The Alexandria lakes area has a lot to offer. One of these items includes the Chain of Lakes Triathlon. Being cooped up indoors for months, COLT is usually one of the first races triathletes mark on their calendar. This year, COLT is the 3 rd tri offered in what felt like a never ending winter getting beat only by TINMAN and the MSU a week prior. For those who don’t know, this area race used to bring a crowd of athletes to the area, people who make it a weekend or at least visit a few local shops while in town giving the tourist season a jump start. Back in 2012, this race had 170 finishers. Last years race only managed to attract 67 triathletes.
If you are a local, you might have driven by Discovery School in the past around the first weekend in May and noticed the bike racks set up and wondered what was going on. Besides area places like Jake’s Bikes, Lakes Area Recreation or even Heartland Orthopedic, this event somewhat takes place without anyone noticing. The Big Ole Bike Club is another local group that either has participants or volunteers supporting COLT. If your don’t know, you can become a member of the Big Ole Bike club for $25/yr or $40/yr for a household and it comes along with some great benefits. Membership forms can be found online or stop into Jake’s Bikes. Jake, from Jake’s Bikes also volunteers his time and skills by being an onsite mechanic for the race for those last second repairs.
One of my racing and personal friends, Corey has attended the race for the past few years. “Totes my goat, race used to draw 150 people.” was the comment I got from Corey when I asked him about this years race. Another good friend, Branden had a solid response as well. “I’ll probably hobble along some streets in Alex next weekend.”
Branden, an NDSU student from Fargo and one time track athlete has entered the triathlon world by storm. From starting at small races like COLT, Branden attempted his first IRONMAN 70.3 race in Racine, Wisconsin last year. The 70.3 races consist of a 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike ride and finish with a 13.1 half marathon. Going into the event a rookie might have benefited Branden as he had no idea the pain and suffering involved in pushing your body that distance. In his first IRONAMAN race, Branden took 1st place in his age group and punched his ticket to the 70.3 World Championship race being held at Nelson Mandela Bay in South Africa this summer. In October he ran his first marathon with a time of 2:43:47 and also raced at the USAT Nationals last summer. If that isn’t enough to fill the race calendar, Branden is tackling the 140.6 distance at IRONMAN Arizona in November as his first full IM. Being one of the most popular stops on the IM circuit, Branden had to team up with Smile Train to get his spot in the field. What this means is he pledged to raise $5,000 which in turn will bring 20 oral surgeries to kids in need. His page and more information can be found at www.my.smiletrain.org/fundraiser/brandscheel. Lastly, Branden is coming off a crazy spring training season with Alter-G anti-gravity treadmill runs and a trip to Tucson to climb Mt. Lemmon which consist of a 7,000 foot elevation gain and a 27 mile long ride.
Speaking of Tucson, the training ground for Heather Jackson and Wattie Ink. Corey is a member of the Elite Wattie Ink team. The Wattie Ink brand has been gaining steam in the swim, bike and run world thanks to Heather Jackson and her rising professional career as an IRONMAN athlete and the loud, look at me clothing line they produce. Coming from South St. Paul, Corey has completed 3 IRONMAN races and numerous 70.3 events. One of these IRONMAN races happened to be Kona. For those outside the triathlon community, the World Championship for the 140.6 mile race is held annually in Kona, Hawaii and one must qualify for the event. Corey qualified for this race by placing 1 st in his age group at IRONMAN Boulder with a time of 10:39:29 and also qualified for the IMWC 70.3 race in Chattanooga this past season. Like Branden, Corey faced some off season injuries and is chomping at the bit to be racing again at COLT. In years past, Corey will lay down a top 3 overall finish and then proceed to bike to his families cabin or other destination to get in a 100 or so mile long training ride. Maybe part insane, maybe just a heart full of swim, bike and run but if you happen to see Corey, his alias is Kona Kid! You can find his blog right here! I was fortunate enough to be part of the Kona experience this past October and watched Corey compete in Kona along with other elites such as Frodo, Kienle and Daniela Ryf. A once in a lifetime event for anyone in the triathlon world.
While I’m no elite athlete myself, I do love the sport as much as Branden and Corey. From COLT to IRONMAN Arizona or Wisconsin, I’ve raced a lot and really enjoy these small town races. The triathlon community is second to none and filled with genuinely nice people. Sure we wake up at 4am to get a work out in and seem boring to our friends but we are out there doing what we love. It doesn’t matter if you have a bike you make payments on or the latest and greatest running shoes paired with a Garmin watch. You’re having as much fun as that fellow athlete on his neighbors bike he borrowed and racing in his board shorts. It doesn’t matter if you are first or last out of the pool, it doesn’t matter if you finish in 50 minutes or an hour and a half. We are all athletes out there and the community would appreciate your support. You can support COLT in many ways. You can register and compete in the event, you can volunteer your time through the Big Ole Bike club or you can just be an alert driver and give the athletes some room on the roads next weekend. Through everyone’s help, we can make COLT a must attend race on every triathletes calendar every spring!
Read the Voice Of Alexandria story here!
#TribeRacing #TribeRules #wattieinkhitsquad #baseperformance #swimbikerun
WORK HARD. STAY HUMBLE. A LIFE FILLED WITH SWIM, BIKE & RUN. 5Ks TO MARATHONS, SPRINT TO IRONMAN 140.6