Race Report: Chain of Lakes Triathlon

Chain of Lakes Triathlon Race Report – 5/4/13 – Alexandria, MN

Overall: 1/160
Division: 1/31

Official Results

Swim: 6:52 (1:09), 9:11 to T1 Mat
T1: 1:21
Bike:  32:41 (23.9)
T2:  0:23
Run:   16:18 (5:50)
Total:   59:52


This race turned out to be an experience like none other I’ve had. It was a race, for me, designed to kick off the season with some fun, shake off the Triathlon cob weds, and if all the stars aligned hopefully come away with a new course record. Well, the best laid plans don’t always work out the way you’d like to but you make the best of the situation and roll with it.

Early in the week prior to the race I began checking the forecast for Saturday and it wasn’t looking favorable; cloudy, mid-40s, windy and a chance of rain. I tried to remain optimistic though that things might improve throughout the week and we’d get some nice weather. My optimism however was not received well by the weather gods and come race morning it was 35 deg. and cloudy with about a 12 mph wind and a constant drizzle/rain, not exactly ideal conditions for fast racing.

Everyone at the race was in pretty good spirits though and we all took the conditions in stride. With some awesome friends at the race (such as former hometown girl and race favorite on the women’s side, Angie Hop Mracek, as well a few members of the Lakes Area Multisport and Headwaters Triathlon Club) we were still able to have some fun prior to the race.


The swim was the one part of this race I was looking forward too. It was 600 yd pool swim so weather conditions had no effect on it.  I was hoping for a better split this year from last given the work I’d put in.  As we lined up on the bleachers to be staged for wave 8 the final one of the morning I did however have a few butterflies in anticipation for the start.  However, the good natured ribbing that all of us were tossing around helped to lighten the mood.  I was seeded in lane 8, the top seeded lane, with a young gentleman who’s father was the Head High School Swim Coach from what I understand.  So it was going to be a race of the two High School Coaches Son’s … only I was 14 years his senior.  As the race started out my lane mate and the two guys in lane 7 pretty much swam stroke for stroke for the first 100.  When I looked up at the pace clock I saw that I was hitting 1:08 splits which is where I wanted to be so I continued with a smooth consistant effort.  At this point I was starting to pull away a bit which gave me some confidence.  As the swim progresses things were going pretty well and I was hitting my splits but for some reason my turns were way off.  On each one I was flipping way to close to the wall and not getting a good push-off.  I tried to adjust my stroke a few times but nothing seemed to help.  In the end I finished with a 6:52, which I was happy with.


T1 is where the “Fun” in this race really started.

Given the weather condition I was determined to try and stay warm in the outdoor portions of the race.  Consequently, I made the decision to dress like an Eskimo for the bike and the run.  With the rain that we had all morning I also decided to bring all of my gear into the pool area and transition there.  The timing mat was outside the building on the way to the bike racks so I knew this decision would make my swim time look awful but at least my gear started out dry.  The list of items I had to put on was extensive:

  • Tri Shoes with Toe Covers
  • Socks
  • Wind-proof Fleece Lined Cycling Pants
  • Long Sleeve Tech Shirt
  • Long Sleeve Cycling Jersey
  • Fleece Hat
  • Cold Weather Cycling Gloves

Needless to say this took a while to put on while still somewhat wet and at least two guys exited the pool area before I did.  I didn’t care in the slightest though because I was going to be as warm and dry as possible.


I knew the bike portion of this race was going to be very challenging.  The roads were very wet making it impossible to take any corners hard and with the temperature and wind the windchill was about 28 deg., not exactly ideal for a fast bike split.

As I exited the transition area I saw one fellow competitor about a 1/4 mi. up the road.  So I quickly got clipped in and set my sights on a quick pass before the first corner.  After that pass I could see my swimming lane mate up the road another 1/2-3/4 mi. and set my sights on him.  I knew I had plenty of time to make up the distance so I concentrated on steadily reeling him in.  About 3 miles into the bike I was able to complete the pass and was confident I had taken over the lead.

Unfortunately, about a mile and a half into the bike I accidentally hit the lap button on my watch switching it over to T2 so I had no speed, cadence, power, or heart rate data to judge my effort on only elapsed time. Since  I wasn’t sure how long the swim and T1 were the elapsed time was  pretty much useless as well.  I did my best to put forth a strong effort but with the road spray soaking my pants, my shins and ankles were getting really cold.  Throughout the bike I was  able to keep my feet warm but, as I got them out of my shoes to dismount at T2 they immediately froze up.


T2 was about as quick and efficient as I’ve had.  I was able to rack my bike near the bike in and run out so it was shoes on, helmet off, and out on the run.  Very happy with how smooth this transition went especially given the conditions.


While I was happy with my transition I quickly realized that I had forgotten to tighten up my shoes so they immediately felt sloppy on my feet.  I contemplated stopping to cinch them up but chose not to do so.

My legs felt pretty good at the beginning of the run but my toes were FROZEN.  I wanted to keep the pace down at the beginning, which I was, but this made the run very uncomfortable.  However, I kept the pressure on myself to push for at least a 5:50 pace and that was right about where the first mile split came in at.  After the turn around I kept my eyes open for my competitors to see where they were at but I forgot to check my watch to get a time.  I eventually saw Joseph Schneiderhan about 2/3rds of the way back on the out and back and it looked like he was coming hard.  I didn’t think he had enough time to catch me but I wasn’t going to stick around to find out.

The final push to the finish line felt as good as it can in a race like this but I was sure glad to see the park that proceeds it.  As I crossed the finish line I was so glad to be done and able to get into a warm area.

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Given the importance I put on this race I’m fairly happy with the results.  It was my 6th overall win and 4th in a row.  Certainly nothing to be disappointed about there.  My time was over 4 min. slower than last year but almost all of that can be accounted for in the dressing like an Eskimo transition and the bike with is challenging conditions.

I’m not sure however if I’ve ever had more fun pre-race than I did here.  Meeting new and old tri friends that I haven’t seen in a while is always great.  And being able to support and laugh with them is what continues to draw me deeper and deeper into this sport.  Give me some good weather though and I’ll be gunning for the course record.



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