LAKE CRYSTAL — When Pat Baskfield embarks on his second Lake Crystal Duathlon on Saturday, he’ll have a little more on his plate than most of the competitors.
It’s not that he won’t be taxed enough by the 3.1-mile run, the 13-mile bike ride and then another 2-mile run. Iit’s that he has an extra interest in making sure the race goes off smoothly. Baskfield also happens to be the president of the board of the Lake Crystal Area Recreation Center, which puts on the event as a fund raiser.
The center used to sponsor the Lake Crystal Triathlon, but that never really caught on the way the board hoped it would. There’s a lot of competition for triathletes in the area and around the state each summer, and Lake Crystal’s race just didn’t seem to have the attraction that others did.
“We would listen to people after the triathlon and we were hearing from a lot of them that the water quality in Loon Lake didn’t seem to be the greatest,” Baskfield said. “The quality is not bad but the perception was it wasn’t great either. Plus, our event was usually one of the first ones in the spring so the water was a little colder.”
Baskfield said he and his fellow board members began looking at other options and decided in early 2012 to switch to a duathlon (run-bike-run). There are plenty of bike races, plenty of foot races and plenty of triathlons in the area, but Lake Crystal’s race is believed to be the only duathlon in south-central Minnesota.
The decision to switch wasn’t an easy one. The Lake Crystal Triathlon had a loyal, albeit small, group of competitors who enjoyed coming back every year. But the LCARC board knew that if it wanted to grow the event something had to change.