Monthly Archives: April 2016

Brookings: I’m (Really) Ready for Summer Tri

Triathletes often toe the line between ambitious and crazy, though few actual voice this truth. In no other place was this fact more evident than at the I’m Ready for Summer Triathlon in Brookings this morning. Temperatures at race time hovered in the 40s, but the real concern coupled the low temps with the persistent April wind. Saturday’s gusts reached a peak of 34 miles per hour. That’s some serious resistance, folks.

If they didn’t understand the gravity of environmental hazards before the race, participants did once they listened to the pre-race meeting which included words like “signs of hypothermia” and “medical personnel available.” Kudos to the folks in Brookings who persisted in having a race but offered the necessary support to keep it as safe as possible. Additionally, participants had the option (which most of them took) to change into dry clothes after their swim. Word on the street is that even some of our fastest triathletes opted for the safety of dry clothes after the swim over a fast transition time.

Race favorite and the reigning king of triathlon west of the river Brandon Zelfer took home the big prize with a second place swim, first PhotoGrid_1462051158513place bike, and tied-for-first run. Zelfer’s tougher-than-nails (and bat-crazy) stamina is apparent through his apparel choices with his characteristics warm gear of mini gloves and a stocking cap. We’re just grateful he kept his kit zipped up. East River middle-age sensation Kevin Mitchell took second place overall. Documented evidence indicates that Mitchell even donned a shirt in light of the threat of hypothermia and may even be deviating from his traditional rat-trap pedals and be clipping in this year. Minnesotan David Jensen brought home third today. Jensen proved a person doesn’t have to be a top swimmer to be a top triathlete. After finishing 22nd in the swim he clawed his way to the podium with a stellar bike and swim.

Iowan Jennifer Groos surprised the locals by bringing home the women’s top prize. Groos had some impressive splits as well, besting dozens of men with her mean overall game. Local favorite and USAT age-group superstar Kathy Grady came home with second. Youngster Autumn Winkie of Sioux Falls rounded out the women’s podium.

Despite the uncomfortable conditions, some of our favorite triathletes managed to keep the crowds entertained. In particular Kimber Pierzchalski had her characteristic smile and wave on the run (when doesn’t she have fun?). Swim sensation Lisa Murphy graciously offered to forego the race experience to help the skeleton SDTriNews crew.  Because he hates to see anyone lose their opportunity to suffer to glory, the bearded photographer declined her offer.

Overall, the Brookings Tri, which we believe should be perpetually deemed the I’m REALLY Ready for Summer Tri, gave participants a fantastic experience. New signage made navigating the course easier than in the past, and volunteers abounded. The powers that be also made a DJ and some music available to add to the fun, party atmosphere. Congratulations race director Shari Landmark and staff on a solid event to start the South Dakota tri season.

Stay tuned to the Facebook page for race pictures.

The next event on South Dakota’s triathlon schedule is tomorrow, May 1 in Aberdeen. The Wolves Tri looks to be a bit less environmentally challenging and even more enjoyable than the Brookings Tri with an estimated temp in the 60s and winds under 10mph. Really, the weather can’t get much better in South Dakota this time of the year. We hope to see you all there!

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SDTA 2016:changes & modifications

newLogo8_mod2_smallSouth Dakota Triathlon Association President Marc Satter made the announcement Monday that SDTA will be implementing some significant changes due to a shortage of manpower.

While the association will continue to hold the race series with the same divisions as the 2015 season, series winners will earn bragging rights alone as no cash pay outs will be available for this season. The points system will stay the same with one change: age group points will be eliminated.

Additionally, the series will have the same races as in the past, but due to limited staffing and time at this time, SDTA representatives will not be traveling to the races.

SDTA will not be offering membership this year. Rather, with the purpose of providing the maximum impact for the most amount of people, the association will be making benefits such as available discount codes for wetsuits and races available to everyone.

Interested parties can still purchase apparel as SDTA is currently in the process of developing a retail site where individuals can purchase jackets and shirts.

If you have any questions or feedback, please feel free to shoot the communications guru an email at

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Brookings v. Aberdeen: Just Tri Both

wolves tri frank farrar

One perk of the Wolves Tri is the occasional tri-celebrity sighting, like when Ironman Frank Farrar races. Inspiration meets perspiration.

The quirks of the calendar year have given South Dakota triathletes a real treat this year: two races in one weekend.

On April 30 at 10am the 16th Annual I’m Ready for Summer Tri will take place in Brookings, and then a mere 26 hours later and approximately 150 miles to the north the Wolves Tri will take place in Aberdeen. Rarely do South Dakotans have the opportunity to choose between races in one weekend or to tackle two similar distances in close proximity.

The similarities do not just end with the dates of the events. Both events utilize university pools, the Brookings tri at South Dakota State University and the Wolves tri at Northern State University. Participants swim 500 yards in Aberdeen and 400 in Brookings. Both races have their own home-grown lane counters with student volunteers. Depending on how participants corner their turns, the distances are nearly identical after the pool swims. Brookings racers will pedal their rides 20k and then sprint a 5K (that’s 12.4 miles and 3.1 miles for those who hate googling “kilometers to miles” but still want to understand how far to go). Aberdeen racers bike 12 miles and run 3 miles. (Three cheers for the northern hold outs who apparently respect the standard measurement system still.) Both events also have team options as well as kids tris.

Athletes who tackle both races will notice distinct differences between the events and the communities, to the point that we feel the need to break it down into bullet points:

  • Brookings uses the All-Sport chip timing system, and so participants receive immediate splits when they don’t have their Garmins synched quite right.
  • Aberdeen offers the hometown feel of having race officials yelling out their numbers as they cross into transition and recording their times by hand, making each racer feel just a little more important.
  • Brookings has a myriad of places to eat afterward and a quirky coffeeshop downtown that mixes lemonade, club soda, and espresso for a one-of-a-kind cold coffee experience, PLUS event organizers have arranged to have a bouncy house on site making the event even more family friendly.
  • Aberdeen has Caribou Coffee. Need we say more.

The deadline for both events is nearing. The actual events are, after all, only a week away. Brookings participants need to be signed up through by TUESDAY night. Word on the street is Aberdeen, in their throw-back fashion, will accept on-site registrations.

For those athletes still trying to figure out which race best suits their interests, we suggest tri-ing both. After all, if Craig and Kimber Pierzchalski could run the Brookings Half-Marathon on Saturday in 2015 and then turn around and dominate the Wolves Tri the next day, mere mortals can have hope in achieving mid-pack glory in one weekend. After all, these events are a lot of fun.

It’s tri season, people. So break out that spandex, and prepare yourselves for some great photos, because not only will some of the best athletes in the state be at these events, so will our bearded photographer. We hope to see you there.

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