Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Olympia Traverse

This year was the first ever Olympia Traverse, sister race to the Bellingham Traverse, a four-part relay race from Middle Waddell Day Use area to the Fishbowl Brewpub in downtown Olympia. The race was intended mimic the journey of salmon and the proceeds of the race went toward local conservation groups (and FOCF!!) GL6 racing showed up in force; the Middle Waddell starting line was splattered with bright green jerseys. We had a four person team (Natalie, Theresa, Mike C., and Dave S.) a two person team (Courtney and Erin) and two solo racers (Jamey and Kyle) representing GL6 and FOCF.
The race kicked off with a quick 3.5 mile run that looped up Waddell
Creek Road and then back on the Mt. Molly trails. Kyle was the first FOCF/GL6er to finish the run, with a time of 26:46. He quickly transitioned to his On One singlespeed and was off to do the mountain bike leg. Courtney was next out of the forest at 28:15, with Jamey and Natty close behind at 28:30 and 28:47.

I got on my mountain bike and sped out of the parking lot and down the road
to the Margaret McKinney TH. The course was dry, rolling and fast, a course FOCF/GL6 teams knew well. I passed several people in the first two miles of the 10 mile course, but my only goal (other than to ride as fast as I could) was to not let anyone besides Jamey pass me, which I was able to do! After passing that first group and inevitably being passed by Jamey, I was on my own for the rest of the race. Kyle kept the top FOCF/GL6 spot, finishing the course in 48:29 but by this time Jamey gained on him, finishing in 49:00. I was next across the line at 53:00 and Theresa came in at 57:13.

Next up was the road bike leg, which proved to be the great equalizer for the FOCF/GL6 teams. Kyle struggled a bit on this leg, already two legs in and pedaling an old road bike with downtube shifters, finishing the 25 mile road bike course in 1:20. Courtney held strong for her second leg of the race and finished with a time of 1:15. Meanwhile, Mike C., rocketed ahead and was the second FOCF/GL6er to finish, with a smoking fast time of 1:09, and Jamey, coming in at 1:08, was the first into a kayak for the final leg of the course. What this looked like at the road bike finish/kayak transition was three FOCF/GL6ers starting the kayak leg together.

I was the last to get in the water, but David and Kyle were just a minute or two ahead of me and I had the advantage of a better boat and previous paddling experience. I quickly passed Kyle and Dave and was determined to leave them behind me. Nothing like some friendly competition between team members =) David kept close to the stern of my boat for awhile, but as soon as I was out of the Budd Bay crossing (and current!) I was able to pull away from him and glide into Swantown Marina with a time of 42:00, where Courtney was waiting to make the final trek to the finish line at the Fishbowl Brewpub. David finished behind me at 47:15, followed by Kyle at 51:15. Jamey was already waiting, having a head start on us and finishing in a time 46:45. I relished this one and only moment where I was actually faster than Jamey and Kyle since they smoke me regularly on the bike.

The last leg of the race was the "trek" from Swantown Marina to the Fishbowl Brewpub downtown, where all team members finish together. Our participation prize for this event was a free beer in the BBQ/beer garden that was set up at the finish line. Great event, with a reasonable turn out and a fun course. I'm hoping it returns for next year!

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