Bone-chilling cold accompanied by an equally cool breeze made the first SDTA series race the kind that put hair on the chest of even the youngest triathlete. Over one-hundred athletes met the challenge this April race brought. Newbies and veterans, middle-of-the-packers and champs–they all crossed the line knowing they’d accomplished something pretty great and a little crazy.
West-river sensation Brandon Zelfer won first prize overall after a scorching bike and overall solid race. We’re guessing that Zelfer saved some significant time on his transitions and gained some ground on his competition by opting to add zero extra gear and thus wind resistance, despite the frigid temperatures. West-river boys have thick skin.
Our pick for number one, Justin Schweitzer, gave Zelfer a run for his money, coming in second taking only 1:14 longer than the champ. Both Zelfer and Schweitzer alone went sub-one-hour. Last year’s SDTA runner up Kevin Mitchell took third, the 2014 SDTA champ Matt Decker took fourth, and Watertown resident Ryan Remmers took fifth.
SDTA’s 2014 women’s runner-up Kathy Grady took first place for the women (and 18th overall!) with her shark-like swimming skills and powerful bike and run. We look forward to seeing Grady do some great things this year. Teresa Van Hyfte delivered as we hoped for as well with a competitive race overall and looking strong. Aberdeen’s Hannah Carlson came in third, Sioux Falls’ Kimber Pierzchalski came in fourth, and Brookings’ resident Erin Eggert rounded out the top five for the women.
Our South Dakotan triathlon legends also performed well. Both Howard Bich and Frank Farrar crossed the finish line, despite the ridiculously cold weather. In their case, clearly age knows no boundaries.
The next race in the SDTA series will take place Sunday, May 3. The Barnett Center on the campus of NSU will host The Wolves Tri , and the weather looks a bit more promising.
Those interested in viewing pictures from today’s event can find them on the SDTriNews.com Facebook page.