3….2…1 And triathlon season is off!

  • Elkhart Lake Triathlon: June 11, 2016

Our summer race season kicked off with the Elkhart Lake Triathlon. Located in gorgeous Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, between Green Bay and Milwaukee (though closer to Green Bay), it boasts a tremendous course. The swim took place on a glistening blue lake with terrific visibility. The water temp was just right- within the parameters required to race in wetsuits, yet comfortable. Applied in tandem, the visibility and temperature served to provide a real treat for those of us who relish the swim leg (myself included). While the swim was as close to ideal as one could hope for, the bike threw up its fair share of curve balls, offering a hillier course than I am accustomed to. At 45 kilometers, it was also longer than a typical Olympic distance triathlon. It’s safe to say this is a route that would be a challenge on a normal day, let alone one with a headwind such as that which we encountered out on the first 22.5 k of the course. The run portion had its fair share of elevation change too as it went traversed lovely wooded areas and pastoral countryside. The heat and humidity, as has characterized much of the summer thus far, was higher than one might prefer (despite a pretty serve storm which ran through the night before). Before closing out this race with the fun results, a thanks to the Iowa State University triathlon club for allowing us to stay with them in their motel (and for starting up what is sure to be a fierce rivalry this summer- see picture below). At long last, the results of our competing members!


  • David Heckelsmiller: 4th, Men's Collegiate Division
  • Brandon Ehrecke: 6th, Men's Collegiate Division
  • Kelly Below: 4th, Women's Collegiate Division


  • Copper Creek Triathlon: June 26, 2016

Next up was the Copper Creek triathlon, a sprint distance race in Pleasant Hill, IA. The evening before the race, we met up with fellow teammate- and host for the night- Lander Geadelmann and our coach, Alex Libin, and had a team dinner in downtown Des Moines. Alex imparted some last minute words of wisdom about racing and salt intake, including sharing that he would be racing the following day without a rear brake- evidently, that's how the pros get the job done lol. Alex competed in the Elite division, where over $1000 of prize money and bragging rights were on the line. Race day welcomed yet another sunny and humid day. This time, however, the water temperature clocked in at a toasty 80+ degrees, leaving us to compete sans wetsuits. Fortunately, the swim was a manageable 750 meters rather than the 1500 m that we're accustomed to. The bike leg had several hills which had appeared daunting during our scouting of the course the day prior. When the rubber met the road, they fortuitously proved easier done than said. With little wind to overcome (and two of our members taking to playing leap frog with each other), the ride was a quick and fun 20K. The run, a course which would through suburban neighborhoods and around the swimming lake, was mostly flat with some slow incline/decline. Overall, a fabulous race with a terrific turn out, as five of our members crossed the finish line! Read below to check out results and pictures from the race.


  • Kelly Below: 6th, Women's Collegiate Division
  • Mandie Mara: 9th, Women's Collegiate Division
  • David Heckelsmiller: 9th, Men's Collegiate Division
  • Ryan Frisbie: 11th, Men's Collegiate Division
  • Chris Blum: 13th, Men's Collegiate Division


  • Minneapolis Lifetime Triathlon: July 9, 2016

The Minneapolis Lifetime Tri is one of my favorite races and this year was no exception. Wonderful weather set a good mood with temps still in the 70’s by the time the race was over with mild humidity and no wind to fight against. This year marked the 15th anniversary of the event and the experience shows. From a clearly marked course with tons of volunteers to even just having plenty of bathrooms, everything was executed to perfection. This is doubly impressive in that it’s a big race. Around 1,500 athletes- including 43 Collegiate athletes- competed. This made for a neat environment; I was able to interact with a wide range of triathletes, each of whom had some pretty cool reasons to be out there. Now, onto the race itself... it takes place in Minneapolis, Minnesota and is one of flattest routes you’ll come across. We started with a 1500-meter swim in scenic Lake Nokomis, warm, yet still wetsuit legal at a temp of 75 degrees. The route featured a number of challenges to staying on course, including poor water visibility and some tricky turns. The bike course- as said previously- was flat, especially when taken in the context of the courses that we've already encountered this season. It was also closed to traffic, allowing for some fast times. The route was almost completely shaded by tree cover and I relished the conditions as I wound through it on park and city roads. The only major downside was that many of the roads were in dire need of repaving, although major potholes and cracks had been well marked. If you should face this course in the future, strap in for a bumpy ride. The run course was also flat and similarly shaded. Consisting of two 5k loops on the running paths around Lake Nokomis, it was a fast, fun run, and pretty darn good course to compete on once I'd found my running legs. In addition, it has some well positioned water stations. One of the nicest things about this race is the fantastic crowd and spectator support. Sporting a Hawkeye kit elicited its fair share of fanfare; many Hawkeye fans were strung out along the course! All in all, this is a great race that never ceases to impress me or be a joy to race in; I'd highly recommend it to both new and experienced triathletes alike. Before you rush to sign up for next year, please check out the results and pictures of our competing athletes below.


  • Kelly Below: 9th, Women's Collegiate Division
  • Brandon Ehrecke: 6th, Men's Collegiate Division
  • Chris Blum: 13th, Men's Collegiate Division
  • Lander Geadelmann: 21st, Men's Collegiate Division

With three conference races come and gone, this season is off at a running pace! To those of you who feel like you may be missing out on the fun, don't fret! There is still plenty of competition ahead. Here's the team schedule for the rest of the summer:

  • Bluff Creek Triathlon: July 31st, Boone, IA
  • Maple Grove Life Time Tri: August 27th, Maple Grove, MN
  • Cyman Triathlon: September 18th, Bondurant, IA

That's all for now- I hope to see you at a race soon!

Kelly Below
Vice President, University of Iowa Triathlon

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