Burlington, Vt., for the USA Triathlon Age Group National Championships on Saturday. Meteyer pulled the wheels into Burlington Thursday afternoon and checked out Lake Champlain and the competition in his 50-54 age group.
"My particular group looks deeper that it was last year," Meteyer said. "Defending the age group is going to be a challenge, to put it mildly."
Madison and Wisconsin will be well-represented in the Olympic-distance race, with more than two-dozen athletes ready to swim 1.5K, bike 40K and run 10K.
Mark Harms, also of Madison, joins Meteyer as a defending champion, having won the 35-39 group last year.
"I enjoy the training and the group of people that I associate with," Meteyer said. "Some are cyclists. Some are runners. They're outdoorsy and active. That really works in Madison."
For triathletes, the Ironman World Championships in Kona is regarded as the pinnacle event. The age group national championship is a close second, especially for amateurs who balance work, family and training.
“It’s the biggest race of the year,” said Rob Urbach, USA Triathlon’s chief executive officer. “It’s the only way you can qualify for the age group world championships.”