Race Coverage

All the "Feels"...


By Nikki Dostert Sudberry


TRINONA - It’s 9:30 PM the night before our race. We had a big dilemma; do we get Domino’s delivered to the hotel or Ground Round?

We decided that having burgers and wraps would go better with our Coors. Ground Round it is!!


I really wish I could tell you that I diet. I really wish I could tell you that I’m one of those athletes that doesn’t drink beer weeks before a race. The truth is; I like to do all the things- and if I wasn’t scarfing down cookies and fries and a coors I feel that I might be leaving one of the “things” out.

I also feel guilty writing about the perfect race last weekend at Trinona while other athletes in Minnesota and Wisconsin who raced had to deal with crap but.....it was pretty great. Not too hot, not too cold.. overcast, no rain, no white caps in the swim and no wind! Suffice it to say this would have been anyone’s perfect first-timer race.

Trinona Swim, although it can be a little “weedy,” it is always the perfect temperature and it’s such a calm lake.

The bike portion gives you something to work for and look at; it’s beautiful!
And if you’re looking for elevation on the run you better step on a curb! It’s a run that’s as flat as Kansas with the trees offering even more shade than you could ask for; like a canopy from the sun.

For those of you who don’t know about Trinona Triathlon it’s located in Winona Minnesota. Two distances are offered at this race; the sprint distance and the well-known Olympic distance race. The Olympic distance race offers athletes a “race within a race” where a 1.2 mile climb at an over 9% grade gives cyclists a chance for THE coveted prized jersey for The Battle of the Bluff! I did the Olympic distance last year and that hill is a bitch. There is no other race that I have done where there is a timing mat at the bottom and the top of the hill to see who wins the epic climb.

As for the sprint distance, it’s the perfect race for somebody who needs to work on hills and speed for the bike. It’s an out and back bike course that leaves my face with a constant smile.

I know what goes up must come down and when my bike gets over 27 miles an hour I can’t help but grin. My heart laughs when I go that fast. There is nothing quite like the feeling of working hard up a hill only to enjoy the descent. Feeling the wind and tucking in completely to become as aero as possible. Getting a chance to catch your breath, slow the heart rate from the climb and feeling the excitement from the speed. I lick my lips and I can taste the salt on my skin. I’ve been working hard. It’s time to work harder.

I notice as I come into T2 that I’m the first bike back. This excites me and worries me at the same time. My bike has gotten a lot better over the last couple of years but my run is nothing to write home about. If you looked at my bike transition time in T2 you would probably wonder or ask yourself if I actually set up a campsite while I was there. It’s true.

That is a topic for a different time.....

After what seems like prepping for a large Thanksgiving feast that could feed a small army, I leave transition and set out for my run. I love an out and back run for one reason; sometimes if you’re lucky you get to see the first place people coming in. It really pumps me up. It makes me want to run faster and it makes me happy that I chose this sport. I see coach Gabby and coach Phil; their faces are red and I know they are working hard finishing the Olympic distance. Every person I meet up with on the run is giving their all; we are all breathing heavy.. waiting for the “turn around here” sign...... waiting for the big, red inflated finishing arch.

With around 400 meters left I hear a kid yelling at me to “go faster, Nikki!” It’s my coach’s kid, Cole. At first I’m thinking he knows something I don’t... like someone in my age group is about to pass. I give it all the power that my body can handle. I see the finish line.

I smile. I finish. My heart is beating so fast. I have all the “feels.” The race day “feels.”
I see my friends and by their smiles I know that the day went perfectly for them, too.

I can’t wait for next time:)


ED. Nikki failed to mention that she placed 5th overall in the women's sprint. Top Photo - Tom Segar, Nikki, Marc Sontowski. Podium photo - Nikki and Rocio Cupeiro.

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