Posted by: Heart of America News | February 17, 2020

Heart of America 2020 Race Dates


The 2020 racing season is right around the corner. Race dates for the Heart of America series* are all set, many are accepting registration now.

Heart of America Triathlon Series (HOA) is comprised of the many of the best and longest standing races in Iowa.

Series participants are competing for free entries into the 2021 HOA races and recognition by the series. Athletes that win their age group are eligible to compete in the HOA championship wave at the CyMan Triathlon in September. Utilizing age based calculations for the championship wave athletes can earn free entries into all or some of the HOA races the following year.


May 3rd – Tribyknight:

May 30th – Clear Lake Triathlon:

June 7th  – Pigman Sprint:

June 28th – Ames Triathlon:

August 2nd – Camp Courageous Triathlon:

August 16th – Bluff Creek Tri:

September 27th – CyMan Triathlon:

Some of these races fill up months before race day, so sign up early!

*The 2020 HOA series will include seven races as the Quad City Triathlon is on hiatus while West Lake Park is drained for service.

Posted by: Dennis Green | September 22, 2019

Cyman 2019 – Damp Roads, High Spirits

by Dennis Green

Heart of America Triathlon News


A little rain wasn’t going to stop the Cyclones from throwing a great party to close out the 2019 Heart of America series.

Intermittent showers greeted morning arrivals at Lake Petocka, near Bondurant for the annual running of the race, organized by the Iowa State University Triathlon Club. But there wasn’t much falloff in attendance, nearly everyone who registered showed up, with just over 220 participating.


The rain made for a not-optimal spectator experience, but racers agreed that the cool conditions made for a pleasant bike and run. Times were fast, even allowing for extra caution, particularly on the bike.

Racers competed in age group and collegiate divisions, with colleges from all over the Midwest were represented. Cyman is also the championship race for the Heart of America series, with points champions racing in a special wave for free race entries in 2020. Results are age-equalized using a formula developed by USA Track & Field.

First across the finish line was Kaeleb Royster of the UI Trihawks, winning the college division in 1:02:13. Melanie Mahoney from the University of Minnesota claimed the women’s crown.

Screenshot 2019-09-22 17.27.23Women’s age group winner Greta Koppy had the day’s fastest women’s time, finishing in 1:12:09. She says that she’s been working hard to improve her bike this season, and really pushed herself on the run to stay ahead of Micah Pollett and Joy Carroll, two of the top racers in the region. Click on the photo for more from Greta.

IMG_3868On the men’s side, winner Parker Day said he took it easy on the bike because of the damp conditions, so his victory was extra sweet. Click on the photo for his comments.

The Heart of America champions were all smiles at the race’s end as well. Several picked up age group awards as well as free entries for next year.


From left: Sandy, Micah, Ann, Brita, Kim

Female Heart Of America winners:

  1. Kim Sprenger
  2. Brita Loynachan
  3. Ann Vestle
  4. Micah Poellet
  5. Sandy Lieferman

From left: Austin, Fred, Brad, Duane, Ron

Male Heart of America Winners:

  1. Austin Jones
  2. Ron Ottaway
  3. Duane Staskal
  4. Brad Dixon
  5. Fred Hemsath

Full results at

One final note: 2019 marks the final season of the Heart of America reporting and announcing team of Ron Adkins, Jon Weih, and myself. It’s been an honor and a pleasure to hang out with, and chronicle the good times of the participants, family, and friends of Iowa Triathlon. We all hope that our paths continue to cross with yours!

Posted by: Dennis Green | August 30, 2019

2019 Heart of America Points Champions!

HOA Logo 18Thirty-three winners of the 2019 Heart of America (HOA) Championship series have the opportunity to race for the Championship crown Sunday, Sept. 22 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 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 gets the opportunity to race in the Champions wave at the Cyman Sprint. The top five athletes in the wave, in both male and female divisions, win free entries to HOA races in 2020.

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

Heart of America points earned by Cyman participants this year will count toward series points next year. Click here for the complete standings.

Here are the champions!

Female Overall:

  • Kim Sprenger
  • Anne Hilleman
  • Ann Vestle

Male Overall:

  • Ted Olson
  • Justin Huffman
  • Todd Dalecky


  • Katie Cater
  • Lane McMullen


19 & Under:

  • Micah Poellet
  • Evan Sharafuddin


  • Katarina Newcamp
  • Drew Hoeger


  • Greta Koppy
  • Anthony McDill


  • Joy Carroll
  • Cem Kolbakir


  • Amber Sheeley
  • Leo Buzalsky


  • Laura Moeller
  • Erek Sittig


  • Sandy Leiferman
  • Mathieu Cagnard


  • Kathy Christensen
  • Duane Staskal


  • Brita Loynachan
  • Austin Jones


  • Laurie Briden
  • Randy Bachman


  • Deborah Wessels
  • Bradley Dixon


  • Patricia Hagen
  • Lynn Vogt


  • Fred Hemsath


  • Ron Ottaway
Posted by: Dennis Green | August 19, 2019

Bluff Creek 2019 – Fast Course, Furious Weather


by Ron Adkins


Photo by Dave Mable

That electric feeling in the air at the 2019 Bluff Creek Triathlon was due, in part, to the massive storm front that blew through Don Williams Park near Ogden before sunrise. An impressive lightning display kept crews off the lake, delaying the buoy deployment for the swim.

Thanks to Race Director Alex Sylhman and his crew of staff and volunteers, the course was ready and in great shape by the opening of transition. Swimmers hit the 77-degree, wetsuit-legal water a mere 23 minutes past the scheduled start time.

All racers were cautioned to keep alert on the bike and run. Wet brakes can prove dangerous, especially for the Olympic triathletes as they rode two laps up and down the Des Moines River valley. Wet pavement and grass are constant concerns for runners concentrating more on speed than terrain.

Whatever obstacles the weather placed in the racers’ way, they didn’t appear to affect either the triathletes’ times or their enthusiasm for Bluff Creek. Many in the day’s field exceeded their expectations. Smiles, high-five’s and belly-bump’s all around as many celebrated personal records.


Bobby Rehkemper celebrates as he crosses the finish line. Photo by Dave Mable

Bobby Rehkemper took his second Bluff Creek sprint title in a row, crossing the finish line with a 1:07:32. Cory Jansen was hot on his heels, right behind Robert with a close 1:07:49. Laura Moeller took top sprint female honors, finishing with a 1:15:26. Kim Springer placed second at 1:18:11.


Laura Moeller accepts her First Place award, as Kim Sprenger and Amber Sheeley look on.

See Bobby and Laura’s comments on the race on the Heart of America Facebook page.

Olympic distance champ Tyson Wieland had the competition in the rearview the entire race, crossing the line with a 2:01:58. The same for Jess Smith, beating her nearest rival by seven minutes at 2:15:40.

Congratulations to Aquabike sprint winners Patrick O’Connell (57:54) and Nancy Fox (59:23). Olympic Aquabike champions Greg Moyle and Ashley Miller posted a 1:39:00 and 2:06:23 respectively.

Complete final race results can be found at


The 2019 Heart of America season officially concludes at Bluff Creek. Throughout season, triathletes accrue points for each race they run, and for their time across the finish line. The more races they enter, and the faster they compete, the more points they collect.

Bluff Creek determines which racers collected enough points throughout the spring and summer to qualify for the Championship Wave at the Cy-Man Triathlon on September 23 near Bondurant. Championship Wave victors take home not only the crown and the glory, but they also earn precious free entries for the 2020 season races.

Ted Olson, finishing the sprint with a 1:25:40, and second place finisher Kim Springer were the only triathletes near the top of the Heart of America contender’s list to race Bluff Creek. Katie Cater and Todd Dalecky were the current points leaders at Bluff Creek’s start. But Olson’s and Springer’s strong finishes at Bluff Creek could easily shake up the mix.

A complete run-down of the Championship Wave qualifiers will be posted as soon as we crunch the numbers.

Posted by: Dennis Green | August 10, 2019

2019 Standings After Camp Courageous

Female Overall:

  1. Kim Sprenger
  2. Anne Hilleman
  3. Ann Vestle

Male Overall:

  1. Ted Olson
  2. Todd Dalecky
  3. Justin Huffman

Full results at:

Points will be tallied after Bluff Creek, and the top three overall, top masters, and top age groupers qualify for the Championship Wave at Cyman on Sept. 22.

Posted by: Dennis Green | August 7, 2019

2019 Bluff Creek – Not Quite The End

IMG_1032One race remains on the 2019 Heart of America series calendar (for 2019 series points, at least), but the action is far from over.

The Bluff Creek Triathlon caps off a very competitive year. Triathletes jockeying for position all season will decide who takes top honors. Race Director Alex Syhlman agrees that 2019’s leader board has been quite fluid, with the best triathletes in the Midwest swapping places race-to-race.

But it all becomes clear on August 18, as they gather on the beach at Don Williams Park for the 8:00 am wave starts. Bluff Creek offers Sprint and Olympic distance courses, as well as an Aquabike (swim, bike) Sprint and Olympic.

Triathletes to watch at Bluff Creek include current point leaders Katie Cater and Todd Dalecky. Brita Loynachan, Ted Olson, Kathy Christiansen, Justin Huffman, Ann Vestle, Fred Hemsath, Kim Springer, and Lane McMullen are hot on their tails.

Don Williams Lake boasts good water with expected wetsuit-legal temperatures, and the Heart of America’s only point-to-point swim. The Sprint bike and run courses are in fine shape – fast and challenging. Olympic bikers take the scenic route, with two loops in and out of the Des Moines River valley. All but half a mile of the Olympic run course is on paved roads within the park.

Family and friends wishing to cheer on their favorite racer are not only welcome but encouraged. Bring as many signs and noisemakers as possible (there’s always room for one more cowbell). Lodging can be found in nearby Boone or Ames. Those wanting to stay in the park can bring camping gear, or reserve a limited number of cabins.

After the Bluff Creek race, we’ll total up the 2019 Heart of America Series points. Those with the highest point totals overall, plus those winning their age groups, may race in the Heart of America Champions Wave at Cyman on Sept. 22, for the free race entries in 2020.

See the latest Heart of America points totals here.

Complete information on Bluff Creek Triathlon, including registration details, course descriptions and maps, and links to USAT rules, is available at




Posted by: Dennis Green | August 4, 2019

2019 Camp Courageous – All Heart

img_3014The Camp Courageous Sprint Triathlon occupies a special place in the hearts of the athletes who participate each year. From the elites who race the entire Heart of America Series to the recreational athletes who only do one race a year, everyone feels good about this event that supports the special needs campers served by Camp Courageous.


Adam and Joanna compare ponytails.

August 4th was just about a perfect day weather-wise, which added to the good spirits as nearly 200 participants hit the water. The course in southeast Cedar Rapids is flat and fast. Adam Kassem and Joanna Hall leapt out of the water and never looked back. Joanna three-peated, notching her third Camp Courageous win in a row with a 1:11:21. Adam’s 1:06:20 was his second series win of 2019, as he opened the season with a victory at TriByKnight.

Watch Adam and Joanna’s comments on the race on the Heart of America Facebook Page.

See full race results at

img_3030.jpgBut the biggest cheers were reserved for Christopher Marner. A Camp participant since 2009, Christopher has been beating the odds since he suffered a brain injury as a toddler, and his parents were told he might never see, hear, or even smile again. Instead, Christopher has both his sight and hearing, and smiles as he walks and bikes all over his hometown of Washington, Iowa.

Christopher has swum for teams at the Camp Courageous tri in the past, but this year, with the encouragement of race director Nick Gearhart, he took up the challenge of doing al, three legs.

Despite a spill on the bike that nearly ended his race, Christopher finished strong, and thrilled everyone as he crossed the finish line. To no one’s surprise, Christopher won the annual Spirit Award, given to a race participant who best embodies the values of Camp Courageous.

Camp Courageous campers and volunteers handed out individually-painted finish medallions, crafted by campers, to each finisher, guaranteeing that each participant would remember they were racing not just for a time, but for a cause.

Posted by: Dennis Green | August 3, 2019

Heart of America August Standings

img_2622Katie Cater and Todd Dalecky are the points leaders in the latest Heart of America Series standings.

Rounding out the top 5 for women are Brita Loynachan, Kathy Christiansen, Ann Vestle, and Kim Springer. The men’s leaderboard includes Ted Olson, Justin Huffman, Fred Hemsath, and Lane McMullen

Click here for the complete Heart of America August Standings

Two races remain in the 2019 series, Camp Courageous on August 4, and Bluff Creek on August 18. Points champions will race in the Championship Wave set for Cyman on Sept. 22.

Posted by: Dennis Green | July 1, 2019

Smokin’ Debut – Ames Triathlon 2019

A late-June heat wave did little to dampen the spirits of 275 hardy souls who turned out at Ada Hayden Heritage Park for the inaugural Ames Triathlon.

When Hickory Grove had to go on hiatus due to a lake dredging project, race director Alex Syhlman immediately set his eyes on the beautiful facility on the north end of Ames. But it took several months to secure the necessary permissions to stage an event that involved swimming in the lake, which normally is reserved for fishing and boating.

But even though registration didn’t open until late April, interest was strong.

“We prepared for about 200 people,” Alex said, “but we blew right past that number, and ended up near 300.”

The heat raised the lake temperature to 81 degrees on race day, and to a one, each racer shed their wet suits for the swim, which proved to be the race’s main highlight, as the temperature was over 90 by the time most racers hit the run.

Pretty much everyone agreed the run was a beast, but spirits were high and participants praised the course and race organization.

“I loved the swim,” said Kim Sprenger.

Brad Mitchell will forever own bragging rights as the Ames Triathlon’s first men’s champion, setting the first course record with a 1:09:11. The women’s crown went to Joy Carrol, with 1:14:08.

Full results at

Posted by: Dennis Green | June 23, 2019

Don’t Miss Our Newest Race – Ames Triathlon!


It’s not often you get to participate in a brand new race, but 2019 brings the debut of what we think is going to be a very popular Iowa triathlon tradition, and it’s not to late be a part of the newest race in the Heart of America series!

The Ames Triathlon will debuts in Ada Hayden Park on June 30, at 8:00am.

Race director Alex Syhlman of True Time Racing says the lake at Ada Hayden Park is normally closed to swimming, so the race presents a fun and unique opening leg. The bike takes you on a scenic tour of the countryside to the west of the park.

The run course is flat, looping twice and staying totally within the confines of the park, on paved trails.

As with many of True Time’s races, you can choose between racing the Sprint Triathlon, Aquabike, or Duathlon.

Ames Tri image

Each finisher will also receive the inaugural Ames Triathlon medal.

Visit for more info and to register. Like the Ames Triathlon  Facebook page for late-breaking news and race-day updates.

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