Race Report: Lake Waconia Triathlon

Lake Waconia Triathlon – 6/30/13 – Waconia, MN

Overall: 3/263
Division: 3/19

Official Results

Swim: 10:50 (1:13)
T1: 0:50
Bike:  47:30 (25.3)
T2:  0:43
Run:   23:30 (5:52)
Total:   1:23:20


As I reviewed my Race Schedule after the Best of the US Championships and heading into this race, my coach and I determined that in order to make the improvements I was hoping for this season, I was going to have to train through this one.  Obviously, I wanted to be able to race as well as I could but this meant that I may not be as rested as I normally am going into a race.  We had a number of harder bike and run sessions scheduled in the week leading up to the race but I was still feeling pretty good and was excited to be racing against some really great talent.  Scheduled to be on the starting line was David Thompson (Minnesota’s Top Pro Triathlete), Patrick Parish (Last Years Race Winner & Rookie Pro), Matt Payne (2012 35-39 USAT National Champion), Mark Harms, Kevin O’Connor, Sean Cooley, and Ross Weinzierl all of which have impressive race resume.

The night before the race my wife and daughters were away at a swim meet so I was able to casually prep my gear for the race and relax.  That seemed to carry over a bit too much into the next morning though as I overslept my alarm by an hour and a half.  I typically like to be one of the first athletes in transition to get set-up and get in a relaxed warm-up.  Having woken up at the time I planned to be arriving at the venue significantly reduced my timeline but I had all my stuff loaded and ready to go so I stayed surprisingly calm, ate my oatmeal on the drive to the race,  got set-up, and still managed to get in a reasonable warm-up with plenty of time to spare.  What I’ve started to learn through some of the hiccups that I’ve encountered throughout this race season is that things don’t have to go exactly according to plan to still have good results.



I knew that I could have a good swim in this race but given it was pretty short for my standards at a half mile I was probable not going to be able to put to much of a gap on the majority of the field.  Knowing David Thompson was in the race and that he was a good swimmer I hoped to find his feet at some point or take the lead and see what I could make happen.  During warm-up though I discovered that the wind was going to make the first leg of the swim choppy and there was going to be a good chance I’d take on a few mouthfuls of water.

The Elite wave was combined Men’s & Women’s which ended up being a total of about 40 athletes.  I was anxious to get the race started, as I usually am, but this time in particular because it was my first local race with the talent I mentioned above and I was excited to see how I was going to be able to compete.


Swimming in David Thompson’s Wake
Photo Credit: Nick Morales at

The race started and was quite hectic for the first 50 yards or so but quickly seemed to thin out.  As I had noticed in warm-up the water was rather rough on the first leg to the turn buoy and I was really not able to see or find any of my competitors.  However, as I neared the turn buoy I was finally able to spot a swimmer up ahead 20 -30 feet.  So after making the turn I made a surge to catch some feet.  As I got closer and closer I was able to determine that in fact it was David who was out in the lead.  Shortly after rounding the second turn buoy I was able to catch him and was content to get a ride back in his wake into transition.  I likely could have made a move to take over the lead but we were swimming at a pace I was comfortable with and I didn’t believe I would gain any significant advantage in doing so compared to the energy I would have consumed.  Sometimes it’s about racing smarter not harder.

Garmin Connect:


While I wasn’t quite on par with David’s 39 sec. T1 transition my 50 sec. transition was one of the faster ones in comparison to the remainder of the field.  I’ve been happy with my improvements this year and hope it continues.


With this bike being shorter than a typical Olympic Distance Triathlon  (only 20 miles) I was given a bit more freedom to up the pace a bit and planned to target an avg. power output closer to 280 watts.  Last year I really tried to push the bike hard in this race and it backfired on me, so I was a bit concerned about doing it again but hoped that my improved fitness would allow me to pull through.

As I exited T1 David already had a fair amount of distance on me given his faster transition and I knew there was no way I could catch him so I set out to ride my own race.  I also knew that there would be a number of my competitors including Matt Payne, Patrick Parish, and Sean Cooley that would be gunning hard to catch me after the swim.  The beginning of the bike course was tough for me to get into a consistent rhythm due to the multiple small hills but about two miles in I was able to settle in and ride like I had planned.

I was still waiting for the field to catch me on the bike and finally, about seven miles in, Matt caught up to me.  I expected him to catch me a bit earlier so to hold him off that long gave me confidence that I was riding well.  As the race progressed I kept waiting for others but when I had opportunities at corners to see were the field was I couldn’t find anyone closer than about a 1/4 mile back.  So I kept the pressure on myself and worked to keep that gap.


Biking back into Transition
Photo Credit: Nick Morales at

In the end I returned to transition in 3rd place and ultimately the 3rd fastest bike on the day.  That was a huge accomplishment for me.  In the past couple years I’ve always had respectable bike splits but to have the 3rd fastest in this field was way beyond my expectations.

Garmin Connect:


T2 was again pretty good for me and as I ran out of transition Jerry McNeil, the Race Announcer & Editor for Minnesota Tri News, acknowledged my good ride which was a huge boost of confidence to get after the run and hold my position.


The run on this course is a challenging one.  Not only do you have to deal with the normal leg fatigue from the bike but you are immediately hit with a couple of smaller rolling hills and then a longer fairly steep hill by the cemetery about a half a mile in.  I’m not much of a hill runner to begin with so to start the run off this way was a challenge for me last year and again this year.  As I crested the cemetery hill though I got a sight of Matt ahead and as we ran through downtown it actually appeared as though I may be gaining a bit of ground on him.

As I approached the 2 mile turn around, Matt and I passed each other and I realized that either my perception of how close I was to him was wrong or he poured on the coals.  He made the left hand turn and was gone.  Once I realized that he was out of reach my thoughts shifted to making sure I didn’t get caught.  So following the turn around I checked my watch and was able to mark Mark Harms at 40 secs behind me.  I knew from racing against him at the Best of the US Championships that we were fairly equal runners but knowing he was somewhat close pushed me to pick up the pace for a bit.

In the back of my head I was still wondering were Patrick Parish was.  I was encouraged that it appeared as though I may have finally put enough of a lead on him to not have him run me down but I was also in disbelief that I could.  In the final half mile I finally found him jogging alongside the course.  Following the race I talked to him and he indicated he had a flat approximately 12 miles into the bike.

In the end my run was almost 30 sec per mile faster than last year which is a huge improvement especially when you combine that with a much improved bike as well.  And I was thrilled to bring it home in 3rd behind David Thompson who lead pole to pole and Matt Payne.  Can’t complain about 3rd overall and 2nd amateur in a race like this.

Garmin Connect: File got Corrupted


As a result of my finish, I also received an invite to the 2014 Best of the US Championships again as part of Team Minnesota with Matt and Kevin O’Connor.  It was an amazing honor to be part of the team this year and I look forward to the opportunity to be in the race again next year.


2014 Best of the US Amateur Championship Qualifiers

Given my training into this race and my performance, I’m very happy at this stage in the season.  As I head into the heart of my race schedule I’m extremely excited to be competing in the Minneapolis Lifetime Triathlon and the Heart of the Lakes Triathlon in the next two weeks.




July 8 2013 Reply

Nice job Marcus!

Mark Lindquist

July 8 2013 Reply

Wow what a nice race you had. Great race report. You are in the running with Dave Tomson I was at Racine Half iron 5 years ago and he set the course record of 4 hours in a half iron. That guy is amazing along side with you.. I am happy for you!!! Life time tri is always hot. I have been down there motorcycling marshaling before and guys go all out on that one. That should be a good test for you.. I will try to marshal that one this year..

Marcus Stromberg

July 9 2013 Reply

Thanks for the comments and support Tracy & Mark, it means a lot to me. Lifetime is turning out to be very competitive and I can’t wait to race it.

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