My alarm went off at 5:45am and I immediately started making excuses for why I should stay home. Too sleepy. Legs were tired from the previous day of snowshoeing. 7 degrees is too cold. $60 is too expensive. I'm pretty sure if I hadn't stayed up the night before waxing my skis and cleaning my bike I would have stayed home. But hey, I couldn't waste a good ski wax and a clean bike, so I headed up to Soldier Hollow for the Bash Winter Triathlon.
I arrived and instantly felt like an intimidated outsider. Everyone seemed to know everyone else, they had the clothes, the nice bikes and skis (I of course ignored the fact that I had a nice bike and skis) and looked like they knew what they were doing. I lined up for the middle of pack and the gun went off.
As expected, the front row of runners took off and I never saw them again. I ran pretty slow compared to those guys, but I felt okay on the run considering that my prep consisted of 3 runs over the previous 2 weeks. Prior to the past two weeks, I think that the last time I ran with any regularity was in high school.
I settled into my pace along with another guy who ended up being in my age class. The 3 mile run came to an end and I was tired but not blown. The results say I was in 22nd place out of 60 starters. I changed into my mtb shoes in the transition area, and in retrospect I wish I would have just kept my running shoes on and ridden with flat pedals. The bike portion was only 3 miles in length, and I doubt I gained back the minute or so it took me to take off my gloves, change my shoes, and put my gloves back on.
I got on the bike and was instantly passing people. It felt good to be back in my element. I was cruising along at about 20-25 mph on the packed snow thinking to myself, "dang, I'm passing a bunch of people! I might actually do okay here! In fact, I'm pretty freaking aweso..." suddenly I'm supermanning through the air. My front wheel had broken through the top layer of snow, and instantly sunk down to my hub and bucked me off. I crash landed and my bike flipped over a half dozen times before coming to rest. Fortunately even packed snow is a pretty forgiving crash landing surface. I was back on my bike just as the last person I passed was catching up to me. I was able to pull back away before I had to explain myself.
The bike leg was way to short, but I think I passed about 10 people or so. I finished without further incident, I changed into my ski boots, and clicked into the skinny skis. I was surprised at how difficult it was to get my ski legs underneath me after having done the run and the bike. For the first lap, I had a tough time balancing and gliding on one ski, which made it hard to find a good rhythm while climbing to the top of the course. I got passed by one guy about 1/4 of the way into the first lap, but was able to pick off a few others who were also struggling with the transition to skis.
The descent back to the start/finish really helped my legs recover and my second lap went a lot better. It was tough to know how many meaningful passes I made because by this time there were a lot of lappers, but I did repass the guy who passed me at the beginning of the 1st ski lap. During the 2nd lap descent I was cruising down at a pretty good clip when the dude in front of me totally piled it up. It was a miracle I was able to make the high-speed turn with him sprawled out in the middle of it, but somehow I came out of it unscathed. I unceremoniously finished and waited around in my warm car for the results. My car happened to have a great view of the high-speed ski descent and I must admit that I thoroughly enjoyed watching 2 or 3 more participants wipe out trying to make the turn on their skinny skis with no edges.
The results were posted and in the end I was pretty happy with my 6th place finish. The overall results as well as the more detailed age-group results are posted at the BASH website.
Although I could have done without the run, the race was a blast, and I think if I'll do it next year if I can bring myself to cough up the money again. I hope that doesn't make me too much of a tri-geek. Now if I can only find a race that only consists of a ski leg and a bike leg - now that would be my kind of race. Would that make me a "bi-geek" though? I'm not sure I like the sound of that...
Sorry about the lack of pics. The BASH website says that pics are coming but they haven't been posted yet.
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