Monthly Archives: May 2016

Madman Mini Changes Course

madman mini pic
The Madman Mini will take place June 4 at the Community Center in Madison. Regular Madman participants will notice significant changes to this year’s course.

The changes have been a long time coming, with participants regularly commenting about the dangers of riding on highway 81. Participants will still be dipping their toes in the Community Center indoor pool, but instead of the serpentine swim of old, participants will have traditional lap swim, staying in a single lane with a lap counter at the end. Also, instead of heading out of town west and then north on highway 81, triathletes will pedal their way east out of town and then north on a much-less traveled but well-maintained road. The run route has improved as well. In the past participants hoofed north out of town and had the view and smells of a local dairy farm. This year participants will stay in town and run in residential areas, allowing residents a chance to set up camp and cheer on athletes. We, personally, are hoping to hear more cowbell.

This year’s event, already a super-sprint by all definitions with a 300-yard swim, 9-mile bike, and 2.25-mile run, will also include an “average joe” category of a 200 yd swim, 4-mile bike, and 1-mile run for those wanting to try out triathlon but lacking the time to train for the longer distance.

For the third year, the Madman will host a kids’ division for the event offering distances for ages 6-8, 9-11, and 12-14.

Madison prides itself on being a beginner-friendly triathlon because of its overall short distances. With the average joe category and the new course not to mention an Athena and Clydesdale category, we believe race directors have even more to boast of and newbies should feel even more comfortable and safe.

Competitive triathletes should consider this race if even just for the speedsters already signed up. With a week yet before race day, SDTA 2015 champs Justin Schweitzer and Kathy Grady are on the roster along with the always speedy Kevin Mitchell,  Lance Bergeson, Teresa VanHyfte, and Kimber Pierzchalski.

All participants and other hungry stragglers will have the pleasure of enjoying hotdogs cooked by Madison’s finest volunteer firemen after the race has concluded.


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Family Bonding Keller Style


Aspiring triathletes soon learn one of the biggest challenges of training for a triathlon isn’t the workouts involved in preparing for a race. It’s the loneliness that comes with swimming laps in a nearly empty pool, from traversing the South Dakota prairie solo, and from pounding miles of pavement with just an iPod as a running buddy. The athletes and his loved ones alike sacrifice time together. So, what’s an athlete to do: leave the sport or let relationships suffer?

Father-daughter duo Rex and Kimberly Keller dipped their toes into the triathlon world two years ago. And based on the time we spent with them this past week, these two have only grown closer.

The Kellers’ foray into triathlon began with an innocent spin class at Sanford Wellness in Sioux Falls. Rex was taking the class and decided he wanted to get healthier, so he signed up for Kathy Grady’s now famous (and uber successful) tri training program. He and his wife Geraldine went on to complete the Brookings I’m Ready for Summer Tri in 2014. Rex enjoyed his experience so much that he went on to compete in all but two of the SDTA series races that summer. For those who have blotted out the details of that summer, let us refresh your memory. That was the summer the Brookings tri had gale force winds, Dakotaman was moved to August because the lake–thanks to intense rain days before the race–swallowed the beach, and the Watertown tri organizers had to postpone their race a month after a lightening bolt struck a tree next to transition on race morning.

Despite the year of unpredictable weather in 2014, Rex came back to the sport, and he brought another Keller with him.

Kimberly saw her dad compete throughout the season, and then after some gentle “You should try that!” prompts from her mom, took on her own challenge in Huron near the end of the season after minimal training.

The following fall both Kellers joined the master’s swim training program at Sanford Wellness and then the aforementioned tri training program at Sanford.

What started as a desire to get healthy has perpetuated into moving some seriously long man-powered miles. A full season later, Rex and Kimberly are looking at an even bigger challenge: Ironman 70.3 in Boulder, Colorado on June 11.

The Kellers have a huge blessing in their preparations that some athletes lack: a live-in training partner. While they complete their smaller week day workouts alone, they’ve been tackling the long miles together on the weekends.

Both Kimberly and Rex have faced challenge in this journey of two years. Rex began triathlon at at 60, and when he recalls his athletic background, he chuckles. “I hadn’t ran for forty years!” Additionally, Rex had a small hiatus from the sport last summer when he had his knee scoped and then again in December. Regardless of age, though, he persists. He smiles at the thought of the famed Frank Farrar, age 87, and says what many of us think: “He’s my inspiration.”

Kimberly, a genuine youngster in the world of triathlon at the age of 22, may have youth on her side, but she has still had her own challenges even prior to joining her dad. In her elementary years, Kimberly was diagnosed with Perthes disease, a disorder in which blood supply is temporarily interrupted to the ball part of the hip joint. Kimberly had surgery as a child. Doctors told her that walking would be a challenge, much less running. Yet after surgery, the ball joint began to grow again and reform. Kimberly values each step of the run with this not-so-distant diagnosis and surgery in mind.

Both Kellers have also had the typical occupational challenges that come with being weekend warriors. Rex’s financial adviser schedule offers him some flexibility for training as does Kimberly’s nursing school schedule. However, Kimberly has had to balance school along with preparing for nursing boards this summer as she prepares for Boulder.

Triathlon has had a profound effect on this duo. Both are in excellent health. Rex recently had a standard medical procedure done where the nurses weren’t quite sure what to do with his 39 bpm resting heart rate. Apparently their indexes didn’t include a rate so low. Kimberly and her dad, who have always shared a tight bond, continue to grow closer with each long weekend training ride. They also are looking ahead just past the 70.3 in June and considering new goals.  An Ironman is not out of the question, and one of the next goals includes spreading the tri-sanity even further to Brent, Kimberly’s brother and Rex’s son.

Really, just one little goal that leads to the next can gently catapult a person to some pretty fantastic outcomes. “It all starts with small goals, ” states Kimberly. Who knows where the next goal will take them.

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Aberdeen’s Wolves Tri: the Double Dippers’ Dream Race

Sunday, May 2nd’s Wolves Tri produced a significant contrast in weather to the Brookings I’m Ready For Summer Tri which took place a mere 26 hours earlier and quite a bit farther south. Who says the weather has to stink in Aberdeen every year.

Warm but not hot sun and a slightly cool breeze continued to feed athletes’ believe that they love a sport where the weather plays as much of a factor in performance as does preparation.

Kevin Mitchell, who put together a stellar performance in Brookings the day before, came home with the top wolf prize. Word has it that Mitchell’s only gotten faster thanks to his dedicated training regimen and his shnazzy clip-in shoes. Sioux Falls newcomer-to-the-scene and bearded wonder Danny Jacobson came in second after a fifth place finish the day before in Brookings. If Jacobson continues to show up to the sprints on the east side, we expect him to be a power to be reckoned with, especially in the 20-year old division. Don’t shave the beard, Danny. We believe it may have magical powers. Michael Martin crossed into his 30’s during the off season but hasn’t really lost much steam, as he came in third overall. Martin’s quick feet are a signature move, so even when swimmers and bikers think they have a comfortable lead, they should beware.

The women’s division was dominated by super swimmer and overall excellent athlete Kathy Grady of  Sioux Falls who, despite her 50+ age bracket now, continues to stride her way to the podium. One of the biggest surprises of the day came from second-place winner Hannah Carlson. Carlson placed in her age bracket in the SDTA series last year but did not podium regularly in the women’s division overall. The always smiling Kimber Pierzchalski brought home third place.


Nothing inspires spectators and triathletes more than seeing Frank Farrar (pictured here with his super-stud daughter Mary Turner) compete. Great work, Frank!

Our biggest joy typically comes from watching the inspirational athletes (other than the hard-bodied ones who regularly podium). Former South Dakota governor, Frank Farrar, at 87 years young, completed the race once again. Farrar did this despite (or possibly because of) the knee-replacement procedure he endured this past winter. In the midst of the award ceremony, race directors Elyse Kastigar and Kevin Bjerke stopped the awards ceremony so participants could head back to the finish line and give Farrar the cheers he deserved after completing his second triathlon in two days. Props to Kastigar and Bjerke for a classy move. Farrar’s finishing smile and wave brings some serious inspiration.

The next South Dakota triathlon will take place June 4 in


Double Dippers: a handful of die hards competed in Brookings on Saturday and then Aberdeen on Sunday.

Madison with the uber-sprint Madman Tri. So athletes have a little time to practice their game faces not to mention tweak their training a little more. We look forward to cheering on all the athletes.

Participants, family, friends, and oglers will be able to find pictures of today’s fun at the SDTriNews Facebook page within the next two days.

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