This was my best swim ever in this event. I am always quite nervous about it, since I am a bottom dweller in the water. My strategy was to jump right in and worry about it later. I bobbed right out of the water, and after a few unfruitful breast strokes, I flipped over and did the back stroke, and made it across the harbor in about 7 minutes. It took the lead swimmers maybe 30 seconds. We were not the last ones out of the water though. (I believe the teams behind us started a few minutes late.) I was re;axed in the water, and was ready and loose to begin my run.
The three Forks Trail runs along the Navigation Channel for around 5 miles. It's pretty flat with just a few ups and downs. We passed a few teams along the way before then next wave of teams who were NOT doing the long event (which included some mountain biking.)
I thought we ran very well. I stopped every now and then to take a few pictures. Channing insisted on taking a few pics of me.
There was not much wind moving, and although the temps were in the low 80s, the humidity made the air thick. I was almost wishing for another swim.
Notice the lack of red cotton Hammer shirts. Our tech shirts served us much better. My buddy MC needs to step it up a little for next year.
Our second aid station was manned by none other than Lisa McManus. Lisa was signed up to be part of a team formed to take us down! But she has had some knee issued and has a new Tritanium Di-Lithium powered bionic knee on order, and will be back racing soon.
One of my favorite parts of the course is climbing ropes out of this steep ravine. There is usually a long log-jam here, but we were ahead of the masses and did not have to wait.
What goes up must go down. This rappelling is the most fun on the course. Some people are more scared doing this than I am of the swim.
But the Can't Touch This team breezed right through.
This was nearly a second swim. The water was so high that the narrow pathway along the shore was actually under three feet of water.
Another scramble that was unexpected. Road construction was a mere obstacle, and the runners enjoyed the challenge.
Our bike ride was a 15 mile modified out-and-back. I measured it more like 16 miles. The Jean Pierre Choteau Trail was the same course we took two years ago when we had 8 flat tires and only 5 tubes.
But this year, we had no flats. The section near the turnaround which was mud from hell two years ago only had a few semi-muddy spots, and it was easy to navigate around the mud pits.
But there's certainly no shame in hiking a bike when fatigue takes over. Mitch and I had one ride in preparation, and Channing had spent some time on his road bike.
For almost the whole race, we were treated to overcast skies, and the wind was picking up out of the south. Wind in the face would certainly cool us down, but canoeing into the wind would suck. Mixed blessings.
Not all was single track. We road on dirt roads on the edge of fields. We made up a little time here.
Channing appeared to have been run over by a truck. He did take his annual roll in the dirt.
I did not get any pictures if the canoe trip. I was too busy rowing. We seemed to do well in this leg. The current was moving a little better than in past years. We had a smaller ice chest, and maybe less weight. The south breeze was not as bad as I had feared. We kept the canoe in a straight line most of the time.
If there was anything to be disappointed about--it was that we didn't pass anyone on the row. We were about 9 minutes behind the team ahead of us. We did manage to beat three teams. We are getting better.
RD Joel Everett does a spectacular job in putting this race on, maintaining trailz, creating super shirts and medals. This race is my favorite. I cannot imagine ever not doing it.