First: a funny story. This year’s winner of the Holidayman sprint triathlon was Eda Davidman. She returned to win the race this year after apparently riding off the course last year, thus taking an unintentional “holiday” in the nearby town of Sandwich before wheeling back onto the course after having lost five minutes on her bike time.
This year she kept on course for a 1:32 winning time in the women’s race. The male Sprint winner was the Mohawk-adorned Joe Russo in 1:19, nearly three minutes faster than the second place male.
What a Holiday
The race is named after the Lake Holiday community where the race is staged. The lake is classically rimmed with vacation and permanent homes set in a relatively hilly section of Northern Illinois fifty miles southwest of Chicago. While rich with algae, the lake was cool and wetsuit legal. That’s what most triathletes seem to want.
So it’s a pleasant place to Tri, for sure.
Both the Sprint and the Olympic distance races offered a bit of fun with a chill vibe that did not compromise organization of the race. Kudos to Midwest Misfits and Braveheart Coaching for a race well run.
Wet and wiled
Sue and I traipsed out there the day before to get in a practice swim and look at the course. In my case, for the race I was not sure was in my present wheelhouse, given the rumbly state of a left knee that is showing signs of some bio-mechanical disturbance. Going in for a renewed bike fit this week to eliminate the cause of that.
Before our test ride of the bike course, we joined a swim practice hosted by Braveheart Coaching. That gave the newbies in the group of 20 a chance to test their mettle in a rehearsal of group starts. Most of the swimmers gratefully wore wetsuits with one exception, a real newbie who laughed off her lack of expertise and happily proclaimed herself ready for anything. One had to admire her spirit. A willing misfit is almost always a pleasure to encounter. It puts things into perspective like that crazy Irishman in the movie Braveheart. One of my favorite scenes in all of moviedom.
As it was, our little band of misfits all practiced our watery wiles out on each other. When all was said and done, everyone seemed to feel ready for the next day’s race. “Thanks for bumping into me,” one gal observed. “Gladly,” I laughed.
All brave hearts get built in increments.
It’s actually quite fun to enter the water with fifty or more people. Choose your slot and find your pace. Then it’s all about sighting the buoys and swimming within yourself. During the race I turned the fourth buoy for home and realized I was nowhere near tired, I picked up the pace and actually passed a few people. Finally this swimming thing is coming together in some ways.
But when I got back to transition, I was not surprised to find my wife there as well. She’d swum three minutes faster that me and was into her bike shoes before I got my wetsuit off. Then I discovered with disgust that I’d failed to unbuckle my cycling shoes. Wasted time in transition.
It felt good to finally climb on the bike after 2:55 fiddling around with gear. Race Dummy.
At twelve miles of the bike there’s a great hill on the Holidayman course. At the top they pop a little black wristband on your arm that serves as proof you’ve climbed the hill and did not cheat.
I rode 53:48 or just under 20 mph for the 18.8 miles, not bad for a guy in the drops on a road bike. Windy last six miles.
The run test
It’s bad enough coming into a brick without a ding-danged hill to climb in the first 400 meters. But Holidayman does not promise a respite from difficulty. None given. The hills came one after the other with a small break in the middle mile before traipsing home.
I caught Sue and we finished within a minute of one another for the day. She was 27th overall, and I was 28th. She won hardware for tops in her age group. I was fourth in the 60+ category. Not a bad way to spend a morning in the sunshine and cool breeze in late July. It felt like an active vacation.
Must admit that getting up at 4:00 a.m. made me feel like that kid looks in the background of this photo. Sleepy boy. Every nap is a holiday. And that’s true for everyone.