Race Coverage

The Race Must Go On!

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By Steve Gunther

CHANHASSEN – The morning of Saturday, June 20th could not have been more perfect for a triathlon. The air temperature was 63 degrees and the water temperature just a few degrees higher than that. Absolutely no wind, perfect glassy water and not a cloud in the sky. It was glorious…except for one small thing: Two months earlier the Lake Minnetonka Triathlon originally set for that Saturday had been cancelled due to CoVid-19 concerns....

Anyone who has completed a triathlon knows that these events are about pushing through the (sometimes unexpected) barriers that arise before and during the competition. For three guys in Chanhassen who were relying on training for Minnetonka to keep them from realizing their inevitable “dad bods” in 2020, this was just another barrier to overcome. Thus, was born the 1st Annual Lotus Lake Triathlon in Chanhassen, MN.

“Three buddies are going to be swimming, biking and running this Saturday morning…it would be cool if you would join us”, read the invitation a week earlier which was sent to a small group of friends and neighbors. “Attendance will be capped at 25 persons, per MN Phase III guidelines.”

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Those three buddies were Mark von Oven (Chanhassen), Dan Reich (Excelsior) and Cameron Reinhart (Chanhassen). After a few years of slacking off and having children, they saw 2020 as the year they would return to racing in search of motivation to stay in shape. All three had nervously signed up for Lake Minnetonka at the end of last year. Since Mark had moved onto Lotus Lake in August of 2017, the trio had considered doing their own version of a triathlon but never acted upon it. The cancellation of Minnetonka was just the push they needed to bring their idea to life.

With 20 participants ranging from seasoned triathletes to first-timers, the event was a huge success. Neighbors volunteered to position themselves on safety kayaks and paddleboards for the .25 mile swim, the 13.6 mile bike route was designed to provide an abundance of right turns, and the 3.6 mile run was purposely routed as an out-and-back so that participants could cheer each other on as they closed in on the final moments of the event.

Athletes were greeted at the finish line by Mark’s children, handing out finisher medals with 1st Annual Lotus Lake Triathlon on the back, which are now clearly a worldwide collector’s item. Surprised and delighted participants then gathered for brunch on the beach, where it was unilaterally decided that the Lotus Lake Triathlon is an official feeder event for the upcoming Camp Gunther Triathlon World Championship, hosted by Steve and Helen Gunther (Chanhassen) on July 11th at Lake Minnewashta.

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