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Southwest Sprint Series Adventure Race
Smithville Lake
, Missouri
August 2, 2003
report by Jason Elsenraat

The Southwest Sprint Series adventure race started at 9 am at Smithville Lake. There were 72 teams that participated in the event, which I thought was a great turnout! Everyone set up their transition area, and got ready for the start of the race.

Aaron and Jason at race start.  Photo by Earth Play Photography. The race started just shortly after 9 am with a run. Right before the start of the race, Crash, the race director, said everyone had to grab a life jacket because there could possibly be some swimming on the run leg. So the horn sounded and Aaron took off and I grabbed a couple of life jackets. It was about a 100 yard run before we hit the trails. We entered the trails leading the race, but not for long. About a half-mile to 3/4 of a mile into the trails we were passed by a couple of teams. We maintained about 3rd place for the majority of the run, but by the time the ~ 3 mile run was over, I'm pretty sure we were in about 4th or 5th place. Overall I think we did great on the run considering we're not sprinters, and half the people at this race looked like they have done some triathlons in their day.

The run took us to one side of Smithville lake, and we had to get across the lake. So, we took off swimming. I would say the swim was close to a quarter mile. The water felt great! We might have been passed by a couple more teams in the water, because I just couldn't seem to get my fata$$ across this lake. Aaron, a.k.a. Nemo, was waiting for me on the other side and offered a hand when I was coming out of the water. I'm not exactly sure what place we were in when we came out of the water, but if I had to guess I would say we were anywhere from 5th - 8th.

After the swim we had about a half-mile run to the transition area. Aaron was rockin' and rollin' and motivating me to go faster. We passed a team and hit the transition in about 5th place.

We didn't spend much time in the transition. We put on our bike shoes and helmet, grabbed a quick shot of gel and PowerAde and took off on our bikes for the ~10 mile bike section (I'm thinking). Considering how I wasn't doing very well on the run and swim, and knowing how fast Aaron is on the bike, I knew this was going to be one painful bike ride. We hit the trails on the bike in probably 5th place still. Aaron was pushing hard on the bike and I was doing everything I could to keep up. About a mile into the bike, we passed a team. 4th place. About another mile in, there was a little traffic jam of about 3 teams at a corner, and like a true cyclocross champion, Aaron jumps off his bike, bypasses the corner, hops back on his bike and takes off like his middle name is Armstrong. He yells, "Jason, you behind me?" "yep...great move Aaron!" We passed all three teams! I'm pretty sure we were in 2nd or 3rd at this point in time and things are starting to look pretty good.

We continued on the bike and toggled between about 3 teams for a first place battle. We were doing well at this point when I noticed my a$$ end was getting a little squirrelly and it just felt like I wasn't going anywhere! I looked at my back tire, and sure enough it was getting really low. What a great time to get a flat. About 3/4 of the way into the bike we had to pull over and put some air in my back tire. Well, I shouldn't say "we"...I should say Aaron put air in my back tire. I'm not sure I've ever seen someone air up a tire as fast as Aaron did! I took a breather and Aaron pumped away until there was about 30 psi in the tire. I said "screw it...that'll be enough for us to finish the bike" and we took off again. Wow...I could actually pedal my bike again! We were passed by a few teams during the setback, but we were quick to pass them again since I had two aired up tires. I was wore out though trying to keep up with Aaron on a low tire (I can't keep up with him on two completely aired up tires!) but I did my best to keep up with him. We finished the single-track section and hit a double-track trail up to a highway which would take us to the transition, a total of about a mile and a half to two miles away. My back tire was getting low again by this point (probably close to 15-20 psi) and Aaron helped me up the double-track trail to the highway. We were in first place at this time with about a mile to go to the transition, but we decided it would probably be better to put some more air in the tire for this last sprint to the TA. Aaron, again, pumped my tire up for me and we took off. Aaron seriously looked like he was shooting for a green jersey in the TdF as he took off! I thought to myself, "Jason, just one more mile of this bike and you're done...try to keep up." Well, I tried. We ended up passing all 3-4 teams ahead of us (they passed us again while we were airing up my tire the second time). We took the line closest to the highway while everyone else was trying to plow through the thick rocks on the side of the road. Another great move by Aaron! We hit the final stretch of the bike and Aaron took off and I stayed right on his back tire the whole way. We entered the TA in 1st and the bike leg was over. Thank the Lord.

The Gator.  Photo by Earth Play Photography. We changed shoes, grabbed a water bottle for the kayak section and were ready to go. But before we could do the kayak, we had to lay down on the ground and do the "gator". Well, we had never heard of the "gator" before, but just so you know all the gator is is you lay on your back and wave your arms and legs and make noises like an idiot. I did really well in that section of the race. After that we had to piggyback down to the lake where the inflatable kayaks were waiting for us. We piggy-backed half and half on the way down, grabbed our kayaks, paddles and PFDs and hopped in the water in second place.

The team in front of us must of had some trouble getting oriented in the kayak and after a couple of minutes on the water Aaron and I were leading the race. The director said to paddle down to the bridge and back, which if I had to guess was about a three mile kayak leg. Well, Aaron and I finally figured out the best way to paddle this "duckie" and got in our groove. We set a good pace and took off. We paddled for a good 10 minutes and looked ahead and saw the bridge was a long ways away! We knew this was going to be a long paddle, at least at this point in the race. But, we had the adrenaline rushing knowing that this was the last leg (at least hoping it was) and we were leading the race. We got to the bridge and there was no one there to even check to make sure we didn't turn around early! We didn't really care...we paddled around the bridge and headed back. Once we turned the corner and saw everyone coming towards us, with second place a ways away, we knew all we had to do was keep a good pace and keep the duckie afloat and we should have this race won. But once we saw that we had a pretty sizeable lead, it must have given both of us a bolt of energy because we took off! On the way back we were paddling past the other racers who were giving us encouragement which only made us go faster! At one point in time Aaron looked back and couldn't even see the second place team! We paddled at a good pace anyway, and made it back to the shore. Put our duckie back, and had to piggyback UP the hill to the finish line. Aaron piggied first, and then we switched. I must of had a burst of energy (this is about the time we're getting warmed up in a real race!) because I thought it would be a good idea to run up the rest of this hill with Aaron on my back to the finish line! We crossed the finish line in about 2 and a half hours or so in first place! Approximately 6 minutes or so ahead of the second place team!

I really thought the race was a good time! (Of course I would say that...we won!) I thought it was a little expensive ($110/team for 2 and 1/2 hours of racing), but it was pretty well organized and the course was alright also. I'm pretty sure there were teams coming in an hour or more after us, so I'm thinking a lot of the people racing were beginners. The second place team was pushing us the whole way, a co-ed team that was sponsored by e-Caps. They were pretty fast! Considering the flat tire and me not having my best day ever, I would say we did pretty good. But, if everything would have went smooth, I don't think it would have been much of a race at all! I don't want to sound cocky, but I think we would have dominated this race if everything went smooth. Aaron had an excellent race!!! He kept me motivated and set the pace on the entire bike leg! GREAT JOB AARON!!! You seriously kicked some a$$ this weekend! Let's keep this momentum going into the Berryman! Only 52 more days!!

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