Sunday, June 8th was the 6th annual Trinona triathlon event – part of the Lifetime Series. This race has one of the most beautiful courses start to finish. While waiting for the sprint athletes to begin, I stood there admiring how beautiful Winona was with the morning sun shining across the water and the bluffs. An added bonus was that weather on race day was fantastic, and water temps were a perfect wetsuit-legal 72.5 degrees F.
Offering both a sprint and international distance course, I opted for the sprint as it’s a great way to start out the season. The sprint involved a 1/4 mi swim, 11 mi bike and 3.1 mi run. A positive change this year was switching to a time-trial swim start – releasing two swimmers at a time every three seconds. A time-trial start allows for less battling of traffic in the water, as well as on the bike course as people are more evenly distributed.
I had a fantastic swim. In previous years, the lake has had lots of weeds, and fortunately there wasn’t a weed in sight this year. It was plenty murky and stinky, but at least I didn’t feel like a sea monster covered in weeds across my arms and face.
My goal for the swim was to go hard, and to swim all the way to shore until my hands touched the ground (instead of stopping at waist-deep water and trying to run through the water). As I stood up, I glanced at my Garmin to see 7:08 (about 50 seconds faster than last year). The timing mat was farther from shore this year, so race time displayed 30 seconds faster than 2013.
The transition area was also a big change from previous years. It was moved from the paved parking lot to the east side of the bandshell onto the grass. While it was a nice large area, it was bumpy and the grass was a little long making it difficult to navigate my bike through the racks.
The bike course is always a favorite of mine. It’s a technical course with some hills and tight turns. The bike traffic was much improved with the time-trial swim start and most of the international distance athletes having already traveled through the sprint course.
The run is a flat course that travels around the bike path of Lake Winona, we had some great spectators that provided not only support but entertainment! The run finishes near the bandshell and the catered athlete lunch. That’s right, we get a pulled chicken sandwich, pasta salad, chips, cookie and lemonade! It’s pretty fantastic. I finished in 1:19:21 – shaving just a handful of seconds off my PR for the course, and placing 12th in my age group (out of 22).
This event continues to grow each year, and it can’t be done without the help of its many volunteers.
My good friends at Live Well Winona were again in charge of organizing the 300 volunteers needed for a successful weekend. Between the Kid’s Triathlon, Time-Trial and Trinona triathlon, I have to thank each and every volunteer for donating their time. You all were fantastic!