Race Coverage

"...According to Plan"...


By Mitchell Clayton

The U of M Morris played host to the annual Tinman Triathlon this past Saturday. I did this race in 2016 and all I remember was pushing 250+ watts to bike DOWN a hill at UNDER 20 mph because of a crazy headwind. This early-season race has historically had cold and windy conditions, but the weather this year was nearly ideal - about 55 degrees with only moderate wind.

The great conditions led to some fast times. In the Olympic-ish distance, Corey Nygaard managed to take 25 seconds off Spencer Syvertson’s course record from 2023. Spencer, coming off a breakout year in 2023, raced the Sprint distance this year and showed even more improvement by knocking over 3 minutes off Brian Storhaug’s course record from 2022.

My race went exactly according to plan. The swim is in the UMM pool and most athletes shared a lane with one other person. I talked with Brian before the race and we decided to swim together. We swam exactly the same time, a brisk...

1:08/100 yds, but Brian was the stronger swimmer on the day as I wore a wetsuit and he swam in his tri suit. He put some time on me in T1 while I took on a Gu and fumbled with my wetsuit.

The bike is an “L”-shaped out and back. This year there was a tailwind on the way out, so I let Brian set the pace for the first 5 or so miles, saving some energy since it’d be more beneficial to push hard into the headwind on the way back. I attacked up a hill just before the turnaround, eventually rolled into T2, and somehow remembering how to jump off my bike at the dismount line.

The 5K was a little bit long this year at 3.21 miles, and the course is mostly flat with a medium-sized hill just before the turnaround. Running has historically been my weakness, but I put in a lot of volume this winter, constantly feeling like I was on the brink of an injury but managing to stay (mostly) healthy. I took out the run at a 6:09 mile (the fastest I’ve ever done in a tri), paced the middle mile well so I didn’t explode after running up the hill, and with 1.25 miles to the finish I decided to just go for it, again clocking my fastest mile split ever in a triathlon, a 5:56.

Spencer, who started in the wave after Brian and me, outbiked and outran us en-route to a new course record. 45 triathletes and 4 relay teams across both distances crossed the finish line. Tinman has a grassroots feel but is well-ran, which is exactly what most people are looking for in a triathlon. Hopefully the weather will be just as good next year!


PHOT0  (L - R) - Corey, Mitchell, Spencer

ED. Alyssa Olson of Mankato posted and eight-plus minute victory in the Olympic-ish race, and Rachel Gordom (St. Paul) finished 31-second ahead of runner-up Amy Preusser (Melrose) in the Sprint.