Lifetime Fitness Triathlon 2009

>> Monday, July 13, 2009

Sit back. Get comfy. Grab a soda. I have a LOT of photos of pro triathletes and a bunch of friends racing the Lifetime Fitness Triathlon at Lake Nokomis.

Sarah E, a member of the “CVA Triathlon Club,” biked over to my place early Saturday morning, and we were off on our bikes by 5:30 am. Once we got to Lake Nokomis, the first thing we saw was US Olympian Sarah Haskins!

We walked over to the “non-pro” transition area, and we spotted Cathy, who won the Amateur Elite division last year:

We chatted with her a bit later, and she said she was feeling good, but she wasn’t the favorite “on paper.” Little did she know what was about to come...

We went back to gawk at the pros some more. Here’s Craig Alexander and Andy Potts yuckin’ it up:

Sarah and I BOTH admitted that Craig was pretty hunky. He’s MUCH more hunky and attractive in person. Really. Soon, Greg Bennett joined the picture (on the right):

We also spotted Becky Lavelle:

We walked back to check out the non-pro transition area as it was filling up:

I spotted this golf cart that had an odd combination of jobs:

“Everyone disperse! But first, pee in this cup!” Ha!

Sarah and I hung around the pro transition until they headed for the water. Here’s Becky Lavelle and multi Xterra champion Julie Dibens heading to the start (and I believe that’s Andy Potts “Body Gliding” the back of his neck):

I wished Becky “good luck,” and she smiled and waved. Soon, Matt Reed and Craig Alexander headed to the water. I don’t know why I’m getting Craig’s “stink-eye:”

A moment later, I wished Craig “good luck,” and he smiled and said “thanks!” Once the pros were at the water, pro transition volunteer buddy Katie W snapped a photo of all the pro bikes set up:

(While hanging around the pro transition, I got to talk to Katie for a bit. She’s always so fun! I also chatted with Tri-mama, Nat, and Amy Bee’s hubby. It was great chatting with all of them!! On our way to the beach, I stopped XT4 and we chatted for a bit, and there were a few people that stopped me to say “Hey, Steve in a Speedo! Hi! I read your blog!” That’s ALWAYS fun!)

Sarah and I headed to the beach. I stopped to quickly grab 2 shots on the footbridge that went over the run course. Here’s Nokomis Beach filled with people before the start:

Looking right

Looking left

We tried to peek through the crowds to see the pro and elite starts. Here’s Sarah watching the Athena/Cyldesdale start (trying to spot Amy Bee):

We hung out on the beach for a while to watch many of my friends start. (LTF has a TT-style start: each person has his/her own start time. People go off every 3 seconds. It makes finding someone at the start EASY if you know their number, because they good off in order.) I had the list of pros (along with all of their bios) with me, and I had written all of my friend’s start times on the front:

I’m a nerd, I know...

First up was Ms. R. Here she is contemplating her race, and then smiling once she spotted me:

Next up was buddy XT4:

Off with a splash!

Next up was the main reason Sarah and I were there: Cynthia, a fellow CVA Tri Club member, was hitting the start of her FIRST OLYMPIC DISTANCE TRIATHLON!!

Hitting the water, chasing down the swimmers in front of her

Sarah and I headed back up the beach towards transition. Here’s a nice line of swimmers heading back to shore:

It was a funny sight back at the pro transition zone. I mean, look at how LITTLE stuff they have!!

Greg Bennett was the first pro to come into T2:

Next was Matt Reed:

Not far behind was Andy Potts:

A couple of racers back was local rockstar David Thompson!! Go David!

David was ahead of Craig Alexander:

All the guys were out there. The first female to hit transition was Olympian Sarah Haskins! I was REALLY rooting for her! Go Sarah!!

Not far behind Sarah was Julie Dibbens and Becky Lavelle. They came out of T2 back-to-back:

Becky running out of T2

We headed down near the finish line. The run course was 2 loops around Lake Nokomis, so it was easy to watch people starting their second lap as others were finishing. We cheered for the pro females as we waited for the pro males to finish. Sarah Haskins was still in the lead!

Do you know how Sarah can run so fast?!?! Look at those photos above: her feet NEVER touch the ground!! ;)

Still right behind her was Julie Dibens:

And still in 3rd was Becky Lavelle:

Look at that quad!

Also, local triathlete Devon Palmer came running by, as the lead in the Amateur Elite division. I had just introduced myself to him, wished him luck, and shook his hand before the race. Go Devon!

A moment later, the crowd started to erupt. The lead men were coming to the line, and IT WAS GOING TO BE CLOSE!!! Look at this race!! Here’s Matt Reed, Andy Potts, and Greg Bennett all within a few seconds from one another, with about 100 meters to go!

Look at Andy’s wicked stride!

Matt Reed checked over his shoulder, and I got a shot that looks like he’s staring right at me as he’s sprinting hard to the finish:

They held those positions, so Matt Reed took first by 0.1 seconds, Andy Potts got second, and Greg Bennett came in third. The crowd was going nuts!! I told Sarah that she had just witnessed something pretty cool, as non-draft-legal races usually aren’t that close. SO COOL!!

The next people to the line were 2 sets of blind athletes!! They took off around when the pros started, but they only did the sprint course. Here’s a blind woman heading to the finish tethered to the man that lead her through the entire course:

Amazing!! Congrats!!

Next, Sarah Haskins was heading to the line, as the first pro female!! YAY SARAH!!

Second was Julie Dibens:

And third was Becky Lavelle:

Not far behind them was Cathy, who defended her title as the first place Amateur Elite female!! CONGRATS ON 2 IN A ROW, CATHY!!

Well, that did it for all the Pros and Elites. Man, they were fun to watch! To be SO CLOSE to them as they competed was AWESOME!!

Before I knew it, intervals buddy Jen came SPRINTING to the line of her second Olympic Distance tri. I swear, I’ve NEVER taken a bad photo of Jen running:

I spotted Miss Allycat cheering near us, and she said her boy-toy was going to be finishing shortly. And sure enough, Ryan came running by just a few moments later:

I TOTALLY missed BaddApple as he ran by, but I got my camera up to snap a photo of him running down the finishers chute. He’s the one in white:

And buddy XT4 came running by shortly after:

We had one more buddy out there - Cynthia was still working hard. She did the bike on a commuter-style bike, so she knew she wasn’t going to have a super-speedy finish time. But she WAS going to finish! Sarah and I walked farther out on run course to cheer. We cheered for all the other athletes right at the point where the trail splits (finishers headed right and people with 1 lap left headed left). I saw and cheered for Joe, Pharmie’s running buddy that she met at Liberty.

Soon, Cynthia was finishing her first lap:

She really had to force that smile - she was a little beat up. But before too long, she had finished her 2nd lap, and she headed down the finisher’s chute!

We had talked 2 days earlier, and she gave me her estimated finishing time. I told her she’d be 20-40 minutes faster than that. Well, she was 15 minutes FASTER than my prediction!! CONGRATULATIONS CYNTHIA!!!

Here’s Sarah, Cynthia, and I shortly after Cynthia finished:

Sarah and I hit the porta-potties before heading home. (I actually had a roll of TP in my bag, and I made 3 friends at the porta-potties who needed TP! Always prepared!! Ha!) We bumped into Marie and t-odd (and one of t-odd’s friends whose name escapes me at this moment...). I think Sarah was getting sick of all the people stopping me saying, “Hey, Steve in a Speedo!!” Seriously, there were 12-15 people that stopped to say hi on Saturday! It was AWESOME!! We spotted Mike and Ms. R on our way back to our bikes, and we congratulated Ms. R on a 2:40 oly PR!

As we were leaving (as I wrote about yesterday), we bumped into Becky Lavelle (3rd place pro). She was really nice and personable, and we snapped a photo with her:

That’s all! What a hell of a day!! A LOT of cool pro-spotting, Cynthia’s first oly, and a great race by a lot of my friends!! I asked Sarah what she thought of all of that, and I THINK she liked it. Her response was, “Well, I’ll be racing it next year!” Sweet!


duchossois 2:33 PM, July 13, 2009  

You do just as good a report for events you watched as for events in which you competed. Very exciting, and of course, the usual collection of great photos. Thanks, Steve.

Sarah 2:56 PM, July 13, 2009  

That's awesome! I spectated and volunteered at IronGirl in ATL a few weeks ago and it was awesome. Up close and personal with Michellie Jones, Mirinda Carfrae, Kate Major and Sam McGlone. Total awesome watching them race. Great shots and recap!

It is wild when people recognize me from my blog. And mine is much less read than yours, so I can only imagine!

Marlene 3:21 PM, July 13, 2009  

Sounds like a great day and definitely a great race to watch!

B.o.B. 3:38 PM, July 13, 2009  

Great pics as per usual. Congrats to all your buddies and racers.

Way to feel ok calling another man hunky. ;)

Steve Stenzel 3:41 PM, July 13, 2009  

Yeah B.o.B., you're talking to a man who's comfortable with his sexuality here.

Craig Alexander = Hunky.

Harmless. ;)

Irish Cream 3:50 PM, July 13, 2009  

Awesome report, Steve! You are seriously the best spectator ever--and I do appreciate the "hunky" photos ;)

teacherwoman 3:54 PM, July 13, 2009  

Looked like a great time. YOu did an awesome job capturing all those pictures!

What's the water like in Lake Nokomis? I noticed on your pics and other's pics that a lot of people were wearing wetsuits. Was that necessary?

We had a few people wearing wetsuits at our tri this weekend, and the water wasn't even cold!

Ms. R 3:54 PM, July 13, 2009  

Correction: 2:42 oly PR, but seriously, just as awesome! Thanks for being there - it was great to see you and meet Sarah.

joyRuN 4:01 PM, July 13, 2009  

You got some awesome shots - how motivating to see all these spectacular athletes!

Julia 4:52 PM, July 13, 2009  

Awesome photos! You're right about Sarah; her feet never tough the ground!I've been focusing on my running form lately, and one of the things is spending less time in contact with the ground. These photos are the best motivation!
Also, I did a recap of the shoes I won on your giveaway on my blog. Thanks again Steve!

Michelle 5:32 PM, July 13, 2009  

Awesome Steve, I always love to read your race reports and photos!!!

Anonymous,  6:41 PM, July 13, 2009  

Great report and awesome photos. I'm glad I'm not the only one who brings TP to races...

Michelle 7:16 PM, July 13, 2009  

that is cool, steve. thanks for sharing with us.

trigirl82 7:29 PM, July 13, 2009  

That is so freaking cool! Thanks for sharing!!

Oh, and Andy Potts' expression running out of transition? Ha! Hilarious. :-)

MissAllycat 9:53 PM, July 13, 2009  

Indeed...there were lots of tasty man-snacks at this tri. A freaking buffet of HOTNESS. Have I mentioned lately that I love spandex??

jen 10:49 PM, July 13, 2009  

Wow Steve!! This is the coolest post ever. Congratulations to all the finishers!

What great photos, very fun to see the pros racing right along with the rest of the regular athletes. Such a cool sport we are in. Thank you so much for sharing!!

Mike 6:29 AM, July 14, 2009  

Nice job to everyone!!! Thank you for the race report!!! :)

Coach Liz 8:09 AM, July 14, 2009  

Yeah! Craig and Andy are hunky!!! What a treat to get to see so many pro triathletes in your neck of the woods.

BaddApple 9:04 AM, July 14, 2009  

Glad you got my best side Steve? I have more pics on my blog. I met Sarah when I picked up my packet. She was really nice and told me she was going to win this year and she did! Great job with your team Steve.

Carolina John 9:24 AM, July 14, 2009  

awesome pictography steve. i love becky lavelle, she's one of my fav pro's.

Regina 10:04 AM, July 14, 2009  

Great Photos! I felt like I was there watching it with you.

I volunteered to help in a local triathlon, I think it will be nice to watch for a change. No pressure!

X-Country2 10:27 AM, July 14, 2009  

That's it- I'm signing up for my first tri this week. Thanks for the final nudge I needed. :o)

Unknown 10:45 AM, July 14, 2009  

GREAT pictures, especially of the hunky professionals, I may have to sign up as a volunteer at that race next year, it'd totally be worth the plane ticket! Awesome recap.

Dori 2:24 PM, July 15, 2009  

Great report, Steve. I volunteered a few years ago at the LTF Tri and was very excited to see the Pro's. It's a fabulous event.

Amy B. got first in her A.G.!

Judi 7:01 PM, July 16, 2009  

gawd, i love looking at their ripped muscles! thanks for posting all those pix steve!

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