Devil's Challenge 2001

September 9, 2001

After my first taste of a triathlon in July in Madison, I thought I would try a full sprint distance at Devil's Lake St. Park near Baraboo, WI. known as the Devil's Challenge (the Madison triathlon was a "super" sprint, basically a mini version of a true sprint distance).

To better my chances at finishing, I thought I would actually train for this event. I had one month to do so. I convinced a friend to sign up and we kept a pretty religious schedule of biking, running and swimming every other day. This was back when we lived near the Villas Zoo and our beach of choice was the "Zoo Poop Lagoon", otherwise known as Lake Wingra.

Unlike the Devil's Challenge of 2003 and 2004, 2001 took place on the south shore of Devil's Lake. I have no idea why they moved it - and changed the coarse radically.

As you can see from the photos, the sky was overcast and soon produced rain. The water was temperate, not especially cold. But while most sprint triathlons have a swim coarse which parallels the lake shore, this coarse made a triangle. The first photo shows how far out the buoys were, but not that far apart. I remember the corner being so crowded, 10 to 15 of us simply dog-paddled around the turns - not much swimming. I averaged 43.1 yards/min., 516th overall.

My first transition was pretty long, but I thought I would wait for my friend to get on his bike because this was his first tri. But like some crazed high school football coach, Kathy screams, "You don't wait for him! You go!!!" She denies these exact words but does acknowledge she shouted something similar. None the less, it had the same effect. I shot out of the transition area, never seeing my friend again.

If you've ever been to Devil's Lake, you're aware of the GIANT hill on the north side of the park. We flew down this hill (where I caught 43 mph). As fate would have it, we had to make the grueling climb back up this same hill on the return trip. I averaged 17.4 mph over the entire 15 miles, 216th overall.

This was the first tri with my "new" Trek. It was a 12 year old used aluminum frame I purchased from a friend. It performed very well and fit me much better compared to the yellow Sanwa, a 20+ year old Japanese road bike which got handed down to Kathy, then turned into my fixed gear, and now is another friend's road bike.

Just as I got off the bike, it started to sprinkle, which made for a nice cool run. Again, unlike the Devil's Challenge of 2003 and 2004, 2001 took us on a run through dirt hiking trains. We ran out into the woods, over rocks and tree roots, turned around and came back. It was kind of nice compared to the black-topped campground which makes up the run coarse now. My pace was 9:02 min. miles, 370th overall. All in all, not too bad for my first "real" triathlon.


see the results for myself and Kathy for all past triathlons

Getting wet

Exiting water


Finish line

Start House Photos Triathlon How to Xmas