The Daily Globe - Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Triathlon participation limited by cold temps, long haul


March 4, 2019

P.J. Glisson/Daily Globe

STARTING OUT on the first segment of Saturday's first annual Mountains of the Midwest Triathlon at Wolverine Nordic Ski Trails in Ironwood Township are, from left, Sarah Agena, Randy Ahnen, Haley Crites and Brian Bogaczyk.


Ironwood - Wind chill hovering around zero may have deterred people from participating in last Saturday's first annual Mountains of the Midwest Triathlon at Wolverine Nordic Ski Trails in Ironwood.

Only 16 hardy souls signed up for the competition, which included a combination of cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and fat bike racing, with each segment immediately following the previous one.

"This is a hard race," said Sue Spaete, who organized the event along with Justin Blake. She said skiers, bikers and snowshoers all would have to start their segments by moving uphill on a trail directly east of the Wolverine chalet on Sunset Road.

Overall individual male and female winners were Stephanie Holloway and her son, Devon Byers, both of Ironwood. Byers' total time was 1:37:51, and Holloway's total time was 1:57:37.

Participants could choose to rough it by doing all three segments themselves, or they could enter the race as teams, with three individuals switching out for each segment.

Both teams that entered were from Wausau-Stevens Point, Wis. The Missing Turtles team won the skate ski relay with a total time of 2:15:27, and the team of We Are Snow Joke won the classic ski with a total time of 2:39:58.

Race lengths were 6k for cross-country skiing, 8k for fat biking, and 5K for snowshoeing.

"They groomed this morning," said Spaete as the race began at 10 a.m. "I think the conditions for cross-country skiing are excellent."

Bikers didn't have as ideal conditions. According to Paul Anderson, a Wolverine volunteer who acted as Saturday's emcee, said, "It's going to be a little soft for the bikers."

Anderson, who said participants were expected to take from 25 to 45 minutes for each segment of the race, said the snow had a "sugary" texture.

As he finished his skiing segment, Brian Bogaczyk of Bessemer said, "That's the fastest I've ever skied. I hope I didn't overdo it."

He said he just started skiing six or seven weeks ago.

"Go get 'em, Brian," yelled Anderson, as Bogaczyk then took off on his bike.

Karen Mikalofsky participated in the race on a whim when her friend, Tanya Schwartz suggested it.

As Mikalofsky explained, "Tanya said, 'Hey, it'd be fun to get together for the weekend' and we said 'Okay.'"

Sarah Agena and Mikalofsky are from Wausau, and Schwartz is from Stevens Point, but also has a house in this region. Mikalofsky said they arrived yesterday to ski and also have been enjoying the area's restaurant scene.

The women composed the We Are Snow Joke team.

Spaete said the oldest participant was Sixto Linares, age 64, of Chicago. "He's never done anything like this," she said.

Despite the low number of participants, Spaete said, "We need the same number of volunteers whether you have 16 or 200."

She said volunteers must be stationed at every junction of the trails, and medical personnel also must be present in the event of an emergency. She estimated 30 volunteers were making Saturday's event possible.

At the end of the event, Spaete said participants could partake in soup and other lunch items.

"These are good fundraisers for doing trail maintenance," said Anderson of the event that had broad sponsorship from local businesses.

Winners also had one other reward in the way of pretty clay medals crafted by Candace Jacobs, who teaches art and graphic arts at Wakefield-Marenisco K-12 School.

Anderson said that after Jacobs crafted the round, blue-tinted medals, she fired them in her own kiln.


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