Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Great Adventure Challenge
Final Wrap Up

I've had a few people ask me recently what the f*ck is up with the blog. I drag my race posts out over a week, post infrequently and generally suck donkey ding dong? Well, my answer is that I am the definition of overextended right now. As I've mentioned before, work has been super busy all year so that's no surprise but my work load has increased AGAIN as I take on more responsibility AND take over some other people's work who can't seem to get it together. To add to that, I'm spearheading opening a new office in Portland more or less on my own so that's eating up a bunch of time AND (and that's a big freaking and) I'm a board member for a local non-profit which has been going through hard times over the last few years and we're in the process of turning things around. Add in family, house and riding and you might understand why things have been slack this summer. Just to be clear, I'm not complaining. All that stuff above is good stuff but at a certain point, something has got to give and it's been maintaining a moderately entertaining blog.

Anyway, back to the previously scheduled lazy ass blog post.

Heidi (Marcy's running teammate) finishing the run and solidifying 
"Landing the Pathological Smelts" #1 women's team victory.
Claire finishing the kayak and actually looking like she knows what she's doing (unlike me)
Marcy finishing the bike portion and making 
the fourth fasted women's ride of the day.
A congratulatory hug after Marcy's finish 
(I finished my run seconds before she came in on the bike)
we're obviously a very sweet couple based on the guy's
smile in the background.

Monday, August 29, 2011

The Great Adventure Challenge
The Conclusion

So, about 1.5 hours after the start of the race, I rolled into the bike to run transition tearing complete ass.  I think that I kind of freaked the race volunteers out because I did a near full speed cyclocross style dismount as I came to the tent while a couple of volunteers were furiously waving their arms trying to get me to not ride full speed through the crowd at the transition.  Such amateurs... :)

Before the race I had stashed my shoes and my very own camp chair under the tent at the end.  It was in the shade as well as at the end of the tent that I'd be coming into.  Or so I though.  As I rushed into the tent I realized that I had put it all the way at the opposite end and had to dash to my stuff to change.  Granted, the added distance was only about 100' total round trip but when you're trying to catch the leader, every second counts. 

damn shoe

Once to my chair, I quickly shed my helmet and jersey and go to pull off my shoes when I realize that my right buckle is stuck.  I tried frantically to extricate myself and yelled out "help" as if someone was going to rush to my rescue and then managed to tip over in my chair as I scrambled to pull the shoe free.  Marcy's running teammate and husband (not marcy's husband, the runners husband) came running over to help just as I was able to wrench my foot from the shoe.  Heidi's husband pointed out Mike at the top of the first slope (about 2-3 minutes ahead) and said I could catch him because he was already walking so I hauled ass out of the transition, passed up a water feed from the volunteers (so many and so helpful) and headed up the mountain.

Remembering last year's race, I felt like I left a bit too much energy in the tank on the run so for this year I decided to absolutely kill myself on the climb and run a bunch of it.  Right until I hit the first steep slope.  About 100 yards in, the grade kicks up and a fast-ish hike ensues.  I desperately wanted to run but my labored breathing said otherwise so I settled in and hoped that Mike would falter.

the only flat portion of the course.  Right at the beginning.
I had forgotten to grab my from the bike at the transition but I'm sure the grades reach well into the 30's and their were some spots where simply walking was tough.  By the 2/3's mark of the climb I had pretty much given up hope of catching Mike since I didn't seem to be reeling him in and then shortly after he came running past heading for the finish.  We gave a quick fist bump and went our separate ways.

Shortly after, I was rounding the lift station at the top and heading to the bottom. The run down the mountain is the easiest part of the day as long as you have good traction and you pay attention but it's also where you do the most damage. For days after the race I could barley walk. Read about last year's experiences to give you an idea.

I finally crossed the finish line at 2:02 a solid three minutes behind Mike who set a new course record. Nice job Mike. I'll be gunning for you next year! 

Marcy's team kicked some ass finishing mid pack off all of the teams but grabbed the fasted women's team title by a solid 20 minutes.  I think they're hooked.

Happy couple.

Marcy picking up her team's hardware.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Great Adventure Challenge
Part 2

As I entered the mtb portion of the event I wasn't yet worried.  Last year I had a 7 minute deficite to the reigning champ going into the mtb so I knew that I had a chance of erasing the 6+ minute gap this year. The only thing that I didn't know was how fast the dudes were in front of me...

The first few miles of broken pavement and dirt road allowed me to hammer and pass most of the 20-ish folks ahead of me.  I pulled most of them back pretty quickly and it gave my ego a little boost every time I blasted by one, but there were a few who were pesky.  One of the guys was (I think) the eventual overall 3r place solo finisher and he looked to be in his early 50's.  When I passed him, he told me that he was in second up til that point and then he proceeded to hold my wheel for a few miles holding my draft with what seemed like ease.  This made me extremely nervous since having a draft on this course in pretty helpful and I was afraid that if he drafted me the whole way he'd be fresher for the "run".  I would have liked to have used a draft from him but I was afraid that if I didn't keep it on the rivet I'd never catch first place.  Thankfully, once the trails tilted upward, I was able to open a gap and I never saw him again. 

The bike section also gave me a chance to dump a bunch of diluted coke down my gullet.  I knew that once the "run" started that drinking would be tough (and during the kayak it was impossible) so I decided to get as much fluids in me as possible.

About 2/3's of the way through mtb section, I came to the impossible climb.  A long STEEEEEP hill with a series of giant drainage ditches running diagonally across the trail.  Last year, Andrew was the only person to ride it.  This year I went into the race intending to ride it as well but about 1/3 of the way in I realized how stupid it was to try and bailed.  This was the section that I took the solo lead last year so I kept looking ahead hoping to make the catch but it didn't happen.  The last couple of miles blazed past without any sight of him so I resolved to catch him on the "run".

The "run" tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Great Adventure Challenge 
Part 1

Time is tighter than ever these days so I'm going to try to bust out this race report before I forget about all of the juicy details.  Here goes.

After last year's devastating 7 minute time loss is the opening leg kayak, I vowed to do better this year to give me a shot at the overall victory (including teams).  As mentioned on Monday, a friend hooked me up with a sleek sea kayak from EMS that would surely knock minutes off my time.  I didn't know anybody in the field (other than Marcy's team of scientists, the Landing the Pathological Smelt team) so I staged myself sort of middle of the line in the first row of kayaks.  I didn't expect to be the fastest person out there but I expected to be near the front.  I had practiced with this particular kayak for all of 2 minutes and kayaked once so far this summer so why wouldn't I expect to be near the front?  (One of these days I'll have to visit a psychologist to see where I get this unfounded confidence...)

When the 20ga gun went off to start the race, I was immediately in trouble.  I had taken my hands off the paddle to start my timer and as I fumbled to get going, 1/3 of the field surged past me.  Eventually, I got my shit together and started to paddle furiously.  Right into a couple of boats in front of me turning one of the kayaks almost 90 degrees before we were able to untangle.  Drat.  I looked up and the leaders already had a good 30 second gap on me.  Sweet. Thankfully, things went shittier from there.  Once we were untangled, I proceeded to plinko off of every kayak in my general vicinity as I realized that I HAVE NO FREAKING CLUE HOW TO PADDLE IN A STRAIGHT LINE!  How embarrassing.  During the first five minutes of the race I probably apologized to 10-15 different individuals for either hitting them with my kayak, cutting them off or smacking them with a paddle.  I was a serious menace.  To top it all off, the kayak that I was using was much narrower than I'm used to and I actually almost capsized the son of a bitch on two occasions.  once with both hands and paddle going off one side of the boat before I was able to right myself.  Shoot me, shoot me now.

Eventually, even my inflated ego had to accept that I wasn't going to catch the leaders and I settled into a pace that allowed me to paddle straight-ish and (hopefully) keep me from drowning.  Mercifully, the kayak portion is only 2.5 miles so it quickly came to an end after roughly 29 minutes.  Two minutes SLOWER than last year with the family barge and almost 6 minutes down on the leaders.  This is gonna be fun.

one of the few moments I wasn't embarrassing myself.
As I was pulling into the beach, I managed to fall out of my kayak and almost completely submerge myself just for good measure and to make sure that all of the volunteers (of which there were many) and spectators got to witness just how inept I am.

The transition to the bike went smoother than last year and I was able to hop on and get cranking pretty quickly.  I knew that I had somewhere between 20-30 dudes ahead of me. I had no clue who were solos and who were on teams but it didn't really matter because I was pissed from the kayak and NEEDED to pass them all.

The smelt from Marcy's team coming in.

Legs two and three tomorrow.

Monday, August 22, 2011

The Great Adventure Challenge

Saturday was the Great Adventure Challenge an off road tri consisting of kayaking 2.5 miles, mountain biking roughly 14 miles and a 2-ish mile run up and down pleasant mountain.  All sorts of fun.  Last year was the first time I contested the race and other than being slower than a shit sandwich on the kayak had a pretty good performance and took first solo.  You can read about it here and here.  My one regret from last year was showing up in our family 2.5 person kayak.  It was no match for the sleek sea kayaks most of the fast folks were using so this year a friends hubby hooked me up with this:

Check back tomorrow to see how it went...

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

It's On

Contrary to what I've been telling folks since the Bradbury 12 last year, I have decided to not contest the solo geared race this year (a change from going solo ss for the last couple of years). I simply don't have the miles in the legs this year to do well in the race. Could I finish? Absolutely. Would I finish well and enjoy myself? Unlikely. So with that in mind, I proposed to King Alby that we pair up and be a thorn in the side of perennial 2-person and overall champion Andrew Freye. Alby and I are quite the clever little couple and spent days going back and forth on what to call our team.

Here are some of the options:

Freye You Laters
Penis Freye Trap (this was my obvious favorite)
Andrew Freye's Trap
Pork Freye
Pork Fleye'd Lice (with a little asian racism thrown in for good measure)

There was also some talk about hairy European armpits but I'm not entirely sure what that had to do with anything other than complete juvenile behavior.  In the end, Alby decided he valued his career (I guess he's respectable???) more than a potentially offensive name so we settled on (and by settled on I mean Alby registered us and told me after...) "The Freye Swatters".  Now, lets just hope Andrew actually races this year otherwise this will all seem just plain silly.  Either way though, we'll still be able to annoy my buddy clint who is already reg'd.

Speaking of silly names, Marcy and a couple of friends have registered for this weekend's tri as a three person team.  Marcy and her two friends are all scientists so you know that name is going to be a hoot right?  The only thing worse than asking a group of scientists to come up with a clever name is to ask a group of engineers to come up with ANYTHING clever.  I kid (mostly) of course, but in my office I refer to engineers as the place good ideas go to die.  Anyway, I'm off topic and probably pissing off some of my engineering type readers (even more off topic.  have you ever noticed how many jobs are labeled "engineer".  my man alby is an applications engineer.  whatever the hell that is.  I'm guessing it involves applying lube to porn stars members.  but that's just a guess) and it's time to piss off some scientist type readers....

Can I get back on topic here?  So, marcy's team went around in circles on their names as well trying to tie each of their specialties into the name.  Part of Marcy's job is pathology so they used that, one of the other team members deals with fish landings and the other study smelts (I always thought it was smelled or smells).  I turned my nose up at their first couple of attempts but their final "Landing the Pathological Smelts" has a certain ring to it.  Could be a good punk band.