Race Coverage

Everyone Should Do This...

Not a race report, a “spectator report”


By Nikki Dostert Sudberry


NEW BRI TRI SPECTATOR REPORT - New Bri Tri brought many Minnesotans out of hibernation last Sunday.  The sprint distance triathlon attracted new and seasoned athletes to Long Lake beach where the wind was the talk of the morning.

I used to race every chance I could and now that I have nailed down my race schedule for the 2018 season I am making it my mission to spectate and support athletes when I’m not racing. And you know what? Everyone should try to do it.  I love to be able to empathize and relate to the athletes about the course, about the weather, about nervousness. 

Bringing my camera to the races (I’m not a photographer by trade… but a radiographer. So I take pictures INSIDE of the body.  I know, CREEPY AF but we are talking triathlons here) Anyway, bringing my camera to the races allows me to capture what we have all felt before, during and after our race. Nervous laughs, double- triple checking transition areas, serious faces, worried faces, pee faces.  ok, lets be honest, “pee face” doesn’t happen in triathlon; everyone pees in their wet suits!  (you can tell if your spectating a triathlon, duathlon or running event by the line to the port-john… triathlon lines are shorter for a reason…jussayin) ...


Sunday’s race started out with a time trial swim start.  I know many people are not fans of this; I am.  New and first timers are much calmer at the start of a race knowing that their peers before them endured a start similar to “organized chaos” ie: fighting for swim space, getting kicked in the face and being swam over.  Being that I have done both many times I feel that it makes people less nervous at the start and allows the faster swimmers to self-seed themselves in the front; allowing the more apprehensive swimmers more time in the back.  

One by one each athlete takes on the choppy water.  Families and loved ones nervously trying to pick out their triathletes in the 800 meter swim. A water locomotion of neon green swim caps makes way to shore and the athletes run up the sandy beach to T1.

Jerry and I talk for a while and its always good to chat with him.  His knowledge about the athletes and their stats is amazing.  Who has a strong bike? Who is stronger on the run? Who is a body builder?  Well, Jerry knows.

After about 30 minutes the bikes are making their way to T2 and athletes are making their way up a small grassy hill before taking to the paved trail.  It’s still windy and a bit cold but I’m thankful that the athletes are not enduring crazy heat for this run.  The run.  Whether its your favorite or least favorite part of the race seeing the smiles… you know these smiles. The “I only have one sport left” smile.  Have you ever realized how friendly people are on the run portion of a tri?  Athletes are encouraging. And although a few of my friends look serious, I know they have less than 30 min left. This is the part I get jealous of.  The feeling of accomplishment.  The rush.  The heart and blood pumping so hard and loud that its hard to distinguish between the footsteps of athletes and your brain telling you to quit.  And not quitting.

I go to the finish line to take some shots of the finishers.  I see Judy and Randy in their element making sure things are done and done right.  One by one the smiles come in.  After about 10 minutes I make my way about 400 meters from the finish line.  The newcomers need this.  I tell every one of them that the party is 2 minutes away and to run to the finish for a great finishers picture.  Everyone is Happy.  It was another successful Multisport race and a great way to kick of the Minnesota tri season:)


Photos: Top - Terminally happy Jen Neuman. Ball cap woman - Nikki Dostert Sudberry.

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