JOHN ALLEN For the Bulletin
Kids Triathlon Saturday
On a very cold and rainy Saturday June 9, 118 brave athletes completed the TriKids events at the Wasa Lake Triathlon in six separate groups by ages 4-5 through 14-15.
A prerace meeting was led by organizer Charlie Cooper, partly to reassure the parents of course. The length of the three legs varied with the age groups. The first part was a swim in the lake (ranging from 50m to 300m) with the youngest having the option this day to run along the shore rather than get in that cold water! Then a bike ride (from 1.5 km to 10 km). Some of the smallest kids had scooters. Lastly a run (from 500 metres to 10km) to the finish, where all the kids were awarded medals, because all who finished in such miserable weather were winners! Many of those kids are fine athletes already.
Full Triathlon Sunday
Unlike Saturday for the kids, which was cold and wet, Triathlon Sunday (for competitors 16 and over) was cold and very windy. Charlie Cooper said that his biggest challenge of the day was dealing with the effect of the weather and making decisions about it.
There were actually three triathlons, each with a swim, then a bike ride and ending with a run. Standard: Swim 1.5 km – two loops of a 750 metre course, Bike 40 km, Run 10 km. Sprint: Swim 750 metres, Bike 20 km, Run 5 km and Super Sprint: Swim 400 metres, Bike 12 km, Run 3 km. There was also a relay team event and a club challenge.
The athletes started with a very challenging swim in choppy two-foot waves; one competitor commented that, each time he raised his head to check his direction, he got another mouthful of water. Charlie announced at the pre-start meeting that swimmers could do one lap or none and start the bike ride when the last swimmer finished; very few of these brave athletes took that very unusual option. The two safety kayaks had a few hanging on to rest a while during their swim. Sharon Styles, winner of the women’s Standard posted that “It’s always a fun time at Wasa but this year the high winds and cold temps added to the challenge! One of the roughest swims I have ever done for sure!”
It got only a little easier on the bikes. The southbound portion of the course was into a strong gusty headwind, which drained spirit and energy. The field was very spread out. Eric Dokter, winner of the men’s Standard, mentioned that “The wind on the bike was rough”. However, all the athletes flew along once they rounded the turn and pedaled north to the finish.
The run was a little more protected from the wind. Most of the athletes had big smiles as they crossed the finish line.
The day ended, thankfully, in warm sunshine.