Scared of Open Water, Anyone?

Event Stats:
Name Escape from the Gorge
Date 09/09/2007
Location Cascade Locks, OR, USA
Event Olympic Triathlon
Finish Time 03:03:07

The Escape from the Gorge is an sort-of Olympic distance triathlon that features a rather long swim of 1.5 miles.

Since the race is held not too far away from Portland, where I live, I decided so scout the bike part out on the day before. And a good thing I did. I found that it consisted mainly of a steep hill that you had to climb, descend, turn around and do it all over again. So I headed back to Portland, took of by rear wheel and went to the local bike shop to get me a decent cassette for such hilly terrain.

Race day started at about 4 AM, after breakfast and an one hour drive I arrived there rather early, which was good, since I got to have another half hour nap in the car, after having my bike set up in a good spot and everything ready to go.

The race starts from a steamboat. Weather was cold and sunny and rather windy. Somehow the race organizers felt that the conditions for swimming weren't good (I totally disagree; I think the currents were fine and that anyone who cant swim well should the "%$ stay out of an open-water triathlon, but then again, it's not my butt that's on the line, so I respect the decision), so the swim part came down to taking the boat out, jumping in and swimming back to shore, probably less than 500 yards. So much for my long swim.

The bike part, new cassette and all, sucked just like I knew it would. My physique and my lack of training just make me utterly unfit for climbing.

On the run I really felt that I had not recovered from Louisville. My legs felt heavy, I was disappointed with the swim, and just did not find it in me to really push. So I finished in a rather disappointing 3:03:07.

The race itself is a great event, very good food at the end, friendly staff and the race director even kept my glasses for me during the race.