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.
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.
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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