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Posts Tagged ‘Hy-Vee Triathlon’

Bob and Lara Meyer, Rodger McKenzie and Jim Robesky at the Hy-Vee Triathlon on Sept. 3.

Quincy native Jim Robesky has a passion for multi-sport events, and after overcoming both injury and personal struggles, he competed in the Hy-Vee Triathlon in Des Moines, Iowa, on Sept. 3. He’s graciously offered to share his story about coming back from injuries to be a competitor again with the readers of “Get Out.” Jim is an active member of both the Quincy Multi-Sport Club and the Quincy Bicycle Club, and his story highlights the hard work and perseverance it takes to be a competitive amateur athlete in events like triathlons.

Laura Sievert

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The Road Back

Bob and Lara Meyer, Rodger McKenzie and Jim Robesky at the Hy-Vee Triathlon.

On May 28, 2009, I broke my collarbone on a training ride. That October, I managed to finish the Ironman World Championships in Hawaii. I had decided to spend the next year healing the shoulder and working on my run. Then in July 2010, we lost our home to a lightning strike. We lost everything.

It took almost a year to rebuild. We moved into our new home on in May of 2011. It took another month to get settled in. That’s when I decided it was time to jump back in to triathlon.

So with a new Trek bike, I started riding with the bike club. I was getting dropped the first few rides. It was hard to get back in to shape. I just kept pushing myself to get stronger.

I still had not signed up for a race, so I decided to train and race the Hy-Vee Triathlon in Des Moines, Iowa. The race was in September, so I would have a few months to train. It is an Olympic distance race which includes a 1.5 km swim, 40 km bike and a 10 km run. Now I had a goal.

The night before the race I took my bike out to the transition area. After I dropped off my bike, it was dinner with a handful of Quincy Multisport club members. We had a nice dinner full of carbs. Back at the hotel, I got my gear ready for the race. After my bags were packed, I had to number myself with tattoos for the race. So there I was, in the bathroom, placing numbers all over my arms and legs.

Jim Robesky transitions from the swim to the bike at the Hy-Vee Triathlon.

At 4 a.m., I woke up, had breakfast and was out the door. As I drove to the race, I felt the first chill in the air in months. I didn’t pack a jacket. I shivered as I got my transition area ready for the race. Then I heard more bad news as race officials announced the swim would be wetsuits legal. Overnight rains had dropped the temperature of the water 5 degrees. Race rules say a wetsuit can be worn only if the water is 78 degrees or less. The water was 83 the night before, so I had left my wetsuit at home. This was a mistake because a wetsuit would have made me faster in the water.

Just before the race, I found the Quincy group and waited for the start. After 3 hours in the cold, I was shivering. Quincy Multisport Club member Bob Meyer offered me his jacket. He was warm in his wetsuit. It felt great to be warm.

The national anthem played and minutes later the race started. We walked to the water to watch Bob’s daughter Lara start in with the elites. She was one of the very first racers to start.

The swim was a time trial start. Every 10 seconds, six people entered the water. It would be an hour after the official start before I would enter the water. We watched wave after wave enter the water. I wasn’t paying much attention until I looked up and realized my age group was at the start line. I barely made the start. I was the last group in my wave to start. So far, the race was not going well. I felt like a rookie.

Once I was in the water, I was warm again. I started to get into a rhythm. The swim was a 1.5k loop around Grey’s Lake. It’s always weird to swim in open water. In Hawaii, I could see fish and corral. Here, I could not see my hand in front of me. I passed several people on the swim, but it was always difficult because you could not see the other swimmer until you were on top of them. About halfway through, my goggles started to fog up. I took a moment to clear them. I finally turned the last buoy and could see the swim finish. But looks can be deceiving, and the end was still a long way on the other side of the lake.

Twenty-nine minutes later, I was out of the water. This is well off of my typical swim average. After I got out of the water, there was a long run to the transition area. I put on my socks, shoes, glasses and helmet. I grabbed my bike and ran out of the transition area.

The bike is a one loop course. It had some hills and technical turns. The flags were standing straight out in a 20 mph wind. There was not a cloud in sight and the temps were still cool. I really wanted to hit the bike hard. Every chance I got, I tried to pound on the pedals, but the wind was my nemesis. I started to question its direction. At every turn, it seemed to hit me in the face. I just kept looking for opportunities to put more power onto the pedal.

At the 20k mark, I looked down at my Garmin. I was actually shocked at what I saw. The Garmin told me that wind was winning this battle. I rode back to transition with a 19 mph average. Well off my goal.

The run was next. It was a point to point run from Grey’s Lake to the Iowa State Capitol. I found a pace and stuck with it the whole race. Two miles into the run, I see Quincy Multisport club member Roger McKenzie, and we high five as we pass in opposite directions.

At the 5k mark, you can see the finish line in the distance.  It was about that time I heard the theme to “Rocky” blaring from the Iowa Cubs baseball field. It does little to boost my energy at this point.

Soon, I made the turn and could see what looked like the final stretch to the Capitol. But a block before the final hill, the course turned. There was still 1.2 miles left in the course. The last 1/4 mile was uphill and then on to a blue carpet finish. The crowd cheered me in to the finish line. My final time was 2:52. It may not have been a great race for me, but I was back racing and it felt good.

In the finish area, I met up with the other club members, and we rehydrated and talked about the race. We shared stories and complained about the wind. Because of the point to point run, we had to take a free shuttle back to the transition area. I gathered up my gear and loaded up my car. After a quick shower back at the hotel, I headed home to Quincy.

This would mark my third time competing in the Hy-Vee Triathlon. The race is always well managed and its integration into the 5150 Ironman World Championships was a great success. If you are looking for an Olympic distance triathlon with a big race feel, Hy-Vee is the one for you.

My next goal is training for a half marathon (13.2 miles) in San Antonio, Texas. This will be a race with several high school classmates. We get together every year and race. So I will be pounding the pavement for this race in November.

Jim Robesky

Original Post September 28, 2011

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