With rain-filled clouds looming, threatening to dampen both roads and spirits, Dakotaman took place on Saturday, June 17 at a murky and somewhat wavy Wall Lake. Participants had the threat of both stiff competition at one of the most well-attended races in the state along with ominous weather to keep them moving fast. (results are here)
Like a pheonix rising from the ashes one neoprene clad triathlete after another emerged from the murky Wall Lake waters, ready to take on the next leg of the challenge: rolling hills both ways along with a head wind on the way back of an out-and-back bike course. Rain fell in short bursts throughout the duration of the bike and run of this particular race, giving athletes a reason to slow down just a bit and catch their breath.
Race director and arguably the most talented triathlete in the state, Kathy Grady ran a productive show, not letting even a pesky broken shoulder held stable by a sling stop her from keeping things moving expeditiously. Other than one crash on the bike and a little face plant coming out of the water on the sand, athletes as a whole had a seamless and successful race.
Youth ruled the day with the twenty-somethings taking the prize for the men and women’s race. Weston Christensen took the men’s race handily with a speedy race in all three disciplines, and Hannah Carlson used her superb bike handling and running skills to sprint away with the women’s race. Sixteen-year-old Liam Reese took second place in the men’s division with Kevin Mitchell coming in a close third. Teresa VanHyfte came in second for the women, and Sioux Falls sensation Pam DerHeim took third.
The teams had a fantastic showing for this event as well. Lance Bergeson and Michael Martin, two names we usually see in the top-ten of the individual races, combined their efforts as the Foam Rollers to handily walk way with the team win. Tri-Us, a family team of Dylan Stalheim, Ken Winter, and Calista Stalheim, won second, and the Fun Team of Sara Pokela , Alan Hartwig , and Payton Anderson came in third.
Triathlon legend and Dakotaman founder Howard Bich joined in the fun as well this year. Bich founded Dakotaman after falling in love with the sport during his retirement. Now in his late 70s, Bich dipped his toes in the water and gave all of us inspiration to keep on tri-ing.
This year’s kids’ race gives triathletes hope once again for the future of the sport as it boasted one of the highest rates of participation seen at this race. A couple dozen uber-talented kids ages six to fourteen showed their stuff after the adults had received their medals and Scheels schwag as well as the always tasty pork sandwich lunch.
SDTrinews.com decided to take a new step to share the love of the sport by going live on Facebook for this race for the first time. The cameras were up for the swim start, the swim exit, and the final steps on the run. We’d call it a successful venture despite the threatening showers, and we plan on using the same technology even more in the future. Check out the videos on our Facebook page here.
South Dakota’s next triathlon will take place up in Eureka on Saturday, June 24th. If you’ve never gone up north, do so. Check out the hospitality the northerners have and enjoy a low key race near North Dakota. Keep an eye out for a full preview of this race on Monday.