Category Archives: Race Previews

Double the Fun: Wolves & Jackrabbits, Aberdeen & Brookings


Both the SDSU tri (shown here) and the Wolves tri has participants swimming in collegiate pools. 


South Dakota’s outdoor triathlon season kicks off with a university pool tour, beginning Saturday, April 29 with the SDSU I’m Ready for Summer Tri in Brookings at the SDSU Wellness Center and then continues with the Wolves Tri in Aberdeen at the Barnett Center on the Northern State University campus on Sunday, April 30. Ambitious triathletes looking for a great weekend workout can find just what they need along with healthy competition at these two races. More is better, right?

The 17th annual sprint tri in Brookings (register here) will begin at 8am with the Kids Tri beginning the event and the Individual and Team Tri diving in at 9am. Transition will be open from 6:30-8:30am for those early birds who like to find their favorite spot on the bike rack, and the awards ceremony will take place at 11am.

FB_IMG_1493004738829This event features some of the best that Brookings has to offer with a 500-yard swim in the SDSU collegiate pool, a 12.4 (or 20K) bike ride that ultimately goes all four directions on rolling, countryside hills, and then a 3.1 mile (or 5K) run that takes competitors through the SDSU campus and has them finishing in the endzone of the new football stadium. Packet pickup for this race will take place at the SDSU Wellness Conference Center from 4-6pm Friday, April 28.

The I’m Ready for Summer Kids Tri has three divisions: ages 5-8, 9-11, and 12-14 with the following distances:

  • 5-8 Year Olds: Swim 50 Yards, Bike .5 Mile, and Run .25 Mile
  • 9-11 Year Olds: Swim 100 Yards, Bike 1 Mile, and Run .5 Mile
  • 12-14 Year Olds: Swim 200 Yards, Bike 3.1 Miles, and Run 1 Mile

FB_IMG_1493005206280The Wolves Tri (register here) will take place at the Barnett Center with the first swimmers dipping their toes in the drink at noon. That’s right: once you’ve pushed yourself in Brookings on Saturday, you can sleep in a little before heading up to Aberdeen on Sunday. This race has a 400-meter pool swim, 12-mile bike, and 3-mile run. The folks up in Aberdeen run an old-school event with mail-in registration, so if it peaks your interest (and it should), download the form and send it in ASAP. Fickle participants may register on race day as well. This race has some of the best hardware that we’ve seen in South Dakota. The top three of each age group typically comes home with either a schwanky medal or trophy.

The Kids Tri, affectionately called the Wolf Pup Kiddy Tri, will take place around 3pm after the adults have finished their competitive fun and consists of a 25-meter swim, two loops around the parking lot on bikes (around 600 meters) and then a 100-meter sprint to the finish. Kids ages 12-under are welcome to participate in this free event. FB_IMG_1493005180844

While the weather isn’t looking like the most conducive for a first-weekend of triathlon, we know South Dakotans find ways to have fun regardless of what Mother Nature may bring. And after all, it is April. Anything can happen, and we all know forecasts change on a dime in the Great Faces State. Furthermore, preliminary looks at the participants in this years’ first events lead us to believe that the environment is ripe for new talent to sweep in and show the veterans how to tri.

So break out your warm gear, limber up those tight muscles, and prepare yourself for a great start to the 2017 season. We’ll be there with our favorite bearded photographer to capture it all: the good, the not-so-good, the smiles, and the grimaces. We look forward to seeing you there.

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Over the River and through the Hills: The Southern Hills Triathlon

southern hills

photo credit: Rapid City Journal

The 19th Annual Southern Hills Triathlon will take place on Saturday, September 3 with the Olympic distance beginning at 7:30 am, the Sprint and Duathlon following at 8am, and the youth event rounding out the morning at 10:00am.

Overall this event oozes down-home hospitality. The pre-race welcome begins with packet pickup, registration, and pasta dinner (which is part of the registration fee) on Friday night at the Masonic Temple in Hot Springs. It continues with a well-run race that has the perfunctory distances for each particular event:

  • 1-mile swim, 24-mile bike, and 6.2-mile run for the Oly participants; and a 1/2 mile swim, 12-mile bike, and 3.1 mile run for the Sprint participants
  • 3.1 mile run, 12-mile bike, and 3.1 mile run for the duathletes.
  • The organizers of the event have really set up the situation for a place for everyone, and word on the street has it that they offer a spectacular view of western South Dakota.

All participants are promised the typical schwag of a long-sleeve, technical t-shirt and what not, but we’ve also heard rumor that the door prizes involve some of the finest baking on the western side of the Missouri River. When an event funds the library society, we imagine the best of the best come out to support it. Participants can walk away feeling good about how their registration was used as it goes to continue to provide books and computers for the Hot Springs Library.

Southern Hills alum will remember this as a non-chip-timed event. That has changed in recent years as the Black Hills Multi-Sport will be providing chip timing. Furthermore, lest any one think this is a teeny race, it typically has had between 120 and 140 participants, and current registrants make this year’s race look like a typical race.

On paper, this looks like a great race. We intend to find out first hand as we will be there with the bright yellow shirts, big-nose cameras, and our favorite bearded photographer to capture all that the Southern Hills Tri has to offer. If you’re not busy and looking for a getaway for Labor Day Weekend, venture out to Hot Springs to check out the southwestern part of the state.


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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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MAC Tri: Same Location, New Course

MAC tri picAfter a rough inaugural event of course misdirection and confusion, the Mitchell Area Community Triathlon staff has made significant changes to the MAC tri course with the notable chance of a safer and better race experience overall.

This year’s triathlon will take place at the Public Beach on Lake Mitchell at 8am on Saturday, June 11. The bike and swim course have changed this year, demonstrating the responsiveness of the MAC race directors. Several participants gave valuable feedback after the first year’s event, and clearly the MAC directors heard them.

  • The Swim: Participants will stroke their way 500 meters around a triangular set of buoys already in place in Lake Mitchell. This swim will stay close to shore and thus increase the comfort level for those a little nervous about open water swimming. Race directors have also recruited the help of the Mitchell Dive team to help with water safety.
  • The Bike: Last year’s road construction which made the bike route a little precarious has concluded, so this year participants will pedal their way around Lake Mitchell in a semi-circular fashion and race a total of 8.5 miles. This particular route consists of all right hand turns. It stays strictly to the circle around the lake, does not cross any highways, and does not cross over itself. It really is a bit of a dream route, and we’re guessing it has some pretty scenery as well.
  • The Run: Participants will head west  out of transition for an out-and-back, running along the edge of Lake Mitchell for a scenic 5-K.
  • The Schwag: Not only does this race have a sweet logo for their shirts, but race directors have maintained some of the perks of last year’s race including a night-before pasta feed and race-morning breakfast of champions, both at the Ramada Inn, the race hotel.

With the new course and even more experienced race staff, we’re hopeful that the 2016 MAC tri will be a fantastic event. We’ll be there with our cameras and cowbells and hope to see many of our favorite triathletes as well as some new local talent.

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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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