Photo from the Grand Forks Herald article that came out in April of 2010. The author, Ann Bailey, dubbed me 'Captain Adventure' without my knowledge (thanks alot Ann!). To make sure i'll never live it down, yesterday my wife gave me a nice base-layer shirt, proudly (and largely) displaying the moniker (thanks alot Tammy!).
Living in Grand Forks, ND and being none other than Captain Adventure himself, i've started to feel like a big fish in a small pond. This past weekend, however, with a trip to the Chippewa Triathlon (only a few hours east into minnesota), i found myself in entirely different waters. I placed sixth in my category (solo), which isn't as high as i'd hoped, but then i was expecting this after the pre-race dinner on friday night when i arrived and saw some of the boats some of the other solo racers would be using (K-1 class stuff). All in all i had a great time and was pretty happy with how i fared and how well my relatively untested portage system worked. The full triathlon results can be found here and some photos from the race here.
Entering the woods on one of the portages during the canoe leg
When expanding my category to include all the male racers who completed the entire course (including those who paddled as a pair - either with another guy or as part of a coed team - and thus had a significant advantage so to speak), I had 83 'competitors'. I finished 26th in the paddle, 16th in the bike, and 11th in the run, and 17th overall.
It was a great race made greater by the fact that it also serves as a it of a family reunion on my wife's side. She partnered with her brother to complete the whole thing (though at a much more leisurely pace) and for the first time one of the youngest generation - her sister's 12 year old son, Thomas - participated by doing the run. In addition, i made a couple of new friends (Tim, Paul, and Joe - who i was happy to be swapping pulls with during the last 10 miles of the bike leg) and got to catch up with some folks i'd met at the Arrowhead 135 during the post race meal.
Tammy and Dave just after the start of the race
Since the race i learned a few things which, if i decide to do it again next year, promise to make me even faster - 1) Get a lighter paddle. I was using a SRS 5 piece wing paddle with indestructible plastic blades that weighed well over a kilogram. OUCH. My shoulders were jelly after about an hour and forty minutes, which coincidentally is the length of my longest day of paddle training. 2) Higher PSi isn't always a good thing. I'd set my tire pressure at nearly 60 psi because i thought that this would make me faster as the bike course was said to be relatively mud free. But after talking to my brother, the adventure racing guru, i've realized that unless you're on asphalt almost exclusively, a lower tire pressure (35-40 psi) is better. As it was, my super hard tires bit deeper into the wettish sand, dirt, and clay that formed over half of the bike course and probably slowed me down. I noticed the drag during the race - i remember constantly looking down at my tires to make sure they weren't going flat, as i seemed perpetually to be peddling through nearly dry cement. I'm guessing the guy that blew by me 5 minutes after i started the bike leg as if i was standing still had proper tire pressure! 3) Force the food. I tried my best but got so carried away in always trying to be right at my edge that i forgot to eat as much as i probably should have. As a consequence the last two miles of the run were tough - i hit some sort of a wall and began to a bit light headed. It was a strange space to occupy for the last 15 minutes or so of the run, and i'm fairly certain what had been a decent pace slowed considerably.
Great event overall - but next year, i'll certainly have to get serious about the paddling and improve my placing a bit, or better yet, maybe i'll just swim the thing instead of paddling it - really make it a true triathlon. After all, Captain Adventure has a reputation to uphold, and that does sound like a good adventure....