By Dennis Green
The Lake Geode Challenge may be the toughest race on the Heart of America circuit.
Lake Geode State Park is located near Danville, in southeast Iowa. The Lake Geode race is Olympic distance. with a bike and run course that climbs out of the Lake Geode valley with a steep incline first thing. And, the race takes place in mid-July, generally on a day with humidity and temperatures more suited to a steam room than a race.
The hills will always be there, but in 2013, the warmth took a year off.
July 13th dawned cool and dry, and the temperature hovered around the 70-degree mark for almost the entire race. The warmest thing about the race was the water. Water temp was 84 degrees, so the race was wetsuit optional. It appeared that a majority of the racers skipped neoprene for the day to remain eligible for age-group awards.
Race director Kevin Brueck was all smiles, cheering the racers on from a spot at the base of the first hill. “Yeah, if you were ever going to do Lake Geode, this would be the year to do it,” he said.
“On the way back, there’s only four hills, right? And I’m thinking that’s gotta be the last one. Then I’m thinking that’s gotta be the last one. And it’s not! Finally, I see the gravel spot and I know, that’s the last hill!”
Daniela is on a tear once again this year. She won Holiday Lake in May, and has won the first two of the three-race “Just Go Faster” series.
Michael Gerard, a late entry, easily won the men’s race, coming in at just under two hours, nearly eight minutes ahead of the next finisher.
Complete results at lakegeodechallenge.org