Posted by: Dennis Green | August 19, 2019

Bluff Creek 2019 – Fast Course, Furious Weather

 

by Ron Adkins

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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.

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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.

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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 www.truetimeracing.com.

 

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: https://jmsresults.com/results/2019/hoa2019.pdf

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 www.bluffcreektri.com.

 

 

 

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.

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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 JMSResults.com.

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 http://www.truetimeracing.com.

Posted by: Dennis Green | June 23, 2019

Don’t Miss Our Newest Race – Ames Triathlon!

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.

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Each finisher will also receive the inaugural Ames Triathlon medal.

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

Posted by: Dennis Green | June 15, 2019

Quad Cities 2019: “Number 20 Goes Down”

by Ron Adkins

IMG_3033Yeah, it was a little chilly, a little cloudy, then a little rainy. The 70-degree water at West Park brought shivers to even intrepid racers. But the energy was palpable among nearly 400 triathletes gathered on the beach for the 20th running of the Quad Cities Triathlon.

Kirby Winn, stepping into the shoes of founding race director Eric Sarno, who was unable to attend, offered up a fast but competitive course. Lake and run conditions especially, were complimented by many of the racers.

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The race was dedicated to the memory of Bev Wilson. “Miss B” was a loyal supporter and beloved fixture of the race for many years. Her husband, Jess, fired the air horn as honorary starter.

Ian Hoover-Grinde, a Cedar Rapids native now attending Iowa State, battled with 2018 champion Josh Madsen for the win, each trading views of the other’s back throughout the race. Josh was ahead coming off the bike, but the run course, partly on grass and trailbed, was perfectly suited to Ian’s cross country background, and he finished with a blistering 1:03:56.

“I was ahead for maybe the first half mile,” said Josh, “But then he passed me and it was all Ian after that.” Check out more of their comments in the video posted here.

Joanne Hall posted her third Quad Cities victory in a row, crossing the finish line with an impressive 1:13:46. She, too, felt great after her run and had nothing but good things to say about the course.

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Perfect Attendees! From left: Guy Olson, John Grive, Fred Hemsath, Ann Vestle, Casey Kenney, Jeff Kaczinski

Seventy from the field were first-timers. Six triathletes — John Grove, Fred Hemsath, Jeff Kaczinski, Casey Kenney, Guy Olson, and Ann Vestle,— have raced all twenty Quad Cities. And Ann claimed the day’s most prestigious door prize, a pyramid sun hat in the same style as the one Eric Sarno has made a Quad Cities trademark.

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More race photos at this link.

Photos from the awards ceremony.

And see all the race results at www.onlineraceresults.com.

Posted by: Dennis Green | June 9, 2019

TRI Clear Lake 2019 – Great Fun at the Lake

In just its third year, TRI Clear Lake has become a favorite race for triathletes around the Midwest.

Nearly 300 participants raced this year, and universally agreed the experience was scenic and fun.

TRI Clear Lake takes advantage of its location by adding a few meters to its swim, which is 750 meters rather than a sprint’s traditional 500. But since the course hugs the shore, you can touch bottom for much of it, making the race comfortable for beginners as well as veterans.

A slightly shorter bike, 12.4 miles, makes up for the longer swim. Todd Dalecky of Cedar Rapids said even though the bike course was flat, there were some interesting cross breezes, probably due to the intersection of lake breeze and an Iowa prairie windy enough to power the windmill farm that also lay along the course.

The run follows scenic South Shore Drive, along the lake’s edge and even past the legendary Surf Ballroom before ending in the heart of downtown, where the TRI Clear Lake After Party awaited participants and spectators.

 

 

Eamonn McCullough of Waverly, bettered his runner-up finish from 2018, sprinting ahead ahead of Matt Ostbloom of Waterloo in the final 800 yards, to win with a time of 1:03:48.

(more TRI Clear Lake Photos)

On the women’s side, Kaletta Caldwell collected a huge hug from co-race director Carrie Tysdahl, her former Tri coach, when she crossed the line with a winning time of 1:07:14, just ahead of last year’s 3rd place finisher, Erin Anderson of Decorah.

Full results at TrueTimeRacing.com.

There were many first-timers at Clear Lake this year, but none captured the hearts of the crowd more than Kaleb Johnson of Omaha, racing with his dad, Matt. Kaleb, who suffers from cerebral palsy, has been a regular figure at Midwest road races, but this was his first triathlon. His mom Nicole Parker says that Matt and Kaleb have done a lot of road races, but this was their first triathlon.

“Kaleb will tell you that he is the motor and dad is the legs,” Nicole says.

Kaleb and Matt got some of the biggest cheers of the day when they crossed the finish line.

Posted by: Dennis Green | June 4, 2019

Pigman 2019 – Perfect Day, Lots of Champs

IMG_2510Pleasant Creek Lake is full again, and Eastern Iowa provided a perfect day for the 28th Pigman. Low humidity, temps in the 70s and a light breeze made for one of the best race days in recent memory.

In addition to a full, clean lake, the 2019 running of the Pigman also debuted some course changes, and new division championships. The run morphed from an out-and-back course, shared with the bike route, to a spectator-friendly two-loop course, which did not intersect with the bike, adding safety and an extra dose of fun.

The Pigman crowns more champions than any other race in the Heart of America series. The race is in its second year as USAT’s Iowa High School State Championship race, and is also a USAT Iowa Age Group State Championship races, qualifying the top competitors of each age group for the 2019 Olympic-Distance Age Group National Championships. Pigman is also a regional qualifier for Collegiate triathlon.

Which makes for a long awards ceremony! But it was a pleasure to see dozens of happy racers take home the traditional Pigman Piggy Bank (not to mention the USAT socks awarded to high school champs).

Iowa H.E.A.T. took home the Club championship cash prize of $250.

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USAT High School State Championship participants

The Pigman uses a gender-equalized start, with the elite women taking off several minutes before the elite men, with an extra $750 at stake for the first person to either gender to cross the finish line. The offset is determined by the difference between the course record between males and females. Women’s champ Rachel Mensch from Madison, Wisconsin grabbed the extra cash, topping the leaderboard and crossing the finish line first in 1:08:51. Rachel’s Madison Multisport teammate Vant Lammers claimed the men’s crown, finishing in 01:02:17. However, since Vant is Rachel’s boyfriend, she said she’d be buying him something nice with some of the money!

The Iowa High School State Champion female was Tatum Frazier, posting a 1:32:06. On the men’s side, the winner was Anthony Lee with a 1:12:58.

In the collegiate division, Jeff Mettler of ISU won on the men’s side, and Minnesota Gopher Sophie Rabino claimed the women’s prize.

Iowa State Age Group Champions were Ian Hoover-Grinde and Joanna Hall.

Here are some of the many champions who came home with awards.

Men’s Overall Top 5

  1. Vant Lammers
  2. Andy Vasquez
  3. Jake Rhyner
  4. Ian Hoover-Grinde
  5. Patrick Parish

Women’s Overall Top 5

  1. Rachel Mensch
  2. Morgan Chaffin
  3. Jess Smith
  4. Joanna Hall
  5. Marissa Lovell

USAT High School State Championship (Men)

  1. Anthony Lee
  2. Evan Sharafuddin
  3. Quintin Gay
  4. Jacob Buchele
  5. William Rolfstad

USAT High School State Championship (Women)

  1. Tatum Frazier
  2. Bethany Smeed
  3. Maddie Swick
  4. Claudia Gay
  5. Elise Cagnard

USAT Age Group State Championship (Men)

  1. Ian Hoover-Grinde
  2. Jeff Mettler
  3. Josh Madsen

USAT Age Group State Championship (Women)

  1. Joanna Hall
  2. Meghan Schaeffer
  3. Laura Moeller

Collegiate Division (Men)

  1. Jeff Mettler (ISU)
  2. Mitchell Dotson (UMKC)
  3. Nikolas Pardoe (Minnesota)

Collegiate Division (Women)

  1. Sophie Rabino (Minnesota)
  2. Lauren Steinke (UI)
  3. Katarina Newcamp (UI)

Full race results at www.pigmantri.com.

 

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