June 7th, 2015 by Team OAM NOW / Athletic Mentors
By Todd Anthes, Team OAM Now Triathlete
The Bear Lake Triathlon in North Muskegon is the final exam for the Grand Haven High School triathlon class. Wow. I wish they had classes like that when I was in high school. Maybe then I would be a better swimmer. It’s great to see athletes get started on the tri in high school, and this is a great race.
The past week of cold temps did not seem to affect Bear Lake very much. In fact, the conditions were perfect. A light breeze, some cloud cover and an air temp pretty close to the 67 degree water temp, greeted the athletes.
The olympic swim start was uneventful. The water was perfect and I broke the seal on my first triathlon of the season with decent sighting and drafting when I could. My swim split was a little slow given a poor start, but successful open water swimming always takes some acclimation for me. I was happy with my performance.
On the other end of the swim, T1 was horrible. I didn’t wear my race top during the swim because of the temperature; I didn’t want to start the bike with a wet top. As a result, I had a heck of a time getting my top on. I also opted for some thin wool socks as my feet tend to get cold (this was a good move), but probably cost me a minute or more.
Bear Lake’s bike course is pretty simple. Besides the turn around, 2 right turns on the way out, and 2 right turns on the way in, there’s a nice stretch on Lake Michigan and a large hill about a third of the way in called “Block House” Hill. It is a granny gear hill out and back. I love it. It always breaks things up a little bit.
I gained some ground on the field in the bike leg. It felt pretty good to be out there with the bike in full race dress and ripping along.
The next transition, from bike to run, went much more smoothly. I have been doing hard bricks for the last few weeks, and it paid off.
I was passed immediately by a couple of younger guys, something that rarely happens on the run. I don’t know where they came from as I was all alone on the bike. I might have caught them in transition. They had a nice cadence and I could tell they knew what they were doing. I kept them in my sights, but never caught them again. I averaged 40 min on the run, but never went back and forth with anyone. I was pleased with this, particularly as an early season effort.
I was 10th overall, and 2nd in my age group. Teammate Bob Schultz came in 3rd in his age group. While my first triathlon of the year was not the final exam the high school students were experiencing, Race Director, Ron Knoll, and Grand Haven High School triathlon teacher Derek Warner, sure do a great job of creating an exciting race environment.
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