Monday, January 31, 2011

Rossland Pentathlon

The John Heitz Rossland Pentathlon took place on Sunday.  The five disciplines were downhill skiing (Sally's Alley), then mountain biking (1mile on Old Red Road), x/c skiing (1 mile across Centennial Trail), snowshoeing (1 mile or so across a single track trail through Rossland), and finally running (1.75 miles or so).  It sounded pretty dam cool.  This race is mostly contested by teams.   A select few choose to do it individually.

What the hell.  You know what happens.....  My very trusty sidekick Joel acted as my minder, setting up all the necessary equipment at the transition zones. 

The race was contested under deep blue skies and fantastic weather.  I was the third starter.  It was a time trial start at 1 minute intervals.  I was dressed in my running gear.  That is usually enough to scare my competitors out of the race even before it begins as this is my strongest event, and I look the most menacing in those togs! But little did I realize....It's not as effective at 1600m on the top of a mountain to be in such attire with a downhill ski section to start.

I began my downhill ascent with ferocity.  I imagined I was the legendary Nancy Greene; as Red Mountain is where she learned to ski.  I got into my "tuck" position and concentrated very hard not to wipe-out or hit a tree.  I made it to the bottom of Red Mountain and into the transition zone.  I think it took me just as long to ski down the hill as it did to get my ski equipment off, and changed into my x/c ski boots to start the bike.  There were alot of straps to unbuckle, then new straps to buckle.

The bike was interesting.  Most of the road, as you can imagine was ice.  I traversed this section on a 20 year old Supercycle mountain bike.  The Canadian Tire special of 1991!  When I fished it out of Tyler's basement it had no air in either tire, the gears did not work, and the seat was pretty low.  Who cares! (You all should have seen the P.O.S. bike I used in the Port Hood Triathlon 6 years ago - that is another, and funnier story though.)  I did a few repairs on the bike and put air in the tires = It was good to go for my purposes. Just like in the ski section, all I cared about was not wiping out, and I didn't.  Yet.

I got off my bike and it was now the x/c ski section.  I used Trevor's skate skies.  They would be much lighter, faster, and I would look better which is probably more important, then his classical ones.  I tested them out for the first time 60 minutes before the race started.  I did an out and back 100m - I'd be fine.  I had a bit of a problem getting them on at the transition zone.  My heart was racing and my hands were a bit cold.  I got thinking thank god there is any shooting to do in this competition like a Biathlon!  I would wind up shooting a competitor or something!

The x/c ski went well after I got in the mood.  A back and forth rhythm is what this sport is all about.  It is important to get your pole plants in sync with your body.  Although friction is the enemy so you want to make sure your base is evenly waxed....  Motion, fluidity, and repetition was the key to reach the climatic end.  [Rude athletes would say they, "blew their load", at this point.  But I would say no such thing, and have problems even suggesting that.  But some would - I've heard it before when I ran at Windsor.]  I just went all out.  I was pretty much a natural, at skate skiing of course, if I do say so myself.

The snowshoeing was a bit tougher.  I only did an out an back 20m trial with this discipline.  I fell about 200m into the path.  I didn't get my right toe up far enough off of the ground.  But as quickly as I fell, I was back on my feet to the next transition area.  It was a single track and pretty much all downhill.  Which incidently is how my body was now feeling after the beers and late nights of the past 48hrs.  But the race was going incredibly quick.  I had been competing for about 18 minutes by now, and it was more then over - I mean the run was the last event and that is my bread and butter.

Joel was again waiting for me at this transition zone.  It was all he could do, but he did it, to get to the zones and be ready for my arrival.  He was very encouraging and supportive.  I whipped off my steel footware and was in my Nikes to eat some time which I had lost with my ineptive form during the other sections. (Except the x/c ski of course - I do think I am a natural at it.)  I did, a bit, but I was really nacered.  The run was half on pavement and half on a single track trail.  It was the longest of the 5 events, but after 3/4 of the way done I was hoping it was the shortest.  I ended up walking briefly up a hill....  But pulled it together and ran across the finish line.

I was very proud and happy with my race.  It was really challenging, but well worth the time and effort to do.  There were 15 teams that finished and 2 individuals.  My time was pretty much right on 27 minutes.  Taking into account that includes 2:30 to 3:00 of transitioning, or more.  They had some great prizes, and the main idea of this race was just to have some fun.  Which I certainly did.

The end.

 Results? = Oh, watch the video.  (You know what happens though.....)

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