There’s nothing quite like 90 percent humidity to make a near 32-mile swim, run and bike race at 7 a.m. on a weekend just that much more appealing.
But for the professional athletes taking on Saturday’s Life Time Fitness Minneapolis triathlon around Lake Nokomis, it was a welcome change from the previous year, when the race was delayed and shortened by storms.
Canadian Alicia Kaye, 30, also enjoyed a welcome change in results as she crossed the finish line first overall and for the women, briefly hoisting the red tape above her head in victory.
Kaye said she was not expecting to win since she thought the equalizer time gap between the men’s and women’s starts would make the men hard to beat.
“I think I might have screamed a little bit,” Kaye said of her finish-line moment. “I was just like, ‘Yes! Yes!’ I was just so happy. I mean, it was just pure joy.”
Last year, Kaye won the women’s division, but Cameron Dye, 30, of Boulder, Colo., touched the tape first. Dye placed third overall and second in the men’s this year, while Ben Collins, 31, of Chicago, took second overall and first for the men.
Dye said he thought the first two-thirds of his race were solid, but he fell apart on the second half because of the humidity. He said he was sweating just standing still, which is also what it felt like as Collins passed him down the stretch.
Not enough to drink
“I just didn’t drink enough, I guess,” he said. “The humidity just crushed me on the run. I’m from Colorado where it’s super dry. I just underestimated, I think. That seems to happen to me once a year when I come to the Midwest.”
Collins said the roles were reversed on the bike ride; he only managed to pull even with Dye once before his opponent sped out of sight. And while the advantage he had weatherwise as a Midwesterner helped him take over on the run, even he had to take a trip to the medical tent after the race for an ice bath.
“I ended up being overheated at the end,” Collins said. “I was pushing really hard trying to catch Alicia, and I put myself kind of in that red zone.”
Overall, though, Collins said he felt he had a consistent race throughout, which helped him finish in the top three in Minneapolis for the first time in his career.
“This is one of those bucket list races that’s been around forever, and everyone hears about the Life Time Fitness Minneapolis race,” he said. “It’s one of those big-name races. So to win this, to put it on my résumé, is just really wonderful.”
Collins crossed in 1 hour, 50 minutes and 9 seconds while Kaye clocked in at 1:59:51. Both take home $7,000 and 100 points toward the new Toyota Triple Crown, of which Minneapolis was the first in a series of three races.
In the Life Time Tri Series — Minneapolis is the halfway point of six races — Dye still holds the lead while Collins moved in to second place. Kaye took the women’s lead from four-time Minneapolis champion Sarah Haskins, 33, of Clermont, Fla., who pulled out of the Minneapolis race during warmups because of an undisclosed injury.
“I know that once Haskins is back and healthy, she will absolutely challenge me,” Kaye said. “I love racing her. I always say I love my competitor because she brings the best out of me. … It’s kind of not the same without her. She and I have some great battles.”