This past Saturday, we woke up at 4:30a.m., and for once, it wasn't for an airport pickup or drop off. It was because Nick, somewhat on a whim, signed up for the XTERRA Guam Triathalon, a modified sprint distance off-road race that consists of an ocean swim, a mountain bike course, and a jungle run. As many of you know, Nick is a fast runner, a solid swimmer, and generally a fit guy (understatement of the year), so I have always thought he'd make an awesome triathlete. In fact, I've always encouraged him to enter races thinking maybe he could use some of that muscle to win fancy prizes for us (airline tickets, helloooooo!). Problem is he doesn't have a road bike, which most triathalons require... only a mountain bike he used to ride for fun in the San Diego desert hillsides.
A guy I work with at church named Dave (left) mentioned the XTERRA to Nick a few weeks ago and piqued his interest. He hadn't been mountain biking since we got to Guam eight months ago, but as far as races go, it was a perfect combination of events Nick is already good at and owns equipment for. He did one practice run of the bike course and signed up. He then went on a weeklong trip to the Maldives and Sri Lanka and showed up back in Guam just in time for the race. I went along to document everything for this here post. Here we have it, folks, Nick's first triathalon! Enjoy!
Stretching at the starting line
Entering Apra Harbor for the water start of the swim just after a beautiful Guam sunrise
On your mark, get set... Go!
And they're off! Can you spot Nick? Me neither...
There he is! So proud of myself for picking Nick out from all the look-alike swimmers! And getting a picture when his face was out of the water!
Nick finished the 1k (.62 mi.) swim 8th out of all the competitors, including the professional racers and those doing relays who were only doing the swim competition, 93 people total :)
Transition time! The hardest part of the whole race... putting on a tight underarmour shirt after getting out of the salt water. Time for the off-road bike ride up the very steep Nimitz Hill into the technical terrain atop Mt. Alutom and then down to Mannegon Hills (Guam speak for "really hard bike ride").
And he's off! Right behind this guy...
There he goes! This is the point when I took advantage of being awake so early and got on my phone and called people in the States :)
2:07:32 later, Nick returned from the 20.2 mile mountain bike race covered in mud! I wish I had some action shots of the bike ride... hopefully the official race pictures will post soon.
Another quick transition putting the bike up and switching into running shoes.
Up the stairs to start the 5-mile run through the jungle, where Nick navigated tough terrain, climbed down slippery waterfalls, and waded through chest-high river pools. So yeah, that explains why Nick's 5-mile "run" took about an hour. It was more like a super fast hike/cliffside climb/river crossing.
Got a smile and a high five out of him on his way out! He was definitely having fun.
For the next hour I waited patiently by the finish line. I worked almost as hard as Nick that morning. But I mean, someone's gotta keep Peyt's Island in business.
After 1:03:58, Nick emerged from the jungle and began trudging through the ocean towards the finish line. It reminded me of the moment I first spotted him coming up the trail at the top of the Grand Canyon last May. There he is and he's almost done!
After 3.5 hours of swimming, biking and running, Nick finished the race. Woohoo!
Official race time above. Turns out he finished 4th in his division and 17th overall out of 71 individuals competing! Not bad for not training :)
And he wasn't even sore or tired... uhh....
Moments after crossing the finish line, Nick mentioned doing the race again next year.
Great job guys... You made it look so easy!