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Hickory Grove Triathlon: Andy's Report

Andy Bernholtz at the Hickory Grove Triathlonby Andy Bernholtz

Hickory Grove Triathlon
500 yard swim, 15.5 mile bike, 3.1 mile run
Nevada, Iowa
May 17, 2015

The first triathlon of the 2015 season! Last year on the 17th of May I was competing in Ironman Texas. Hickory Grove is a sprint. Nerves always tend to show up on race day no matter the distance of the race. Jumping in the water at the sound of the gun is what focuses my mind and allows me to focus in on the goal, which is to ultimately finish, but always out gun my previous best!


The swim was wetsuit legal with a water temperature of about 68 degrees which was comfortable. Smaller races always allow time for practice in the water before the actual race which was a big relief as the last OWS I had done was in September of last year. I went out in the first wave (Males 39 and under) which was nice as I think of myself as faster swimmer and it is always easier to get to the finish with fewer obstacles in the way. It was a tremendously fast swim; I was 8th overall out of the water in a time of 6:38. The swim time at Hickory Grove is skewed a tad as it was about a 25 second run up the hill to the timing mat.


Stripping the wetsuit off in T1 was exciting; new wetsuit comes with a new adventure. It took a few extra seconds but I was able to get her yanked off and throw on my shoes/helmet in just over a minute’s time.

The bike course was three loops with some decent quick climbs which just so happened to be on turns against the wind. Couldn’t get any momentum going up and the added bonus was being slapped in the face with wind. I nailed my bike nutrition taking on one GU, drinking about half a bottle of Gatorade, and hydrating with water from the on-bike hydration system. I kept a pretty consistent pace really focusing on adding speed each lap while holding back a tad in order to have a successful run. My bike split was 43:19 which was good for 9th overall.


I don’t believe I have ever changed shoes so quickly in T2. I was in and out before I could think about running. I quickly ate up one guy in the 35–39 age group on the first mile of the cross country style course. The layout was fairly tough with no major climbs, one steep burst and a ton of grass running on miles one and three. Mile two was by far the easiest running on the open road: I took my mile pace down well under 30 seconds. I was (sadly) passed by one guy in the 35–39 age group on mile two, but held my position following the pass. It was a lonely run and it didn’t feel as though I could really get any momentum to push harder. I did check my shoulder a few times during the third mile but felt no real threat so I kept a pretty consistent pace. Hopped a pond (puddle) towards the finish line and celebrated my finishing. My run time was 21:30 and was 18th overall.

Riders at the Hickory Grove bike turnaroundI finished 7th overall and 1st in the 25–29 age group in a time of 1:13:14. Hickory Grove was well run event and it was awesome to see a ton of familiar faces. I want to thank Kyle and Kyer from Kyle’s Bikes/DiscountTriSupply.com for being out there on the bike turnaround supporting all the athletes. I also want to thank the Athletic Training Room for the awesome post-race massages. My next triathlon is Copper Creek and I couldn’t be more excited as it is PR or ER for this guy!

Results from the Hickory Grove Triathlon can be accessed from the Hickory Grove Triathlon website.

Photo Credits: Andy needing a hammy massage by Athletic Training Room. Riders at the bike turnaround by Kyle Robinson.

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Katherine is our Content Champion. She has done triathlons in the past, and now focuses on mountain biking and long-distance gravel riding. She still has a soft spot in her heart for weird multi-sport events like indoor triathlon and aquabike. She also teaches indoor cycling.

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