Monday, August 20, 2012

The Great Adventure Challenge

This was my first official triathlon but with a twist on the normal events.  Kayak, Mountain Bike, Hike

First came a 2.5mile kayaking leg with about 100 boats at the start line.  Kelly and I were the only ones using sit-on-top kayaks and about 5 minutes into the race we knew why.  We were paddling just as hard as some of the others but found ourselves in the back third of the pack.

 At the end of the two and a half miles I was about 70th and Kelly was a little bit behind me.  Next year I'll be in a faster kayak for sure.

Second a 16+ mile mountain bike ride over mixed terrain with some light technical stuff but nothing too bad - perfect!  I started out easy on the bike portion passing a few people on the road section, mostly on short climbs.  It seemed like I was on par with a good portion of the other riders.  I caught and rode with another rider for a while and he let me take the lead position before we headed into the woods.  Now the fun begins.  The trails were a X-country style double track with lots of muddy spots from the heavy rain the night before.  I picked off a few dozen riders in the first woods section before we hit some dirt roads.  As I approached the front of the pack the distance between riders became further and further and I could see by the tire tracks that there were only a handful of bikes ahead of me.  At the last checkpoint I inquired and found out I was 7th and I managed to shrink that down to 3rd by the end of the bike portion despite my one crash of the race.  Going down a wet wooded section my tire skidded along a downed tree parallel to the trail.  Next year, well, I'm going to do it just the same way.  I've got no regrets about my bike leg performance.
My bike to hike transition time was on the slow side, probably 2+ minutes while I changed into my hiking boots.  The boots were a mistake.  They take longer to tie than sneakers and on the downhill my toes were jammed into the front of them like you read about.  Next year it is either sneakers or I may try it in my biking shoes and avoid the whole transition time.

I started the the 1 mile, 1200 foot climb like everybody else at a light jog and like everybody else I abandon that idea the moment the trail started going up.  OK, there were a few that broke into a jog along the climb but I wasn't one of them. 
I crossed the finish line in 2 hours, 24 minutes +- which put me in 3rd place in my 35+ age group.

Kelly had her share of mishaps on the course and finished in about 3 hours, 30 minutes.  All and all, not bad for somebody that has only mountain biked less than 10 times in her life.  People continued to stream in over the next hour or so.

In the end, a good time was had by all.  I can't wait until next year's race!

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