NCAA Triathlon Varsity sport!

21 Nov

NCAA Triathlon emerging sport for Women!

As a competitive age group Triathlete and huge fan of the sport I choose to write about NCAA Triathlon for Women today. So many people do not even know that Triathlon is an NCAA Varsity sport now for women and that 34 schools across the country have it and within the next year or two that number should hit 40+ making Triathlon a sanctioned sport by the NCAA and then look out as it explodes!

This past weekend in Tempe, AZ was the National Championships for NCAA Triathlon. They broke things out into two races. The first race was Division 3 schools, the second race they combined Division 1 and Division 2 athletes all though scoring only counted in their respected division they were out on the course at the same time as each other.
NCAA Triathlon is a sprint distance race. 750m swim, 20k bike, 5k run. The courses are always a loop style course and the bike portion are draft legal just like they race at the Olympic and ITU elite levels. It makes for very exciting racing and spectator friendly courses.

The National Champion team titles went to some familiar schools again in 2019.
Division 1 Arizona state University won again, Division 2 Queens University of Charlotte won, and Division 3 North Central College took home their 4th straight team title! Those Three schools have really set the standard in NCAA Triathlon over the last 3-4 years with taking home team titles consecutively at Nationals.

But with that said, Early National signing day opened last Wednesday 11/13/19 and schools have been announcing athletes that have signed! It’s been really fun to follow and see where girls end up. Like I said I’m a huge fan of the sport and follow it closely, also my daughter Bella has been racing against a lot of these girls for many years. Coach Gina out at University of San Francisco had a great signing day! Looks like she signed 5 athletes for her new program and grabbed what has got to be the #1 recruit in the nation Gillian Cridge. The University of South Dakota grabbed Paige Horner out of Johnston, IA who is an amazing athlete and will certainly help boost that team in 2020! Both South Dakota and San Francisco are D1 schools and I believe will have some fire power now to make the race a lot more interesting in 2020 against ASU.
Also Wagner University (Stanton Island, NY) signed two really great athletes, and ESU (Eastern Tennessee university) grabbed some quality athletes like Sade (who is a sweet kid, Bella and her have raced and met) This is what I have seen out of the Division 1 schools so far.

Daemen Tri announce 2019
In Division 2 I have not seen a lot of the school’s post about athletes signing to help bolster their teams and chase after Queens University. Except for Daemen College (Amherst, NY) where my daughter Bella signed. Bella is one of the top athletes coming out in this 2020 class and could have went Division 1 at some of the schools mentioned above and has beaten a lot of the girl’s head to head that did sign at those Division 1 schools above. But Bella choose her schools based on other factors that just being a Division 1 athletic program school. The athletics was very important but what was more important was her degree and the education piece of things. She also loves the girls on the team and Coach Metz! And so, does dad! I believe with the addition of Bella to the Daemen roster and whatever else Coach Metz has coming in that this team is going to really contend in 2020 for a podium spot at National Championships and maybe even dethrone Queens! And that is very exciting!

In Division 3 I have not seen a lot here also about athletes that have signed. But I know a couple of these coaches well and they are amazing!! Bella almost went to school there.
Coach Kim out at Northern Vermont University I’m sure will have some good talent coming in, and she is a great coach! If you like a rural campus in the mountains this place is beautiful! And Coach Jenny at NCC (4-time team National champs D3) is an outstanding coach and great person! I guarantee you she has some talent coming in to make that very strong team even stronger! So, it will be exciting to see over the next few months where girls go and what the rest of these schools add to their already strong teams!

The last message I want to get out there to anyone who reads my blog. High school girls’ coaches and schools are looking for quality athletes, and quality people. You don’t have to have past experience in Triathlon. This is why USA Triathlon has been supporting and helping put on combines across the country at high schools so that we can build a list of girls that have swim or run backgrounds and would be interested in talking with a Triathlon coach. I plan to host a combine in Minnesota come spring of 2020! A lot of these colleges especially D2 or D3 level are looking at athletes with strong swim or run background and then coaching the rest. Did you know that 2016 Olympic gold medal winner Gwen Jorgenson came out of a program like this? She was a cross country runner and a swimmer never did Triathlon and got recruited into a program and coached up and then boom became the best in the world! Same for current #1 in the world Katie Zafares, she was a steeple chase runner at Syracuse university and now is #1 in the world on the ITU circuit. So, girls you don’t have to have the past Triathlon experience like some of these girls listed above do coming out of junior elite cup races and what not. If you have a solid swim or run background you can Try a Tri and join an NCAA team and compete in college! Think about it, and please reach out to me if you want help? I’m happy to coach, mentor, and educate on Triathlon and the NCAA process and introduce you to coaches.

I love the sport of Triathlon and I love what USA Triathlon has started! Tim Yount is passionate about this and that is exactly what we need! So, I ask any of you out there to just get out and support the sport of Triathlon as a parent doing age group races or a child that maybe wants to work their way onto a NCAA team! And to any Colleges needing to hire a coach I’m avail and looking! I would love to coach a NCAA team, or a youth development team that helps funnel kids into the NCAA system.

No Limits, Never Give up, anything is possible!
Coach MB

National signing day! and NCAA Triathlon!

14 Nov

National Signing day and Women’s NCAA Triathlon!

Yesterday November 13th was National Signing day for high school athletes to sign national letters of intent to attend a college and compete in sport. This is always a very exciting day and schools around the country do big ceremony’s and then the college that the athlete is attending sends out announcements of excitement that so and so will be attending that college to compete in the sport they do.
Here in Minnesota the Star Tribune newspaper posted a list of all the athletes in Minnesota that were signing yesterday and on that list was my daughter Bella Buenting a Minnetonka High school senior. What is unique about Bella is that she was the only athlete listed under the sport of Triathlon and too be honest I don’t know of any other athletes in Minnesota (well actually maybe one 2 years ago as I think Taylor went off for NCAA Triathlon) So in the state of Minnesota it’s rare to see an athlete sign for the sport of Triathlon! I mean Triathlon is not even a high school sport here in Minnesota, but I would love to change that!
Bella has run on the Varsity cross country team for Minnetonka since she was in 7th grade, she did take her 10th and 11th grade years away from cross country so she could do high school swimming (since the seasons are at the same time) and then came back this year as a Senior to do cross country again and won the “RAD” award as reliable and dependable because as a senior she might not have been a captain but she was someone coach could always lean on to lead the younger girls. Bella has run Varsity Track for Minnetonka since 7th grade and this year as a Senior Bella is a captain of the track team.
So, she has the swimming and running background and has gained that coaching from her Minnetonka high school coaches but how did she get into the sport of Triathlon and learn the biking piece, transitions and all the other little things that go into Triathlon. As her father I have been competition in Triathlon and running marathons for many years. When Bella turned 8 years old and was able to enter some youth Triathlon events, we signed her up and got her hooked on the sport! Bella was swimming competitive at age 8 and by the time she was 11-12 years old was winning national awards in swimming and setting state records with her medley relay team. Bella also ran her first 5k race at age 6 so again swimming and running were very natural for her. And as dad I can’t take a lot of credit in her swimming and run development, I give that to her coaches at Minnetonka. Coach Dan for swimming and Coach Jane and Kristine for running. But the bike that is something that Bella and I have shared together all these years and continue to train together and she has become a very strong rider! Her watts to kilo ratio is above a 4 which is in the elite level!

So, there is the back ground on Bella, now NCAA Triathlon. USA Triathlon the governing body took an initiative several years ago to approach colleges and get them to add Triathlon as a Varsity sport for women. Colleges and university’s can apply for grants and through a fund USA Triathlon will give schools as much as $225,000 to help start their programs by getting the equipment needed. USA Triathlon also produces a number of the races during the season like this weekend in Tempe, AZ for the NCAA National Championships of Triathlon. Right now, Triathlon is an “emerging” sport with 34 schools across the country currently with Varsity Triathlon programs. And soon Triathlon should hit 40 schools at which time it will be sanctioned by NCAA and then the future of Triathlon at the Varsity NCAA level will really grow! Most every college around the country has Triathlon as a “club” sport and it’s very popular and competitive as a club sport but as a club sport there is no scholarships for the athlete and each athlete covers their own expenses to compete unlike the schools that have it as a Varsity sport where the school covers the travel expenses, and uniforms, and all the things needed to compete at the NCAA level. Now of course Triathlon is just like any other sport when it comes to athletic scholarships Division 1 and Division 2 schools can offer scholarships to the athlete and Division 3 cannot. But that is not to mean a D3 school is not a great program or fit! I know some amazing coaches at the D3 level and Bella visited some D3 schools.
Now you have background on NCAA Triathlon and a little background on how Bella got into Triathlon now her decision for the school she picked and signed with.
Bella signed with Daemen College in Amherst, NY yesterday. Coach Metz is pretty great and Bella really found a connection with him so that was a big piece in her choice. Bella also on her official visit got to meet the current team and hang out with the girls and just really liked them! She bonded with them and felt like they would make great teammates and be fun to hang out with! It also was nice that 3 of the girls on the team are freshman this year so Bella will have 3 years of competing with them. But the biggest piece of why Bella choose Daemen College over other schools she had offers from, and she had offers from larger Division 1 schools and other Division 2 schools and a lot of Division 3 schools was the Academics! I’m really proud of Bella choosing her school based on Academics and not just the athletic piece, and some big school focused on National titles and all that. Sure, Daemen is focused on being a great team and going after National titles, and Bella will be focused on an individual National title but first comes school and the Academic program she wanted and felt like was a great fit! Daemen college has an amazing PT program among other programs but their world class PT program is what Bella is entering. It’s an accelerated program where in 6 years you come out with your PHD. It’s an intense program and one that will really set her up nicely for life after Triathlon.
Finding Daemen College, how Bella ended up at Daemen College is pretty cool and maybe some fate. Daemen was not on her radar in June when we met Coach Metz. We had been off touring several other schools and were talking to some more. Then as I was personally working on hosting an NCAA Triathlon combine here in Minnesota working with Tim at USA Triathlon, I got introduced to Coach Metz via email to help me with the combine. During our email exchange he asks is your daughter Bella Buenting? I said yes, she is and he said he had been trying to reach her and talk to her about coming to Daemen. Bella researched the school, the town and had a couple talks with Coach Metz and then realized let’s take a visit here! The rest is as they say history!
That is the biggest piece of advice I would give a young athlete looking at schools for any sport really is not just the size of the athletic program and how good they are (those things matter yes) but the academics and the degree you will earn while attending that school! Find a school that offers something you are passionate about and want to earn a degree in. This was something Bella taught me during this process and something I’m really proud of her for. Bella is a very smart kid and works really hard for things she is driven both athletics and academics.

A personal goal I have with all of this and why I write about it, and promote it and let people know about Bella is that I want to see the sport of Triathlon grow! I want more young ladies to know this is an option for them to be part of an NCAA program, it’s a great sport they can learn and become passionate about and do the rest of their life as an age grouper or professional. It’s an Olympic sport so why not pursue lofty dreams like that and get top coaching and travel the country to compete against the best athletes during college and have fun! Triathlon is a hard sport because it’s three sports all in one and it takes extreme discipline and dedication to become successful. Bella has spent her life dedicated to this sport, training hard traveling and racing with me and getting to see the world! I put this out there to anyone who reads this call me, email me and let me help you learn the sport, and learn about NCAA Triathlon I have years of experience as a coach, an athlete and now going through this NCAA process.

Thanks to Coach Dan and Erich at Minnetonka Swim club! Thanks to Coach Jane and Kristine Minnetonka cross country and track for all you have done to help mold Bella into the strong young lady she is! And thank you Coach Metz and Daemen College for adding her to the Triathlon team and allowing her to future her education!
Future is bright for both Bella and NCAA Triathlon!

Coach MB

Daemen Tri announce 2019


NCAA Triathlon Varsity sport for women!

22 Oct

NCAA Triathlon a female emerging sport!

A few years ago, the governing body of Triathlon, USA Triathlon took it upon themselves to talk with colleges and bring Triathlon to the NCAA level as a sport for females. This has been such an exciting thing and an amazing opportunity for young women.

Triathlon has been at the club level and still is at almost every school around the country for men and women. But at club level it means the athlete still pays for everything and it’s more of just a fun sport with friendly competition and a very competitive National Championship race every spring.
As a Varsity sport at the NCAA level it means the schools have hired top notch coaching staffs, have invested money into gear like bike trainers, bike boxes for shipping bikes, clothing and race kits and so on. As a Varsity sport it also means the school now pays for the athletes travel to the races, the athlete gets access to the schools athletic training staffs and treated like any other Varsity sport athlete at the school. And depending on if the student-athlete chooses a division 1 or 2 school there is athletic scholarship money for them. At the division 3 level there is no athletic scholarships.
For the schools with Triathlon as a Varsity sport at the NCAA level they do invite athletes to come on “Official” visits and can cover some of the athletes travel expenses. There are rules to this like an athlete can’t be on campus longer than 48 hours. Not all athlete’s get offered things like this but if you’re a top recruit and the school wants you; they will do what they can to get you to come visit.
My daughter Bella is a top recruit in Triathlon coming out of the class of 2020 (she is currently high school senior) right now. So, the past 7-8 months she has been contacted by several coaches, taken a lot of “Official” and “Unofficial” visits of schools and stays in touch on a regular basis with all of these coaches as she tries to decide what school she will go to. It’s been a very exciting, stressful and long process. What NCAA Triathlon has done has really opened Bella’s eyes to some new schools, new programs and places that were not even on her radar until the coaches contacted her. This has been a very positive thing and allowed her to really study and explore some great options and meet a lot of different coaches, learn about their coaching styles and facilities and even meet some of the girls on the current team. It’s also helped Bella research more majors and academic things that each school offers which has helped her focus more on what she really wants in a school and for academics. The hardest part of all of this has been finding the school with the right mix of academic and athletic.
Bella has gotten offers from Division 1 schools, Division 2 schools and Division 3 schools. Now as a football player or something everyone thinks go Division 1 bigger school, more perks etc… and some truth to that, however for Bella she is not focused on the size of the school and what division she will compete in at the NCAA level. But rather she is focused on finding the school that has an academic program she is really interested in, and an athletic program she really likes with a great coach and team she meshes with. This is where I really respect my daughter and am sometimes surprised. She is a really smart kid, with excellent test scores and grades and she cares about academics. If this was me, I would be all about the athletic piece and just find some easy classes to take and focus on my sport. This is what a kid needs to think about as they go through this process of doing an NCAA sport. It’s not just the athletic piece but it’s the academic piece and you can’t have blinders on thinking bigger is better, because as I’ve gone through this process with Bella I have learned a lot and really opened my mind to how wonderful many of these smaller schools are and how great their academic programs are and how much that matters at the end of the day. Trust me Bella wants a great coach and program to one day set herself up for chasing a Pro-Triathlon career or maybe Olympics? Who knows? But she also wants to set herself up for life after Triathlon with a degree in something she is passionate about and can have a quality career in.
What if I have never competed in Triathlon? That is OK! Many NCAA coaches are our recruiting and looking for high school swimmers, and cross-country runners with maybe little to zero Triathlon experience. The coaches are excited to teach girls the sport of Triathlon. Sure, for Bella she has been a focused recruit for so many colleges because she has been racing Triathlon since she was 8 years old and is one of the nations top ranked athletes and is the #1 junior female triathlete in the state of Minnesota currently. So, it’s been easy for coaches to find her, but the girls who don’t race Triathlon currently but yet swim or run for their high-school those are the harder ones for coaches to find. This is why with the help of USA Triathlon and people like myself around the country we have been promoting and hosting “combines” for female athletes. It’s part seminar and education on the sport of Triathlon and part time trial in the pool, and on the track for running. The goal is getting times from girls in 100-yard freestyle swim, and the 1-mile run collect their info and input it into a database for college coaches to look at and then contact the athlete. The sport of Triathlon can really open up some great opportunities for these young women!
I’m a passionate athlete and coach of Triathlon, and father of a very talented daughter competing in Triathlon. The sport brings us so much joy and is a way of life for us. I thank USA Triathlon for all they do to support this sport and help it grow and I thank all the colleges that have taken on Triathlon as an NCAA sport to help gives these young ladies a great option in college to compete for their schools!
The next couple weeks or months will be a very crazy time for my daughter Bella as National signing day is coming November 13th and Bella is talking to coaches, and waiting on all the official offers daily. She has a lot of great options all over the place and we have learned a lot during this process and I would be happy to share what I’ve learned and help other young women go through this process and learn about the sport of Triathlon.
No matter what sport you might consider doing at the NCAA level think about these things.
1. Academics… does the school offer a program/major you really are interested in.
2. The coach, do you align with the coach and their style
3. The team and athletes on the team
4. The campus, do you like the size of the school the campus, the location all these things.
5. Financial, does the school offer scholarship money, how much? The cost of the school makes sure it all makes sense because schools are very expensive.
NCAA National Championships for Triathlon are coming up November 16th in Tempe, AZ
That will be the end of the “Championship” season it’s a fall sport at NCAA level but then the team can still train over the winter and do one race in the spring. So, they stay together throughout the year. Best of luck to all the student-athletes and schools next month!

Coach MB

A Few coaching/athlete thoughts…

17 Oct

This morning on my recovery run my mind floated all over the place as it typically does. The topics that came to mind are.
1. I believe all races/events should support and be sanctioned by the sports governing body like say Triathlon. It’s frustrating that all races are not USAT sanctioned and support them. USAT does so much for our sport and our athletes that we should all be members and all should support them! In Minnesota for some reason race directors don’t seem to feel this way and very few races are USAT sanctioned and that really disappoints me.
2. Coach/athlete relationships. As a coach and as an athlete, as a parent of a daughter who is a competitive athlete in swimming, running, Triathlon I’ve had a lot of experience here and seen many different styles. Not all coaches are the right fit for each athlete and this does not mean they are a bad coach; it just means their style and approach is not right for the athlete. Just like not all athletes can be coached the same, we are talking about sports like Triathlon, running, swimming etc… not a team sport like football. I can say that several athletes I have coached over the years has much better success when I coached them, than when they left and tried to go another path and some athletes, I coached have had success going another path so again really depends on the situation and the athlete. A coach really needs to get to know their athlete and what makes them perform, how to handle them emotionally, mentally, and physically. Like myself I know I can handle intense workouts, I can handle failure better than most and use it to fire me up and focus on the next event. I also know how to relax and do what I need to do to save energy and perform. Some athletes when a coach or outside party puts so much pressure on them, they actually stress, wear down their body and their performance suffer from the pressure and stress. Instead a coach needs to relax the athlete, help calm the nerves and help them relax and believe in themselves. When you build the confidence into the athlete and the athlete believes in that confidence and believes they have the ability to perform at a certain level a lot of times they will rise up and dig deep.
3. You can’t expect yourself or an athlete to peak at every race, to have that magical performance. So I believe how some coaches handle things making kids fight for their spot week in and week out and expect an athlete to always be on top of their game when they have stress and demands of workouts and weekly races and everything else a kid in college or high school goes through does not seem fair or right. Same goes for age group athletes or even pro level athletes. A race schedule needs to be thought out and planned. You can’t make all races be an “A” race and you can’t expect to PB or have amazing results at every race you do. Sometimes you train through races, are sore and tired and so your performance won’t be stellar and that’s OK because the goal of that race is not to be on top of your game but rather a solid workout and gain some race experience. I know a lot of college programs sort out in the pre-season who their top athletes are on the team those that will be in the championship season team and then they don’t race them much during the season rather they train them and taper them for the important events and let them skip the smaller ones. This makes a lot of sense to me, why try and race a kid week in and week out and fight for their spot? You only have 1-2 peak/great performances in you for a season so save them and use them on the days it matters most!
4. I believe you need to look at the athlete’s entire body of work! End of season awards, critics reviews, coaches picking who races at what events all of it age groupers to NCAA or high school teams. Don’t just focus on one race, rather look at the athlete’s entire body of work the entire season! If an athlete is consistently performing better than others all season long then why base awards, decisions on just one race/event? Like when athletes win end of season awards often times it’s sort of out of sight out of mind. So, if one athlete did most of their racing in the early season and was crushing it and because of things in their life did not race as much end of season, but another athlete raced more end of season I often see the nod go to the end of season athlete. This happens in football all the time, for things like the Heisman or an MVP if the better player is on a bad team and not winning games, and their season is cut short while other players go to bowl games or the playoffs it’s so easy for the better player to be overlooked for the athlete who is on the better team but maybe not the better player. Also, when looking over an athlete’s body of work you need to look at the events, what was the competition? Did they rise up against the good competition or are those results in small little races with no competition? Then you might need to consider weather conditions? And courses as well.
5. Learn about yourself and learn about your athlete! As a coach of age group athletes for many years, athletes of many different ability and age, and female or male. I have learned that you can’t coach each of them the same. I would say the same goes for younger athletes as well on NCAA or high school teams. I would say that Bella and I are similar and that our bodies have become accustomed to Triathlon training and mix of the three sports. So, when the two of us focus on running events and try to run train more and limit the amount of swimming and biking we do our bodies actually suffer and run slower than when we limit the run miles and focus on all three sports. Some athletes can thrive on high miles of running and some can’t. I use to be a high mileage run guy when I was doing a lot of marathons, but I believe I broke myself down more during that time and spent more money and time at massage and various therapy to recover than when I focused on less miles, but quality miles and then did more swim and bike. This can take time to figure out but if the athlete and coach have a good relationship, they will figure this out and do what is best for the athlete that in turn becomes better for the team. I’m excited about going back to the marathon sometime soon on my new method of training where I run less miles and do more bike rides for endurance recovery days. Focus my runs on intensity and pace work. The same for Bella during Triathlon season she could run 19:08 5k off a swim and bike, but then comes cross country season and she is just running and her times slow down by one minute or more because her legs are just not responding to the workouts and mileage. I believe had she kept training like a Triathlete her cross-country times for 5k would have been below 20 minutes all season. She had one of her best races of the season when she was coming off being sick and had little extra rest and some cross training. So, learn about your athletes and don’t be so rigid! They are not all the same.
6. Some athletes thrive in a group setting, some athletes thrive solo. I love group training, and I love a supportive team atmosphere! I do think most athletes will get better this way, and will push harder as long as the team the coach the athletes are all positive and a good mesh. When I was coaching this way many of my athletes really flourished! But some athletes that came into the group just were not a good fit. Nothing against that person just not the right style of fit for me as coach or the athletes in my group. But when you get the right combination of athletes and coach in a group man thing can really boom and a lot of growth and success can happen!
7. Learn to flow with change, learn to adopt new methods, don’t be rigid and try new ways! As a coach and athlete, I have learned you can’t keep doing the same old workouts, same old method of training year in and year out. You need to sure keep some things that work and change some things that don’t work. We can’t be archaic in our ways but adapt and go with new technology, new trends and try some new things. I always loved this approach with coaching athletes at group workouts. I wanted them to learn how to quickly roll with change and how to expect the unexpecting. Race situations things can change quickly and often especially in endurance races like say Ironman. We need to learn as athletes that we can’t control everything and can’t always plan for everything. So being in a workout thinking you’re doing 8×400 and then coach tosses out now do 4 more 400’s during the workout that can make a quick positive or negative affect in your mind and you must learn how to adapt quickly and stay positive. The same goes with planning out an athlete’s workouts for the season. I never want to plan too far in advance because I like to see how the athlete progresses and handles certain things. I also am a coach/athlete who studies a lot and likes to learn from others and then try some of those things learned on myself or other athletes and see how it works? I believe we always need to keep an open mind and be learning and changing.
8. No matter what happens in training and in racing, always stay positive! And Always believe in yourself! Don’t let one race get you down, don’t let one race determine your season or ability as an athlete!
9. Be open and honest and have good communication! As an athlete speak your mind to your coach and give feedback, let them know what is working and what is not. Let them know what methods work best with you and how you respond to things. Coach be open to this communication and be willing to change your thoughts and methods or give a good reason why, and explanation of the workout and why? Find the key words and ways to handle the athlete or coach emotionally. I find this is the biggest challenge and biggest thing that can bring success. How to handle the emotions of other people, how to get them fired up and in the zone, how to relax them and how to make them feel positive about themselves!
10. Just have fun and smile! And show gratitude and feel blessed! Having the ability to swim, bike, run is amazing! Don’t take it for granted, don’t waste your gift, don’t blow your talent! Embrace it!

Thanks for listening, if you agree, if you like this, if you want a coach. Please leave a comment, send me a note as I love to hear from you!
Just enjoy life and each moment you are given! No Limits! Never Give up!
Coach MB

Reflecting on 2019!

4 Oct

My 2019 race season is over, well maybe some late fall half marathon will appear? But my multi-sport season looks to be finished for 2019 and I have been enjoying what I call the “off-season” which I’m not sure how much of an “off” season it is considering I can’t recall my last rest day. But the focus of the off season is to stay fit, and to take each day as it comes with no rigid plan just what feels good.
Now back to my 2019 season reflection, this is something that happens on my morning runs, reflection, and looks into the future.
2019 kicked off for me with a “A” race one I wanted to be ready for, but with the harsh Minnesota winter I’m not sure I was really in peak shape.
Race #1 was USA Triathlon Duathlon National Championships in lovely Greenville, SC
Race morning was anything but nice, we had rain, we had storms, we had wet roads, we had humidity, and we had heat. For my first outdoor bike ride of the season this was not ideal but such is life. The race started with a 10k and it was a brutal fast pace as the field was loaded with the fastest dudes around including a Brit who has won a couple gold medals at Worlds over the last couple years. I went for it and pushed my limits and I suppose performed about how I expected I would be considering my condition. I ended up 4th place on the podium and qualifying for Team USA and ITU World Championships 2020.
Race #2 I believe this was Apple Duathlon? Which served as USA Triathlon regional championships.
I love this race, and have raced here many times over the years with a lot of success. 2019 I finished 7th overall and won my 45-49 division. I felt I had a strong bike this day and quality runs just not my fastest runs on this course. My run was still a thing in progress.
Race #3 Race number 3 was the first Triathlon of the season, Buffalo sprint distance.
This was a tune up race and a chance to compete with my daughter Bella! We both did sprint course. And well the old man went out and showed the young kids how to do it! I was the overall winner of the sprint race and overall felt good like I competed well.
(Bella set a junior female course record at this event!)
Race #4 Race number 4 of the season was the hometown race, again a race I just love! Lake Minnetonka Triathlon in Excelsior. This is a longer than normal sprint race with half mile swim, 15 mile bike, then the 5k run.
This race went well, I finished 7th overall and was the 1st “Master’s” athlete. My splits were pretty good and I was feeling good. This was the race of the season by my daughter Bella!
(Bella set another junior female course record and finished 3rd overall just minute behind super stars Becky and Christina)
Race #5 Race number 5 was a last minute entry into a local duathlon trying to support and make sure the race comes back next season! The Gear West Duathlon! It was a new course this year from the past years when I raced here, and again it was a rainy and wet morning, windy and just sort of ugly o yeah.. very humid!
This was a fun race, a competitive race and I don’t recall exactly how I fared? I believe 3rd overall? And won my division? The run had a trail section through the woods that I recall being tough and muddy!
Race #6 My 6th race of the 2019 season took me to a very familiar scene! Lake Nokomis for the MPLS Triathlon (Olympic distance) This was one hot and humid day, and somehow the water was just barely cool enough to be wetsuit legal.
This was an epic race for me! One I’m proud of and disappointed in. But mostly happy and proud! This is the first race in my long history of racing that I can say I won the race with my swim! I had an amazing 1500 meter swim! Rocking it in 22 minutes which might be a PB for me, and that was the difference. Sure I rocked the bike course pretty well, but my run was a disaster! I melted in the heat and my 10k split was pathetic! But I was the overall winner of the Olympic distance race! (taking away the premier/elite division) which I still beat some of those dudes!
(again I got to race with my daughter Bella she did the sprint and ended up 3rd overall)

Race #7 This is one of the best races in Minnesota! Heart of the Lakes in Annandale, MN
I did the long course, which was Minnesota state championships, and Bella did the short course.
This was a great competitive battle for me and a huge confidence booster! It was a non wet suit legal swim and I got in there and tried to hang with the elite swimmers, but they quickly ditched me and the race became a hunt! I biked my ass off, slowly finding people along the course not many as I was in the elite wave and truly not that many out in front of me. I then got passed by crazy man Mark Bervan on the bike and thought what the!! Nobody ever passes me on the bike, but the dude was killing it! So I chased hard and kept him in sights, I then started to see a couple more riders up ahead of me like Brett and Tony. I knew my run had to be on, and it was going to take some guts to run these dudes down! Coming out of transition I saw Brett and got him within the first mile, then it was after Mark and Tony they had maybe half mile or more lead on me but I was running! I finally caught Mark and thought OK not sure I can close this gap to Tony? But I kept pushing and as we headed back into town I realized I’m on him! So with less than a mile to go I made my pass and rocked into the finish line 7th overall and 2nd “Master’s”
I was quite happy and proud of my run on this race and my fight to compete and catch those ahead of me! This was a happy race day!
(And even better on this day, my daughter Bella was the overall winner of the short course, crushed the junior female course record, and had the 3rd fastest female time ever in the race history!)
Race #8 The long drive to Cleveland for USA Triathlon Age Group Nationals!
This was a goal race! I’ve never made the podium at USAT Nationals before my best finish is 12th when I qualified for Team USA and World Championships in 2018. So that was the plan a top 10 and land on the podium! Race morning, we were very unsure if the swim would happen? The winds were blowing and the lake was rough! But they sorted out a plan to make the course into 750meter swim (cut in half from the 1500) this was a very hard swim for me! The waves were brutal and I just struggled! So if I wanted to reach that goal of a top 10 it was going to take an epic bike/run combo! I got out on the bike and road my ass off! Then my friend David caught me and passed me, so then the game of back and forth was on as we did this all the way to transition. But David got into T2 ahead of me and I knew it was time to run! The tough thing was it was very hot! And this might be the hardest 10k course I have ever run! The first 2 miles were basically straight up hill. I did catch David and passed him, then I caught another guy and we battled for the next few miles until finally I broke and he pulled away. But I did finish 10th and qualified for Team USA and World Championships 2020!

Race #9 USA Triathlon Regional Championships at the Maple Grove Triathlon.
Another local race course I really love! And this year it was regional Championships which was cool! I competed in the Olympic distance race. The swim course felt long, and my swim was little frustrating so I had some anger when I got on the bike. I road hard chasing and passing people and pushing my way to the front! The winds were a challenge this day and it took some mental toughness to stay focused and pushing. I then hit the run course and was dropping some solid mile splits and feeling all right, but lap two those hills were catching up to me and again it was mental toughness! Overall I was really happy with my race, as I finished 2nd overall to a young dude with his pro-card and of course won my division.
(I coaxed Bella to come do one last race with me, after she had been away with the high school cross country team at camp and did no swims, or bikes for two weeks since she raced Nationals. She came and crushed another junior female course record and was 3rd overall!)

Race #10 Another last minute sign up for me. Square lake Sprint Triathlon.
My first time ever doing this race, it was fun and a wicked challenging course! The bike course is relentless hills! The run course has a wicked hill out of transition and plenty of more hills on the course! This was also maybe the coldest temps ever that I have raced Triathlon in. Things were damp from the rains the night before, more rain was on its way in so it was cloudy, it was windy, and it was like 50 degrees! The race is a time trial swim start which is good and bad. I got lost on the swim because they did not have enough buoys for sighting and they had no on land structure to see when coming in. So off on the bike I went dropping the hammer and chasing down the couple faster swimmers! I caught them all and was rocking out in the lead on my own until this young dude came flying up and passed me, now the race was on! We battled back and forth on the bike, he went downhill faster and I went uphill faster. And finally, on the last climb just before we headed down to T2 I passed him and held the lead. On the run I was clicking off some good miles and keeping a modest lead, I crossed the line first, but because of chip time I lost the race by like 15 seconds. So, a 2nd place overall finish to close out my 2019 season.

2019 was a very successful season, one of my best! I made the podium at every race I did, had some overall wins and really competed well! So I’m happy with it, but of course I want more so the work is underway for 2020 and the goals I will set for that season!

Racing and training with my 16 now 17 year old daughter is just amazing! She is being recruited by several colleges for NCAA Triathlon and so the summer was also spent going on official visits. Bella had an amazing season this year with 4 junior female course records and lot’s of podiums! I love racing and seeing her along the course, and nothing is better than the finish line hug! So as proud of my season as I am it truly is all about Bella and my time I spend with her.
Get you’re kids into Triathlon! Get them into leading a healthy lifestyle and find ways to share these moments with them! You won’t regret it! And neither will they!
Congrats to all the amazing athletes out there! Truly no better place than in transition hanging out with a bunch of crazy Triathlete’s!

Recapping Bella’s 2019 season!

10 Sep

As a proud father I’m blogging today and making my case for my daughter Bella Buenting to be the junior female athlete of the year! 2019 was a very impressive season for Bella, sure it had some ups and downs but overall, she rocked it!
I simply love that myself and Bella share the passion of Triathlon together and that we spend our summer training and racing together! She is an amazing kid and the hours we spend, swim, bike, run (mostly biking together she swims mostly with Minnetonka swim club) is just awesome! I live for these moments and our workouts together! Racing with her is so fun as well! Especially events that I compete in the Olympic distance, and she competes in the sprint and we see each other along the race course, or at the finish line! Nothing better than a sweaty hug at the finish line from my daughter! Bella also teaches me some things in transition and at race sites, she is a very smart kid and sometimes gives me a nice fresh perspective on something I maybe miss.
The future for Bella is exciting! Triathlon is an emerging sport at the NCAA level for women and Bella is being recruited by several schools and has been taking visits all year long to visit schools, meet with coaches and so on. It’s also a lot of work and stress for her as she has to check in weekly with all of these coaches giving them updates, they call her, text her, email her often making their sales pitches for their schools and programs. It’s fun but it’s also a lot of work for her but she is very blessed to have so many great options to choose from!

So let’s talk Bella’s 2019 season!
Race #1 kicked off in April down in Greenville, SC for USA Triathlon Duathlon National Championships. This would be the first ever Duathlon that Bella competed in and it came in the middle of high school track season so she was not 100% dialed in to Duathlon mode, and it was her first outdoor bike ride of the season since we had a harsh winter. But against the fastest girls in the nation in a draft legal event Bella finished 4th at National champs! 2 of the 3 girls that beat her had won athlete of the year awards in 2018 from USAT so you can see the competition was stiff!
Race #2 Buffalo Sprint Triathlon in Minnesota. Again this was coming right after she ran in the high school sections track meet doing the 1600 and 3200 (she finished 6th in 3200 at sections and ran a PR time for the season) So training for Triathlon was a little limited. But she cranked out a new junior female course record! Crushing the old mark, she finished 4th overall female and won her age group by a lot!
Race #3 Lake Minnetonka Triathlon; this is a sprint race but it has a longer swim and longer bike than a typical sprint. This might be Bella’s premier race of the season her performance was amazing! Bella finished 3rd overall female, within 2 minutes of the winner who has so many Triathlon wins in her career! She crushed the junior female course record and of course won her age group. Her splits were outstanding here and she really had a great day beating some of the states best athletes!
Race #4 Junior Elite Nationals in Monroe, WA This was not Bella’s day. Draft legal race against 75 of the nations fastest and best athletes. She got a bad number draw so lined up in a tough spot on the beach got bottled up in the swim so could not get into the lead or chase group on the bike and if you get caught in a small group of 2 riders out of the lead groups in draft legal it’s just really hard to fight back up to the front. She still beat about 30 girls that day but certainly not the result she wanted. Time to move on and shake this one off.
Race #5 Mpls Triathlon (sprint) Bella bounced back and had a strong race here! It was really hot and humid so she rocked that swim/bike combo to create a lead gap and then just survived the run. But she finished 3rd overall female landed on the podium and had a great result! Of course winning age group again.
Race #6 Heart of the Lakes Triathlon (short course)
Well Bella was back at this race! She had her top junior female competition in the field and Bella came out racing hard! She was the overall female winner! Crushed the junior female course record! And has the 3rd fastest female time on this course in the races 30 years.
Race #7 USA Triathlon age group National championships in Cleveland, OH (sprint)
This is a deep and competitive field again with the best of the best in the country racing! Bella came out and put together a good swim, solid bike and not a bad run. She finished 10th out of a deep 60 girl field and qualified for Team USA in 2020.
Race #8 Maple Grove Triathlon (USA Triathlon regional championships)
This was a last-minute sign up for Bella. She had been gone all week at cross country camp with her high school team Minnetonka and had not done any swimming or biking for two weeks since her last race in Cleveland. But she thought hey I have a Saturday free so why not crush one more Triathlon with my dad this year! 😊 Bella did not have the race she wanted her legs where just dead. But she was still good enough for a 3rd overall female finish against some great older athletes! She crushed another junior female course record by over 5 minutes and of course won her age group. So in the end it turned out successful!

That’s a pretty busy summer for a 16-17-year-old kid but she handled it well and loved it! Of course, mixing in a bunch of college visits as well! Hopefully she did enough to win the junior female of the year I mean 4 course records! And never losing to another junior female all season! And really crushing her competition at each race! I think they should also give a junior male of the year award to Kyle Swenson also as he had an amazing season and is a great kid! Bella and Kyle have become friends and now chat at cross country meets when they see each other!
Bella so proud of you and all you accomplish! You work hard, have passion and dedication and it pays off! Enjoy senior year of high school and so excited to see what the future brings!

Mike “Proud papa” Buenting

Square Lake Sprint Triathlon 2019!

9 Sep

Sunday Sept. 8th 2019 was what was most likely my final Triathlon of 2019 unless I sneak a travel trip in some place? I decided 3 days before the race to enter Square Lake Sprint Triathlon as a way to end what has been a great 2019 season for myself and for my daughter Bella who has 4 junior female course records this season and a bunch of podium finishes including some overall wins! Bella did not race since she is now into high school cross country season.

Race morning the calm before the storm! I woke up and looked at the weather said well it’s not raining awesome! But then looked at the temperature and said burr! I’ve raced Duathlon in cold weather, but I’ve never raced Triathlon in cold weather like this, where the water is much warmer than air temp! I will admit I was not sure about this race and kept asking myself why did I sign up for this 3 days ago? But the venue at Square lake park is beautiful! The lake is one of the nicest lakes we swim in around here!
For Square lake Triathlon the athletes self-seed themselves based on how fast they swim, so I was going for the win and put myself up front maybe 4th guy into the water? My friend Jon who is an excellent swimmer went when I did as well and my goal was pace and sight off him, well that worked for a bit but coming back to the beach the buoys were off, there was no on-shore structure we could see and sight our way back in so I was all over the place and ended up coming to shore down beach from the entrance to transition and had some extra running to do.
This allowed the athlete (Michael a young 34 year old) to exit and enter transition about same time as me. Michael turned out to be the overall winner because of chip time.
In transition I stripped out of my wet-suit and my feet started to freeze up! But I mounted my bike and off I went climbing this monster hill out of transition. The hills on the bike course of Square lake Triathlon are relentless! This is a very challenging course and I would say not an extremely fast one. The pavement was also wet from rains the night before and a few puddles and I ride timid in that type of stuff, not the dare devil like others.
So I was rocking the bike passing the few swimmers who came out before me and then about mile 5 of the bike (Michael) caught me and passed me I said what the! And I kept the chase on holding back and pushing hard to hopefully catch and overtake him. We would get to the hills and I would gain ground on him, then we would descend and he would pull away. The dude was riding hard, and I realized the two of us were so far out in front that it was a battle of 1-2 overall right here. So I thought do I back off let him go and just take 2nd place? Or do I fight and push and make him suffer if he wants to win. This was the mind game I played over several miles of the bike course. Finally, we got to the last climb before we turned and went into transition. On this climb I had the power to finally pass him and take the lead going down into T-2. This gave me a lot of confidence and motivation to go get it! I said this is my race to lose now! So, I ran hard up that big hill out of transition, I mean this thing is just cruel! And then out onto the run course. My legs were thrashed from the hilly bike and I was trying to find a rhythm at the first mile split I saw my time and was like yuck! But then my legs got loose and I started pushing the tempo. At the turn around I got a glimpse of how close Michael was to me and it motivated me to push more… finally I was dropping into 5:57 mile pace and rocking my way back to the finish line! I crossed the line first and then Michael came in after me. I held him off on the run and had wondered did I hold him off enough for the win? But because he started behind me in the swim and we are chip timed not gun time Michael got the win by 20 seconds over me! Michael was a great competitor and really fun to race against and push me, I know that having him out there made me go harder than I normally would have and I appreciate that! We both gave respect to each other for a hard-fought battle! I was bummed to be first loser but hey the dude is 11 years younger than me, ha ha.
Square lake Triathlon 2019 the coldest weather and maybe the hardest course I raced this season was a lot of fun! Great BBQ after and always fun to see Randy Fulton out there timing! Just wish Jerry McNeil was the race announcer! I would suggest this race to anyone, first timer or veteran. The course will humble you and keep you honest and the lake is beautiful! It’s also a very low-key community friendly event!
Congrats to all the athletes this weekend that did Square lake 70.3 or the sprint race! Way to fight for the finish line!

NCAA Triathlon emerging sport for Women!

27 Jul

USA Triathlon is excited to announce that there will be a triathlon combine in Minnesota for anyone interested in considering triathlon at the collegiate club or NCAA level. We are reaching out to Minnesota’s USAT members between the ages of 14-22. The wide age range is to inform students currently in high school, undergraduate and postgraduate about the opportunities to compete. We created the combine to assist our NCAA varsity triathlon and collegiate club programs in recruiting athletes.

The event will take place on Saturday, August 17th between 10:00am – 1:00pm at Minnetonka Middle School (17000 Lake St. Exit, Minnetonka, MN 55345). Please see the attached flyer for more details. The main pieces will be a short time triathlon in swim (100 meters in a pool) and run (1600 meter on a track). No experience needed. Athlete coaches are welcome to also attend with their athletes. For information, please reach out to Mike Buenting at

Here is the registration link: MN FLYER


Eye on the Prize!

25 Jul

The summer of 2019 has been loaded with success and fun racing Triathlon! I’m so blessed that my 16 year old daughter loves the sport of Triathlon like I do and that we can train and race together!
Things have really clicked for Bella this summer, she has set 3 junior female course records, has won her age group in all 4 of her Minnesota races and has placed #4 overall at Buffalo sprint Triathlon, #3 overall at Lake Minnetonka Triathlon, #3 overall at MPLS (LifeTime) Triathlon, and was the #1 overall winner of Heart of the Lakes Triathlon. And doing so in some pretty impressive times!
Mom and dad could not be more proud!
So here I sit on Thursday July 25th reading the race pre-view and predictions from Minnesota Tri-News about one of my favorite local events the Chisago Triathlon and then going why are Bella and myself not on the start list? We had planned to do this race early in the season but never registered and then as July rolled around we re-thought our plans and goals and choose against doing it. Why? Well both of us just raced two weeks in a row and if we did this race it would make 3 weeks in a row. Sure we could do it and handle it, but I know both of us are a bit tired and both of us wanted to have a big training week this week and not taper/rest for another race. So as we struggle not to be on that start line and go take on some great competition we have to remember what the ultimate goal of the summer and season is! And we must keep our eye on the prize!
In 2018 Bella and myself raced ITU World Championships in Australia as a father/daughter duo and it was amazing! So the 2019 goal is to qualify for 2020 ITU Worlds and get back to having another amazing experience! And in order for us to qualify it means on August 10th and 11th we must be in peak shape, and be rested! Which means no Chisago race this weekend and keep our eye on the prize and that goal we set out at the start of the year chasing!
Racing Triathlon we make so many sacrifices, from skipping nights out with friends, so we can get sleep and rise and grind bright and early and so on. But it’s all worth it because Triathlon is a family way of life with us and we just love the sport and all it gives us and teaches us! We love the Triathlon community! So as hard as it is right now to sacrifice and give up doing a race that we really love, we both know that we must do so in order to be prepared for USAT AGNC in a few weeks.
So best of luck to everyone racing this weekend! Myself and Bella are sad we won’t see you in transition or get to chat and hear Jerry call our names as we cross the finish line! Instead we have a big weekend of training ahead of us and some rest!
Eye on the prize! Cleveland, OH and USA Triathlon age group national championships! And hopefully another spot on TEAM USA and a trip to ITU Worlds!

MB and Bella (daddy/daughter Triathlete dynamos! )


Team Buenting = Team USA

16 Apr

Team Buenting = Team USA 2019 Duathlon National Championships!

April 13th and 14th 2019 USA Triathlon (USA Duathlon) brought National Championships to Greenville, SC. If you have never been to Greenville I suggest you go visit it is a beautiful city and the people are so very kind and wonderful! Before I share the success of the weekend I want to say thank you to USA Triathlon for producing an amazing event, to Tri Bike Transport for getting out bikes safely to the race site and to Camp from Tri Bike Transport for all his service and help and just being a great guy! Thanks to F2C Nutrition for their support and the fuel that keeps Team Buenting hydrated!

I am so blessed that my family shares the healthy way of lifestyle that I live by and am passionate about. My wife Shannon who aged up to 50 this year, my daughter Bella 16 years old and myself who also aged up to 45 this year circled this event in the fall and said let’s get the entire family qualified for Team USA and World Championships 2020! We all knew a race in early April coming out of a miserable and brutal Minnesota winter was not going to be easy! When you can’t get outside much and run because of snow/ice/cold and you are stuck indoors on a bike trainer all winter it’s not ideal for having yourself in peak shape to compete at an event of this level! But it is what we had to deal with so Team Buenting just focused and adapted to conditions as mother nature gave them to us and got ourselves ready to compete.
I think Bella had the hardest time to prepare for this event because she is a junior in high school, taking ACT tests for college, she swims competitive on high school and club teams and is on the high school track team. So for Bella to navigate all these things in her life and find extra time for bike workouts and Duathlon specific training was tricky but she did her best and was very dedicated as she has passion for multi-sport and a drive to succeed! All winter long she would sneak in bike workouts on the Wahoo kicker between swims, or track practice, between tests and studying, get up before swim meets and get a quick ride in whatever it took to log a few hours each week on the bike. But Bella’s first outdoor bike ride of the year was her draft legal sprint race that she competed in so some of the bike handling skills were a little rusty just like myself. I could tell Bella and myself had not raced or been outside since Sept. in Australia for Triathlon Worlds. Transition onto the bike were not as fluid as they are after some practice, and the handling of wind, other riders, rain, hills the confidence of controlling the bike was not there as it will be in another 4-6 weeks. But we dealt with it, and pushed our limits with no excuses!
Saturday morning was the draft legal sprint duathlon (Bella race) this is a 5k run to start into a 20k bike that is draft legal, and finish with a 2.85k run. This was the first time Bella had ever done a duathlon! Bella is a swimmer and loves Triathlon because she likes getting started with a swim. The start of a 5k run was tough and the pace for her race was wicked fast! She had to compete against girls that are state champions in high school cross country, former champions in Duathlon and Triathlon and have been racing this year all ready. She went out chasing them and held her own but by the end of the 5k run they began to break away from her which meant when Bella got on the bike she needed to find some new women to work with in a pack and try to catch up. And once Bella hit the second run and realized she was not catching the few ahead of her she dialed it back some and secured her position. Bella finished 4th in her division and 15th overall in the race (no matter of age) which is really a great performance! She secured her spot on Team USA and 2020 World Championships! I was so proud of that little girl and how she pushed her limits, dealt with the heat, humidity and adversity of the race we are not accustom to yet. Now that Bella secured her spot it was time for Shannon and I to do the same on Sunday.
Sunday morning kicked off with my race the standard distance duathlon a 9k run, 40k bike, 5k run. I just aged up to the 45-49 group but that is the fastest age group I believe in the race! I have Lee Piercy (who is the World Champions last two years) in my division, I have Dave Slavinski who is former National Champions and podium finisher at Worlds and some new guys I’ve never raced that showed they are in great run shape! The bummer for our race was just as we loaded the corral and the countdown to start was on the skies opened up and it poured rain! So we were soaked, our gear was soaked and the roads were now wet. The rain did stop during our first run before we jumped on bikes, but I’m a really cautious and nervous biker when roads are wet and we have rain so I took the start of the bike pretty cautious to how I normally would ride. This was not good because I had lost a bit of time to the leaders on that first run and needed to chase them down on my bike! The first run was fast, and I knew I was not in peak run shape yet as I only had a couple speed sessions all training because of Minnesota winter. So when we hammered out the gates at 5:20 per mile pace I knew ouch! I managed to hold strong in the 5:58 pace for the 9k but that lost me a little time to the faster runners. My legs took 6k or so before they felt the groove on the bike and then I began to hunt passing riders from the earlier waves and moving closer to my competition. The course is really great not too technical but very hilly it’s always up or down not much for any flat at all. And the winds were tricky as the course is very exposed so lots of wind to deal with and those wet roads. I’m not happy with my bike split, but it’s again about were I am right now based on my current fitness and my skills. Now came run #2 the fight for the finish line! When I came off the bike my calves, my hamstrings all were cramping!! The aero bike position, the warmth, the humidity all that had my legs just not right so that second run was a battle, and I had to often adjust my run stride and not open up to go faster cause of the cramps and locking up on my muscles in that hamstring to glute attachment area. So I ran what the body gave me and finished as strong as I could. I can say that I gave my best that that day had to offer, I know I have more in me and will get faster but on this day I have no excuses, no regrets as I went out and pushed it. Those other dudes are just really fit right now! I finished 4th in my division and 15th overall just like Bella and secured my spot for Team USA and 2020 world championships!
Two of us are in, now what will Shannon do? Shannon never races multi-sport as she is really just a runner. She has not done a duathlon in 3 years or so and does not have the confidence that Bella and I typically have. But Shannon worked so hard on the bike all winter logging those hours doing Sufferfest workouts on the Wahoo kicker and getting herself fit! No matter how Shannon did I was just so proud of her and how hard she worked all winter! But again indoor training then going outside to race, especially for someone who is inexperienced is not great. Shan would have really benefited from some outdoor rides for sure to get her bike skills down.
Shannon was signed up for the non-draft sprint race on Sunday afternoon, but mother nature came in strong and the skies opened up and it poured rain for awhile before her race, winds picked up more and some very severe weather was on its way! The race officials did a great job to make a race happen by taking the sprint and making it a super sprint. The adjusted the course so that we could squeeze this thing in before the severe storm hit! Shannon went out on the first run hard, pushing her absolute limits at the front of the pack and actually ran her fastest per average mile times ever! For the 1.5 mile first run she cranked out 6:48 pace! Had herself in podium position! The bike course was tricky and congested and again Shan does not have the bike skills of racing like Bella and I but she handled it great, avoided crashes around her and safely made it back to transition for run #2. She was still sitting in a podium position but the other women were coming for her! Shannon crossed the finish line and boom!! Podium finish with a 3rd place and bronze medal! Shannon had secured her place on Team USA!
Now that 2019 Duathlon Nationals were over we could all relax a little and celebrate! Team Buenting now equals Team USA the goal of qualifying all three of us for 2020 World Championships has been met and it ended in amazing fashion with Shannon landing on her first podium ever!! I was so proud, I beamed with excitement when Shannon was racing, I was texting her friends back home with updates and to see her finish and get that podium finish just made everything worth it! That is a priceless moment! Shannon supports Bella and myself so well and typically Shan does not race just takes care of us. To have Shan race and reach her goal when she had not confidence or making Team USA was so awesome! I’m just so damn proud of her! I’m so proud of both of my girls!! They worked hard, they took on a new challenge as they had never competed in Duathlon before and they both had success! I have been on Team USA 4 times, and have been a National Champion in Duathlon before so my race and my success is not as exciting as what Bella and Shannon accomplished!
The family had an amazing weekend in Greenville, and then before we flew home Monday had a great college visit at Queens University of Charlotte, and a great meeting and tour with the Triathlon coach of Queens.
Now hopefully spring will arrive and stay in Minnesota and we can get back to some focused training and a successful season of multi-sport racing family style!
Congrats to all the finishes and amazing people who competed this weekend! We made a lot of new friends got to reunite with old friends and just enjoyed the wonderful and supportive community of multi-sport! Truly nothing like a bunch of Triathletes/Duathletes some of the best people anywhere!
Team Buenting now can say we are Team USA as all three of us will be able to represent in 2020! Also a big shout out to our good friend Ann Lendino who trains with Shannon and competed in the draft legal sprint race on Saturday Ann also qualified for Team USA with a 7th place finish and will join us in 2020!

Bella, Shannon I love you both so much! And am just so proud!!