by Ron Adkins
Heart of America Triathlon News
At first glance, you’re not sure if 23-year-old Byron Smith heard the announcer correctly when he declared the water “wetsuit legal.” You stand there, looking at Byron as he stands at the lake’s edge.
In a business suit.
Granted, he looks quite dashing, but you do question his sanity. Until you get to know him. Then you realize that he is quite sane and his heart is definitely in the right place.
“It’s all about having fun out here,” he says with a big grin. “I try to high-five everyone out on the course, to make them smile and remind them that this is a very fun sport.”
The recent Cy-Man was the second race Byron competed in formal attire. Although, he specifies, “This is the first time I’ve worn a tie. I try to be a little more formal with each race.” His chosen tie was a tasteful thin number that went well with the fedora he wore on the run.
Cy-Man marked the 20th tri Byron has raced in the past three years. Cy-Man was also his very first triathlon back in 2012. He has no plans to stop competing, if you calls what he does ‘competing.’ He finished third in his age division with an impressive 1:33:48 – a time that would have been slightly more impressive had he not turned around to retrieve the fedora that flew off about five yards from the finish line.
“I would have felt naked crossing the line without it,” he said with a straight face. (This reporter, however, was laughing out loud.)
Byron graduated from Iowa State University last year with a degree in aerospace engineering. “I want to design apps for mobile devices, but I would jump at the chance to be an astronaut. I’m always changing goals.”
Byron finds the swim leg of the race the most enjoyable. This is ironic, considering that by the time he leaves the water and mounts his bike, that business suit is providing about 150 pounds of extra drag. “It gets lighter as it dries out on the bike and run, so no worries,” he says.
He grew up as a runner, and picked up swimming in high school. After graduating ISU, he moved to Minneapolis and continues to train with the University of Minnesota Triathlon Club. “My only other sport is Frisbee,” he says.
Byron says he plans to continue racing triathlons for a long time. “They’re a great way to stay in shape and to meet lots of fun people,” he says. “I love to make people smile.”
If competing in a suit is the way he’s found to put a grin on a bunch of game faces, then more power to him.