Wednesday, September 2, 2009


Steve Sander, 30, of Richfield, has enjoyed a breakthrough season, which comes a a very pleasant and totally unexpected surprise to the self-described former chubbo/pack-a-day smoker.

His last two efforts, course-record-setting victories at Young Life Olympic and Lakes Country, performances that secured his place atop the Tri Minnesota Series final leaderboard, have been especially satisfying.

"I don't know what has gotten into me the past few weeks but I hope it is not a short term thing. After a disappointing Lifetime race I regained a lot of confidence at Waseca [2nd behind Dan Cohen], but at Detroit Lakes I realized I can hammer the bike and still get in a good run split.

"Getting a win at Young Life really helped me relax at Baxter. I even managed to get a decent night's sleep the night before. The racing conditions were as close to perfect as you will ever find. Gorgeous blue sky with very little wind. The water was as smooth as I've ever seen it. By doing a little research (what else am I going to do at work) I knew Greg Rhodes was probably going to be my toughest challenge. I also knew that he is a ridiculous swimmer with a solid bike and run split. I also saw Greg turn in a great race at Brewhouse a few weeks ago. I will admit I thought Greg could easily come out on top.

"My plan was to hammer the swim and try to keep him [Greg] within three minutes. Hopefully I would be able to hammer the bike and catch him on the run. My bike split at Detroit was a little deceiving as I missed a turn and added a little over a mile to the course. So I knew I had a fast bike split in me. What I wasn't expecting was to turn in my fastest bike split so far. I knew Greg can run so I just gritted down and did all I could to hold him off. I guess I just needed the motivation of trying to play catch up. I thought I was capable of such a race but thinking and doing are two different things. We'll see if I can do it again.

"...I might also add that Detroit Lakes has one of the best venues for a triathlon I have ever seen. LuAnn [Race Director LuAnn Milner] and Young Life put on a great race and it supports a great cause. I really think the Young Life Tri has great potential and hope more people make the trip to see what a great race it is." SS