July 2007
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Month July 2007

Introducing the Strong Adventure Race

This is my latest race directing project. Earlier this year, I was approached by my friend Kevin (a diff one than the one I put on Adventure24 with) and the North River YMCA here about putting on a race to benefit the Strong Kids Campaign. Hmmm, interesting. After a bit of talking and arm twisting, I was in. The Y was super psyched at our ideas and the entire board was ready to get involved.

The race will be comprised of 2 events: a youth race (as part of the goals is to expose the sport of AR to kids and get them excited to get out in the woods), followed by a late afternoon main event (6hrs). We are modeling our event after the Challenge Four Adventure Race put on by the YMCA-Cherokee Outdoor Center near Atlanta, which seems to have great success (and is coming up shortly!)

Kevin is working hard to design the courses; I’m doing the official race directing (coordinating a ton and making sure all the Y volunteers keep busy with their talks – which really makes my life easier!).. and of course, I’m took it upon myself to do the design & such for the event.

For more info on the event, check out the website.

We need racers, mentors for the kid’s race, and volunteers for the day of the event!
We also need sponsors of all kinds! monetary, in-kind product (swag bags & prizes), etc. Please drop me a line if you are interested in supporting the event!

chattanooga waterfront triathlon

i’m really not much of a tri person, but with a big race coming to downtown chattanooga, and with the vixens having a big role in helping outdoor chattanooga with it, how could i say no? this would be only my second triathlon ever; the first being the Gulf Coast Half Ironman i did with Team in Training in May’05. and that really was a whole ‘nother ballgame. the waterfront triathlon is an olympic distance event: 1.5k swim, 40km bike, 10k run. speed was much more of a factor in a shorter event like this… although perseverance does still play a role.

the day before the event, i volunteered for a bit at the vixen tent, then went home and cleaned & cooked (michelle and i had a big party over here after the race). as the evening wore on, i thought i’d pull out my bike for a final once over. hmmm, it’s not shifting quite. i call jeramie to pick his brain for help. i finally get one problem solved.. but create another. luckily rebecca drove by and volunteered to take my bike up to mr. hoff to get fixed. (HUGE thanks to both of them!) jeramie did note that i had a chunk of my tire missing and would surely flat. swell. i did have an extra set of tires here, so at 9pm, i am changing my first tires & tubes on a road bike. (hey, i’d have to do it sooner or later). i actually get to bed around 11:30pm, which was pretty decent.

my alarm went off around 5:15 and i crawled out of my bed around 5:30. the goal was to leave at 6 to head to the finish line, where our transition was. (from there, we had to be transported a short distance to the start of the swim). i was on target with my time… decided to go ahead and pump up my tires one last time. and pssssssssft! i blow one of the tubes taking the pump off the valve. now i’m getting nervous. i decide to go ahead and drive to the start and change my tube there. luckily my second ever tube change went smoothly, and i had plenty of time to get things set up.

at 7, ann and i walked the mile to the start at the UTC Boat Ramp. swimmers would be released one at a time every 3 seconds – MUCH nicer than a mass start that is mass chaos. however, it took awhile to get to my number (and the start was delayed about 20 min too). once in the water, my friend jim was the guy releasing us, so it was nice to see a smiling face before i headed downriver. i’ve done this swim several times before, but it seemed sooooo long today. i’m not a fab swimmer and i think i expected adrenaline to kick in and help out. yeah, not so much. about halfway through, something feels funny on my ankle. i look down and see my timing band about to come off! i grab it and tread water while i wrap it on my wrist – figured i could keep an eye on it there, but it was annoying as my arm didn’t glide into the water as easily. finally, we were at the docks downtown and helpers were there snatching us out of the water. then we had some lovely concrete steps to run up to get to the transition area.

since i’m not experienced with tris, i know my transition times could have been better. however, i did take the extra minute to spray some more sunscreen on my back (as the bike leg was very exposed), and to apply some chamois butt’r. (wet bike shorts + 40k bike = not a happy body i’m sure). then, off i went! the bike leg was going to be intimidating. we would use MLK to access 27 – the main highway going north through chattanooga – and ride it all the way to 153 and back. traffic was detoured for a stretch were we entered/exited the highway. we used the inside lanes, so once we were there, traffic joined us. the TDOT did a great job with the cones and safety. since this is a rode i’m on all the time, i knew the bike would be tough. it’s 2-3 lanes in each direction with a big grassy median. there are no straight stretches; rather, long sloping ups and downs. and 100% exposed to the elements. luckily it was very overcast, which my skin is thankful for (no sunburn!) strangely, the bike wasn’t nearly as hard as i thought it was going to be. not that it was easy, but i was expecting worse. i had borrowed some aero bars from a friend, but ended up not ever getting down in them as i just wasn’t feeling comfortable enough in the open area. while speed demons rocketed past me, i did my fair share of passing too.

i felt strong finishing the bike and was looking forward to the run, even though it was on the riverwalk, which meant lots of concrete (the absolute worst!) it started with a sloping ascent that really wore on your legs quick since they were still in biking mode. once things evened out, i picked up the pace and think i held it well. the waterstops were perfectly spaced and there were several opportunities to get wet and cool down if you wanted. (cyclist friend pat was more than happy to hose us gals down!) the course was there and back, so it was fun to see friends out there suffering too :) right after mile 5 was the last hill before the descent to the finish. no biggie… short and sweet. but, not quite today. i had this weird heart palpitation (similar to what i had at the hogpen hillclimb in ’05), then my vision narrowed and i got dizzy. i started walking, hoping to shake it off. well, not today. it got a bit worse so i pulled over to a tree and held on for a few. a course marshall was by my side quick to check up on me, but i would be fine. i stayed still for about a minute, then walked for another. feeling better, i started jogging, then was able to sprint it in to the finish (passing an age grouper on the way!) however, my finishing picture does look pretty horrid :)

in all, i had fun (because i always do), but definitely still prefer the dirt to the road. and to be honest, this race just cost too much. I could sign up for a 12hr AR for what is cost for 3hrs of fun here. but the experience was great – downtown chatt is a great place for a race.

the stats:
age group finish: 20th (out of 55)
swim: 0:32:25.24 pace: 02:09.7
transition 1: 0:02:34.62
bike: 1:23:00.42 pace (mph): 18.8
transition 2: 0:01:39.02
run: 0:53:45.93 pace(minutes/mile): 08:40.3
total time: 2:53:25.22

and, here are a few pics that the Times Free Press snapped – awesome shots!


this past weekend i joined fellow vixens lisa & star (both headed to the Leadville 100) and colleen & her husband franklin for a big ride that i’ve been wanting to do for awhile: the cohutta death march.

it pretty much lived up to everything i’ve heard: painful. brutal. epic. the death march is a ride that circumnavigates the cohutta wilderness management area in north georgia. the ride is on forest service roads, with tons of elevation. since it was a loop, the gain/loss equals out, but it certainly did feel like we went uphill a heck of a lot more! about 2hrs into the ride we ran across jeramie, who was out doing a diff loop. (i just talked with him and he said he saw a nice big bear hanging out on the road where we had just come from. we didn’t get to see any wildlife though.)

the pace was solid and the leadville gals put a hurtin on me. they’ve been training so much; their fitness level right now is quite impressive! i’m definitely not there, but managed to hang on, although i was looking at spandex-clad butts most of the day. we really lucked out with the weather. the morning started off around a cool 62 and didn’t get much above 80. the clouds increased as the day went on, but the rain stayed away from us. about halfway through, we used franklin’s filter to refill our camelbaks from a creek (at least this one could be classified as running water, unlike the puddle i used at the UOG earlier this summer). we kept well fueled and hydrated, but my legs still burned constantly. my pack was also hitting my lower side back funny, which was quite annoying. with 2 hrs left, we came across some houses with people outside that kindly let us use a well to refill our paks once again. i really wonder what they think when they see us ride up… i’m sure we looked/smelled grande…

not much more time to go and things have been pretty uneventful. no crashes, no bears, no bad weather, no freaky motorcycle guys… then on a nice descent (and i have to say, i’m getting much better at them, with the new bike & hydraulic brakes…), where i had a decent amount of speed, i hit a wasp of sorts. and of course it stings the crap out of me – the inside of my lower lip to be exact. yeah, NOT fun. i’ve only been stung by yellow jackets a few times, and this was much bigger and too black to be one of those. not knowing if i was allergic to this thing, i hightailed it down. when i met up with everyong at the bottom, i had tears running down my face, was trying desperately not to hyperventilate, and my lip was throbbing so much i couldn’t talk (like when you leave the dentist with half your face numb). i took a benadryl to help with the swelling… it did the trick. but it also sucked every last bit of energy i had. there was about 45min of riding left and it was sooo hard. my eyelids were heavy, legs not wanting to move like before. it was like the sleepmonsters coming after 20hrs of adventure racing. not fun!!

we made it back to our cars finally and hit a cracker barrel for dinner, consuming massive amounts of food. (i had all but passed out in the back of the car before, then had to fight off a food coma!)

i’m still pretty sore and tonight’s tuesday night ride was not an easy one. but, it was a great workout, and as i said, very humbling.

a few stats:
80 miles
approx 8000′ of elevation gain
8hrs 16min ride time
(total time about 1 hour more)

the $11 swim

Sunday, a group of us met at Coolidge Park for a nice swim around McClelland Island. I survived even though I haven’t been swimming that much lately. A few places got shallow and I really didn’t care to see the bottom – a bit icky. Had one fat catfish swim under me too. I didn’t realize how strong the current was until we were swimming downstream and were cruising easily. When we got back to our cars, we all had tickets. boooooo…. the north shore area put up a bunch of parking meters earlier this year. all the meters and street parking is free on Sundays; however, the lot we were in was not. oops. so much for a cheap training day.