HOLT, short for Heart of the Lakes Triathlon which is in lovely Annandale, MN is a great race. THis race brings out the best of the best as it plays host to the Minnesota State Championships. You can absolutely crush it hear and get your ass kicked. Well, that is what happened but I'm ok with that. I went into the race just trying to push myself, race with a little discomfort and see what would happen. After that peaceful 4am alarm and some breakfast, I was off to the race on what was a perfect day. Things were looking good, it's always a bonus when Mother Nature decides to play nice! After the usually racking of the bike, getting transition set up and body marked, it was time for a quick snack and the gun to sound.
We all know I suck at swimming which yes, one day I'll put the effort into learning better technique so it was a slow 1:51/100YD swim followed by a piss poor attempt at removing my wetsuit. Like 3 minutes later I was off on the bike and had to put the hammer down. The bike course was about 21 miles and a great course around Clearwater lake. It was a pretty uneventful ride which is fine with me and managed 23.5 MPH average on the bike which was still only the 31st fastest split! The run, my specialty! I survive the swim, chip away on the bike and then chase people down on the run. A terrible game plan but that's how I swim, bike and run! So, the run, a 5.3 mile loop around lake Pleasant. While I would call it less than pleasant, I layed down a 6:55/Mile pace. Sure shit, only the 31st fasted run split. These boys and girls are good here!
After a hards day work I enjoyed my cookies and soaked up the sun a bit for the awards. While I had no chance of getting any AG award, I like to hang around and support the rockstars in our sport. We are generally a pretty laid back group of people and over the top supportive of each other especially being most of us are total strangers! On the plus side, I got that killer shirt to add to my collection.
Hanging with the Kona Kid
The kid, the myth, the legend...Corey Flippin' Nygaard. That retro young buck who rocks a speedo and for this race, a retro bike! All else, was a blast to hang out with the Nygaard clan, super nice family and beyond blessed to have people like that in my life. Heck, they even bought me ice cream! I'll return the favor in Kona guys...no pressure Corey!
The race is a short course (1/4 mile swim, 16 mile bike and 3.3 mile run) put on by the Fergus Falls YMCA. While small, it is a well ran event and fun location. Well, minus that damn hill leaving transition...what the fork man! The morning was the basic 4am alarm, breakfast and a car ride. Just about an hour to get to the race so not a real big deal. Got parked, racked the bike and got body marked. Again, Mother Nature blessed us with a perfect day and after chatting with Corey and his mom and dad for a bit, it was time to race!
I bet you know how this goes already, the swim...what the shit. I elected to not wear a wetsuit given the fact is was only a 1/4 mile swim. For whatever reason, it felt like I had weights around my waist. After the worlds worst swim, I was beyond excited to grab Stealth and take off on the bike. With doggy paddle performance, I had a pile of people to pass on the bike which if nothing else, was fun making all those passes! Managed the 9th fastest bike split and was again, pumped to lace up the shoes and fly.
I was thinking I would catch Corey on his return to transition but the course loops back pretty close to the beginning so I didn't see where he was or if he was winning. There were two guys I tried to catch on the bike but just couldn't pull it off. About a half mile into the run I caught them and made the passes and focused on the next guy to chase down. It may sound strange but I really enjoy having those people in front of me and chasing them down. I would rather chase than be chased and with my swimming, that fits my plan perfectly! So, that hill leaving transition also makes for a good final climb but then downhill finish. If you have ever watched the Island House Tri, basically the same set up exept it's Fergus Falls instead of the Bahamas...same but different! back on track here, downhill finish on what at this point is jello legs makes it interesting. I managed a 6:58/Mile pace good for the 6th fastest run split!
So, doggy paddle swim, solid bike and a crushed run brings us to a 9th place overall finish and a new course PR. Corey, using a retro bike with handlebars that were loose took 2nd place overall and continues to be a freak! I mean that in the best way possible bud, I promise.
Up next, Minnewaska! Like the only local race left so of course I am racing it. Going to be a blast and going to really put the hammer down. This one I get to race with Mike Loween! You got this little buddy.
WORK HARD. STAY HUMBLE. A LIFE FILLED WITH SWIM, BIKE & RUN. 5Ks TO MARATHONS, SPRINT TO IRONMAN 140.6