Xterra Northwest Championships report

Greg says write a race report and I say, “how many words?” He finds out I knit and shamed back to skinny tires and curved bars.
Landen, Gail and I headed to Farragut State Park near Athol Idaho for the Xterra Northwest Championships this past weekend. Our Xterra Experience so far had been one of tough courses and gritty competitors (we call ourselves the Tribe). A call from my friend Volker Riedlinger on Thursday night had me wondering what event I had signed up for. Might as well bring your road bike, he said. 22 miles of the water line. Uhoh. I knew I should have done a few Hell rides. He wasn’t far off. Pretty flat, very fast. A road course on dirt. The only thing that saved the weekend from turning into a ” dude, that was one tough bike course” kind of event was the 52 degree water temp in good 1 foot blowing surf. Now that reminded us all where we were and what we had in front of us.
The day started with the Short course Xterra. 50 brave tribes men and women lined up on the shores of lake Pend Oreille for a 1/2 mile swim, one lap of the 11 mile bike course and a 5K trail run. Landen, having been thrown out of the long course event for not being of the legal age of 15 had a thing or two to show the assembled Xterra execs. The gun sounded and soon one lone yellow cap was all by itself ripping the strokes thru the surf and around the buoys. 11:35 later he was out of the water and into transition. Second place came in almost 5 minutes later in 16:14. Being 40 he wasn’t gonna let some little kid have his way with him. Oops, guess he will. Lando’s bike split of 56:06 was fastest of the day by a minute. He headed out on the 5K with a solid 6 minute lead and had he not decided to tour a mile or so of the 10K course when he missed an arrow it would have been a perfect day. As it was, once the volunteers setting up the aid stations got him turned around it was too little too late. He ended up in second by a mere 9 seconds. Best quote of the day. “I came in second? Wow, that’s great.” I want to be a kid again.
All in all it was a great weekend. We broke in our new TGD tops with some good sweat, a little blood but no tears. I was able to pick up the one spot in my age group for the World Championship in Maui, all the while managing to only cause minor embarrassment to my family at the June Moon after party. It’s a great race to try if you want to venture to the dark side.


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..

http://www.flickr. com/photos/ jp-crowley/ sets/72157618886 706418/

Spring Meadow Triathlon News

Registrations are rolling in for the Spring Meadow Triathlons. Please go to http://www.active.com/page/Event_Details.htm?event_id=1639866&assetId=c13756b2-40fc-4c30-b3b5-5a9f4b1a56bf to register soon. You can also print a registration at http://www.teamgreatdivide.com 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. http://www.teamgreatdivide.com

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 http://www.usatriathlon.org

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 cajake@dishmail.net.

Happy Training!