This summer I set out on a goal to race in a Triathlon. Nothing crazy, just a sprint distance. Something to keep me motivated which would in turn help me with hiking mountains for some backcountry skiing next season. Recently I also started dating Jerry, you should recognize the name from my backcountry trip in Utah if you’ve been keeping up with me. I saw how this goal could easily be forgotten by getting distracted with a new relationship so I told him that we will be doing a tri this summer, it is a requirement for dating me.
About a month later Jerry sends me a link to an Adventure Triathlon. You start out mountain biking then hop in a kayak and end with a run. This looked awesome, unfortunately it was only three weeks out and I have not been training. I expressed my concern and was ready to move on to research some other options later in the summer. He responds, “I already signed up!”. Oh snap what!? Okay, I’m competitive so I rise to the challenge and sign up along with Ben as well. Go team Utah!
There was not much time to train in those three weeks but we stayed consistent with running and biking along with doing some weight training as well. We were on a mission to get back into shape and get our endurance up quick. It wasn’t the proper time we needed to be super competitive but our goals were simple; don’t be last.
This triathlon takes place in Grantsburg, Wisconsin. Careful not to blink, you may miss it! It’s a small quaint town with a beautiful view. The reason behind this triathlon is to introduce visitors to the towns heritage and what it has to offer outdoors such as the beautiful views, bird watching, fishing and trails that include snowmobile, four-wheeling, cross country and snowshoeing. Overall, to promote tourism and help support the costs that go into maintaining the area.
Once we grabbed our race packets we headed up the road a few miles to Siren, WI. We grabbed some food at a local restaurant we were recommended to by one of the race volunteers called Adventures. The night before a race it’s smart to get a good meal of carbs in which will turn into sugar the next day and give you a boost of energy. I ordered the Salmon Voyageur which was delicious! That sun dried tomato glaze with the spinach was very tasty alongside the salmon, a lot of fresh, light flavors in a heavy dish. Though I did have to add some Tabasco, but I’m a spice-a-holic.
On our way out of town I made sure we stopped at a unique memorial. For those of you whom are thinking Siren sounds familiar, that is because back in 2001 the town was wiped out by a tornado.
We stayed nearby the course start at Granstburg Inn. It’s always fun to see the characteristics of small towns. This motel was also a laundromat. In the shared parking lot was also a fitness center and of course the local bar and grill. Very convenient if you are staying for an extended period of time. You have your laundry, food and drinks all in one spot!
The motel had a unique look, it reminded me of the seven dwarfs cabin in the woods. Our room was clean and spacious. The sink was outside of the bathroom along with a designated area go put your bags and other garments which made it nice to get ready in the morning. There was also a curtain that separated this small area in which you can close it to change behind rather than in the small space of the actual bathroom. It works very well for small groups. There was also ample parking which worked well with our trailer of canoes and kayaks we brought for the Adventure Triathlon.
We wake up, and start getting ready for the race. I’ve carefully picked my outfit for the day. I have a pair of UA HeatGear® Armour Printed shorts on underneath my padded biking shorts (which I stripped off during the kayak portion) along with a UA HeatGear® Graphic Tank as it’s supposed to be in the 70’s. We pack our snacks and drinks to fuel us throughout the race. I had a water bottle ready for my bike and pre-mixed some Beachbody Performance Hydrate in a CamelBak Podium Big Chill Insulated Waterbottle for my canoe. I had a my Nathan Trail Mix Plus Hydration Waistpack ready for the run, one container filled with Hydrate and the other with water.
We walk out the door, grab some breakfast and head to the kayak launch area to drop our boats off and get everything in them organized as needed including our snacks, liquids and of course our life jackets to qualify to do the race.
We head to the course start for the pre-course race talk. While adjusting our bikes and observing those around us admiring the different bikes and how small this event is we listen to the talk. There are only 54 individual participants and 12 relay groups.
The race begins! There are four waves. Ben is in the third wave to be released at 9:10 a.m. while Jerry and I are in the last wave to be released at 9:15 a.m. Now, we are on our own for the next 3+ hours.
The first leg of the race is a 19 mile mountain biking course with a variety of terrain from gravel roads to trails cutting through the woods. With little rain previously this course was extremely dusty and uncovered. Along my ride I came across an aggressive Bull Snake crossing the road. There were two people not far ahead of me whom crossed his path first which he tried to go after originally but missed. I saw his path and passed with ample room to avoid his bite.
Next comes the kayaking portion. Not far out from the transition point there is a volunteer radioing in bib numbers to the crew at the transition point whom are grabbing your boat and bringing it down to the water to have ready for you when you cross the transition line. As I come into transition a volunteer grabs my bike for me so I can go straight to the water. A volunteer down at my boat has my life jacket pulled out for me to put on. I hop in and they push me out even.
To me, this was the most relaxing part of the race. This portion is an approximately 2 mile paddle. It gave my legs time to rest, I was able to re-hydrate with my Hydrate mixture (similar to Gatorade, replacing electrolytes and the salt you are in need of) and strip my biking shorts to prepare for the run. I pull back into the transition area after my paddle, they pull you all the way out of the water so no worries about your shoes getting wet which would cause blisters.
Last but not least is the trail run. This run is about an 8 mile run through the different trails of the area. Along my run I kept seeing signs for four-wheelers, snowmobilers, and snow shoes. I am a city runner, I was expecting my mile to be anywhere from 10:00-10:45 min per mile but quickly learned it is nothing in comparison to trail running which I averaged a 12:25 min mile. This was due to the nature of trail running complete with uneven ground, sugar sand and plenty of hills. Some gradual and others steep. It kept me on my toes throughout the race!
3 hours and 33 minutes later I cross the finish line! I placed 47th out of 54 individual racers overall. I was the last in our group but not by much. Ben finished in 33rd place with a time of 3 hours and 14 minutes and Jerry swooped in at 26th place with a time of 3 hours and 5 minutes. I have to mention, I also stopped to take a bathroom break. That added at least five minutes right? 😉 Click here for full results.
Overall we had a great race and we all exceeded our time expectations which was amazing! We had such a great time that we are already talking about next year’s race and how we can be better prepared.
I would highly recommend this race, it’s small but very fun, unique, and beautiful. A great way to kick off the summer season. Check it out here –> Adventure Triathlon
In race photos courtesy of JackPine Studios in Siren Wisconsin.