By Ron Adkins
This year, she’s racing despite the loss of her two regular teammates. Joyce, who works in the Statistics building at Iowa State University, had originally partnered with two ISU professors. Injury forced them to drop out. Undaunted, however, Joyce found two new teammates with three days’ notice.
Joining her in this year’s Cy-Man are statistics graduate students Xiaoyue Chung and Wei Zhang. Xiaoyue, racing the swim leg, hails from Qiangdao, China. “It’s a city by the sea,” she says, “so I’m comfortable in the water.” Wei, running the road race, calls Tangshan, China home. “It’s also by the sea but I cannot swim,” she grins.
Together Joyce, Xiaoyue, and Wei made up Team Stats.
For her loyalty to the Cy-Man, Joyce had the honor of officially starting each heat of the swim. If she’s unable to compete next year, Joyce says it is a wonderful way to cap off her racing career. This could be my last race,” she says, a little bit of sadness in her voice. Joyce goes in for shoulder replacement surgery in January. Her doctors, she says, are uncertain about her competitive future.
Joyce has come back from knee surgery before, so hopes are high that she’ll don a bib yet again.
Joyce has been racing in one form or another for the last 14 years. This year marks a great accomplishment for her — the completion of the 3000-mile Ride Across America. She has previously competed at Bluff Creek for the Heart of America series and has done Swim The Bridge. Joyce is also the reigning female record-holder for the legendary Donut Run. To earn that crown, she ate 25 donuts over the course of the three-mile sprint. “And the sad thing is,” Joyce laughs, “I don’t like donuts.”
This year’s Cy-Man marks the first American competition for both Xiaoyue and Wei. “I’m very excited to race today,” says Xiaoyue. Wei nods in agreement. “My expectation is to have a good time,” she says.
Joyce echoes the sentiment, and in true form believes, “I don’t care if we come in last or not. I don’t care if we have to crawl across the finish line. The pleasure is just getting out and doing it.”