The Wingman Triathlon is held in beautiful river town Red Wing, MN. It’s a very small event, a fundraiser for the local high school cross country team. My girlfriends and I started racing at this sprint-distance tri 3 years ago since it was fairly close to Winona, we have mutual friends that also live in Red Wing and it’s a fairly inexpensive race to register for. It’s beginner-friendly for athletes as that the swim portion of the race is held in an outdoor 25-meter pool instead of open water.
Here is a recap of the race:
Swim – As I mentioned, it’s held in an outdoor pool. Every year I’ve done this race the pool has been a different temperature. Last year it was very warm, and this year it was a nice cool temperature. There are pros and cons pool swimming.
Pros: 1) No need to sight as you can see where you are going. 2) For inexperienced swimmers, the pool is less intimidating and you’re less likely to panic.
Cons: 1) There is no way to get away from the traffic in your lane. With 3 swimmers per lane, if you have a slower swimmer in your lane you may get stuck behind them for awhile till you can pass them. 2) With 18+ people swimming in the pool at one time, the water gets pretty choppy. 3) No wetsuits allowed, so you have to swim in your tri suit which are not as aerodynamic in the pool.
The pool swim isn’t my favorite, it takes me longer to find my rhythm since I have to stop and turn every 25 meters (and I can’t flip turn). Plus, I’m used to swimming in a 25-yard pool so I was struggling to find my timing when I reached the end of the lane. During my last lap of the 500 meters, there was a new swimmer in my lane that was traveling at a much slower pace. I ended up running into her, but fortunately I had an opportunity to pass her right away and get myself out of the pool.
T1 – I launched myself out of the pool and sprinted into transition. I had my bike shoes already clipped onto my bike, so all I had to do was put on my sunglasses and helmet. With such a small transition area, my T1 time was 33 seconds! That is crazy quick!
Bike – This is the most challenging section of the Wingman race, as there is a long hill right in the middle of the 12.7-mile course. In the 3-years that I’ve done this race, this was the first year that I felt like the hill was actually pretty easy. This was a huge confidence booster for myself as I’ve always felt that I wasn’t a very good climber on the bike. All those hill-repeat workouts and long training rides in the hills of Wisconsin are finally paying off! I averaged 17.5 mph on the bike, and felt very decent with my pace.
T2- Flew in and racked my bike. Put on my socks and Nike Free running shoes and was off to begin the 5K run.
Run – The run course is incredibly flat, it’s a 2-lap course and weaves throughout Colvill park switching from pavement to grass and back. There is a good section that is completely shaded by trees and gives a nice relief to the warm morning sun. I had a great 1st lap, I felt strong and was going faster than my usual endurance pace. However, as I hit the 2-mile mark my IT band started to hurt and I knew that I wouldn’t be able to keep up my pace. I ended up slowing down considerably, but was able to finish with a 9:57 min average pace.
If you are looking for a beginner-friendly race, this is a fantastic option. Another perk of this race is that there are showers available to use afterwards to get cleaned up. I love that my girlfriends and I have made this race a tradition. It is always a highlight of the summer to get together to be active and support each other. A big thank you again to my hubby for waiting around that morning to snap photos of me!