Posted by: Heart of America News | January 31, 2014

Heart of America 2014 Season Announcement!

The 2014 Heart of America Triathlon season has been finalized, and again this year, we have nine outstanding races for you.

Hickory Grove Triathlon

photo (20)

Hickory Grove Park
Nevada, Iowa
May 18, 2014 · 8:00 am

Pigman Sprint Triathlon

Palo, Iowa
June 1, 2014 · 7:30 am
Swim .5K – Bike 25K – Run 5K

Quad City Triathlon

Davenport, Iowa
June 14, 2014 – 7:00 am
Swim 600 yards – Bike 15 miles – Run 3.1 miles

Lake Geode Challenge Triathlon

Danville, Iowa
July 12, 2014 · 7:30 am
Swim 1.5K – Bike 40K – Run 10K

Camp Courageous Triathlon

Monticello, Iowa
August 3, 2014 · 8:00 am

Bluff Creek Triathlon - Sprint & Olympic Distances

Boone County, Iowa
August 10, 2014 8:00 am

Pigman Long Course and Olympic Triathlon

Palo, Iowa
August 17, 2014 · 7:30 am

Iowa’s Best Dam Triathlon

Coralville, Iowa

September 14, 2014 · 8:00 am

Cy-Man Triathlon

Heart of America Series Championship

Lake Petocka Park, Bondurant, Iowa
Sept. 21, 2014 · 10:00 am

As noted above, the Heart of America Championship race will again be at Cy-Man. Remember, the more races you do, the more Heart of America points you acquire.

Some of our races, notably the Pigman Sprint and Quad Cities, are more than half full. Don’t delay! Sign up now to make sure you get in the races you want.

Watch this space in the spring for race previews and other updates.

Posted by: Heart of America News | September 17, 2013

CyMan 2013 – Capping off a Great Season

By Ron Adkins

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The lengthy string of sunny and warm days for the 2013 race season came to something of an end for the 2013 running of the CyMan Tri Sprint.

200-plus triathletes assembled at Kinney Park near Bondurant, Iowa under cloudy skies, cool wind, and spotty rain. By race time, though, the sun peeked out at times and the pavement for the bike and run legs was dry and safe. Water temperature in Lake Petocka was a wetsuit-legal 73 degrees. Racers agreed conditions ended up just about perfect, and many participants reported fast times.

Members of the Iowa State Triathon Club, coordinators of the CyMan, were pleased with this year’s race on all fronts. The weather cooperated long enough for a good, safe race, and the diversity of triathletes made for exciting competition. Top competitors in the HOA Tri series raced side-by-side with dozens of student athletes from Iowa State University, along with many racers who took on the Cy-Man as a personal challenge.

CyMan is a fund raiser for the ISU tri club, to help pay for their trip to Collegiate Nationals.

Top Female Cy-Man winner was Aryn Flood of Grimes, Iowa with a 1:14:46. Top Male was Patrick Davis of Ames, Iowa with a 59:48.

Click here for complete Cy-Man 2013 results.

For the first time, CyMan held the honor of being the championship race for the Heart of America Triathlon series. Sixteen of the thirty-three Heart of America champions raced for the prize of free entries to 2014 series races. Top finishers were:

2013-09-15 12.36.46Female

  1. Kim Sprenger
  2. Callie Harris
  3. Belinda Gee
  4. Patricia Kenel
  5. Aryn Flood

2013-09-15 12.37.23Male

  1. Guy Olson
  2. Duane Staskal
  3. Dan Tucker
  4. Joe McGrath
  5. Craig Goldsmith

Click here for complete Heart of America Triathlon results.

In all, this year’s Cy-Man proved to be the ideal capper for the Heart of America season.

Posted by: Heart of America News | September 17, 2013

More racing news, videos and pictures with JMS on Facebook

1293077_566819250049581_944147207_oSee more racing photos, along with individual finish videos and news from JMS Racing Services new page on Facebook. Check it out and like it at this link.

Posted by: Heart of America News | September 16, 2013

Joyce Bricker is the CyMan’s IronMan

By Ron Adkins

2013-09-15 10.03.01Joyce Bricker does whatever it takes to compete in the Cy-Man. “I’ve never missed one yet,” she proclaims proudly. Joyce has raced through pain, through injury, and through nasty weather.

This year, she’s racing despite the loss of her two regular teammates. Joyce, who works in the Statistics building at Iowa State University, had originally partnered with two ISU professors. Injury forced them to drop out. Undaunted, however, Joyce found two new teammates with three days’ notice.

Joining her in this year’s Cy-Man are statistics graduate students Xiaoyue Chung and Wei Zhang. Xiaoyue, racing the swim leg, hails from Qiangdao, China. “It’s a city by the sea,” she says, “so I’m comfortable in the water.” Wei, running the road race, calls Tangshan, China home. “It’s also by the sea but I cannot swim,” she grins.

Together Joyce, Xiaoyue, and Wei made up Team Stats.

For her loyalty to the Cy-Man, Joyce had the honor of officially starting each heat of the swim. If she’s unable to compete next year, Joyce says it is a wonderful way to cap off her racing career. This could be my last race,” she says, a little bit of sadness in her voice. Joyce goes in for shoulder replacement surgery in January. Her doctors, she says, are uncertain about her competitive future.

Joyce has come back from knee surgery before, so hopes are high that she’ll don a bib yet again.

Joyce has been racing in one form or another for the last 14 years. This year marks a great accomplishment for her — the completion of the 3000-mile Ride Across America. She has previously competed at Bluff Creek for the Heart of America series and has done Swim The Bridge. Joyce is also the reigning female record-holder for the legendary Donut Run. To earn that crown, she ate 25 donuts over the course of the three-mile sprint. “And the sad thing is,” Joyce laughs, “I don’t like donuts.”

2013-09-15 09.07.04This year’s Cy-Man marks the first American competition for both Xiaoyue and Wei. “I’m very excited to race today,” says Xiaoyue. Wei nods in agreement. “My expectation is to have a good time,” she says.

Joyce echoes the sentiment, and in true form believes, “I don’t care if we come in last or not. I don’t care if we have to crawl across the finish line. The pleasure is just getting out and doing it.”

Posted by: Heart of America News | September 9, 2013

2013 Heart Of America Champions Wave!

Thirty-three winners of the 2013 Heart of America (HOA) Championship series have the opportunity to race for the Championship crown Sunday, Sept. 15 at Cyman.

Throughout the season, all athletes who participate in an HOA race get points for each race they do. At the end of the season, we recognize the top three overall point winners, top three masters, and first place in each age group. The more you race, regardless to some extent, of where you place, the higher your potential standings.

Each HOA champ receives a commemorative T-shirt and the opportunity to race in the Champions wave.

2013 will be the first time Cyman has hosted the championship race.

Heart of America points earned by Cyman participants this year will count toward series points next year.

Free entries in HOA races in 2014 are the prize for the winners.

Participants of any age could claim the top prize, as times are age-adjusted according the formula used by U.S. Track & Field.

Here are the champions!

Female Overall:
  • Patricia Kenel
  • Kim Sprenger
  • Trina Dunham
Male Overall:
  • Guy Olson
  • Mike Altemeier
  • Lane McMullen
Female Masters:

  • Julie Evans
Male Masters:

  • Joe McGrath
Female 19 & Under:

  • Jackie Dowling
Male 19 & Under:

  • Dallas Clasen
Female 20-24

  • Rachel Gean
Male 20-24

  • Brad Johnson
Female 25-29

  • Elaina Mertens
Male 25-29

  • Brent Frein
Female 30-34

  • Aryn Flood
Male 30-34

  • Craig Goldsmith
Female 35-39

  • Jill Snitko
Male 35-39

  • Chad Goldsmith
Female 40-44

  • Kathryn Cater

Male 40-44

  • Eric Goers
Female 45-49

  • Tara Coady
Male 45-49

  • Duane Staskal
Female 50-54

  • Kallie Harris*
Male 50-54

  • Keith Kenel
Female 55-59

  • Belinda Gee
Male 55-59

  • Richard Wyss
Female 60-64

  • Clara Decoster
Male 60-64

  • Dan Tucker
Female 65-69

  • Cathy Todd
Male 65-69

  • Dick Morrison
Female 70-74

  • Sandy Campbell
Male 70-74

  • Richard Nehring

Male 80+

  • Lyle Roberts

*Kallie Harris had a name change in the middle of the season, and her points were under two different names for much of the season. Thus, another racer was originally listed as the points winner in the Female 45-49 category. This was corrected on Sept. 10, 2013. We regret the error.

Posted by: Heart of America News | September 8, 2013

Iowa’s Best Dam Tri 2013 – Blowin’ In The Wind

By Dennis Green

Heart of America News

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Athletes arriving for the second running of Iowa’s Best Dam Triathlon in Coralville found a windy morning awaiting them early on Sept. 8. Sustained gusts averaging more then twenty miles an hour made the water choppy and the first few miles of the hilly bike ride extra challenging.

After training and racing for a couple of weeks in a late-summer heat wave, very few people complained, enjoying the breeze and lower humidity.

Kim Sprenger of Iowa City was the women’s Sprint champ, finishing in 1:12:22. On race day, Kim was running second place in the Heart of America standings, and the win put a lock on another strong finish for her. Josh Madsen of North Liberty topped the leader board for the men, breaking the 60 minute mark with his time of :59:40.

In 2012, The Best Dam Tri added an Olympic-distance race, which has quickly become popular among collegiate triathletes from all over the region. In addition to expected large showings from the UI TriHawks and Iowa State Triathlon team, large groups of racers from colleges like Marquette, Minnesota and Wisconsin all showed up.

Not surprisingly, collegiate athletes dominated the Olympic distance. TriHawk Justin Metzler won the men’s race in 1:59:16. Summer Ohlendorff from the Wisconsin Badgers garnered the women’s crown with a time of 2:18:18.

Full Results here.

Race director Jackson Parr added a unique spin to the race, asking participants to bring old race t-shirts to be donated to charity. He got the idea after traveling in Ghana and meeting a man wearing a race t-shirt from Northern Wisconsin.

“I asked the man how he did,” Jackson says, “and he looked at me perplexed. He had received the shirt through a charity program and it got me thinking, how many race shirts do I have pouring out of my dresser back home? Too many to wear.”

A special raffle was offered this year, encouraging participants to bring old t-shirts, which were donated to Vietnam Veterans of America, a charity that sells donated clothing to support those who have served in the armed forces.

Posted by: Heart of America News | August 27, 2013

Liz Gets it Done for True Time

by Ron Adkins

Heart of America Triathlon News


Liz HOrganizing a triathlon is an incredible amount of work. Months of planning and coordination takes place behind the scenes before race day, before everyone gets in the still-dark morning to put it all together. And even then, it’s ‘all hands on deck’ during the race to ensure everything runs smoothly.

At each race she works, Liz Herzman of True Time Racing Services is deep in the center of all the activity.

Her official title is Registration Coordinator for two of the Heart of America series — Bluff Creek and Hickory Grove. Once every racer is checked in, says Liz, “I do odd jobs after that.” This is an understatement. Liz helps with all aspects of the race, from making sure equipment is running properly, to cutting up fruit and bagels for the after-race buffet, to assisting in timing the races.

When she takes a moment to breathe, Liz serves as ad hoc public relations director and cheerleader. No matter what she’s doing, she makes time to wish the athletes a good race, or to yell out encouragement as they pass by on the course, many of them by name. “That’s the best part of this, getting to see everybody and getting to know them,” Liz says. “I like being able to recognize these people from race to race.”

Liz is, without a doubt, a people person. Everyone gets greeted with a warm smile. If she’s ever under stress, it doesn’t show. She’s an enthusiastic supporter of the sport and a loyal advocate for each and every triathlete who competes.

“She’s definitely fun to work with,” says Alex Syllman, owner of True Time Racing and (technically) Liz’s boss. “I would be hurting without her.”

Liz and Alex don’t share the normal employer/employee relationship. The two met while still enrolled at Iowa State University. They both belonged to ISU Tri Club and Liz was race director for the Cy-Man Triathlon. After graduation, Alex started True Time and brought Liz on board as a volunteer. Because of her prior triathlon experience, she quickly joined the company as a staff member.

“They needed a woman,” jokes Liz about joining True Time. “I looked around and thought, ‘They’re such guys! They need a woman around here!”

Liz agrees that she and Alex enjoy great working and personal relationships. Although, this relationship has often been the butt of jokes. “People think that we’re married, the way we talk to each other.” In reality, Alex recently married and Liz has been married for three years.

“I’ve known Alex for over 13 years, and I dated my husband for the first ten of those,” Liz says, cracking a smile. “And Alex has never met my husband once! He jokes around saying I made him up!”

Alex has, however, met Maggie, Liz’s seven-month-old daughter.

When not being indispensable for True Time Racing, Liz teaches science at Johnston Middle School in Johnston, Iowa.

She has no intention of slowing down her involvement in tri’s any time soon. She loves triathlons, and the triathletes who compete, too much to leave the sport.


Posted by: Heart of America News | August 18, 2013

Pigman Long 2013 – They Ran Real Fast

by Ron Adkins

Heart of America Triathlon News

Geri Kachingwe stood near the finish line, ringing her cowbell. She was at the 2013 Pigman Long, ostensibly, to encourage her brother, Nik Rogers of New York City, but she cheered everyone who made their final push to the end.

A tri veteran herself, at the sprint distance, Geir is no stranger to seeing triathletes, her brother included, pour it on to clock an impressive time. Still, with such experience, she’s not jaded. She was impressed with the level of competition at this year’s Big Pig. “They ran real fast” she said with a smile.

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It was indeed a great day for a race at Pleasant Creek State Park near Palo, Iowa. The perfect August weather, with non-existent humidity, made it easy for nearly 700 racers to stretch out and post some excellent numbers.

A highlight of the Olympic race was the inclusion of a true Olympian in the field. Radka Vodickova of Liberecky, Czech Republic, raced a 2:06:40 for a commanding first place. Radka placed 20th in the 2012 London Olympics. She was in the area prepping for the upcoming HyVee Triathlon in Des Moines.

Daniel Bretscher of Mt. Vernon, Iowa took first place in the Olympic for the men, with a 1:58:20.

Radka has spent part of the summer racing her way across the Midwest, from her training facility in Leadville, Colorado to Chicago, Illinois. The Pigman’s reputation for being a stellar event compelled her to add it to her race calendar. “I took this race because I heard it was a quality race and I could use it for good training,” Radka said. “It was a nice race,” she added. “I had a very good time.”

When asked if she was looking forward to competing in the 2016 Olympics, Radka grinned and with a twinkle in her eye, replied, “I certainly hope so.”

In the half-Iron, David Thompson of St. Paul, Minnesota continued his dominance of the Long Course Distance, winning his fifth straight Pigman in 3:54:17.  2009 Champ Kortney Haag of Maple Grove, Minnesota, won her second Pigman with a 4:39:20.

For complete race results, visit

Race director John Snitko was pleased with the 2013 running of what is arguably the signature event in the Heart of America Triathlon series. “Everything went according to plan,” he said, and the level of energy among the triathletes was contagious.

Many of racers crossed the finish line with smiles on their faces and hands in the air. Always a good sign that a race was a success.

Posted by: Heart of America News | August 14, 2013

Bluff Creek 2013

by Ron Adkins

Heart of America Triathlon News

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While the Bluff Creek Tri Sprint and Olympic’s schedule changed from May to August, the level of competition remained traditionally high, treating racers and spectators to a strong field.

Storm clouds threatened a pre-race soaker. But as the sun rose over Don Williams State Park near Ogden, Iowa, the front thankfully moved further north. Partly-cloudy skies and a modest breeze helped to continue the unseasonable Midwest cool spell. This gave triathletes the welcome opportunity to bike and run without the usually oppressive August heat and humidity.

Shuttle busses carried over 300 racers to the beach for the point-to-point swim leg. While weather was on the chilly side, water temperature at start time was a balmy, wetsuit-legal 77.8 degrees.

The bike course was hilly but in good condition, and the run’s trail through shaded woods made some impressive times possible.

In the Sprint, Carrie Van Quathern of Urbandale, Iowa came in first for the females with a 1:15:49, while Jim Hagelie of Waukee, Iowa was the top male with a 1:07:19.1.

Top Olympic-distance female was Elaina Mertens of Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, coming in at  2:25:49.1. Top male finisher to cross the line was Peder Skoog of Waukee, Iowa with a 2:04:17.6.

Race co-director Alex Sylmann was excited by the level of competition at this year’s Bluff Creek. “Not having to race in 90-degree heat really made it easier,” he said. Racers could focus more on the competition and less on the climate.

Sylmann was especially pleased with how easily everyone involved transitioned to Bluff Creek’s move on the Heart of America calendar. “I’ve heard very little criticism about the switch,” he said. “And running Bluff Creek in August seems logical. There are fewer bugs, the water’s warmer, and we start the race with more daylight.”

As he recaps the race, Sylmann said he will consider whether or not a permanent scheduling swap would benefit the race. The numbers from this year’s race does prove one thing immediately. The quality of Bluff Creek triathletes, no matter when they compete, remains constant.

Posted by: Heart of America News | August 5, 2013

Camp Courageous – Nearly Perfect!

by Ron Adkins

Heart of America Triathlon News

If there could ever be a perfect day for racing a triathlon, the August morning for the 2013 Camp Courageous Tri Sprint came pretty close.

Breaking with tradition, the entire course was run off the Camp Courageous campus. Race co-director Nick Gearhart was extremely pleased with the decision to move to nearby Central Park near Amber, Iowa. “We were racking our brains trying to find a way to improve the race — especially the swim — when we thought of moving the location. It all went together great,” Gearhart said. “It couldn’t be better.”

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Brilliant sunny skies and a slight breeze kept the spirits of 227 competitors high. Water temperature at start time was a wetsuit-legal 76 degrees. The bike course took racers along the Grant Wood Scenic By-Way, and runners were treated to a comfortable, well-maintained trail.

It all came together to make for a fast race.

Barry Breffle of Cedar Rapids, Iowa posted the fastest time for the men, coming in at 1:05:56. Top female finisher was Aryn Flood of Grimes, Iowa with a 1:17:00.

All proceeds from the race benefit the programs of Camp Courageous of Iowa, a year-round respite care and recreational facility for special needs individuals. The facility is located on 150 acres near Monticello, Iowa. According to its website, Camp Courageous  provides, among other things, opportunities for social and personal growth. Campers learn a variety of creative and challenging activities and experience genuine success. Since its founding in 1972, the facility continues to operate solely through donations of money, volunteer time, and materials.

Lance Greco, long-time supporter of Camp Courageous and its mission, was delighted by the success of this year’s tri-sprint. The course, he said, was great, and the weather was outstanding. And above all, Greco added, the support for Camp Courageous was incredible. “It was almost perfect.”

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