Hickory Grove Aquabike: Katherine’s Race Report

Katherine's borrowed wetsuit didn't fit very well at the Hickory Grove Aquabike.
by Katherine A. Roccasecca Katherine's borrowed wetsuit didn't fit very well at the Hickory Grove Aquabike.The cool thing about working for a triathlon company is that I get to hang out with a lot of triathletes. The downside is that there is a lot of pressure to do triathlons, and triathlons are hard. So I am really happy that the local Hickory Grove Triathlon has started offering the Hickory Grove Aquabike. All I would have to do is swim 500 yards, bike 15.5 miles, and stroll over to the finish line. Sounds great, except that spring can’t decide if it wants to come to Iowa this year or not…  and the water temp on race day was 59°F.


I got checked in, got marked, and set up my transition. Then I chatted with Kyle’s Bikes 2014 Triathlon Team members — Bob Dittman (racing), Shawn Blaesing-Thompson (volunteering), and Laura Miller (cheering) — and friends in the Tri Racers of Iowa club. Nobody seemed really excited about getting in the water. Sarah was annoyingly happy about doing the duathlon.


So, think of every cliché triathlon swim story. Poorly-fitting, borrowed wetsuit. Zero cold-water open swim practice. Lack of adequate recent swim training. Unrealistic expectations. Lung-full of water right at the start. The end result was a panic attack not just whenever I put my face in the water, but any time water touched my face at all. At one point, I really was going to flag down a kayak and bag the whole race. I would just give up on my excitement about the existence of the Hickory Grove Aquabike. But my motto in any sport I compete in is to just show up and be doggedly persistent. To live up to that, I had to roll over and backstroke the whole thing… being careful not to drip water on my face. Twelve minutes and 16 seconds later I was sitting on the ground trying to get the wetsuit off and get socks on with numb fingers and wildly shaking arms. That took a rather long 2:22.


Katherine sees Kyer and Kyle at the Hickory Grove AquabikeI like this part. I’m actually a mountain biker, but I have spent enough time on this Specialized Ruby that I am feeling like I know what I’m doing with her. Sure my friends have fancy tri bikes, but this road bike makes diving through the u-turn every lap (three times!) a lot of fun and it's really light and nimble on the hills. The course was fun, and while my time of 52:29 was not as fast as I had hoped, it was faster than my 01:01:48 from back in 2010 when Hickory Grove was my first triathlon ever. It was neat seeing all the non-fancy bikes out there with the fancy bikes; it brought back many memories.

Hickory Grove Aquabike Finish

Katherine won an award at the Hickory Grove AquabikeAt the end of the bike leg, I dismounted and ran across the timing mat into transition. The end. Well… that was a little anticlimactic. So I grabbed my race belt/number, threw it on, and jogged over to the finish line in my bike shoes. The announcer let me know that I was the first woman aquabiker and third aquabiker overall to finish. That was pretty cool. I won a nice jar. At 8:10 a.m. race day, I was swearing I would never swim again—not in a lake, not in a pool, not with green eggs and ham. Just 29 hours later, over lunch with Sarah, I was suggesting that I should buy a properly fitting wetsuit and practice my cold water swims. I think there is something wrong with me. Full Hickory Grove Aquabike, Triathlon, and Duathlon results can be found on TrueTimeRacing.com. [caption id="attachment_2991" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Shawn Blaesing-Thompson volunteered on the run course with her kids while her husband ran in a duathlon relay. Shawn Blaesing-Thompson volunteered on the run course with her kids while her husband ran in a duathlon relay.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2992" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Laura Miller came out just to cheer for us. Laura Miller came out just to cheer for us.[/caption]
7 years ago
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Scott Carkhuff
7 years ago at 1:34 PM
Nice, I have never heard of the aquabike for a race option. Nicely done!!
Tami Ritchie
7 years ago at 2:53 PM
Way to go! Whenever I hear aquabike, I still picture those bike on floaters that you pedal around the lake on.
7 years ago at 4:02 PM
It's too bad the word duathlon was already taken. Still, was there really no better name than aquabike? It gets a little wearying needing to explain it. Fun event, though!
Christian Baughman
7 years ago at 1:49 PM
Aquabike, aquabike...that's a sport in need of a cool theme song! I'm glad I missed this race, though that jar looks super cool! Way to tough out that swim - I can't imagine how that must have felt! Glad to hear you're plotting your next attack already.
7 years ago at 9:12 AM
Tami - I thought the same thing!!! Honestly did not know they did just swim/bike events My strong suit tends to be running in the sprints/olympic TRIS!!
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