Local triathlete star Taylor Vaughan asked me if I was interested in doing a relay team at Rend Lake. Brigitte Kinnaman, another local high level triathlete, was going to do the open water swim. Taylor was signing on to do the biking portion and I would be doing the running portion of the race. I had not previously done any type of tri events and thought it looked like fun and would be a good way to find out how my 10K time was progressing.
We loaded up at 5:00 a.m. Sunday morning and headed north. Ricki Vaughan was our navigator and did a fine job. Her suggestion of eating a pre-race meal at McDonalds put us all in fine spirits. Except for Taylor almost wiping out a couple of deer near Benton it was an easy trip up.
The air temperature was a brisk 40 degrees as Brigitte stepped into the water to begin her 1500 meter open water swim. The lake water was choppy and the contestants all struggled somewhat swimming against the wind and waves. Brigitte finished up her swim strong and ran up to the transition area. She tripped the mat timer at 30:42 after running out of the water and across the sand to the bike/run zone. She looked extremely cold! But her efforts put us in a good position going into the bike portion of the competition.
Taylor then got on his "horse" and began two loops on the 21 mile bike course. He had set a goal pre-race to average 23 mph on the course. He was on pace to do so until the very end of the race. A vehicle nearly wiped him out just before entering the transition area causing him to stop to prevent being struck. Luckily, he was able to avoid the accident and cruised across the timing mat with a split of 1:50:57 for an average of 22.7 mph on the course. Strong biking effort for a tough 42 mile course.
I watched as two other Olympic distance athletes started the run ahead of me. I knew one of them was a Carbondale, Illinois triathlete named Morgan Chaffin. The other, I found out later, was Tim Conway. Both had a 2-3 min lead on me coming out of the transition area. They were the winners of the individual olympic distance triathletes.
The goal for the day was to attempt to average a sub-6 min per mile race. It would be tough but I was pretty confident it could be accomplished. The run course was an out-and-back course shared by the teams and individuals competing in the duathalon, sprint tri, olympic tri and half-ironman distance tri. After collecting the timing chip from Taylor, I ran out of the transition area and down the road to the trail, which was about .25 miles into the race. The running course consisted of a number of rolling hills. None of the hills were killers but just enough to make you shift gears a little bit. My focus was on catching the two athletes in front of me and I was hoping to do so before the turn-around point. It took me nearly three miles to catch up to Chaffin and about 3.5 miles to catch up to Conway. I turned around at the 3.1 mile mark in 18:33. My second half of the race was 18:33; perfect splits :) . Mile splits were as follows: 6:02/5:53/5:57/5:59/5:59/6:02 and 1:13 for the last .25 miles according to my garmin for a time of 37:06. Official time was 37:07.
The SEMO TRI team was the first olympic team across the finish line. I crossed under the finish arch at 2:59:06; our official time was 2:59:16. Either way, we accomplished our goal of a sub 3 hour race on an olympic course in which the bike portion was 17.2 miles longer than the official distance. That is OK though as Taylor welcomed the chance to race some additional miles.
It was a beautiful day to be outside and there were some incredible athletes competing in the other categories. We all had a great time and enjoyed our first race as members of the SEMO TRI team. My wife Toni took many pictures of the event and is always a great supporter of all the local athletes. Her efforts are always appreciated.
|1st Overall SEMO Tri Team (2:59:16): Kevin Hammes, Taylor Vaughan, Ricki Vaughan, and Brigitte Kinnaman.|
|Following Brigitte Kinnaman's 30:42 1500 meter swim, Taylor Vaughan takes to the bike|
for a windy 1:05:57 42-mile ride.
|Kevin Hammes completes the 10K run in 37:07.|