Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Suffering @ Crossroads Triathlon

By Steve Schurtz

The motto of this race is “Suffer”, and I now know why. The bike course is described on the website as “challenging”, and I understand that, too.

The race is sponsored by First Central State Bank of DeWitt. At the prerace briefing, the race director, Timothy McKinnon, said a prayer for Eric Sarno, the race director of the Quad Cities Triathlon held in June. Eric had a spontaneous cerebral hemorrhage recently and is currently unresponsive. Right after the prayer for Eric, Tim said, “OK, everybody! Go out there and kill ‘em dead!” Quite a juxtaposition!

The swim was at Lake Killdeer, a borrow pond on Highway 30 five miles east of DeWitt. The water temperature was 75, and the majority of athletes wore wetsuits, especially Wave 4 – males 40 and over. It was a huge wave, and the whole swim was like a big game of water polo. I hope the organizers split that wave in the future.

There was a 15 mph SW wind at race time. The bike course went north 5 miles, back south 5 miles, and then west into DeWitt 5 miles. The last 10 miles were upwind. When I drove the course on Friday, the first two hills were gently rollers, then, “Holy buckets!” I was able to play cat-and-mouse with a 47 year old and a 65 year old on the last 10 miles. Triathlon riders are not able to work together without a penalty, but we traded leads at least a dozen times. Four riders went down in the early part of the course, caused by a large crack between the right and left lanes. They were going into the left lane to avoid rubbles at the bottom of a long, steep downhill. One rider was taken by ambulance; he had a concussion, but hopefully nothing more. He was conscious and moving all extremities, but he was a little disoriented. The others incurred shoulder injuries, road rash, cuts, etc.

T2 was at DeWitt High School. The run course was pretty flat, and one segment was on gravel due to a washout of part of the original course. There was shade on part of the course, and one resident had their lawn sprinkler aimed at the street about 1/2 mile from the finish. That was a real relief.

The event was very well organized, with an easy registration, well-marked course, lots of volunteers and law enforcement officials at intersections, and a nice awards ceremony. I thought it was particularly nice, as I brought home a plaque for 3rd in the 55-59 Male group.

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