by Ron Adkins
Heart of America Triathlon News
Nearly 500 racers hit the 81-degree Pleasant Creek Lake. While the water was too warm for wetsuits, it didn’t stop many swimmers from posting impressive times. The race started under overcast skies and surprisingly cool and pleasant conditions.
Those pleasant conditions didn’t last very long, however. The sun came out, the humidity grew thick, and the temps climbed into the 90’s. And yet, it didn’t deter the athletes or spectators from enjoying one of Iowa’s greatest triathlon traditions.
Blake Becker of Wisconsin dueled with perennial Pigman champ David Thompson for the men’s crown. The two were within a second of one another through the entire bike and most of the run. Becker won the head-to-head duel, however, edging Thompson with a winning time of 4:03:43.
On the women’s side, Dani Fischer of Indiana smoked the course. In her first season as a pro, she led the field for the entire race, winning in 4:31:43.
For complete race results, go to www.pigmantri.com.
Some traditions are meant to be broken, though. Race Director John Snitko treated everyone to some pleasant surprises for this year’s Big Pig. All three legs of the race were given a makeover. The bike and run courses were changed from the traditional out-and-back, which took racers away from the crowd, to a series of loops through the park.
This enabled much of the race to be held on roads which were closed to other traffic, making it a safer experience for competitors with the added benefit of allowing more contact with fans and family who had come out to cheer them on. Response to the changes were overwhelmingly positive.
“The old course was very good,” said Roger Cherry, “but this new route was much more enjoyable. Those out-and-backs took you through no-man’s land. You didn’t get much of a chance to see anyone else. This new way lets the people see you more and cheer you on. That’s huge when you’re pushing yourself.”
Another positive change was the addition of a VIP area, situated at the bike-in and bike-out of the transition. For a small fee, spectators could sit in the shade and enjoy catered food and drinks, and cheer on their favorite athletes in comfort. (For more on the new VIP area, see the related article.)
Even though a mid-August 70.3 race can be a daunting challenge, John and his staff have proven that when you combine great organization and attention to detail with imagination and creativity, you have one of the Midwest’s premier racing experiences