Monthly Archives: July 2016

The Ravineman(Tri) Duathlon

1I9A7402Due to an unexpected fish kill in Ravine Lake late this week, the Ravineman Triathlon (results here) became a duathlon on Saturday, July 30. According to Parks Director Laron Klock, the dead fish resulted from an unfortunate combination of low oxygen levels in the water, high temperature, and stagnant water. Additionally, the need to drop the swim came as a surprise to locals, as at least one Huron athlete had been swimming in the lake and said it looked just fine earlier in the week. And then the fish began to wash up to the shore, belly up.

South Dakotans are tough, and we SD triathletes know how to roll with the punches. PhotoGrid_1469913354388Race organizers quickly modified the course and turned the initial swim into a 1-mile run, making the race the first duathlon in race history. The powers that be also gave participants the opportunity to defer their entries to next year.

The fast and the hearty showed up on an oddly cool, late-July morning . Hometown hero Ethan Marquardt won the men’s division. Marquardt started with a smoking-fast run and then after losing his place to rides-like-the-wind Ryan Remmers and the bearded wonder Danny Jacobson on the bike, raced to the finish line and PhotoGrid_1469913381943broke the tape ahead of the other athletes. Jacobson sprinted his way to second, and Remmers held onto third.
South Dakota’s queen of triathlon Kathy Grady showed her prowess and strength in the duathlon as well. Grady has clearly been putting time in on her run as she averaged a sub-7:30 min/mile run pace. Teresa VanHyfte came in second place with a solid race, and Rebecca Newhouse of Sioux Rapids, Iowa came in third.

1I9A7820The Grady legacy continued with the
kid’s race, which also turned into a duathlon. Andrew Grady, Kathy’s favorite protege, brought home first place.

The next race in South Dakota is the low-key and cost-efficient Riverman at Farm Island near Pierre.

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Huron: The Ravineman Triathlon

ravine lake

The Ravineman Triathlon is set to take place on Saturday, July 30 at 7:30 am at Ravine Lake in Huron. This course features a flat bike and run and a fairly shallow swim. Participants will swim a 500-meter course across Ravine Lake and back, and then they’ll pedal their way 12.4 miles and run the perfunctory 5K.

The Ravineman tri organizers pride aptly pride themselves on a fast course that complements the seasoned triathlete looking to set a PR or the newbie triathlete who needs a fun and not-too-challenging experience.

This event is the only in the state with the Corporate Challenge, a fun event aimed to convince companies and organizations to foster a healthy lifestyle among their employees. Any company can enter a team, and the winning team will be the temporary owner of the Corporate Cup.

This year’s event will also continue in its tradition of offering a kids’ triathlon and fun run after the adults have conquered the course. Kids ages 9-11 and 12-14 will traverse a 200-meter out-and-back swim, 5k bike, and 1.5k run. Participants interested in any of these events can register here.

We look forward to seeing you all there. Our favorite bearded photographer will be there with the big-nose camera, so put on your best smiles or grimaces as you seek to become a Ravineman.

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The Farmer Triathlete

IMG_3655“Have you ever seen a tri-bike strapped to the back of a tractor or a baler?”

So asks Doug Weber, a farmer and newbie triathlete who lives near Farmer, South Dakota. Weber and his wife, Wendy, dipped their toes in the triathlon waters for the first time in Yankton in 2015. Since then, Doug has completed his second tri and trained as diligently as possible during some of the busiest seasons in his line of work for his first half-ironman –Toughman Minnesota in Chisago Lakes, Minnesota.

Doug’s triathlon journey actually began five years ago when he made the distinct decision of giving up a couple of bad habits. “I was tired of Mt. Dew and cigarettes, and was 30 to 40 lbs more than I needed to be,” he states. So, like many of us, he went for a run. He  threw away the Camels and traded the endorphin rush of tobacco for the endorphin of a good run. Since that time, Doug has run a total of five marathons and seven half marathons. He has worn the shoulder of the local gravel roads a little bare, and in living in a culture where people are more apt to drive a pickup than ride a bicycle, he has received more than just an odd glance from his neighbors who saw him running. “I’d hear, ‘Are you broke down?'” he laughs.1I9A5545

After tackling a handful of marathons and half marathons and logging hundreds of miles on his running shoes, Doug had an itch to break up the monotony of running. So last summer, without Wendy having done even a road race, Doug and Wendy decided if they signed up for a triathlon, they’d have to train for one. So they did. Yankton’s Best Tri came. With little swim training, they survived the swim and coasted through the rest of the race.

After dealing with the Missouri River, Doug made the move to join the Mitchell Aquatics Club, better known as the MAC. While the MAC didn’t offer any official swim training, Doug would receive pointers from the workers there. “I could’ve quit,” he states when referring to his first few times at the MAC. But he persevered. “I just stuck it out and thought,’I’m just gonna do it twice a week come hell or high water.'” Except for the time he had to take off during calving season, Doug stuck with his plan and built up his strength. In November he celebrated his birthday by signing up for Toughman. Since planting season started and he’s had to stay closer to home, Doug has continued his swim training by swimming laps across Lake Hanson and back, and as stated earlier, he is engaging in occupational training by riding bike or running home from the field when he can’t put in formal training.

Just one conversation with Doug reveals how he spends his free time when he’s not farming or training: family. Doug and Wendy have four kids ages 7 to 14, and his free time goes towards attending kids’ ball games, camping, and just hanging out with his family.

1I9A5799Doug’s search for variety after running so much also led him to the kayak. A friend gave him a kayak to use, and he and Wendy began practicing their paddling. They completed the South Dakota Kayak Challenge in May, paddling over 12 hours in a tandem kayak, battling physical and mental fatigue not to mention the random Asian carp, and winning second place. Whether Doug realizes it or not, the mental challenge of repetitive motion has aptly prepared him for longer triathlons. “Near the end I started to get mentally fatigued,” he states, but then quickly notes, “but we both stayed in the same boat.”

The next time you see Doug, introduce yourself and take a minute to ask him about his training, racing, and family (plus the Asian carp stories). He has inspired his four kids and introduced our favorite sport to a community that knew little about it. We think he’s worth getting to know.



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Lake Pahoja: Crossing the Border


The triathlon scene is pretty quiet here in South Dakota this weekend, which may leave some athletes a little twitchy. Have no fear: Iowa is here–or at least nearby.

The Lake Pahoja Triathlon will take place at July 23 at 8 am at Lake Pahoja, which is four miles south and two miles west of Larchwood, Iowa (less than 20 miles from Sioux Falls). Interested tri-junkies can register here.

Participants will have the chance to check out our neighbors to the east not to mention a new group of competitors. Triathletes will swim 600 yards in Lake Pahoja, bike 17 miles on blacktop, and run 3.5 miles around the lake. The top three male and female finishers will receive an award, and the overall winner will have a plaque that will go on the Trail of Fame. Who doesn’t want a plaque with his or her name on it in Iowa?

To make this event even more interesting, the crew over at Lake Pahoja are hosting a Youth Triathlon the night before the adult tri. Participants ages 7-14 have the opportunity to swim 75-100 yards (depending on the age of the athlete), bike 2.5 miles, and run 1 mile around the lake.

If you’re feeling the itch to tri, check out Pahoja. You never know what you’ll find.

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Fast & Memorable: the Outland Challenge

TPhotoGrid_1468727891822he Outland Challenge at Lake Cochrane featured some competitive and memorable talent along with the typical average-Joe, hard-working athletes this year on a sunny (but not hot) and breezy day this past Saturday. (results are listed here)

David Thompson, the nicest male pro triathlete you’ll ever meet, defended his previous champion status well, winning the men’s sprint title while Bridget McCoy, the nicest female pro triathlete you’ll ever meet, won the women’s sprint title and also maintained her place as the queen of the Outland sprint for now. The real races in the sprint division were amongst the second and third place, where the uber-fit Kevin Mitchell, outbiked and then held off the third-place youngster, Danny Jacobson. In the women’s divisioPhotoGrid_1468727873321n Mary Thum, a previous Outland winner, made her debut back on the South Dakota tri scene by nailing second place, and Sheila Crisp of Duluth put in a solid third place effort, making the trip from Carlton, Minnesota well worth it.

The Olympic distance produced record-setting results. Jason Crisp, a former South Dakota standout and now northern Minnesota stud, shaved 18 seconds off the previous record and edged out his protege, Justin Schweitzer, South Dakota’s fastest triathlete on the run. Last year’s champ, Brandon Zelfer, came in third, allowing him to go home with a nice chunk of change (and most likely the hankering for more competing).

The Olympic-distance women also had a close race. Nikki Reinsbach (who moved so fast she managed to evade our camera on two of the three disciplines) broke her own record (and defended her win from last year) by more than five minutes. Kathy Grady pounded her way to second, while Brigitte Setness finished with a strong third place showing.

IMG_4300While people love to watch the fast triathletes, these 12 individuals did not stop the show quite like some of the other sights of this event. Mother-daughter duo Stacey and Justine Lee won the sportsmanship award, smiling throughout the event, encouraging others, and exemplifying why so many athletes compete–because it’s just plain fun. Kurt Pickard of Wentworth turned a few heads with his tuxedo speedo and single-speed cruiser as well.

Great work today to all of the volunteers, athletes, and organizers at the Outland Challenge. Together they created a memorable event.

For more memorable pictures of the event, stay tuned to our Facebook page here. We’ll be posting pictures throughout the week.

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