Sunday, May 1, 2016

Great Greenbrier River Race 2016

Last year we were Team Hill and Holler.  This year we were team Appalachian Bicycle Co.  Two years, two bike shops, same three people, same result!

We weren't sure if we would be able to defend our title as First Place Coed Team or not, but of course we were going to try our hardest!  Thankfully, the weather was quite a bit nicer this year than last year.  Instead of being cold and rainy, it was in the 50s and only threatening rain.  Felt like a heat wave compared to last year.

Getting out of the car I felt a pain in my knee that was worrying.  It felt like I had tweaked something, but I had no idea how or when.  I worried that sprinting would be the worst thing for it, but thankfully it worked itself out during my warm up.  I did a 2 mile jog with 4 sprints in the second mile.  Then I still had about 30 minutes before my start time.  I ended up getting cold and going for another short jog shortly before the start.  In past years, they have let all the solo racers go at 11, and all the team racers go at 11:05.  This year they staggered it even further, letting the male solos go at 11, the teams go at 11:05, and the female solos at 11:10 . It definitely helped a bit for the first half of the out and back 5k, but the second half was just as crazy crowded as ever.

I started the run out strong in the front of the pack.  By the end of the first mile I was in second place, with 1st place out of sight ahead of me.  I kept pushing as hard as I could.  I was still going strong when I reached the turnaround, but my lungs were beginning to fail me.  I had used my inhaler before my first warmup, and again on the starting line.  Towards the end of the 2nd mile, I tried to use it again, because my legs were beginning to struggle from the lack of oxygen, but I was breathing so had I don't think any of the medicine actually made it to my lungs.  So I decided to just keep running as hard as I could and hope for the best.  I got passed by one person in the last half mile, but he only ended up beating me by 10 seconds, and he walked the transition area, so I passed him there, as I ran all they way to the river to tag Mallory for the kayak.  So we were the second team in the water (and, as it turns out, the first coed team in the water).

I ran a 19:28, about 20 seconds faster than last year, which I was super happy to see!

It is very easy for me to keep track of my place in the run, with the staggered start.  However, once the race gets to the kayak and bike parts, it is mostly impossible for Mallory and Stu to know who is passing them, or who they are passing.  So we never quite know if we managed to secure the win or not until it is announced.  We were sitting around waiting, when a friend came up and said he had seen the results and was pretty sure we were third.  We tried not to get too disappointed, and waited for the awards ceremony to be sure.  They announced third place, wasn't us.  Then second place, wasn't us.  Turns out we did manage to defend our title.  Instead of getting medals or plaques this year, they are giving us jackets.  We had to fill out order forms for our size and they should be mailed to us at some point.  Jackets are much more useful than medals or plaques!

We dominated in the run and bike, the two events which really come down to personal fitness.
The kayak portion is part personal fitness of course, but it is also very much won by the boat.  Teams with longer thinner kayaks will always be a lot faster than teams with shorter wider ones.  

Team photo, pre-race.

Starting line, ready to run!

Coed Team Winners!

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