By Ron Adkins
Heart of America Triathlon News
Not even the rain-swollen floodwaters of the Mississippi River can keep the 2014 Lake Geode Challenge from starting on time on Saturday, July 12.
Two months of almost non-stop storms have filled many eastern Iowa rivers beyond their banks, washing away whole sections of roadways and closing many state parks. But, says Race Director Kevin Brueck, the bad weather hasn’t affected Geode State Park near Burlington, Iowa.
Road conditions for the bike and run courses are excellent and the lake is great shape. “We’ve been working with the highway departments of all three counties to make sure the roads are in tip-top condition,” says Kevin. At last inspection, Kevin reports that the road for the bike course looks good. “And the highway departments are going to sweep the run course of any debris before the race,” he adds.
Despite flooding in the area, Kevin says there are no problems at all getting to Lake Geode.
Triathletes start the race at 7:30am for the 1.5k out-and-back swim, 40k bike, and 10k run. While the Lake Geode Challenge isn’t the largest race of the Heart of America season, Kevin acknowledges, it definitely lives up its “challenge” reputation.
The bike course takes racers through three counties over primarily flat roads with some gently rolling hills, albeit under a full summer sun. The road course takes runners around the park, under the canopy of trees most of the way, but up and over some daunting hills. “It’s a lot of big rollers up and down that really give them a workout. Don’t expect to maintain a nice, even pace,” says Kevin.
And while the course can be grueling for some, a dedicate corps of volunteers will be on duty with plenty of water, cold towels, and any other assistance as needed.
At last tally, registrations have been a 50-50 split of first-timers to Lake Geode and returning veterans. Several past overall winners are back for another race, as are triathletes who started at Lake Geode as part of a team. “We’ve always been a great race for teams,” says Kevin. “A lot of the new people start as part of a team, just to get a taste of what it’s like, then they come back next year and do the whole race solo.”
Kevin predicts that the 25-29 and the 30- 34 age groups for both male and female will be tough, as they’re both filled with a strong set of competitors.
Big draws after every Lake Geode Challenge are some of the post-race amenities. Volunteers wait with water and sports drinks at the finish line. An incredibly popular feature is the ice-plunge bath, where finishers can dive in to an instant chill-out. The ice cream truck sees a lot of business, too.
Despite the curve balls Mother Nature has been throwing the Burlington area lately, Kevin and his team confidently state that the 2014 Lake Geode Challenge will be a great competition. “Everything is a go,” he declares.
For complete race information, log on to www.lakegeodechallenge.org.