Potts, who captured five Escape from Alcatraz titles from 2007 to ’12, missed the ’13 race after he suffered an injured achilles tendon and broken left leg that riddled the majority of his 2013 season.
That made his comprehensive victory Sunday all the more impressive, and meaningful.
Potts created 30 seconds of separation during the 1.5-mile swim portion, and never looked back on the way to a finishing time of 2 hours, 4 minutes, 21 seconds — 38 seconds ahead of second-place finisher Bevan Docherty. Josh Amberger finished third in 2:08.37.
“I was crushed not to be able to race here last year,” said Potts, who jumped with jubilation for the final 20 meters before breaking the tape. “This is my favorite race in the world.”
Potts competed in swimming for the University of Michigan and considers that to be his strongest discipline in triathlons. But Sunday, he wanted to push the winding 18-mile bike section to press his advantage.
“There’s no time to take a break anywhere,” Potts said. “It almost prevents you from thinking too much, which is nice, because you have to stay in the moment and concentrate on what’s coming up.”
Docherty trailed Potts by 59 seconds coming out of the water, and with 57 seconds between the two after the bike ride, there was too much distance to make up during the 8-mile run.
“I could see Andy up the road the whole day,” Docherty said. “I’d gain 20 seconds on him, and then he’d pull away. We were just yo-yoing back and forth.”
Just moments after crossing the finish line, Potts was on the phone with his wife, Lisa.
“She’s with me every step of the way on this journey in sport and in life,” Potts said. “She’s always my first call.”
Potts said he’ll definitely be back for next year’s Escape from Alcatraz race.
“I was strong today, so I’m happy — but not satisfied,” said Potts. “I always hope to improve.”