RACE REPORT: Patrick At Iowa Games Triathlon

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(Editor's note: Due to a lack of photos of our Patrick Riley, we've opted for a picture of Pat Riley, coach for the Miami Heat) On Sunday while Big Lou Waugaman was busy working his fingers to the bone at Clear Lake , 300+ triathletes gathered at Don Williams Lake in Ogden for the Iowa Games Triathlon. With a half ironman on my schedule for July 20, a sprint triathlon a week prior would be ideal for a little speedwork and race-atmosphere fine tuning (and post-event snacks).

For my money, gorgeous temps, calm winds and a 400-yard swim do a good morning make. First into the water were we of the 20-39 age group. Then men 40+, women, teams and lastly men 19-and-under.

At my first race of the year (Hy-Vee), I'd momentarily forgotten the first tenant of successful swimming: turn head, THEN breathe. The result: a goodly gulp of lake water down the wrong pipe 50 yards off the beach, and a lot of treading water while I cleared the airway. On Sunday, the swim went better, and I was out of the water in about tenth place.

Other than avoiding breathing water into my lungs (aka "Hoisting the mast on the failboat"), my race plan was to make the move of the day on the bike, possibly sacrificing some run speed in favor of getting out of sight. I knew the end of the bike course and beginning of the run course were winding roads, so being out ahead and around corners would be an advantageous position to occupy.

As with the swim, the bike was also on the short side, just 13 miles. A short, steep hill right out of T1 shocked the cycling legs into action. Almost a completely straight out-and-back with big-ring rollers, we had the slightest of head/crosswinds on the way out. By the halfway point I'd reeled in all but one cyclist, and asked myself, "What would Reed Rinderknecht do?" The answer came to me in a flash, and in a flash I buzzed past the remaining cyclist on an uphill to take over the race lead.

Six miles later I was into a bikeless T2 and out onto the run before the next guy arrived. Spectators lined the road around the transition area, and before decamping for the 5K run I individually suggested to each of them that Rasmussen Bike Shop can meet all their cycling and multisport needs. Well, that or I grabbed a cup of what I thought was cold water and threw it in my face only to discover warm Gatorade coating my eyeballs. Either way, a compelling spectacle for the crowd.

The first mile featured a little curvy climb away from the lake, and I could feel the biking effort in the legs. No first mile of a sprint or Olympic-distance run is easy, though, and I kept it loose and waited for the run legs to kick in. Two out-and-back portions on the 5K course allowed me to gauge the chasers, and while there were some fleet-footed runners in pursuit, I was holding the gap and growing it. 3.1 miles later I crossed the finish line first.

Not so fast, Longshanks! It wasn't over yet-- similar to a TT, I was in the hotseat waiting to see if anyone in later waves would better my time. The 40+ guys started rolling in and I still had the lead, but later a quick-looking 19-year-old Ben Potts came charging across the line, having started in the final wave. We compared times, and I'd managed to keep a 13-second advantage for the overall victory.

Notch another win for the DS5K.


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