Tour de Kirkwood Triathlon

The day began with Dad driving me to Kirkwood Park at 6:30am for packet pickup. Even though I went to bed this was very early since most of my summer was spent into the late hours of the night. After getting my timing belt which made me feel like I was an ex-con on probation. I went to set up my station which contained my bike, towel, socks, shoes, and singlet. After setting up my station, and talking with Dad, I spent my last minutes relaxing before instructions.

Overview of the staging area.

I had signed up for this race, the Tour de Kirkwood, just over two weeks before the race. The race distances were a 400 yard swim, 10 mile bike ride, and 3 mile run. Now my specialty is running with biking being similarly strong; however, my weak spot is swimming. I hadn’t swam for distance ever before, so this race was a big commitment to hitting the pool hard for the 2 weeks before this race. I went to the Shrewsbury pool and realized that I didn’t even know how long the pool is.

After asking some of my lifeguard friends, I learned that it’s 25 yards long, so I got to swimming and went until I was pretty tired. This however, didn’t take very long as I only got 200 yards before stopping. I then changed the goal from going until I couldn’t to going for 4×200 yards just trying to get distance. This turned out to be a lot to ask for, and I just assumed that if I can run 10 miles than I can handle a half mile swim. So I went back the next few days with runs and bikes sprinkled in as well. With one week before my race I was able to swim for 500 yards in just over 15 minutes, which I knew was incredibly slow, but would get the job done.

After instructions I was told that people would be getting in line to wait for the 7:30am start time. The race coordinators told people to stand in line based on expected finish time for our swim. Based on what I knew of my past swimming I went all the way to the back of the line where the expected time was thought to be around 13 minutes. This meant that I was in the back, making my start time around 8:00am.

Once I was in the water the distance really flew by. When I was training I didn’t let myself boost off the walls when turning around, and this made the swimming much easier. I also passed about 10 people during the swim too. I finished the swimming section in 10:25, which was a few minutes faster than expected and 120th overall.

In the first transition I ran from the pool to my bike, dried off my feet, put on socks and shoes, continued to dry the rest of me off, put on a shirt and ran my bike to the end of the transition zone (note: bikes cannot be rode in the transition zones). The biking section was pretty good and I passed lots of people on it. There were many steep ups and downs. My top speed was 36mph which I was happy with. I told my dad that it would take me about 40 minutes for this ride and managed to crush it out in ~37. After the bike I was in I moved up to 43rd place overall.

After the bike ride once I hit the second transition I was running to put my bike away. I’m especially proud of my second transition because it was the second fastest in the whole event, which gave me a big boost over my competition. I started the running a little more tired than I probably should have, but since the running was my strongest part, I powered through and used my cross country experience to run hard. The hills were rough in midsummer heat. I finished the run 5th overall with a time of 20:06. I’d like to think that I could have given more to get my run below 20, but I’m still proud of my time.


Overall I finished in 17th place with a final time of 1:11:32. I think that with good training next year I could get my time closer to 1:05:00. I really enjoyed this race, and the random strangers that I talked to before and after the race made this a very enjoyable race that I look forward to partaking in next year.

Corvin Haake