By Jesse Vineyard/GCU Staff
Jake and Nick Windauer got into triathlon because of their parents. They – racing with their father, Mike – were able to show their family dedication to the sport and represented Grand Canyon University Triathlon with first-place finishes at the Bartlett Lake Triathlon in Rio Verde on Easter Sunday.
Nick took first in the Olympic distance race with a time of two hours, 33 minutes and 50 seconds, while Jake took first in the Sprint+ distance with a time of 1:30:08. Mike finished third in the same distance, six minutes behind Jake.
“It was just a super fun race,” Jake Windauer said. “Racing with our dad, and having our family come down to watch was really cool, too.”
After finishing second in the opening 1,000 meter swim, Jake cruised to the first-overall finish by coming out on top in both the 12.8 mile bike ride and four mile run. Nick finished 53 seconds ahead of his nearest competitor. He took first in the 1,500 meter swim, but fell behind in the 24.8 mile bike ride, coming in fourth. He would, however, catch the first-place runner three miles into the six-mile run to pull ahead for the win.
The course itself presented challenges that make it one of the tougher races throughout Arizona. Fifty miles northeast of Phoenix at Bartlett Lake, the swim-bike-run order forced the athletes into a straight climb when coming out of the water – affording little to no time to take a rest. Also, with many other triathlon clubs in the state sending some of their best athletes to participate, a podium finish still wasn’t easy to come by.
“We raced a new group of athletes who were all really competitive,” Jake said. “It wasn’t an easy win like the Peoria race was. The transition was long coming out of the water, and with the climb, there was no room to recover your heart rate, so it definitely added to the difficulty to the race.”
Because of the challenging aspect to the course, preparing for the race offered a different training plan. With the long, steady climb that the course provided, the Windauers took advantage of places in the Valley to get ready for the weekend.
“We did a lot of hill climbing on South Mountain, and a lot of other training like that,” Jake said. “You don’t get a lot of hills racing in Arizona just because it’s all pretty flat.”
For the GCU Triathlon Club as a whole, the next and final race on the calendar is the Cactus Man Triathlon in Tempe April 29. The team is starting to settle into its training break before ramping back up before the race.
“This is a bigger one for Phoenix where there might be a few pros there,” Jake said. “We’ll be on a harder running schedule leading in because we really want to build on that.”