Iron Man Louisville Report

Okay, here it finally is, the highly anticipated race report from IM Louisville.

As most of you know we left on Sunday, Aug. 23rd to drive across more than half of the country, caught a Cubs game at Wrigley Field on Thursday and screamed into Louisville on Friday. We are now resting in Loveland, CO and plan to hit 3 national parks in the next 2 days on our way home. Gotta love a country like this that you can freely go wherever, whenever you want.

On to the race report. Ironman Louisville is the only 140.6 with a time trial start which meant very early to rise to get to the transition and pump bike tires and put water bottles on the bike, crap forgot the water bottles, so I had to borrow one to from a volunteer to get me to the first aide station on the bike… Then it was about a 3/4 mile walk up to the start of the swim, then a 3/4 of a mile walk to the end of the line. During the walk I was “adopted” by some guys from Pittsburg, they’d done IM Louisville in the past and where really interested in Montana. Anyway, we sat in line for about 45 minutes, as soon as the pros started the line started to move up and we quickly walked up to the start, zigzagged down to the dock and across the mat, then shortly after crossing the timing mat (to start your time) I jumped into the Ohio River and start swimming upstream. I really didnt feel the current, but it was there along with the stench of diesel fuel… I could not see my hand out in front of me on my stroke, it was gross. The swim course took me upstream past TowHead Island then around buoys and back downstream, past the start to the transistion area. I was out of the water in about and hour and half which was about 10 to 15 minutes longer than I wanted. Later many people thought their swim times where long.

I felt okay coming out of the water, not dizzy or anything, just wishing for a shower… I ran from the swim exit to the change tent which seemed really long. on the way out the change tent I got sunscreened and off to my bike. ran with the bike to the exit and on the road, finally… I felt okay on the bike but didn’t feel like eating, like I usually do out of the water. Oh yeah remember the suncreen and the borrowed water bottle, you guessed it. Dropped about 1 mile in. I was able to get a water and a gatoraide at the first aid station, which was only about 6 miles in. I was feeling pretty good on the bike, wishing I’d ridden or drove more of the course. I was fairly timid on the first loop, people kept talking about hills and climbs and I didnt want to go around a corner in high gear and be stuck in the middle of a hill… I finally got a salted nut roll down and was able to start feeling better on the second loop. the aid stations and volunteer where great! there did seem to be a lot of riders with flats, but I did not see any tacks or kids throwing things as there are rumors. Also, there where people cheering throughout the course. I passed quite a few other triathletes on the second lap and had a chance to see Fernada and other pros (fly past me).

When I got back to the transition area I was feeling pretty good about my sub 6 hour bike. I started the run and was able to cruise pretty well for the first couple of miles. there was an aid station every mile, I ran past the first 2, just grabbing a cup of water on the way by. As the run course got back into the city before heading out toward Churchill Downs, it started to get really hot and humid. I had to slow down as I was getting a headache. I ate and drank and ended up walking way too much on the way out to the turn around and back into town. I was able to pick it back up a little as i left for the second loop, the crowd around the finish (which you pass within 1 block of on your way out for your 2nd lap) was rowdy and it helped. after the second loop turn around i forced myself to only walk the aid stations. Then at mile 23 I told myself only 5K to go and tried to pick it up.

I finished in 12:15 which is my slowest IM, but I feel pretty good about it. It was a hard race and a long way to travel, we are looking forward to being home. thanks to everyone that sent and email, called or just was thinking of me. I could not do an IM without the tremendous support of my family and friends. You are all great!


Onion Man Triathlon Report

See Pictures of the race here

onionman 2009:

anyone who has ever had the pleasure of traveling with the great divide team to an out of state race can appreciate the atmosphere of anticipation that this year’s 15 racers experienced as we gathered Saturday morning at crossroads. that’s not a typo either. fifteen of us setting off to look for booty and swag to bring home from the folks in Washington who do such a good job running the olympic distance onionman triathlon. well, we sort of set off since our first order of business was to test the mettle of our leader by circling the caravan for a “good luck” send off tour through the streets of the upper west side and back to crossroads to rescue a lost pair of sunglasses.

seeing Greg’s white knuckle squeeze on his steering wheel let us know we were good to go and so off we headed off stopping only for corndogs and beer, closely following the gates’ pre-race nutrition plan. a quick stop at a bike porn shop and a burrito stand in Laura’s old college neighborhood was all we saw of Spokanebecause race packets were waiting in Walla Walla. Walla Walla is a beautiful green oasis in the middle of the dry lava plains of eastern Washington. fields and orchards intermingle with vineyards in a very European setting. it’s a great venue for a fun race.

at the packet pickup we all stood in line with our fellow racers, sizing up each other’s fitness, including a few pros who came to share the pain. a little intimidation is never a bad thing and we dished out our own with pretty boys ruses and Bryan who obviously could out drink anyone there.

the team gathered for a pre-race dinner which never would have been served if not for the perseverance of our type-A alpha member mark. sorry Greg, you’ve been displaced a notch. thanks mark!

race morning was breezy but sunny and warm. water temp was reported to be 67 degrees which was a huge relief for all of us northerners who still reeked of pool chlorine from an entire 7 months of following the black pool lane lines. nervous chatter at the motel breakfast eluded to the focus of the group to go out there and kick some butt.

at the race site Bryan’s ripped guns offered some giggling and blushing for the teenaged girls who had volunteered as body markers, no doubt for this exact reason! as soon as we remembered how to put on a wetsuit we were in the water and ready to race. the bullhorn sounded and patty’s race tactics went into full swing as she immediately kicked off my goggles as she swam away. unfazed, i jumped into the mayhem and followed the mass of orange capped swimmers who, through fogged goggles half full of water, looked exactly like the orange buoys floating somewhere out in the distance.

out of the water and into T1, Sean added a fourth sport by sprinting up and downan earthen dam to fetch a helmet out of his van. pretty impressive, especially given his 44:05 run split later on! the out and back bike course was windy and has a false flat climb all the way out but as the leaders began to appear in the oncoming lane it soon was apparent that a lot of Helenians were having a good day. first came Greg right on the tails of the pros and followed by one after another rider wearing the gdt red and yellow tucked down on the aero bars cranking out some serious wattage. The transitions remained a bit of a challenge for gdt members as Greg did a little ankle twist on his way out and others (okay, maybe just me) couldn’t remember where we had left our stuff from T1. but again on the run course the red and yellow dominated the front of the pack and set up an incredible medal run by the Helena group. Ann and Greg, in true athletic form, overcame foot/ankle injuries to smoke their run splits. After worrying all week that she’d drown in the swim, patty pulled out the stops in her run to finish second in her age group for this her first Olympic distance. The gdt team entry also put in a good race finishing second in the team category.

The race brought out some very competitive racers from across the northwest and in spite of the tough field, gdt came away with 10 medals for the 15 racers who competed! Podium announcements rarely went without at least one racer from Helena. Sean even had enough left over after his race to outrun the cateringguards and made off with both chicken and a vegetarian only shish-ka-bob at the post race lunch.

That afternoon we made our way back to couer d’alene for post race stories over mojitos and sushi but not before the slanger man van made an unscheduled stop for a quick “shower” in the parking lot of an urgent care center. The urgency however was believed to be alcohol induced.

The next morning the group suited up once more in red and yellow to ride the cda ironman course which started a few blocks from our hotel rooms. The morning was perfect as the sound of almost 15 riders clicked into their pedals and took off in a nicely formed peloton through downtown that caught the attention of everyone we passed. It was a great finale to a fantastic weekend.

The official tally of the race was as follows: in the top ten standings, 4 Helenaracers made the list. Laura was 6, Ann 8 and Sarah 10 in the women’s category and Greg was 9 in the men’s. Ann was 3rd in the women’s masters category. By age group, Laura took 3rd in the women’s 25-29, Greg was 3rd , ruses 6th and Bryan 11th in the male 30-34, Sara 3rd in the women’s 30-35, Sean 11th in men’s 35-39, Karen 4th in 35-39 women’s, mike 8th in men’s 40-44, patty 2nd women’s 45-49, mark 3rd, bill 8th men’s 50-54, and Ann 1st women’s 50-54. JP, Meagan, and Dave took second in the team competition.


Queen City Triathlon Report

Hopefully, I haven’t missed too much, but here’s some highlights from Queen City…..if I missed anyone, I apologize and its unintentional…..

At Queen City Triathlon, Team Great Divide made its usual impressive showing in a somewhat non-traditional way. To prevent taking all the top spots in a race billed as a “Beginner Friendly Triathlon ” the TGD powerhouse turned its efforts to volunteering and supporting 50 plus new triathletes in a field of 80 racers. 

Team members were at all the hot spots – including race director Russ Gates, volunteer coordinator Carolyn Keller, Mike Jacobson, Bryan Johnson, and Sarah Slanger at transition, Steve Creigh at the Green Meadow light; Greg Wirth at the finish line, JP Crowley at the Grill…. and Byron lurking around being helpful?!? I also saw Todd Younkin, Sean Slanger, Ann Seifert, and Laura Holien helping out. I’m sure I missed some other team members who worked the race. 

As for racers, TGD swept the field anyway. Meghan Trainor (first triathlon race), Mick Karls, myself (not newbies anymore), and Patty Ramsay took first in their respective age groups. Steph Younkin secured third place in her age group for her first triathlon. Awesome showing by our new triathletes!

Since Queen City Triathlon is now USAT sanctioned (thanks to Ann Gilbert’s push and Russ’ kind acquiescence), all racers who are first in their age group qualify to race at USAT Nationals (in Tuskaloosa Alabama in August. Yuck!). Greg will have to step up the pace if he doesn’t want to be carrying Meghan’s bags around Tuskaloosa….. (Of course, he’ll be in good company with other team members. Russ Gates will be carrying his mom’s bags around if he doesn’t earn his own spot. Maybe he can talk JP into bringing the extracycle again). Our very own Carrie Strike, Crossroads masters swim coach, might as well be recruited for the team. She was first woman overall – with a swim background! That just goes to show what a beautiful swim stroke can do for you….. 

Future team members Nate Crowley, Grace Crowley, Addie Slanger and Ashlin Slanger tore up the kids triathlon course. I think the TGD youth/junior team could be a presence at Spring Meadow if we can get jerseys that small!

I’m sure I missed some key moments and people, but I’d like to send out a big thanks to Russ and Carolyn for their excellent work! Same to Joel for Cow Country. What a great race weekend.


Onion Man Triathlon Photos

These are a few photos from the Onion Man Triathlon posted by JP Crowley.  To see all the photos got to.. com/photos/ jp-crowley/ sets/72157618886 706418/

Spring Meadow Triathlon News

Registrations are rolling in for the Spring Meadow Triathlons. Please go to to register soon. You can also print a registration at and mail it with the correct fees to me at 2011 Chimney Rock Rd, Helena, MT 59601 or drop it at Crossroads or the Great Divide Cyclery before July 10th.

We have chip timing lined out for the Olympic and Sprint races. This is the first year for chip timing and we are really looking forward to it. We are also making some minor changes to the swim course and the transition area due to the chip timing. More details to follow on these changes on our website.

The Olympic event has been chosen as a 2009 USAT Special Qualifier. The 2009 Special Qualifier race will qualify the top 33% or top 5 people (whichever is greater) per age group for the 2009 Age Group Nationals. For additional information, please visit

We are also in the process of putting together a Juniors race. I need help with this. If I can get a couple of people to give me a call or email and volunteer to help organize the Juniors race I would really appreciate it. (possibly enough to provide Blackfoot beer).

As you know the Spring Meadow Triathlon is a big event for Team Great Divide and the Helena community. We are excited about the changes and also to try to keep the event a home town, fun race for all levels.

If you have any questions that the above websites don’t answer, please feel free to send me an email at

Happy Training!

Official Powder Hound Race Report

Start of Powder Hound Tri

Dashing through the snow

Filed by Meghan Trainor

The theme of the morning was, ‘why not?’ Five Team Great Divide members put their egos aside (as best we could) and decided fun was the name of the game and to try something new. Both fortunately and unfortunately, the morning was sunny and warmed up quickly. This made for an easier time of deciding what to wear for our first winter triathlon, but also meant soft snow for the bike and ski loops. 

One hour before the start time, Greg gave Russ a skate ski lesson. As a testament to Russ’ adventuresome spirit and ability, he finished 6th overall. The examples of adventuresome spirits and thrill-seekers didn’t stop there. Greg finished fourth overall. Laura, persevered through a very trying bike course to be the third woman to finish. And Jennifer Griggs, who was just walking out of the lodge in time to see the race start, successfully completed her first triathlon.

The course overall was not easy, filled with plenty of ups and downs. The bike course was a problem-solving exercise as Greg alluded to. Figuring out the tire pressure and keeping the tires on the untracked snow helped maintain traction. The backside of the bike course was a super fun roller coaster of hills that was followed by a buzz-killing mandatory dismount. The dismount was a 40-foot stretch of solid ICE across a wetland – that thanks to the warm weather had melted and was not holding snow. Race mode had to quickly be turned off and self-preservation mode on as racers walked the bike (many with bike shoes on) across the ice.

I think we were all looking forward to the ski course and hoping for some gravity-induced rest for the legs. But that hope was crushed as the middle of the loop contained one long hill that we got to experience three times. 

The uphill finish put us back at the transition area in front of Homestake Lodge. The race entry fee included soup and sandwiches. Any plans of skiing and exploring more trails around the lodge after lunch were quickly changed as we all settled into the deep cushy couches in the lodge, basking in the sun shining through the three stories of south-facing windows. It was a fun morning. I’d do it again!

Thanks to Dave Holien for ringing the cow bell and cheering everyone on. And thanks to Sarah for the Team banner. 

Race results can be found on Homestake Lodge’s website at