Race Coverage

Bee-Ware! And T-Rex Joins the Volleyball Team...


By Doobie Kurus

4WOMEN TRI - At the age of 83, Judy "T-Rex" Rykken is an inspiration to all, especially the women and young ladies at the 4WOMEN Tri that she spoke to upon accepting her age group award. When asked for some words of wisdom, Judy said, "Just keep moving...they can't put you in the ground if you're still moving". Most of the adults nodded and laughed when they heard this. Some of the young children present turned (with a weird look on their face) to their moms and asked "What did that lady mean Mommy?" ...

We were very fortunate to have near perfect conditions on race day (thank you to my wife, Joyce!) with temps in the 60s, no precipitation, and not much wind. Participants really liked the tank top shirts with the stargazer lily design (thank you to Katy VanDam, my assistant director), as well as the number tattoos, custom full color swim caps, luggage tags, and the rest of the fun items in our race packets. 

However, there were some first year glitches that our team worked through and our participants graciously endured. First, I could not get my brand new $300 GPS device to work on race morning to locate our preset coordinates for the swim buoys. BUT, local triathlon legends Steve and Helen Gunther took off in kayaks to set the buoys themselves. Sarah Nichols, of Dayton, MN, who finished in 10th place overall showed us her device which indicated a perfect 600 yard swim course! Steve Gunther, whose birthday was on race day, quickly pointed out that the device actually read "six hundred point zero!" Well done birthday b(u)oy! 

We also found out part way through the event that the city of Chanhassen also issued a permit for an all day baseball tryout, beginning at 8 a.m. Gonna be honest...I didn't see that coming! BUT, our team sprang into action and adjusted cones and helped with traffic flow, and we kept the number of unhappy parents to a minimum...I hope!

The biggest surprise was when I received a call that one of the favored to win athletes had an issue on the bike course. Now I was probably just finishing off the sentence in my head, but I swear I heard "Catherine Lee got hit by a..." and my heart sank. Turns out I misheard and overreacted. What actually happened was that Catherine somehow got BIT (stung really) by a BEE while riding her bike, which is amazing considering how fast she rides. In either case, the bee won this matchup and Catherine had her first ever DNF. We heard later of 2 other triathletes out on training rides that got stung by bees that weekend as well. WEIRD! so Bee-ware! 

To finish off with some positives, I want to give a shout out to Lorinda Donaldson, of Eden Prairie, who was awarded the #1 race bib for our inaugural event. Lorinda is married to John Donaldson, who incidentally will be awarded the #1 bib for the Hopkins Royal Tri coming up in Sept. Lorinda is mom to 10 children (7 biological and 3 adopted) and got into triathlons at HoRT a few years ago when she decided to give a little more attention and care to herself. That resonated with many of the participants when we announced this at the pre-race meeting, as was evident by the cheers and clapping.

I also want to acknowledge our Athena Division winners: Andrea Potyondy-Smith, Cheryl Rubenis, Michelle Young, and Kathleen Pengelly. And congrats to all of our participants whom were doing their first ever triathlon, including Sarah Deems of Eden Prairie, Akiko Nakamura (photo), of St. Paul, and Diane Pottratz, who had this to say...
"This was such a great event!  When you said: "We wanted something people would look at and say: "I can do it"" you nailed it!  As someone who has been very limited by chronic pain I saw the distances and thought: "This is my foot in the door!" and absolutely loved the event!!"