Sunday, February 17, 2008

Clemson Challenge 2008 Off Road Triathlon

Originally posted on the trailblazers adventure racing forums:

I thought someone would have posted up by now - especially since I saw at least 3 other frequenters of this board out there - PedalGrinder, David M and Toby (username = Coker?). The Clemson Cycling club put together a great event - very well organized and lots of schwag!

The event started out with a run somewhere in the neighborhood of 4.5 miles. It consisted of three loops. Loop 1 started up the fire road then back towards the transition area on single track. This hill wasn't a killer, but definitely seperated the strong runners from the less strong runners.
Loop 2 started as we came past the start finish / transition area and down the fire road the opposite direction. At the parking area it changed to single track and went STRAIGHT UP (ok, so not really straight up, but it was long and steep!)!. This loop was cool as it took us down past the downhill / freeride course. Loop 2 came back on itself at the parking lot and then past the start/finish/transition area for loop 3 (a repeat of loop 1).

The paddle leg was staffed by a number of extremely cool volunteers. As I approached, they were calling out to me "Which boat?". As I pointed and called out the description, they were already moving the boat into the water! I jumped in and they gave me one heck of a shove to get me going!
The paddle course was roughly a diamond shape on Issaqueena lake. Four bouys marked the course, and we had to make two laps. Again, as I approached the takeout, the volunteers were right top of things and pulled me right into a good spot for me to disembark.

The short run back to the transition area was the toughest part of the course! My legs were beat from the run and from being immobile in my boat for nearly 50 minutes.

The bike leg started with something close to 2 miles on fire road before leading into some prime singletrack. The course was a bit different from advertised as apparently, less than a week before the event, a new trail was cut around and through some fresh clearcut by Tyler and ?clemson cycling club?. Although the trail was new (and still needed some compacting and further use), the bike leg of the event was excellent.
About six miles of singletrack spit you back on the fire road in the same location you entered. Then the final 2 miles to the start / finish line.

The same guy who won winter challenge 2008 (Chuck Hiers) won this event as well. This one he won with a finish time of 1:57 and change. If I recall correctly, Pedalgrinder came in 2nd for the Men's individual (2:02?).

I finished near the top ten (12th overall - I think there was 2 relay teams in front of me, so I might have gotten 10th place for Men's individual) with a time of 2:19:50. While I wasn't smoking the course like the winners, this was a very big event for me. Based on feedback from JimK, Labrat, Toby (Coker?) and a few others in the Greenville chapter, I completely re-evaluated my nutritional approach for this event. I arrived at the event well hydrated and with a supply of e-caps, gels and gatorade (my after race drink).

In my previous 2 tris of this type, my calves gave me wicked cramping on the bike legs. With this event I had only the light twitches in my calves about 7 miles into the bike leg. Thankfully, I was able to work through the twitches (stoked!). While this tells me I'm still not preparing myself properly, or getting the proper nutrition during the race, I learned a bunch about what I need to do for the next event. Thanks to those guys for the assist! I felt GREAT at the end of the race, and I could actually walk this morning!

I have to offer many Thanks to all the volunteers. This event was run very smoothly. Congrats to all who participated!

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