by Scott Carkhuff
Iowa Games Sprint Tri is always an event that is a little special to me. It was my first official outdoor triathlon three years ago.
I was looking forward to this event as I haven’t been racing much this year. My focus has been mainly on Ironman Wisconsin training, but it’s nice to break up the training with a race or two in the middle. Last year I did well at this event so I was eager to see how I could manage this year.
Race time was 8:00 a.m. and my wave was the 2nd wave to go. I always try to eat breakfast three hours before the race, so I was up at 5:00 getting some steel cut oats, honey, a banana, and some water. Took a shower, and had all my stuff ready to go from the previous night. Transition opened at 6:00 and closed at 7:30. I had a short 40 minute drive to Easter Lake in Des Moines, Iowa. I arrived at about 6:30, I set up my stuff in transition: bike shoes, running shoes, race belt, and my bike. I had one GU Roctane taped to my bike. Keep it simple…
The week leading up to this race was just a normal week. Temps at night were actually pretty low and we had gotten a little rain. Race day, the heat index they were predicting at 11:00 a.m. was supposed to be 103°F. We were in for a hot one…
The swim is a ¼ mile swim. Basically you swim out to the first buoy and go left around the buoy; then you make your way to the next buoy and take a left to make your way back to shore. The swim was pretty was nice and easy, not much contact after that first buoy. I’m not the strongest swimmer and the race for me doesn’t start until I get on my bike. Swim time was 7:27, part of that time was the run from the beach all the way to T1.
T1 went smooth. Sunglasses on, helmet on, shoes on, and off I went. I got a new helmet this year from Kyle’s Bikes. it’s the Specialized Evade Tri, so the buckle has a magnet that just clips itself together as long as you get it close to where it needs to go. Thirty-three seconds in T1 and I was off.
The bike is probably my strongest leg of the triathlon. I love biking, so anytime I can get on my bike and just go all out, I love that! One thing about the Iowa Games bike course is it’s a three lap course and there is one hill that requires a little effort. Otherwise you can go pretty fast on this course until all the other waves start to enter the course. I got behind a couple people riding on the left so it made passing them a little more difficult.
I averaged 23 mph on the bike for 15 miles. Wanted to go faster. but overall I was happy with that. I had a total bike time of 39:59.
When I came into T2 I wasn’t sure what place I was in. I knew I passed a lot of people on the bike, but the Elite wave went first, four minutes ahead of us.
Coming into T2 I got my feet out of my shoes ran my bike to the rack. Took my helmet and sunglasses off then slipped my shoes on. This was the first race where I didn’t put socks on, just put some baby powder in my shoes. No blisters to report so it worked! ☺ I spent 31 seconds in T2.
On the run it was getting hot, and it was only close to 9:00 a.m.! The run is a two-lap out-and-back. I was heading out and I saw someone in front of me not even half way done with the first lap, then I all the sudden see him running back to the finish line. I was thinking to myself that was super fast, but didn’t think anything of it. I just figured I had 2nd place all to myself.
I dumped water on my head at the water station on the run, that seemed to help. I kept a nice steady pace and finished the run in 20:03.
So the guy that was ahead of me must have run the course wrong because I didn’t see his name on the final standings and I had the fastest overall time on the day. I found out it’s tough to change gears and do a sprint in the middle of Ironman training. Sprint is all about speed and Ironman is all about endurance. I was happy with the day, and I had fun doing it!
Thanks to Kyle’s Bikes, Discount Tri Supply, and all my family and friends that came out to watch. Shout out to Brett Hamilton on completing his first Tri, and Dan Cibula for having a good day too. Both are Kyle’s Bikes customers! ☺
Results from the Iowa Games Triathlon can be accessed from the Iowa Games website.
Photo Credits: Kylie Carkhuff