Saturday, April 24, 2010

Captain Thurmond's Challenge training at Harris Lake

There are a bunch of us planning to do Captain Thurmond's Challenge this year. I have proposed we do a training run closer to here sometimes in the spring. After 35 or so email exchanges we finally settled on Saturday, my birthday.

We decide to follow the event sequence of the real race. So start with the biking segment. I have never biked at Harris Lake before, so had to reply on Todd, Bob and Elizabeth for ideas. They settled on a counterclockwise loop of all three loops. So I had it nailed in my head to take every right. It was also Jade's first time here.

Todd bolted from the start and I never saw him again. Soon I let Bob pass me so he's not sticking to my ass so annoyingly. On my own, I managed the right side of the first two loops without issues. Crossing the road I start on the more advanced section. A good bit hillier with more logs to jump and lots whoopy doos. I stopped a few times to sip water and rest. Soon I find myself doing the same section of whoopy doos twice. What heck. I stopped and stared at this place for awhile, trying to figure out what I did wrong. Turned out I missed a right, and while I was pondering the situation, Elizabeth caught to me and pointed me to the correct direction. Off I went, and after a bit I caught a glance of Bob coming back on a loop and figured I was maybe two minutes behind him. Finished rest of the advanced loop without mishaps, crossed the road and soon find myself riding on the shoulder of the road. Hmm......back track and ah, there it is, the turned I missed. Off I went, and a bit later, finding myself heading toward a parking lot, not the one we parked. Turn around, back track and Elizabeth is at an intersection pointing out the correct direction again. Leading her, soon I find myself heading toward the same parking lot. One more back track and she and I finished the bike ride together.

Bob and Todd's bikes are on their truck and boats are gone. So I know they are somewhere on the lake.

Elizabeth's husband Tripp is suppose to switch babysitting duty with her at 10. So she only had another 30 minutes left to paddle. Not having to deal with her biking gear, she made the transition to paddling about 5 minutes faster than me. I also had unload Jade's boat since I know she will have trouble with that heavy boat on top of the van. Once in the water, it took me about 15 minutes to catch Elizabeth since my Dagger Green is almost 4ft longer than her Dagger Mamba. She turned around since she was out of time. We said good bye and I continued. The plan was to paddle around the tip of the peninsula and go to the closest tower supporting the power line, for a 2 mile out and 2 mile back paddle. It took me almost to the tip of the peninsula to find my rhythm. Once I go around the tip, I saw Todd coming back toward me from the distance. We chatted briefly and continued. I passed by a fishing boat and asked them to borrow their outboard motor, they got a kick out of it. Bob was maybe 15 or 20 minutes behind Todd. Finally I rounded the power line tower, the turn around at around 27 minutes or so.

Coming back to the point of peninsula, I saw Jade paddling toward me. She's about 30 minutes behind me and didn't want be that far out, so she turned around and paddled back with me. We both got back to the van at the same time, changed to running clothes. I wolfed down two wedges of PBJ, and took off on the trails.

The trail was flat in the first mile, with soft pine needle surface. Perfect stuff. On the other side of the peninsula, it rolled into gradual hills and still not hard enough to throw off rhythm. A few slight confusions near the end and I popped out on the road 200 yards from the van. Todd was already sleepy by then, and Bob was also waiting. We waited another 15 minutes and Jade finished.

Looking at my GPS, it took me between 50 to 55 minutes for each segment. Not bad, not fast either. The race's biking and running segment will double the effort of this practice run. It'll be a fun one.

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