Friday, February 5, 2010
Tennessee Pass Winter Triathlon, 1/30/10
Every once in awhile, I toe the line at a small, local race knowing that I had better finish on the podium because if I do not something has gone very wrong. The 2010 Tennessee Pass Winter Triathlon may have been a small, local race, but the field's pedigree eliminated a guaranteed podium spot for just about anyone.
Organized by the legendary Bruce Kelly of Pedal Power Bike Shop, the race involves snowshoeing 5k, snowbiking 10k (riding a mountain bike on snow-covered nordic skiing trails), and skate skiing 8k. Lining up against Jay Henry and Mike Kloser, both fresh off podium finishes at the Winter Triathlon National Championships, plus uber-athlete Josiah Middaugh, who says he's coming off a knee injury but is always extremely strong in any competition, I knew I had my work cut out for me. All three of these guys live in Vail, and I knew they would probably have an edge on me on skate skis, so my strategy was to gain a few minutes on the snowshoe and then try to hold on for dear life.
Two miles into the snowshoe, Josiah and I (seemed to me that his knee was working just fine) had a decent lead when we hit a lengthy stretch of knee-deep powder. Forced to trudge slowly to break trail, we were caught by the field--my strategy was foiled! Josiah and I broke away again before the finish of the leg, but were only able to gain a few seconds. The primary competitors hit the bike section close together and headed out.
As Kloser passed me on a shaky downhill, I discovered that my relative inexperience with biking on snow was making me tentative, and I crashed. He was out of sight.
On the ski, Middaugh, Henry, and Kloser continued to hammer, finishing in that order. It was a great early season win for Josiah, considering the strong competition and two knee surgeries for him in November.
Finishing fourth, I had a fun time and got in a great workout; perfect training for the Mt. Taylor Quadrathon in Grants, NM on February 13th.