Monday, August 23, 2010

Shock and Owww!

Saturday was the third annual Great Adventure Challenge, an off road tri that included a 2.5 mile kayak, 14 mile mountain bike ride and a two mile run straight up and down Pleasant Mountain.  It was a race that, at least on paper, I felt like I could do well in.  During the previous two years, the kayak and run portion each only took about 1/2 hour and the mountain bike portion took roughly 1.5 hours so if you held your on on the two bookends and really drilled the mountain bike you could fare well.  At least on paper and in my feeble little brain.

My one real worry for the race was our lumbering 2 1/2 man kayak.  A kayak that is perfect for a family outing but potentially not prefect for a race but I figured I'd lose 2-3 minutes tops in this portion so no big whup.  When I got to the venue and dropped my kayak off I got a bit worried.  I saw roughly 90 sleek and fast looking sea kayaks, a couple of portly looking one man kayaks and my sea barge.  Uh oh.
I lined myself up behind Rob Smith, the 2008 winner (and plate no. 1 wearer) before the kayak hoping to hold his stern (?) for as long as possible to minimize the potential losses but when the gun went off (20 ga shotgun) I immediately realized I was in for a world of hurt as he rocketed ahead with great easy and I got swallowed up by the crowd.  For the next (close to) 30 minutes I lumbered along, practically ripping my arm off trying to maintain a reasonably fast pace only to see people working half as hard easily stay with me or glide on past.  By the end of the paddle, my arms, abs, lower back and legs (wasn't expecting that one) were shot and my ego was under water somewhere in the middle of the lake because I came off the water in 51st place out of 91.  Yikes.  I was even unable to close the gap to a 55-ish year old slightly overweight woman who I had set as my carrot mid paddle.  I think I may need to take this portion of the race more seriously next year!

Out of the kayak, the multitude of race volunteers sprung into action, hauled my kayak out and I was on my way on very unsteady legs to the second leg of the race, the bike.  When I staged my bike, I found the perfect spot.  A telephone pole two feet from the road where I could theoretically run up, put on my helmet and ride off into the sunset instead of picking it up from the lawn like everyone else.  Such a perfect plan.  Things went well until I actually jumped onto the bike and realized that I had left it in high gear after tuning it up the night before and had to actually get off to down shift to get rolling.  Ahhh, so pro.

Once on the bike, I was faced with 3.8 miles of rough paved roads before we hit dirt.  I used this time well and passed 40-ish people in the first 15 minutes.  Once we hit the trails, my passing slowed down a bit since I had already passed the soccer moms and newly retired and were catching people who knew how to ride bikes but managed to reel a few more in before the 20 minute mark.  Around then, I caught my buddy Kevin who was doing the mtb leg for a three person team.  He told me there were only three others ahead of me (with one in sight already) so I was pleased with my progress.  I knew that Andrew Freye (fast ass new england pro and member of a three person team) was one of the riders so Rob Smith couldn't be too far ahead.  So I set about trying to reel him in.

Woops.  That's all the time I have for today, check back tomorrow for the thrilling conclusion.



Bill said...

My sources hint that some congrats are in order... you sir, are one tough mofo.

TrevorM said...

On the bike leg, would the cross bike be faster overall even with some hike-a-bike, or is the mountain bike worth it despite the roadie action?

-Trevor (thinking maybe next year)

rick is! said...

I don't think a cx bike would be better. There is enough rough stuff that I think you'd be taking too much of a flat risk.