Friday, November 10, 2006

100 Mile Multisport Iron Race


The Mountain To Sound started at Snoqualmie Pass at ended in Golden Garden on the Pacific Ocean. The race was a 100 mile relay or you could opt for the iron division where you mountain biked 18 miles, road biked 50 miles, kayaked 14 miles and ran another 20 miles! Hell, if you can do the whole thing yourself why wouldn't you! Of course with several teammates off my adventure racing team, MerGeo.com, entering the iron division the stakes were definitely increased. Not that we are a competitive bunch, but I think we would compete in anything including who could pee the longest (duration), farthest, yellowist, clearist, etc. OK, maybe we are a bit competitive, but our ability to laugh and have fun far outweigh our competitive nature.

The plan of my race was simply, hammer the mountain and road bike and then hang on during the kayak and run. The race started with a quick 200 yard out and back dash to separate the field before jumping on the mountain bikes and riding the Iron Horse Trail. Bang...the race starts. I take a comfortable 2nd place position drafting behind a gentleman who would bring me into the mountain bikes and allow me to jump on my bike in 3rd or 4th position. I wanted to get into the Snoqualmie Tunnel before the masses to alleviate any type of accident. Perfect plan...in and out of the tunnel with no problem. The mountain bike course was less fun than I imagined. It was basically a double track fire road for 18 miles. Booo! Regardless I finished the mountain bike section 2nd for the iron racers and was stoked to jump on my road bike. The first part of the road bike was a scary fast decent leading into North Bend. It was awesome to rip this section and gain some momentum leading into the town. Once in town I tucked into the aero bars and was getting comfortable for a 46 mile road ride. Snap!!!!! The flag girl did not see me coming and was not waving the flag until too late. I tried pouncing on my brakes, but my bike came out from under me and I was not sliding on the pavement at over 25 mph!!! Ouch. I have never wrecked on my road bike, let alone going that fast. I slid into the sidewalk, where I got up and quickly checked for broken bones. Everything felt together and I quickly jumped on my bike to start my race again. I had blood streaming from abrasions on my right leg and arm. Good Stuff. My bike was also more damaged than originally inspected. My rear derailluer was bent and I could only shift in my bottom 4 gears. Not a good thing with several large hills looming. I muscled through the hills (and believe me there is not much muscle in my legs) and was happy to be back on the flats. Once there I wasn't able to pick a cadence that was create enough power and speed. Something was wrong. Either my legs were zapped from the wreck or my bike had further problems. After stumbling through several more miles, I decided to re-examine the bike. Ah ha...my rear brake was also bent during the crash and rubbing my rim. Argh!!! I tried several ways to bend them back, but in the end loosened the cable and released the brakes almost completely. Not the safest thing to do, but I was more worried about gaining back time than safety. The rest of the ride was uneventful and I tried to salvage my legs and energy for the kayak and run.

My support crew (mom, dad, brother, sister-in-law) were ready to roll when I arrived. My first order of business was to clean my wounds which were an ugly, dried, yet ozzing mess! We loaded my kayak into the water and I was very happy to be off my bike and into the kayak (and I'm not much of a kayaker). I needed to make up some time and surprisingly I did. I was hoping to finish in the middle of the pack, but I ended up with the 4th fastest iron division split. OK, I'm back in the game.

I still haven't seen my two AR teammates Roger and Ruaraidh, but I was feeling good and looking forward to the run. I parked my kayak, ate a gu and threw on my running shoes. My legs were a bit tired from the kayak and also tight from my wreck, but after the first 3 miles everything was loosening up. The tempature was also heating up and unseasonable warm for June. Tempatures were in the 90's and this was defintely having an affect on many racers! My fiance at the time, Katherine, (we are now broken up) met me at mile 8 to give me a fresh water bottle, a fresh towel for my head and words of encouragement. They definitely helped and I was feeling good. I caught up to Roger and passed him at mile 12 and now had my sites set on Ruaraidh. I was also feeling good becuase there were several reports that I was in 4th place overall in the iron division. The last feed station was at mile 13. I fueled up, chatted with my parents briefly and continued on with the race. The final 6 miles were brutal. The course ran up Stone Way and then up over the Fremont Hill. On a normal training run this is not a big hill, but after 8 hours and 94 miles it felt like I was climbing Everest!

I could finally see Golden Gardens in the distance and was ready to start shutting it down and coasting into the finish when I saw Northwest Ironman and Tri stud Michael Blue hammering down on me. I could not let him catch me. I dug into my reserves and was able to hold Michael off by 30 seconds for 4th place overall in the iron division. Ruaraidh finished 3rd overall (10 minutes in front of me) and Roger came in 5th place.

The race was brutal, but a beautiful accomplishment. I am looking forward to participating in more iron multisport races like this in 2007!

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