First race of 2016 is in the books and it was a great one! Dwight has talked a lot about The Winter Challenge since we’ve been dating and was totally bummed when he couldn’t do it last year since we were doing that whole living in Germany thing. So being back in the states this year, we were in for sure.
So, what exactly is The Winter Challenge you might be asking? Well, it’s an off-road kayak triathlon and duathlon. The triathlon is a trail run, kayak and then mountain bike. The Du is obviously trail run, mountain bike and then trail run. Dwight did the triathlon, I did the duathlon and it was my first ever one and my first ever off-road race. Seriously.
Before I go into how you shouldn’t stay up drinking and watching movies until 1:30 am the night before a race, let me start with what an awesome race this actually is. Michael does an amazing job. It’s perfectly run. The whole atmosphere is chill. They have a ton of great food (if only other races would do that) and finally — the course was perfectly marked. There was no getting lost out there.
Dwight was definitely more about the “winning and racing” part since he’s been trying to win this race for years. While I was more along the lines of “let’s participate and have fun” part…. Especially since there is this little race called the Black Mountain Marathon I’ve got going on in a few days. But hey, it’s all about having fun at the end of the day so I was all about jumping on my mountain bike to ride through some mud!
Let’s now discuss this “race” I did.I kinda shot myself in the foot by running too hard the week leading up to it. Then the night before I might have started watching Blood Diamond at 11pm….. And drinking some wine until 1:30am. Oops 😉 So basically I started that first 2.25 mile run not in the best condition. My legs were tired, I didn’t feel so hot and running a 6:50 pace was not cool, ladies, not cool. Tree trunck legs I tell ya.
I jumped on the bike and decided I’d just putz and then I thought maybe dropping out would be a good idea…. I decided to go ahead and finish and to just treat it as fun day out in the mud! The bike course was great. Some new trails that could be a little twitchy. Some older trails that were fun. Gravel trails, LOTS of mud and even a few trees laid out on the trails to test ones bike handling skills. All good stuff. I just sat in a 4 person mixed group not knowing who was in the relay and who was doing the duathlon. I was just having fun.
Onto the run I went and I began to realize at transition that I was actually in the mix for an overall podium finish.. AND I was feeling better 🙂 Woot woot! So, I stayed on this chicks heels until about mile 1.something and I blew up. The staying up drinking, the not eating breakfast and not carrying any nutrition on the bike all kinda hit me at once. I start getting slower and chica was pulling away. This was a totally Damn moment because I actually decided to start racing. Grrrrrrr!! Luckily there was an aide station on this 3.75 mile run and I chugged Gatorade. I know the whole red bull gives you wings crap, but this Gatorade did the job just fine. I started running again and there was this other chick in front of me and she became my rabbit. I picked her off and then I knew I was either going to be 2nd or 3rd. Yay! Second over all female wasn’t too shabby since I sorta participated in the race. There is a part of me that kinda wishes I did race but I’m thinking when I toe the line Saturday, my legs are going to be happy.
After the race I went to the car to get changed and wait for Dwight to finish. He didn’t think much going into the race. Even though he has desperately wanted to win this thing for years, he was thinking that at 51 his days had passed. So, when someone yelled first triathlete coming in, I was not expecting to see him leading, but he was!!!How awesome is that? First over all male. Finally!
I really can’t say enough about what an awesome race this is. I can’t wait till next year when I’m hearing rumors of a 2 day mudfest!!!
Related Article: Off-Road Challenge Triathlons