Race Report: Chain of Lakes Triathlon

Chain of Lakes Triathlon – 5/3/14 – Alexandria, MN

Overall: 1/82
Division: 1/18

Official Results

Swim: 7:11 (1:12)
T1: 1:14
Bike:  30:52 (25.3)
T2:  0:30
Run:   16:06 (5:44)
Total:   55:51


Well, after a very long Minnesota winter that was preceded by a lackluster end to the 2013 race season, I finally got the 2014 season kicked off with the Chain of Lakes Triathlon.  I kind of have a love/hate relationship with this race.  I love the hometown atmosphere that this race has and I love supporting the Alexandria Swim Club that puts the race on.  However, the weather at this time of year is usually sketchy at best and in the three times I’ve run it we’ve yet to have what you’d call a nice day.  Now while the conditions were much improved from last year they were still pretty chilly.

This years race however brought the added excitement of having the reigning  USAT Female National Champion, Heather Lendway, in attendance.  Heather has improved in leaps and bounds in the past year and has established herself as one of, if not, the top female amateur triathletes in the nation.  Like I mentioned I was excited to race with and against Heather but I also knew that I would likely get chicked on the swim and have to play catch-up on the bike and run.  I was ok with her taking it to me on the swim given she’d spent the winter competing very well in Masters Swimming but I wasn’t sure if my fragile ego could stand having her beat me to the finish line.


Attendance at the race this year was way down so we only had 4 waves for the pool start which got things going much quicker than in years past.  With the seeding of the start based on anticipated swim times I found myself in a lane with Heather and Doug McGrath.  This gave me an opportunity to keep an eye on Heather and hopefully catch a draft from her for at least a few hundred yards, hey you’d do it to if you could.  As the race started I fell in line behind her after the first turn and hoped to stay on her feet.  However, at about 300 yards into the 600 yard swim leg I had to back off her feet a bit because between my fogged up goggles and the cloud of bubbles her kick was producing I couldn’t see the walls to turn well.  Throughout the remainder of the swim she developed about a 20 second lead on me, which was much less than I had anticipated.  I was pretty happy with my performance in the water and was looking forward to getting out on the bike.


Temps the morning of the race were in the low to mid 40’s with winds in the mid-teens so as I exited the pool I threw on a long sleeve cycling jersey in hopes of staying warm on the bike.  Transition went well and I was out on the bike only a half-block or so behind Heather.  I was able to settle in quickly and set my sights on a pass.  Two miles in I was able to make a quick pass for the lead on a corner and put down 30 secs or so of harder effort to get a gap.  Unfortunately, at the 5 mile mark where the course turns onto the bike trail I came upon a rider from the previous wave that went down on the corner.  It turned out being an athlete from nearby Osakis, and the injuries he’d sustained to his face did not look good but he was being attended to by the Sheriff’s Deputy marshalling the corner and I could hear an ambulance approaching in the distance.  I later learned he was transferred to St. Cloud for treatment, not good!

As I turned down the bike trail I was finally able to take advantage of the wind, put my head down, and put in a strong two mile effort that saw speeds in excess of 31 mph.  Unfortunately, I knew I’d have to fight the same wind back into transition.  Overall, I’m happy with the consistency of the effort I had on the bike especially given the few number of outside rides I’ve been able to have so far this spring.


Run transition was again fairly swift and efficient and I was out on the course for the short 2.75 mi. run to finish this race out.  Surprisingly my legs felt good pretty quick into the run.  It helped to have athletes from the previous waves as a constant set of targets to catch.  Before I knew it I found myself at the turn around with a minute lead on Heather and about two and a half to three on the next male.  The run to the finish went quick as well and before I knew it I was at the finish with a time of 55:51, only a handful of seconds off my personal best on this course and my third straight win.


It felt great to get the first race of the season under my belt and to know that my race execution was spot on, let’s hope that continues throughout the season.  Congratulations go out to Heather for crushing the women’s course record by 4:26.  Also a huge thanks and congratulations to the Alexandria Swim Club and Dave Molesworth for again putting on a fun triathlon.  Next up for me will be the Buffalo Triathlon on June 1st.  See you out on the course.


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