Racers master the Cocoa Beach triathlon

Racers master the Cocoa Beach triathlon

Five years ago, Eric Graveling was leading Ed Donner in the Cocoa Beach Triathlon when someone gave Graveling the wrong instructions, causing him to turn when he should have bicycled straight.

Sunday morning, the wheel turned, as it were: As he rode ahead of Graveling, Donner suffered a flat tire and Graveling had the victory.

The Deland resident finished at 53 minutes, 41 seconds, just ahead of his friendly rival Donner (53:41) and Michael Holohan of Bradenton (55:53).

"I flatted about five miles out," Donner told Graveling after both men crossed the line at the Cocoa Beach Country Club. "I backed the last three miles with a flat."

Graveling grinned. "This is a redemption race. Five years ago, I was ahead of him by 15 seconds, when I was waved to keep going at a turn. Ed turned. I didn't. He won," he said.

"I think you're right," Donner replied. "I was up to two and a half minutes ahead on the bike and then I had the flat."

Christie Kolstedt of Ocoee, who finished 10th overall but first among women at 1:01.18, had something to overcome too: a brand new suit, torn up the side and mended with safety pins.

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