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Oehl gets it right this time

5-kilometer runs sandwich 30K Evans Valley bike route

ROGUE RIVER ­ Mike Oehl wasn't about to make the same mistake hemade in the Evans Valley Biathlon last year.

Oehl, a 36-year-old member of the Finish Line Sports team of Portland,took the correct turn off a bridge mid-way through the 30-kilometer bicycleportion of the competition on Saturday, just north of downtown Rogue River,and cruised to victory unchallenged in the men's competition.

I followed two relay team runners to make sure I was going theright way off the bridge, said Oehl, who went straight, instead ofturning right off the bridge, in last year's event.

That mistake cost him a win. He had to return to the point of his mistakeand resume the race. He ended up settling for fifth place.

But Oehl knew where he was going this time. And he knew what he wanted:victory.

Actually, my times were a little slower this year, said Oehl,who completed the event, a 5-kilometer run, 30-kilometer bicycle race andanother 5-kilometer run, in a time of — hour, 22 minutes and 45.08 seconds.But I'm real happy to get the win. This will boost my confidence alot.

Second place in the men's race went to Paolo Ciani in 1:31:06.74. SusannaJulber of Ashland won the women's biathlon title in 1:38:06.17.

Shawn Welo and Brian O'Neal of Grants Pass won the men's relay team crownin 1:19:14. Second went to the team of Chris Redfeldt and David J. Walton(1:19:31). The women's team winners were Darlene Rambo and Tish Harlow (1:44:06.87).

Oehl led from the start of the men's individual competition.

It's mentally harder to keep going hard when you are out thereall by yourself, said Oehl, who won his third biathlon. Thatwas hard. I tried to go with a couple of relay bikers for a while, untilthey went by me.

If you aren't chasing somebody, or if you don't have somebody onyour tail, it's not easy to go hard.

I'm not in the best of shape right now, said Oehl, a softwareengineer for Atlas Telecom of Portland. I was ill last winter forquite a while, and that set me back.

Julber wasn't sure she'd won the women's individual title when she crossedthe finish line.

There were two relay team runners ahead of me, but I thought theymight be individuals at the time, said Julber, a 31-year-old assistantplanner/HUD grant manager for the City of Medford. I've never donea biathlon before. I'm going to have to try it again. I'm getting readyfor a triathlon in Bend and this was good training for me. The distanceis short enough, I didn't really get that tired. I liked it.

The relay team of Welo and O'Neal didn't get together as teammates untilFriday night.

He (O'Neal) called me up and asked me to be his partner,said Welo, a 25-year-old former Willamette University track and cross countryrunner and Grants Pass resident. I'm glad he did.

After finishing third in the first 5K run, Welo found himself tied forthe lead after O'Neal brought his team to the front of the pack in the 30Kbike race.

There was no way I was going to lose at that point, saidWelo. I ran together with this guy for a while, but then I put ona little surge to break away.

O'Neal, 20, who is on a cycling scholarship at Marian College in Indianapolis,Ind., said he used his ride for training.

I did all right, considering I hadn't done any hills or time trialsfor a while, he said. I felt pretty good about it.

Tom Burnham of Ashland set an age 60-and-older record for individualswith a time of 1:38:18.

When you get to be 60, you become a survivor out here, saidBurnham. I felt pretty good. It's nice to get a record, but it probablywon't last that long.

INdivIDUAL MEN

15-under ­ 1, Jason Barnard, Ashland, 2:03.27. 2, Dustin Thomas,Roseburg, 2:04.19.

16-19 ­ 1, Ryan Gold, Talent, 1:44.56.

20-29 ­ 1, Paul Irwin, Bend, 1:34.03. 2, Mark Cox, Tualatin, 1:35.47.3, Todd Smithey, Concord, Calif., 2:01.01.

30-39 ­ 1, Michael Oehl, Aloha, 1:22.45. 2, Paolo Ciani, Newport,1:31.07. 3, Erik Simmons, Corvallis, 1:324.57.

40-49 ­ 1, Russ Hill, Bend, 1:35.54. 2, Dennis Cramer, Medford, 1:39.40.3, Gary Jacquot, Bend, 1:44.37.

50-59 ­ 1, Mike Miller, Medford, 1:33.17. 2, Russ Burnett, CrescentCity, 1:36.26. 3, Joe Armitage, Lake Oswego, 1:36.45.

60-69 ­ 1, Tom Burnham, Ashland, 1:38.18. 2, Bill Vaughters, Wilderville,2:08.42.

INdivIDUAL WOMEN

20-29 ­ 1, Jessica Arbogast, Ashland, 1:40.47.30-39 ­ 1, SusannaJulber, Ashland, 1:38.06. Kim Jumaer, Jacksonville, 1:47.04. 3, EllenerPeavyhouse, Phoenix, 1:56.41.

40-49 ­ 1, Laura Jackson, Roseburg, 1:38.30. 2, Leslie Keiser, Medford,1:39.32. 3, Rebecca Reitinger, Ashland, 1:39.54.

TEAM WHEELCHAIR

1, Kuykendall-Wood, Grants Pass, 1:24.59. 2, Rose-Lansing, Murphy-GrantsPass, 1:27.36. 3, Brownell-Meyers, Wolf Creek, Grants Pass, 1:36.18. 4,Orton-Orton, Grants Pass, 1:43.40.

TEAM WOMEN

37-79 (Combined ages) ­ 1, Vinyard-Torgerson, Medford-Rogue River,1:59.52. 2, Wimmer-Hagy, Medford, 2:03.50.

80-99 ­ 1, Rambo-Harlow, White City-Eagle Point, 1:44.07.

MIXED

37-79 ­ 1, Havens-Hagy, Medford, 1:28.36. 2, Barrett-Campbell, CamasValley, Cave Junction, 1:32.47. 3, Clark-Jung-Jung, Winston, 1:44.19.

80-99 ­ 1, Gallagher-Smith, Medford, 1:43.24.

100-over 1, Mathewson-Mathewson, Medford, 1:53.30.

TEAM MEN

30-36 ­ 1, Romele-Williston, Rogue River, 1:43.42.

37-79 ­ 1, Welo-O'Neal, Grants Pass, 1:19.15. 2, Redtfeldt-Walton,Medford, 1:19.32. 3, Knox-Bennett, Medford, 1:28.34.

80-99 ­ 1, Gumaer-Bennett, Jacksonville-Shady Cove, 1:36.18. 2, Horning-Kennedy,Grants Pass, 1:43.31.

100-over ­ 1, Cruickshank-Miller, Medford-Talent, 1:35.12. 2, Deeley-Varnum,Rogue River-Grants Pass, 1:35.56. 3, McDougle-Pariani, Idleyld Park, 1:44.01.

Ashland's Tom Burnham makes a quick change from biking to running shoes Saturday. - Photo by Andy Atkinson</P