Race Coverage

Food Motivated, Extra Swag, Kindness & Care...


By Noah Billings

Race report—Pigman Sprint Triathlon - The weekend of Trinona I will graduate high school.  This winter, as I planned for this summer’s schedule, I wanted to focus on transitioning to what racing will look like as an adult.   For the last several years my first weekend in June was tied up by draft legal racing.  So, this summer I decided to step back from the elite draft legal series and race more local options.  One of the races I had heard great things about and was eager to try was Pigman.  Since this was also billed as the Iowa High School State Championship I was extra motivated to try and hit this race hard....

Pigman takes place at Pleasant Creek State Recreation Area just outside of Cedar Rapids, IA.  There is a small lake, some winding roads, and a few decent hills nearby.  The venue is really perfect for a Tri! In addition to the sprint race, they had an Olympic, a DU, and an Aquabike race.

I am food motivated.  We drove down Saturday because I wanted to do packet pickup early, I wanted to drive the course, and I wanted to be well rested.  However, I also wanted to get there early because there is a 1970’s lounge style restaurant called Leonardo’s that I really like in cedar rapids and their pizza is AWESOME! 

The race swag was cool.  The race director said High School students got extra swag, so I am not sure what the baseline was, but I left with a cycling cap, a flag, a race tee, and a race belt.  I also LOVE when the swim caps provided are silicone vs latex. I may have a new favorite swim cap in IOWA yellow!

The weather on Sunday started out still, damp, and very foggy.  Initially, the race was delayed because we could not see the buoys.  About 8am  a light breeze started and the sun began burning off the fog.  By race end, it felt very hot and the sun felt blazing.  The entire morning was swampy humid.

As I did my warmup I was peeking around to see the competition.  I must be honest.  I have had 2 solid second place finishes this year and I was really wanting a win.   Looking around, I felt pretty confident… until I saw Kyle Swenson.  First and foremost, Kyle is always so nice whenever we race together.  He is a great leader and I have looked up to him for some time.  He is also a great racer and I have never been able to catch him.

Swim- 540M- My swim was fine, not my worst, not my best.   The start is time trial style, new racers entering the water every 3 seconds.  I got a little off course, but was able to correct.  Swimming is my weakest leg, so I felt good coming in with the first pack.   I was about 5th or 6th out of the water. 

T1- I felt like this was a good smooth transition. I did not have any concerns.

Bike-15 Miles- The bike course was fun.  I like climbing so this was a treat.  Kyle and I were able to separate from the group and I had to remind myself not to try to overdo it on the bike because I know Kyle was a blazing fast runner too!  My bike speed avg was 24.2 mph.

T2- Kyle and I slid into t2 together.  Again, my transition was smooth.  My coach Kris Koepp made us do hundreds of transition practices when I first started racing & to this day, I am grateful. 

Run- The run is through a campground.  It’s neat to see the campers cheer! Kyle and I took off running with me a bit ahead, but he caught up and passed me.  I decided to hang on his heels and then try to pass towards the end of the race.  Keeping up with Kyle pushed my pace (5:49/mile).  As we approached the finish, I dumped everything I had left into my legs and pushed as hard as I could to pull ahead of Kyle.   We finished a few seconds apart, but I never would have finished this race as fast as I did without the motivation of racing hard with Kyle.  After the finish, the nausea hit.  I don’t remember if I thanked him, but Kyle dropped all his stuff and went to get cold water to dump on me.  I can’t say how much I appreciated that.

There are lessons that I learn all the time in triathlon that have NOTHING to do with swimming, biking, and running.  If a younger racer ever decides I am worth looking up to in sport,  I want to do a really good job encouraging them.  If they finish ahead of me, I hope I can be as big of a cheerleader and provide as much kindness and care as I felt this weekend from Kyle Swenson.