A winter break

Levi Kroese, of Manson, stood before the swimming pool at the REC Saturday morning waiting for his 8 a.m. swim heat to get started during the fifth annual Fort Dodge Indoor Tri.

He was the last man standing.

“A bunch of guys from work got on a health kick,” he said. “All the guys on the kick bailed.”

While his co-workers might have left him to face his first triathlon alone – participants swim, run and bike – he was well-prepared for the challenge.

“I doubled everything they had,” he said of the training suggestions offered by the REC.

He had plenty of confidence going in.

“I’m sure I can complete.”

The only thing that concerned him, a bit, was the stationary bike.

“It’s my first time on the spin bikes,” he said. “They’re usually not available when I work out.”

Craig Jarrard, who helped coordinate the event, said that this year it drew about 160 participants ranging in age from 8 to 65.

The indoor facility is great for first-time triathlon participants, he said, because it offers a controlled environment in the indoor pool, circular track and stationary bikes.

Participants get a combined 45 minutes of exercise in each event. That compares favorably to many other triathlons where a fast time is one hour, he said.

While a solid 45 minutes of exercise might seem like a lot, he said it can be done by working up to it.

“With a few weeks on a consistent workout routine, anybody can do it,” he said.

Many participants go on to compete in longer triathlons, he said. The Indoor Tri also offers something for the experienced athlete.

“It’s a good gauge to see where they’re at,” he said.

Brooke Barber, of Fort Dodge, has participated in several triathlons. The bike stage took a bit out of her.

“It was tough,” she said.

The day gave her something to look forward to and look back on.

“It’s something nice to break up the winter,” she said.

Erin Huisman, of Centerville, was trying to save a few seconds by multitasking in the bike room, putting on her socks and shoes while trying to adjust the seat on the bike.

She came back to see friends and family as well as swim, bike and run.

“It’s a nice break,” she said. “It’s a good way to keep in shape.”

While Huisman was busy biking off some calories, Gracie Maguire, 11, of Fort Dodge, could be found in the nearby hallway – in her swimsuit and pink robe – enjoying a post-swim cinnamon roll.

She was part of a team and her event was the swim.

“It’s fun,” she said.

Maguire said that while she would like to work up to doing all three events, she is aware that enjoying a gooey cinnamon roll between events wouldn’t be an option then.

“Yeah,” she said. “I know.”