Mountains to Sound

I got an email back from the race organizer stating that the Iron division (solo) had not filled yet so unless my application gets accidentally diverted to Timbuktu, I'm in.

I have 3 months to prepare to race in four different disciplines nonstop across 104 miles of King County, Washington. Literally from the mountain pass where I go snowboarding to the shores of Puget Sound in Seattle. I'm completely confident in my mountain biking and road cycling ability, but have a lot of work to do on my running and kayaking. And our trip to Germany in early June couldn't possibly come at a worse time as far as my preparation for this event is concerned -- and the riverboat we'll be cruising on doesn't have a workout room.

Anyway, you'll probably hear me talk about this event on this blog at least a few times in the coming months so here's the full description so you know what I'm talking about. Keep in mind that the race description is based on this being a 5-person relay. There will be 300 teams of five people, 25 teams of 2 people, and 25 individuals.

This 104 mile course extends from the Snoqualmie Pass areas beginning with a 23 mile Mountain Bike Leg that plunges riders into a two mile long, pitch black abandoned railroad tunnel requiring each rider to carry their own illumination. This leg continues on down the meandering Iron Horse Trail once used by the Milwaukee Railroad Co. and has been converted to a biking/hiking trail. Riders end at the Iron Horse Trail Head and Rattlesnake Lake where they hand off wristbands to the Road Bike Leg participants.

Road bikers immediately cruise down to North Bend along Cedar Falls Rd, giving a taste of what's to come over the next 50 miles. The Road Bike Leg takes riders through some of Washington's most scenic rural areas anywhere. Participants are treated to routes along the base of striking Mt. Si, then along the Three Rivers Natural Area and on via Snoqualmie Falls, Fall City and Carnation. A stunning, bucolic ribbon of roads meanders through Snoqualmie Valley giving enthusiastic bikers plenty of hills and dales to test their endurance. The course has been carefully planned to minimize traffic and maximize enjoyment. Riders culminate their leg by riding the famous 'Redmond-Roubaix' Red Brick Road along 196th near Redmond ridden by the likes of Greg LeMond. Traffic will be controlled where necessary for safety but it is an open course.

Bikers finish by riding through Marymoor Park and ending at Luke McRedmond Park for the handoff to the Canoe / Kayak Leg.

Paddlers are in for a 12 mile, downstream adventure on the Sammamish Slough. Winding through rural and residential areas, the Slough parallels the Sammamish River Trail that becomes the Burke Gilman Trail in Seattle. The slough runs calm at about 1 kt. This paddle promises to be a unique experience to many paddlers who've not seen this part of our city. As the Slough enters Lake Washington, they'll cruise around to their right being cognizant of the many seaplanes landing and taking off at Kenmore Air. Entering an inlet near Kenmore, participants will land their craft and send off the runners for the Half Marathon leg along Burke Gilman Trail.

Runners begin their test on a Half Marathon (13 miles) run over the top of Lake Washington and our famous Burke Gilman Trail. The trail meanders along Lake Washington's western shore past Magnuson Park and ending their leg at Seattle's Gasworks Park.

The last but not least is the Six Mile Glory Run to the finish. Runners continue back onto the Burke Gilman for the big sprint to the finish along the newly completed trail right to Golden Gardens Park in Ballard. The trail takes runners along the North end of Lake Union, Fremont and the Ship Canal that includes the Chittendem Locks. The finish 'kick' passes Shilshole Bay Marina right along the harbor and beach and finishes at the new Ballard Community Beach House located at the sandy shores of Golden Gardens Park.

Finish festivities for the June 25th 2006 event will be a huge celebration. Tons of giveaways, food, drink and a multitude of premium awards for participants

The mountain bike leg will be a piece of cake and if I do it on my cyclocross bike, should take less than an hour. Many of the roads in the road bike course are what I train on and the 50 miles won't take more than 2.5 hours. The kayak will be a challenge for me as I'm not experienced at all in kayak racing, but I'm willing to train for it to prepare (I can't wait for the upper body workout this will bring). But, despite running being my forte, I'm most concerned about the running. The legs will certainly stiffen up after all of that cycling while on the kayak and the upper body will be fried by the time the running begins. Running with rebelling extremeties will be pretty damn tough. And although the legs will loosen up, it's going to be extremely hard to run that far with tired arms.

I can't wait to try.

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