Sharing the sport of Triathlon with your kids!

4 Aug

For years now, my daughter Bella and I have been racing and training for the sport of Triathlon together. She started racing Triathlon when she was 7 or 8 years old doing little Iron-Kids events and as she has grown up started moving into sprint distance races competing with the adults! Nothing brings more joy to me than heading out in the morning and riding bikes with her or chasing her in the open water for a swim or having her pass me doing 400’s on the track! I love walking into transition with her, seeing how relaxed she is and how well she handles herself now setting up her gear and getting race ready! And the greatest moment of all is seeing her cross those finish lines and giving her a big hug! I love this girl so much and am so proud of her and impressed with how she manages all the training for Triathlon, training as part of the high school swim team at Minnetonka high school and her school work! She studies hours a day even taking 3 summer classes right now. At 15 years old soon to be 16 she shows so much dedication to her passions and strives hard to be successful it really inspires me!

So, when Bella and I went to Omaha NE in August of 2017 and both qualified for ITU World Championships Triathlon Gold Coast in 2018 of course we had to take those spots and plan a family trip to Australia! Being part of Team USA with my daughter is going to be incredible! I have raced three times for Team USA (Duathlon) and it’s so special and always the most amazing events! Lauren and Tim and Meg and all the staff at USA Triathlon simply are the best and they do such an amazing job of giving us athletes an amazing and memorable experience!

2018 has been a lot of fun racing and training with Bella sure it’s had some ups and downs but mostly success and fun! Our season together kicked off in early June when we did the New Bri Tri. Bella won the 19 and under division and was 2nd or 3rd overall female also! It was kind of a crazy weather day also with strong winds, cool temps, waves on the lake to deal with a poorly marked bike course a run course that was marked long and swim buoys not staying in place. But we both dealt with things and rocked some solid races to open the season!
Then I went to Madison WI the next week and did 70.3 Madison. The week after that Bella tried to race her home race Lake Minnetonka Triathlon but mother nature had other plans and stormed so heavy that the race had to be cancelled for safety. Then came the family trip to Denmark so that I could race ITU World Championships (Duathlon) in Odense, Denmark.

The next race of the season for Team Buenting was one of our local favorites! Heart of the Lakes Triathlon! If you have never raced here please do so! The town is amazing the course is great and it’s just a low key wonderful event! This race came with a few hiccups for both of us! Bella of course got out and rocked the swim course! But 2 miles into her bike ride a piece inside her helmet broke and her helmet flopped on her head, she stopped to fix it and in doing so fell on her bike skinned up her knee and hurt her ribs. She had to gather herself, fix her helmet and ride on after a few minute delay that cost her some places in this race! But after all that this little 15 year old gathered herself biked like a manic averaging almost 21mph then got out on the run struggling with sore ribs and breathing. She was 4th overall female and missed third by 10 seconds and really could have moved into second without the bike fall. She won her 19-under division again by 10 minutes though. For me well I was racing on my road bike playing chase cause my Tri-Bike stem had broke and a new one was on order. So, my race was not quite what I planned.

The next two weekends after Heart of the Lakes were spent at the swimming pool! As Bella raced down in Rochester for the Minnetonka Swim club at the regional meet, then the following week at the University of MN in the state swim meet! During those meets she rocked best times in all of her events, including racing the 400 freestyle for the first time ever and missing a state cut by 5 seconds which if she knew how to pace and do that race could have got cause she had more in the tank.
The next Triathlon for Bella was Chisago sprint Triathlon! What was really impressive about this race was it was the Sunday after she just spent three days competing in the state swim meet! And the day before the Triathlon she swam the 200 butterfly at the state meet! It was a week of her still doing Triathlon workouts while swimming in the state meet, not sure her swim coaches know this? 😊 Then the Chisago Sprint Triathlon is also the longest bike race Bella has ever done. Most sprint races she does is a 750m swim, 20k bike, 5k run. Chisago is a ¼ mile swim, 22 mile bike (this is like 10 miles longer than she is use to) and a 5k run. Bella handled that rolling hills bike course like a champ! Laying down 21mph avg. which is quite impressive! She had a really competitive field in this race of older elite Triathletes like Susie Fox and Nicole who are very strong athletes! And even with all of that Bella rocked 7th overall, she won the 19-under division and had a really great race! I also raced the short course here and well had some stupid blunders like stripping my swim skin to my waist but forgetting to take it off before I went out onto the bike course so I road with basically a parachute around my waist! What fool does this!! 😊 But the glowing moment for me was being on that 5k run course on my way back to the finish line and passing Bella as she went to the turn around of the 5k run. (She started in the wave after me) Bella was looking great and every time I get to pass her during these races on the run course I get quite emotional and always yell. “Go Bella I love you! I’m so Proud of you Bella! Now go get it embrace the pain!” There is just something about seeing your kid out there suffering like you are on the course and having success! Then I always wait for her at the finish line and as she crosses the line I catch her and hug her and tell her how proud I am and how much I lover her!
Soon high school swim season at Minnetonka will start for Bella and she will be back to managing Triathlon training with swim practice and training and school work! As we have about 6 weeks before we compete over in the Gold Coast of Australia. It’s not easy and it’s challenging for sure but Bella is so dedicated has passion and focus and I know she will handle all of this like a champ! And dad is super excited to have 6 more weeks of training with her! Bella does not really have many kids her age racing Triathlon to train with none of her friends do it locally they are all swimmers or runners but none of them put all three sports together so Bella is stuck training with dad and his adult friends! What is exciting this 2018 season is to see her growth on the bike, Bella and I were out riding recently rocking a 25 mile ride as I teach her drafting skills which she is getting really good at sitting on my wheel and holding my tempo and pacing off me, except she can crush me going up hills she is a really good climber! But this day I looked back and saw another rider drafting off Bella and struggling to hold on as Bella and I held 24-25mph for about a 6 mile stretch we came to a stop light and he started complementing Bella form and power and of course as dad you just smile! I love taking Bella to the track with my training group also and run 400’s and watch her just blow past me and smoke me! Which I’m a strong runner and am lying down 73 second quarters and she can pass me like nothing!

Getting your kids into multi-sport is such a great idea! The sport of Triathlon teaches us so much more than just racing for podiums. And getting your kids involved in your passions, off the couch, away from the screens and out exercising is such a positive healthy thing! We need to keep growing the youth of our sport Triathlon and it starts with us as adults inspiring the youth and taking them out and letting the youth try this sport and find out how much fun it is!
I’m excited for the next several weeks of training for Gold Coast and of course getting over there and meeting up with all the amazing athletes of Team USA from other parts of the country seeing my friends from the other countries and then all supporting and cheering for each other! But walking in that parade of Nations next to Bella will be really special! It will be the celebration of a year of hard work and focus! And no matter what happens during the race over there it will be all smiles and tears of joy and so much happiness!

Well back to training! And Pushing Limits!
Thanks to all of those companies and people that support Bella and me!
F2C Nutrition, Rudy Project, Roka, Freewheel Bikes, TC Running Company, USA Triathlon.


Cheers, peace and love everyone! Embrace the pain cave!


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