Triathlons have become popular in the state of Minnesota during the past two decades. The abundance of lakes provides a large number of sites for triathlons. Cold weather limits the outdoor races to a few short months each summer but the quality of these races makes up for the lack in quantity. Here are 10 Triathlons that you should participate in.
1. May 16: Root River Triathlon-Houston, MN
This is an ideal event if you don’t like swimming, especially since lake water is rather nippy (or frozen over on occasion) during this time of the year. The Root River Triathlon replaces the usual swimming portion with a 6.5 mile canoe ride. Participants canoe in teams of two on the Root River, until they reach the Mound Prairie Bridge. Then, they transition to bikes and travel another 8 miles, in the direction they came, towards the town of Houston, Minnesota. The race ends with a 3 mile run, ending in Trailhead Park.
2. June 7: Buffalo Triathlon-Buffalo, MN
Participants have the option of entering either a sprint or Olympic length triathlon. The courses for both races begin and end in Sturgis Park, in Buffalo, MN. The sprint triathlon involves a¼ mile swim,, 13 mile bike ride and 3.1 mile run. The Olympic triathlon consists of a 1500 meter swim, 24.9 mile bike ride and 6.2 mile run. This triathlon wins the award for most lakes on the route-first, participants swim in Buffalo Lake, and then they pass 9 other lakes during the bike ride, which meanders through farm country. Finally, the run leads them along the shores of Buffalo Lake once again. Just 37 miles northwest of Minneapolis, Buffalo is easy to get to, but has a friendly rural feel. http://www.tribuff.com/
3. June 13: Liberty Triathlon-Maple Plain, MN
This USAT sanctioned triathlon is a part of the Tri Minnesota series, and deserves this recognition, thanks to beautiful scenery, great trail upkeep, and friendly staff and volunteers. Extra touches, like a barbeque and free massages after the race keep the exhausted racers happy and refreshed. The race mostly takes place in the Baker Park Reserve, with the swimming in Lake Independence. The Olympic distance race is a qualifier event for the 2009 USAT Age Group Championships. The top 5 people in each age group will advance on to the nationals held in Tuscaloosa, AZ, on August 5th. The long course consists of a 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike and 13.1 mile run. Only 525 people are allowed to participate in the two triathlons each year.http://www.libertytri.com/raceinfo.html
4. June 14: Trinona-The Battle for the Bluff-Winona, MN
An entertaining and light-hearted event, that takes place along Lake Winona. There are both sprint and Olympic distance triathlons, both of which include one of Bicycling Magazines “Top 100 Climbs in the U.S.” The many river bluffs create several other challenging hills along the bike route. One of these hills is over a mile long and is famous as the training hill of Greg LeMond when he was preparing for the Tour de France. Following the hilly bike ride is a relatively flat run around Lake Winona. The sprint and Olympic races take place on Sunday, but on Satufday there is a shorter kids triathlon, with distances determined by age. This is a great way to introduce your children to the excitement of triathlons.http://www.trinona.com/
5. July 11: Life Time Fitness Triathlon-Minneapolis, MN
Better known for its location of the shores of Lake Nokomis, this popular triathlon includes both sprint and Olympic distances, The swim takes place in Lake Nokomis, and then participants transition to bikes, and spend the next several miles riding around the parkway. The running portion also takes place along Lake Nokomis. Portions of the race run along the Mississippi River and Lake Harriet. The Life Time Fitness Triathlon is a USAT sanctioned event.http://www.ltftriathlon.com/raceinfo/index.php?strWebAction=race_rules
6. July 26: Chisago Half and Sprint Triathlons-Chisago Lakes, MN
The entire weekend is a flurry of activity in Chisago Lakes, even without the commotion and excitement of the multiple triathlon events. There is a health expo in Paradise Park on Friday evening, and several classes and clinics on Saturday afternoon. The actual race takes place on Sunday. He swim begins at Paradise Beach located in Chuckie Lundquist Park. At the end of the swim, marked by balloon arch, swimmers hop on their bikes and take a winding bike route due west, towards the small town of Stacy. The run takes place along local residential roads and is fairly flat. http://www.active.com/page/Event_Details.htm?event_id=1646699
7. July 28: Minnesota Border to Border-Luverne, MN
This race is not for the faint of heart! It is an adventurous relay-style race, with teams of 2-4 people who compete in canoeing, biking and running. The event is 4 days long and spans over 500 miles of farmland and parkland in Minnesota. It begins in Luverne, MN, and ends on Crane Lake, which is located quite close to the Canadian Border. This unique event is great for somebody who is looking to try something new and work with a team of athletes. http://www.mnb2b.org/
8. August 2: Waseca Triathlon-Waseca, MN
The swim portion takes place in Clear Lake and lasts ¼ mile for the sprint race, and one mile for the long course, which is about equal to 1/3 of an Ironman. This distance makes it a great chance for triathletes to transition from shorter Olympic triathlons to the half-marathon, without making as large of a jump in mileage. Using a 1/3 iron distance is a great way to increase mileage and work towards that Ironman without burning out. The Waseca Triathlon’s main goal is to increase the prominence of the sport in Southern Minnesota, and judging by the increase in popularity of this race, the organizers must be doing something correct!
9. August 15: Backwards Chub Triathlon-Carlton, MN
This triathlon takes place in reverse order, hence the name. So, as you can probably guess, it begins with a 3.8 mile run, continues with a 16 mile bike ride and ends with a 1/3 mile swim. It is the only backwards triathlon in Minnesota. It can be competed either as an individual or relay event. If you are looking to try something a bit different, perhaps this backwards race might be a good choice!
10. September 12: Burrito Union 5 & 10 Hour Tri-Superior, MN
As the name suggests, tis race can take place over the course of 5 or 10 hours. Participants swim for 600 meters, bike for 14 miles and run for 3.1 miles. They repeat this pattern for either 5 or 10 hours. There are three main formats for the race: “Fat Capitalist,” in which you race alone without stopping, “Imperialists,” organized in 2 person teams-one person completes a triathlon and then “tags” their partner and they switch off for 5 or 10 hours, and, “comrades” or 3 person teams where one person does each event type. This means that one person swims, one person bikes and one person runs. “Comrade” participants can switch up which leg of the race they take part in, but must race at least one event of the race during each round, until the 5 or 10 hours are up. This race is very grueling if competed individually, but also a great test of endurance. Those who compete as “imperialists” or “comrades” enjoy themselves and the opportunity to work as a team.
These are not the only triathlon events in the great state of Minnesota. Triathlons abound during the summer, and if you look around, you will be sure to find an event perfect for you! Check out the Minnesota Triathlon webpage for other races taking place throughout the state.