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Hawk Island - May 31, 2015

May 31 2015
May 31 2015


This year the Hawk Island Triathlon was the coldest race we've ever been to. Added to the severely below-average-temperature of 45-52 degrees, it was also very windy & rained the entire time! So, I bundled up & cheered on the team but I did not take any pictures.

The Sprint Race According to the Team:

Aaron: "If racing in tough conditions builds character, then my character bank is full.  The cold rain before  the race made it difficult to set up/ warm up/ get in a racing mood.  The water felt great though! I really get a kick out of the "Elite Wave" that Hawk Island does - very fun to line up in front.  I had a solid swim, then left on my wetsuit top for the bike (I have a two piece suit).  I also put on gloves for the bike, and was glad I did.  While they were hard to get on, I appreciated being able to steer and shift with semi-warm hands.

The bike was very challenging.  I saw several people changing flats, likely due to pot holes and shallow puddles looking very similar.   It was fairly miserable riding and I wished I had windshield wipers on my glasses.   I rode very conservatively, especially on the corners.  This may not have lead to the fastest time I could have put out, but I didn't crash.

My transition was not very fast. I had trouble finding my spot, took forever to get the gloves and wetsuit top off and had trouble getting my shoes on with semi-numb fingers.  I passed one athlete on the run, then settled in to shadow women's winner/ local pro/ former LTT athlete Samantha Kennedy on the run.  There was no one close enough to catch and no one close enough to catch me, so I ran a solid 5k and was the 6th man across the line.  Two people in later waves had faster times, so in the end I was 2nd in my age group, 8th overall male.  This was my first podium at Hawk Island, so all in all a good day.  Definitely memorable!"

Ken: "I woke up to the worst possible conditions for a triathlon. My vehicle was already loaded the night before so when I went outside to leave that morning is when I realized how windy and cold it actually was. I thought to myself, tri's are suppose to be fun but this weather sure isn't my idea of fun so I decided to bag it and go back to bed.  Once inside, I thought "I surely won't be the only one to not show up in these miserable conditions, but what if I am?"  The team would never let me hear the end of it so back outside and on to the event I went.

Once at the park, there was no chance of doing any pre-race warmup.  I was doing everything I could just to stay warm and dry.  I set up my transition area with a trash bag and in it were gloves, beanie, thermal tights a water/wind proof cycling jacket and a towel to attempt to dry off with in order to quickly dress myself.  My T times are usually pretty quick but my only concern was staying somewhat warm and as dry as possible.

The swim was great!  It was the first time I wished it was longer because the water was warmer than the air.  I spent almost 4 minutes in T1 changing into my warm clothes but once out on the road I realized what a good move that was.  The bike was pretty uneventful for me but I did see a few crashed riders and a large amount of flats so I was just trying to avoid the potholes the best I could.  Upon entering the transition area I decided to leave all of my clothes on for the run so I just racked my bike, put on my running shoes and off I went. I had neoprene toe caps on my bike shoes so my feet weren't too cold getting off the bike and I was able to get into a good pace pretty quickly.

I ended up finishing 3rd in my age group and 26th overall but I thought it was a win just finishing the event."

Jason E.:  "I'm normally a very organized person, so having all my race gear laid out and planned is commonplace, but on race morning I was feeling out of sorts trying to stay warm and dry as I clumsily set up my transition area. I couldn't decide what to wear on the bike, when to get out of my winter gear and when to squeeze into my wetsuit. Finally, I just accepted I was going to be wet, cold and uncomfortable and got in a good mindset.

Warming up in the lake was a pleasant relief from the bitter cold and thankfully allowed us to walk right to the start line. Finally we were off, I had decided I was going to take the first buoy a little smoother than normal, but once I hit the turn, I would let loose and as it happened that game-plan had me coming out the water in the top 5.

I made the decision to forgo any special gear for warmth on the bike.  I figured I could endure for 10 quick miles, which allowed me to have a very snappy transition. I quickly rode past the guys in 4th and 3rd and had my eye on the two leaders. Then as lack-of-luck would have it, 2 miles into the ride, I had a slight "mishap" and found myself on the ground with some fresh road rash. Thankfully, everything was still functioning (both on my bike and on me), and I hopped back on and took off. I eventually got past the shock of the crash and put the pedal down, but I had lost sight of the leaders. The rest of the ride was cold but fast. I entered transition and again had a very quick in and out, even with my fully-numb fingers and toes. My solid T2 allowed me to move into 3rd for a short time before being passed by the eventual winner. The first mile found me recognizing the side effects of my wreck, but I held a strong pace for the 5k and crossed the line 1st in my category and 4th place overall!

As with any race you always learn something and in this one I learned more about myself and the perseverance that comes with competition in the face of adversity."

Tim: "I've been competing in triathlon for 5 years and this year was the first time I had the opportunity to race at the Hawk-I TRI. It pretty much goes without saying amongst the race participants (and spectators, I'm sure!) that this year's race conditions were much less than desirable. That morning was sub-40 degrees with wind chill and the forecast was for rain and cold temps all day. Yet I was still excited for my first go at our hometown race.

I got to the park a little earlier than usual in order to get a parking spot as close as possible to transition. I took my gear out to transition and left everything in bags in an attempt to keep something dry. I'm not sure why I didn't put my wetsuit on earlier than I did because I was much warmer after I did. About 15 minutes before scheduled start time I got into what seemed like bath water. My feet were so cold already, but the water did help a bit.

My swim was decent by "first-race-of-the-season" standards. But upon leaving the water, I couldn't have imagined the misery that was about to come. T1 was probably close to four minutes by the time I added a  beanie under my helmet, wind-jacket, and gloves. I had toe covers on my bike shoes, but I now wish that I had worn my full boot cover. Then I would have been able to feel my feet and toes.

The bike was wet and extra precautions were taken at every corner. I came across a few bikes down on the Pennsylvania bridge near the hospital. Everyone seemed ok as they were remounting as I rode by. The route itself was well marked and patrolmen at the intersections, but when racing in Michigan, I'd like some better surfaces to race on.

Coming in off the bike my legs were pretty numb from the calves down. As I dismounted and planted my first step on the ground my leg nearly gave out. Second step was a little better but I knew this run was not going to be fast or much fun at all. I removed my jacket and took off on my peg-leg run. Typically I wouldn't mind running in the rain and cold, but already thoroughly soaked made it much less fun. I settled in to a non-race-worthy pace and focused on planting each stride. Somewhere around the 2.5 mile mark I began to regain feeling in my toes which helped for a final kick, but I really just wanted to be done.

Overall, I was pleasantly surprised with my result given the race conditions and level of pre-season conditioning. My time placed me 4th among 26 others in my age group.It is always fun to race, even when the conditions aren't ideal. I compete because I want to challenge myself. This year's Hawk-I TRI certainly was a challenge from beginning to end."


Sprint Distance: .31 mile swim - 9.94 mile bike - 3.1 mile run

(500m swim - 16k bike - 5k run)



Plc  OA   Name   Age   Rnk   Swim   Tran1  Rnk    Bike    Rate   Tran2  Rnk   Run     Pace   Time

1      4   Jason E   31      0      7:42     1:14      0     27:48   21.5    1:03     0     19:43     6:20   57:27



Plc  OA   Name   Age   Rnk   Swim   Tran1  Rnk    Bike    Rate   Tran2  Rnk   Run     Pace   Time

2      9     Aaron    37      0      8:37      2:03     0     29:22    20.3    2:08     0    20:58     6:45   1:03:06

4    27      Tim      39       0      9:12      3:33     0     32:38    18.3    1:32     3    23:11     7:28   1:10:05



Plc  OA   Name   Age   Rnk   Swim   Tran1  Rnk    Bike    Rate   Tran2  Rnk   Run     Pace   Time

3     26     Ken      52       0     11:17    3:42      0     31:05   19.2    1:19     0     22:42    7:18    1:10:02


The Olympic Race According to the Team:

Ron: "I had a good Swim and Run (as soon as my toes warmed up). I had dressed well for the bike and had good speed, but the bad part was a flat at about 11 miles that took 15 minutes to change due to numb hands. I was surprised to see Krystina take off on the bike in just her tri suit and gloves, but she look determined and strong. In my 29 years of Tri, I have never experienced weather this bad."

Zack: "Hawk Island this year was full of firsts. It started off with a rough morning.  It was the first time I had ever set up my transition in a puddle as well as the first time ever preparing for a race that had a temperature under 50 degrees.

After becoming numb I climbed in my wetsuit and made my way to the water.  I got in approximately 20 minutes before the start and it was the best part of my day.  Due to the cold weather it was like I was climbing into a hot tub.  I was able to warm up in there a little and try to mentally prepare for the race.

The gun went off and I ran into the water.  I had an alright swim but as I came out of the water I dreaded the next 2 hours in front of me.  In transition I kept my arm warmers on and put on a pair of gloves.  Going out on the bike I was able to warm up slightly with minimal amounts of extra clothing on.  At about 7 miles into the bike my day turned and I encountered my first flat in a race.  Not only did I flat but I hit a pothole so hard that I snapped the aerobar pads on my bike and could only ride upright the rest of the ride.  Because it was so wet outside I soaked my gloves while changing the flats and lost the use of them.  I struggled the rest of the bike and entered T2 with a completely numb body.  I was so numb that I was unable to undo the buckle on my helmet and had to receive assistance.

I set off on the run.  My race was already done so my only goal was to try and warm up.  It took the first 5k before I started feeling my feet and I finally regained feeling in my hands about 5 miles in.  It was an overall rough day.  Between the horrid weather, the terrible bumpy ride, the nasty flat, a broken bike, and a numb body, I would say finishing was a success."

Krystina: "When I woke up the morning of the Hawk Island triathlon, it was sprinkling and puddles were everywhere and most importantly it was cold. Planning ahead is not a strong suit of mine, so I had to impromptu pack some warmer gear, basically arm and leg warmers and socks. I forgot warm clothes for the down time, gloves and an additional pair of runners (or anything but sandals).  Luckily with some donations, I scored a pair of gloves to wear before the race. When I arrived, numerous puddles were present throughout transition and myself in a soft shell and sandals, was instantly numb. I started shaking soon after I got there, so much so that it was difficult to write my numbers on my body and the wetsuit was put on with little or no anti-stick prepping (= the T1 delay).

After over an hour of shaking terribly, body covered in goose-bumps and purple lips wondering if I could do this, I got in the lake, THE WARM LAKE.  It felt AMAZING, but we were delayed 20 more minutes till start time, so it was difficult after getting in the water to once again try and maintain mental stamina and severe shivering prior to the race.

Alas, the race was on, we (Olympic females) started about 3-4 min post the Olympic men, quickly I separated from the pack of women and started infiltrating the tail of the men. By the time I was in the second lap, I was mid-pack and then at the end of the swim, towards the head of the men’s pack. I exited the water with the tail of the male lead pack, being the first female out, It was cold but I was in it now.

I ran to T1, struggled with the left ankle of my wetsuit far too long, put my socks and arm warmers on.  Then I saw the second place female arriving at her spot on the rack. I made the decision to not try to get a long sleeve shirt on or gloves at that moment and ran out of T1.  The bike was terrible, strong wind and cold rain with questionable road conditions which forced me to keep my riding wits. I pushed hard, but only to the point were I thought I could control my bike enough to prevent significant injury if need be.  At the turn around, I lost my gel flask and straw extender to an unforgiving pothole so for the last half of the ride, I had no drink or nutrition.  At around mile 12, I saw the second place female again, ~ 2mi behind me.

By the time I got to T2, I was full of road debris and my hands and feet were numb, the kind of numb that hurts. Every foot plant on the run for at least the first loop (5k) felt like I was repeatedly setting down a brick foot that stung each time. Finally towards the end of the run, my feet felt less foreign. I ran a steady pace and had a good lead, so I kept comfortable.  I finished first overall female and fourth overall total. Despite the cold, wet conditions, I pulled through and was fantastically pleased with my placement in my 1st Hawk Island Tri!

All said and done I was extremely fortunate to not have had any severe misfortunes during this race and I have never looked forward to finishing a race more. As a first time Hawk-I participate, I think that despite the conditions one of the most amazing parts of the race was the intimacy on the run.  I have always believed that no matter how competitive or how hard you are pushing it in a race you should always be able to generate a “good job “or “keep it up” to those around, especially those having a more difficult time. A lot of encouragement was being exchanged both ways during this race. This component of the race made the conditions more negligible and reminded me just how great this sport is and the people that compete in it."


Olympic Distance: .62 mile swim - 24.85 mile bike - 6.2 mile run

(1000m swim - 40k bike - 10k run)



Plc  OA   Name   Age   Rnk   Swim   Tran1  Rnk    Bike    Rate   Tran2  Rnk   Run     Pace   Time

1    1/4  Krystina   30      0     15:46     2:34    0    1:12:25   20.6    1:21     0    47:19    7:37   2:19:23



Plc  OA   Name   Age   Rnk   Swim   Tran1  Rnk    Bike    Rate   Tran2  Rnk   Run     Pace   Time

1      5      Zack     24       0     16:20    2:15     0     1:15:57  19.6    3:02     0      44:36   7:11   2:22:08



Plc  OA   Name   Age   Rnk   Swim   Tran1  Rnk    Bike    Rate   Tran2  Rnk   Run     Pace   Time

2     45     Ron       56       0     18:29    5:21     0     1:42:56  14.5    4:00     0    46:56   7:33   2:57:39


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