Reporting Rachel Slavik
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Some of Saturday morning’s worst weather hit as athletes were preparing for the annual Lifetime Tri Minneapolis near Lake Nokomis.
The triathlon takes participants throughout the city along Minnehaha Parkway. The final steps of any triathlon are reason to celebrate, but the finish line at the Lifetime Tri Minneapolis also meant victory over unexpected obstacles.
The weather caused delays and forced organizers to make some last-minute decisions regarding the course.
“Nothing you can do about the weather. It is what it is,” Jarrod Shoemaker, a pro-athlete, said.
Thunder and lightning in the early morning hours meant a two-hour delay for more than 3,000 athletes.
“I think we warmed up three times, thinking we’d have a 7 o’clock start, 8 o’clock start and then, eventually, a 9 o’clock start,” said Alicia Kaye, a pro athlete.
The rain caused an even bigger problem on the course. Minnehaha Creek burst its banks flooding portions of Minnehaha Parkway. The water was so bad, event organizers choose to change the race course.
“There was lots of meetings, quick decision-making,” Flinn said. “With the courses being a little bit wet, we wanted to be as safe as possible.”
For the regular participants, it meant a shorter overall race course. Athletes like Peter Spencer didn’t seem to mind the change.
“We’re just relaxed, having fun. It kind of takes the pressure off,” said Peter Spencer, who was biking the shorter course.
For the pro athletes, only the bike portion was cut down. Instead of 24 miles, they had to ride about 12 miles.
“It was a matter of mentally making the switch to a higher end effort,” said Kaye.
All still managed to finish strong with the promise of coming back in 2014.
“It’s one of those races where athletes come back to year after year,” Shoemaker said.
All the athletes praised the volunteers and event organizers for keeping participants updated and safe during the bad weather.
The shorter race could have an impact on the overall prize money. The Lifetime Tri is the first of a three race circuit called the Toyota Triple Crown Series. Organizers are still working out those details.