Posted by: Dennis Green | May 6, 2018

TriByKnight 2018: The Perfect Way To Start The Season!

by Ron Adkins



The seventh running of the TriByKnight sprint triathlon was pretty much ideal for an early-season race. The weather was nearly perfect, course conditions were excellent, and staff and volunteers kept all aspects well organized.

2018 marks the debut of TriByKnight in the Heart of America Triathlon Series, and the first race of the HOA season. Co-director Carrie Tysdahl sees the race’s inclusion on the calendar as a win-win for all involved. She noted an uptick in registrants this year, which means fresh athletes and greater competition. “This is the perfect race for the beginning of a season,” Carrie said. “It’s great for people wanting to try the sport for the first time, or for veterans who want to ease into competition after the long break.”

Held on the Wartburg College campus in Waverly, Iowa, TriByKnight utilizes the school’s state-of-the-art natatorium. Newcomers to the sport, who might be leery of an open water swim, “get their feet wet” in a climate-controlled pool. The bike course takes racers along good roads to the outskirts of town and back, and the run loops through campus and the college’s stadium.

TriByKnight, noted Alex Syhlman of True Time Racing, is the only Heart of America race with a Jumbotron. That, he says, grinning, is a definite perk.

Many TriByKnight first-timers included veterans to the Heart of America series, as well as experienced marathon runners. Several members of the Midwest Extreme Tri Club sported their colors on the course, as did racers from Luther College’s tri club.

Cayla Bellamy of Waterloo, part-time triathlete and full-time professor of music at the University of Northern Iowa, was very pleased with the level of competition. “It was a much faster race than last year,” she says. “Lots of new runners who raised the bar.” Less than two minutes separated the top five in the men’s category, while less than three minutes stood between first and second place for the females.

The battle for men’s champion was a tug-of-war between Adam Kassem of Iowa City and Luke Anderson of Waverly. Luke was very strong in the water and first off the bike but, as is often the case, it was Adam’s speed on the run that propelled him first across the finish line. He came under the arch with a 1:01:15. First place female honors went to Elaina Biechler of Dubuque with an impressive 1:08:39.

For complete race results, log on to

One of the real strengths of TriByKnight is the passion of its volunteers. The race co-directors enlisted the aid of legions of student – including the Wartburg football and wrestling teams — and dedicated members of the Waverly community. Racers, volunteers, and spectators alike drew energy from Penny Ruthgen’s infectious enthusiasm. She helped at the bike-out and seemed to know the first name of each racer. Everyone got a smile, a cheer, and a psychological push as he or she kicked off for the ride.

This kind of positivity, and the race coordinators’ attention to the little things, are a huge part of a triathlon’s success. It definitely made for a successful seventh running of TriByKnight, and a fun start to the 2018 Heart of America series.




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