By Dennis Green
Nearly 700 athletes experienced a nearly perfect day for the 17th annual Quad Cities Triathlon on June 18.
The humidity was low and there was little wind, but recent warm temperatures caused the temperature in Davenport’s West Lake to reach 81 degrees, making the race wet suit optional, according to USAT rules, and pulling swimmers who chose to wear wet suits out of contention for awards.
The field ended up split about in half between those who chose to wear wet suits and those who didn’t. Race director Eric Sarno held the wet-suited swimmers back until everyone else had hit the water, to make it easier to tally results.
The Quad Cities race is very popular with first-timers, as the course is fast and flat. But experienced racers also come back year after year. Fred Hemsath and Ann Vestle are part of a very small group who have done all seventeen races.
The course is closed to traffic while the race is going on, making the race even more pleasant for both newbies and experienced racers.
Sean Austin of Ames, competing in Davenport for the first time, won the men’s race in 1:05:14. “It was just a fantastic race,” he said. “I love the closed course, and the competition was close. Kept me on my toes.” Austin and North Liberty’s Josh Madsen were neck and neck up until the bike transition, with Sean pulling ahead on the run.
The women’s race was just as competitive, as Laura Moeller of Ankeny edged local favorite Christina Schmidt by just seven seconds, winning in 1:18:01.