The tenth running of the Salem Spring Triathlon held on June 2, 2012 made a king of B.J. Christenson and a queen of Jeanette Schellenberg. Christenson (01:01:00) bested Dave Warden (01:04:29) by nearly three minutes. Christenson had the fastest run split of the day (17:55). Zachary Meinzer (01:04:50) finished in third place.
The women’s race came down to the run, where Schellenberg (01:10:06) found an extra gear to distance herself from runner-up Sarah White (01:11:27). The two were virtually tied heading into T2. Schellenberg out ran White by nearly one minute. Skye Murphy (01:11:41) rounded out the women’s podium finishing a mere 14 seconds behind White.
Athletes raced in near perfect conditions with cool temperatures for most of the morning. A slight overcast and a mild breeze followed many of the racers through the bike. The sun broke through for much of the run, making the hills on the 5k course a little tougher to climb. 304 athletes participated the event, held in Salem, Utah.
Review by TeKoi Smith
RaceTri has been putting on this event for 10 years now and it is becoming a fine tuned, fun & competitive event for all triathletes from newbie to veteran. I arrived somewhat early race morning as I like to be able to find a good spot in transition and not rush. As soon as I pulled into the city of Salem, I could feel the buzz of excitement & anxiety coming from the other triathletes and I knew that it was going to be another fantastic race.
It didn’t take long for hundreds of people, triathletes, volunteers & spectators to gather and wait for the 1st wave to swim in the “Pond”. The water temperature was low 60’s which is perfect for me, personally, as I have a full sleeve wetsuit. The race started on time with each wave and when the gun went off I felt calm and collected in the washing machine that is called the swim. It is always hit and miss to how long I will be beat up in an open water swim with hands, feet, heels to the face and swimming over and being swam over, and this time it seemed to be for the full 750 meters and I loved every minute of it. Coming out of the water I was greeting by firemen spraying everyone with “clean” water and it’s always fun to run up the grassy knoll into T1.
The bike course starts off flat for you to get your feet underneath you, but quickly takes you up 2 short hills where I need to downshift to be more efficient. It is a 2 loop course that has gentle rollers and hills for you to climb and descend at a very fast pace. Right before you come into T2 everything is pretty flat and then takes you down a hill so you’re legs feel good for the hilly run. The bike course takes you on some rural roads that can be bumpy so be careful!
The run course changed this year to avoid cross traffic with the cyclists which made for a very hilly run. In the past, the run has been about 1 mile and change up and then flattens out before you descend. This year it took you up a hill that was almost 2 miles long. It’s not terribly hard or long, but you’re not going to PR on this 5K for sure. The aid station was right around the 2 mile mark and then you made a quick descent that leads you into the finish line.
The end of RaceTri’s Salem Spring Sprint is amazing. The finish line is full of families & friends and the awards ceremony is fun for everyone. TriEdge was there as well to provide some raffle prizes as well.
RaceTri’s Salem Spring Sprint is an excellent way to start your season with a great open water swim and fun all around. I’ll be there next year, will you?
Review by Carolina Herrin
“Am I really going to be doing this?” I asked myself as I looked into the water at the Salem Pond, watching the Pro’s head out and quickly swim away. I have never done this before- I haven’t even swam since High School swim team. As I got in the water, I knew it was now or never! The sound from the starting horn faded away and after a few strokes, I caught myself thinking, “I can’t turn around now. Just keep swimming. Biking is your favorite, running is fun and then you’re done!”
But the most interesting thing to me was that my number one thought always seemed to be; “Wow, I like this!”
The water temperature felt just right to me. Great swim course. A long stretch out and under the Salem Bridge, for a quick turnaround up to the beach. It was nice to know that there were so many volunteers in the water ready to help you, if needed. Coming out of the water, it was wonderful to see so many familiar faces. I really enjoyed having their support, as this was my first real race. I have been around many who are involved in triathlons, but have never trained or found the time to do one.
During the transition, I quickly slipped on my bike shoes, threw on a shirt and got biking up the gigantic hill. The bike course was just right. I loved the hill and the challenged it posed. There was just enough elevation on the course, for a beginner to handle. Throughout the bike course, I noticed how well marked it was. There were plenty of spray painted warnings on the road, marking the rough road, cracks and especially the manhole covers. I also saw plenty of words of encouragement marked on the course.
Coming in from the bike, the volunteers did an amazing job directing and talking you back into the transition area. I could feel the sun beating down on me a bit more now and I had this incredible feeling of joy, as I was two thirds of the way done. It’s funny how in my head I was moving fast through the transition, trying to slow my breathing down, getting my Altra’s on, but looking at my transition time, I sure took it slow. Plenty of support from the crowd and the volunteers kept me going and I soon found myself out onto the run course.
My favorite had to be; you start the run going over a bridge and end it going over a bridge. So cool! The run course was well marked and again, with just the right amount of challenges for a beginner triathlete. I loved the fact that you’re going up on the way out and coming down on the way in. The aid station on the run was well manned and stocked up on cold water and power gels. As I cornered the last bit and was able to see the finish line, I couldn’t believe that I had just done my first triathlon.
Crossing the finish and getting that very large, awesome, finishers medal; what a feeling! I again, had the same thought I had at the beginning of the race; “Wow, I like this!” This was such an amazing experience. The volunteers were great, the spectators were wonderful cheering everyone on and the overall atmosphere at the finish line is one that can’t be beat.
The Salem Spring Triathlon is a must for beginners and pro’s alike and I can’t wait to come back next year and improve on my time. Thanks Racetri and Triathlete’s Edge. I can’t think of a better way to have spent my Saturday morning.
What a terrific way for antsy athletes and triathlon enthusiasts to get off the bike trainers and treadmills and hit the road! RaceTri's Icebreaker is unique in that it really appeals to both serious competitors and first timers, not to mention kids for the youth race. This year was filled with some amazing competition! The transition area was opened up nice and early so racers could get all their gear set up; obviously, the early birds scored the best spots in the transition zone. Racetri put on a super organized race and kept right to their schedule with race meeting, and - most importantly - the start time.
Once it was about go-time, racers were gathered up into the swim bubble and split up into groups based on estimated swim times. Once the first participant was in the water, others joined in about one every five seconds. There was great energy in the swim with lots of observers cheering everyone on. Once out of the water, you got to towel off, or just book it out through the parking lot to the transition area to get on the bike.
The bike included a couple of good hills within the first mile, after which you got some good flat roads and an even better downhill coming back to where you repeated the loop. The shoulders were pretty clear and bike congestion wasn't too bad at all. All the turns were well marked, and all the intersections had a couple volunteers helping to monitor and direct traffic which is a bonus; because no one racing wants to stop at a traffic light!
Bike to run transition included a bit of running with your bike over the grass into and through transition, but it wasn't too bad. The running portion of the Icebreaker also had those two hills from the bike, which in all honesty, weren't that great, but mentally you knew once you hit the first mile, you were in the clear! After the hills there was only flat and downhill into the finish area!
At the finish, there were tons of volunteers helping to take timing chips, provide medals, and of course water and some post-race snacks. There were great award prizes and raffle prizes, and everything went down in a timely manner! Did I mention the amazing weather!? Well, it was gorgeous; warm, sunny, and just a little breezy. I would give this race a 5 out of 5. I was a happy racer, and totally satisfied with this race. I don't know of a better way to shake off the winter months of training than to get out there and compete!
For more information about other RaceTri events, go to: www.racetri.com
"I really appreciated the high-fives and encouragement as we crossed each other winding our way through the course."
The Salem Spring tri has long been a classic Sprint where 1st timers and veterans alike come out to get their feet wet for the first time or see where their fitness is for one of the first races of the season.
The morning fog rolled across the San Francisco bay, shark infested waters hummed below, and 2000 of the best triathletes in the world tensed in anticipation to make the 6-foot dive. I asked myself, what am I doing here? The Fog Horn sounded!
Last year my son Austin began his battle with a rare type of blood cancer, APML Leukemia. Just weeks before his diagnosis Austin and I were watching the Escape From Alcatraz triathlon on TV. He got so excited watching the athletes swim, bike, and run. Austin said with a voice full of pride; “Dad you can do that!" I responded, “Sure I could buddy,” knowing deep down if I were ever going to accomplish something like that there were a few obstacles I would have to overcome.
I am no stranger to endurance events however they have all been foot races. I had not ridden a bike since boy scouts nor swam in over a decade. In regard to the swim the race director states, “Triathletes face the risks of strong currents, treacherous 55 degree waters and two-ton sea lions. This is for serious participants.”
The popularity of the race has grown such that getting an invitation is extremely difficult. The only way to get an invitation is to have a professional athlete status or place a top finisher in another high profile triathlon neither of which I could ever dream of accomplishing anytime soon. For everyone else it’s a lottery drawing where they guarantee two individuals from each state.
The moment Austin and I shared watching the event on TV played over and over in my mind as we spent months up at Primary Children’s Hospital. It was one of the last good moments I held on to and longed to experience again with my son. Austin responded incredibly well to the treatments, his cancer has gone into remission and we were able to return to our home in Eagle Mountain. I knew we would once again have the opportunity to play catch, tell bedtime stories, and watch Saturday morning sports. However after watching Austin summon strength beyond his years I wanted nothing more than to be a REAL hero for Austin as he had been for me. I put my name in the lottery to compete and hoped I would be one of the two names they would pick to come from Utah.
“Congratulations!” the e-mail stated. I had been accepted into the Escape from Alcatraz event. I couldn’t believe it!
The Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon is the most popular triathlon in the United States. The race is extremely unique. Athletes jump off “The Rock,” the now vacant federal penitentiary (or the San Francisco Belle ferry boat close by the island depending on tides), and swim 1.5 miles in 55 Degree, shark infested water to San Francisco. After a short warm up jog individuals ride 18 miles through the hills of San Francisco to finish the race running 8 miles through the sandy beaches of the Bay Area.
It was time to train. My focus quickly became the bike and the swim. Epic Biking sponsored me a road bike, and Eagle Mountain’s own cycling club ‘Votex Cycling’ managed by David Hoffman immediately took me on as a project. Time in the saddle, technique, and fitness would all be crucial to conquering those killer hills. Gleaning swim technique from any place I could find it, time in the pool and open water swims in Utah Lake were all things that would prepare me for survival in the grueling escape.
The race would start with a foghorn, it sounded loud and clear, and reminded me of all my training. I remembered my son, I knew why I was there, and I jumped into the icy cold 55-degree water. Immediately I noticed two things; the cold, it took my breath away, and the salt, I should have closed my mouth. Without hesitation I began to stroke away from the San Francisco Belle ferry boat avoiding the hundreds of athletes jumping into the water.
About half way between Alcatraz Island and the water exit I thought about Austin and the rest of my family, I rotated over and took one last look back at the island and then turned to the south and saw the beautiful Golden Gate Bridge, a rush of excitement and gratitude filled within me … that I would be able to experience such an amazing moment seemingly miles from nowhere in an oceanic wasteland overwhelmed the senses. I did however experience fleeting moments of anxiety; mostly dealing with questions like, what lay beneath me in darkness? Would I return my head to the water from catching a breath and discover a shark in my face? Fortunately these thoughts led me to swim faster.
Thousands of cheering individuals lined the beach as I exited the water and made my way to transition. Helmet, glasses, water, Gu, bike. I was underway, 18 miles and a lot of sweat; the San Francisco hills had taken their toll. Would I have enough energy to finish the 8-mile run? Back in transition I imagined running down the finishing shoot knowing my family and Austin would be looking on. Of course I would continue. The most notable feature of the run came at Baker Beach where 400 log steps climb over 1000 vertical feet all in the sand. As I struggled up those steps there was an overwhelming pain in my muscles and burning in my lungs, this connected me with Austin in a very real way as I imagined the pain and burn he experienced through chemotherapy if he could conquered a feat of such grandeur then surely I could do something as simple as get up some steps, I pushed on for 8 miles. After which I turned the final corner and ran across the finish line throwing my arms in the air triumphantly.
When asked why I would do something so “crazy” more often than not I respond inside and think, "Why not?" I love the words that Apsley Cherry-Garrard wrote in the book The Worst Journey in the World, which documented Sir Robert Falcon Scott's tragic expedition to the Antarctic. Those words are appropriate for this occasion. "What lots and lots I could tell you of this journey. How much better has it been than lounging in too great comfort at home."
Austin showed me what it means to survive the most grueling test of human endurance and he did it all with a smile on his face and joy in his heart. This race was for Austin, I love you son.
Austin continues to enjoy complete and molecular remission from his APML Leukemia. To learn more about Austin’s courageous battle got to: www.spidermanfightscancer.com Aaron is currently co-owner and director for some of the states most popular triathlons; Salem Spring, Rock Cliff, Herriman, Utah Half, and Camp Yuba. For more information about the races go to: www.RaceTri.com
Photo Courtesy of www.racedayphoto.co photography by Matthew Ryan