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Name: North Mankato Triathlon - Rookie Triathlon Experience

Distance: Sprint Triathlon - 1/4 Mile Swim - 12 Mile Bike - 3 Mile Run

Location: Hiniker Pond Park - North Mankato, MN

Date: August 12th, 2018

Start Time: 8:00 am

Race Fees:

EVENT Before 5/7 By 6/4 By 8/6
After 8/6
Individual Sprint (Rookie) $64 $68 $74 $78

We recommend signing up as early as possible so you can take full advantage of the support and advice from our team of seasoned triathlete mentors.

Rookie Tri Night:

Scheels Red

When: Wednesday, August 8th: 6pm - 8pm
Where: SCHEELS at the River Hills Mall (1850 Adams Street  Mankato, MN 56001)
What is it?: This is a special packet pick up just for Rookie Triathletes! Come join us on Wednesday, August 8th to pick up your race packet containing your race bib, bike and helmet numbers, timing chip, swim cap, race bag, and race t shirt. Scheels will have their bike maintenance team available for any bike services you may need prior to race day, they will also be at the park on race morning providing bike support.


NMT rookies

What does the Rookie Triathlete Experience include?
• An expert mentor team to give you tips and answer any question before, during, or after the race (No question is a bad question)
• A designated transition area for rookie triathletes with separate bike racks
• Your packet will be waiting for you in the designated rookie area if you don’t pick it up at packet pickup
• Separate race director talk for rookie athletes
• Separate body marking spot in the rookie triathlete area
• Race day support from mentors, they will be in the transition area with you from start to finish!
• Start in a wave with other rookie triathletes
• Water is about 5-8 feet deep for a majority of the swim
• Chip timing so you can see how you performed in each leg of the race
• Swim cap, race bib, and race t-shirt
• Post race lunch
• A sense of accomplishment after completing your first multisport event!

Worried you might forget something on race day? Click here for a checklist.

I have thought about participating in a triathlon but I don't know where to start.
This year we are proud to announce that we will be offering a Rookie Triathlete experience for athletes who are new to multisport events! We have enlisted seasoned triathletes to help you prepare and complete your first triathlon. Our team of mentors will teach you everything you need to know about having a successful race. On race day we will have a designated section of transition specifically for rookie triathletes! To help ease any prerace stress the mentor team will be there helping you set up a successful transition area. To make race morning easy we will have a one stop shop in your transition area where you can pick up your race packet, get body marking, and get your race goodies!

I want to do my first triathlon but I'm worried about open water swimming.
Open water swimming can seem a little daunting but Hiniker Pond offers one of the best open water swimming courses available to new comers. Not only is the water shallow but we have an expert team of life guards in the water from Bent River Outfitters and the Mankato Fire Department ready to aid swimmers at a moment’s notice.

I don't know how to get my bike ready for a triathlon.
Bring your bike old, new, mountain bike, road bike or whatever you have to complete the bike portion of the event.  Gear West has graciously offered offer a safety check as well as inflate tires and lube drivetrain so that the athlete doesn’t feel the pressure on race morning to get the bike ready!

What do I need to wear on race day? I see people riding in their swimsuits, do I need to do that?
You can wear a wetsuit if the water is cool enough. It's hard to know with MN's summers but usually the race allows a wetsuit if you have one. You can also rent one before the event. Under the wetsuit some people wear swim suits and some people wear a top and shorts or a one piece tri suit. It's entirely up to you what you wear and what you are comfortable in. You can then put on bike shorts and or a bike top and socks once you get on the bike. There is no nudity in the transition area though so plan ahead! Always try out your race day outfit before the event. Then you know what may rub you " wrong" or works perfectly!

ESSENTIAL GEAR for your triathlon

A word of caution here — it is very easy to get carried away with non-essential gear when you’re talking about training and racing for three different sports. Keep in mind that experience will guide you through the extras you may need over time so the following list provides only the essential items needed to begin to train and race triathlon:


  • Swimsuit
  • Goggles
  • Swim cap
  • Wetsuit (may be optional if you live in a warmer climate or have a pool swim)


  • Bike, whatever you already have will do (road, tri or mountain bike), but you may want to take it to your local bike shop to make sure it’s tight, lubed up and ready for a race!
  • Helmet
  • Bike shorts
  • Bike shirt — not essential but cuts down on wind resistance and has pockets for fuel, phones and car keys
  • Flat kit bag secured to your bike, with an extra tube, a pump and tire levers
  • Sunglasses
  • Bike shoes with appropriate clips
  • Gloves for grip and/or cold weather


  • Quality running shoes
  • Athletic socks to avoid blisters
  • Sweat wicking clothing
  • Sports bra for women
  • Hat or visor
  • Looking for more than the essentials? Check out our swimbike and run gear guides.


Possibly longer than any grocery list is the race day checklist! There are literally hundreds on the internet, varying by location, distance and experience. And, because there are so many lists for race day, we’re taking it a step further and giving you a guide for the entire week leading up to race day (race routines by Alan Ley).

One Week Prior to the Event (Do this a week before the race, not the day before)

  • Any time you can spend on the actual race course is good.
    • Can you swim at the same time the race starts to check the sun, waves and water conditions?
  • Get your bike checked.
    • Replace worn tires and old tubes. There’s nothing worse than training for a year and having a flat tire or mechanical failure during the race. If it looks bad, replace it.
  • Swim with a swim cap.
    • If your goggle strap is worn or old, get new goggles. With the race morning excitement many athletes break their goggle straps right before the race start.
    • Take two pairs of goggles to the race.
  • Prepare your race clothing.
    • Zippers work? Suit torn or stretched? Loose suits = slow swim times!
    • Shoe strings or elastic laces OK?
    • Visor or hat necessary?
    • Take comfortable clothes for after the race and a drink and snack.
  • Visualize the race and how good you will feel. Go over the race events in as much detail as possible — race morning, equipment, self-motivational talk. Rehearse race day words and mantras: smooth, light, relax, breathe, dance, push, I love this stuff, drive on, dig deeper, faster, form, I will do this, your speed is only limited by your mind!

Two Days Before the Race

  • Sleep well. This is the most important night to sleep.
  • Adults usually use this as a rest day with very little working out.
  • Eat the foods that you normally do. There is no need to eat more than normal because you are training less, so the normal amount of food is about right.
  • Revisit the race course, especially the finish line and the last section of the bike and run course.
  • Repeat: Visualize the race and how good you will feel. Go over the race events in as much detail as possible — race morning, equipment, self-motivational talk. Rehearse race day words and mantras: smooth, light, relax, breathe, dance, push, I love this stuff, drive on, dig deeper, faster, form, I will do this, your speed is only limited by your mind!

Day Before the Race

  • Don't overeat.
  • Complete a short equipment check — bike, shoes, goggles, helmet and warm-up clothes.
  • Pack a bag with your race essentials: race/trisuit, water bottle, gel or bar, race shoes, goggles, race numbers and towel. Pack another bag with extra safety pins, tape, magic marker, water bottle, warm-up clothes, snack, drink and clothes for after the race.
  • Pump up your bike tires in the evening and then don't touch them until after the race.
  • Note: It is always better to be over rested than over trained!
  • Put all your equipment in the car tonight to be ready to go in the morning.
  • Repeat: Visualize the race and how good you will feel. Go over the race events in as much detail as possible — race morning, equipment, self-motivational talk. Rehearse race day words and mantras: smooth, light, relax, breathe, dance, push, I love this stuff, drive on, dig deeper, faster, form, I will do this, your speed is only limited by your mind!
  • Go to bed at a reasonable time and think: YOU the TRIATHLETE are a very special person. Tomorrow is filled with possibilities and you will make your preparation and training pay off. There are NO limits on race day, only possibilities!

Race Day

  • Eat breakfast like you normally do. Nothing new. Be sure to eat at least 90 minutes before your race starts.
  • Try to go to the bathroom early.
  • Dress warm. Race mornings always seem cooler than normal.
  • Arrive at the race site early and stay focused.
  • Don't adjust your bike or put air in the tires. This should have been done last night.
  • Check in, bodymark and chip.
  • Place numbers on bike and helmet.
  • Set up transition area. Shoes, towel, helmet, sunglasses, socks and race number.
    • The less the better in the transition area.
    • Use a bright colored towel to mark your spot.
    • Put your bike in the right gear for the start.
    • Right pedal level and forward.
    • Final bike check: brakes, tires.
    • Front wheel out.
    • Helmet, race number and shoes positioned.
  • Place your timing chip on your left ankle.
  • Walk/jog from the swim exit to your bike. Look at the markings and remember your way.
  • Familiarize yourself with the swim to bike, the bike in and the run out.
    • Pay attention to these details. Minutes can be saved in the transition area.
  • Stay focused. Stick to yourself and your race plan.
  • Don't let anyone take your energy away!
  • Warm up for the swim. Swim about 5 minutes and complete three hard 20-second efforts so you are breathing hard. If the water is too cold or you can't get in and swim then use stretch cords or get your body moving for about 5 minutes, especially your arms.
  • Now all that's left to do is give your best effort today!

Meet the Mentors

Thank you to our 2017 mentors - there may be changes for 2018 to mentors. Here is our amazing team of multisport mentors. Feel free to email and ask them any questions you might have about competing in your first triathlon. Remember, there is no such thing as a stupid question. Our mentors have tons of experience and they can't wait to share their thoughts with you on how to have a great first triathlon!

Jim Penkert

Email Jim



Ready to tri something new?

If you're ready to compete in your first triathlon with the support of our multisport mentor team, register now!

Final Stretch

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