|Photo by Amy Sotis|
by Cory Pratt
The Grantsburg Adventure Triathlon has become has become a must do event for me. Inspired by Brodie Schock two years ago I jumped in and gave it a try. The first year was filled with snow and sleet followed by a bit of sun and a persistent headwind. It was tough but we came back for more.
The course itself has morphed each year due to an attentive group of organizers. The initial event was about an eighteen mile gravel, sand, and pavement bike course. The kayak portion was about three miles on the St. Croix followed by a trail and road run of around eight miles. Due to high and fast water last spring the entire course was changed and the bike and kayak portions were shortened. The fast river may have led to a few record times otherwise. However, the directors wisely decided to move the kayak portion to Crex Meadows on Phantom Lake. This year the course was lengthened closer to the original distances but remained very close to the course from last year.
|Photo by Brodie Schock|
This morning started with a blinding drive up Hwy 87. The sun was shining brightly off the polished frame of Brodie's Crossrip elite. Man that is a great bike! The caravan of Brodie, my sister Ana and I made our way to the race. Upon arrival we dropped our kayaks at the landing and took in the great view. We made our way to the start area where we ran into Jamey and Amy Sotis. Nate Ferris, Rebecca and Steve Stenberg and the now famous Tammi Braund. It was good to see so many familiar faces in the crowd.
As the waves of the race were turned loose I found myself appreciating the course and friendly racers. I saw at least one other Cyclova XC jersey in the crowd. Many greetings and wishes of good luck throughout. Meeting Jamey, Amy, Nate and the Stenbergs during the race made the trip through the wilderness even better. A few mishaps were witnessed and one unfortunate racer in a unique wooden kayak got a cooling swim in along the way. The Schock and Stenberg kids were awesome at cheering us on as we moved between transitions.
On year three I think I finally have hydration and nutrition dialed in. After many races over the years I think I have come to recognize Tammi's foot strike cadence as she reels me in and flies past. That lady can run! It was about mile three of the run when I heard her closing in. As usual she flew by and pulled away at a steady clip. As usual Tammi is a great sport and wished me luck. The support from families of friends at the finish was amazing.
Watching everybody finish followed by many congratulatory fist bumps and high fives was impressive. One finish in particular was note worthy. As I watched Jamey Sotis reeling in the finish line, I wondered how I would stop him if he were carrying a football. He's one tough guy. He gave me a fist bump at the finish that rivaled some of the best punches I've witnessed. But it didn't hurt. I'm sticking with that story. There was a kid's race following the adult race. Many of the families we knew had their kids in the race and several left with hardware. This is probably the most important part of the event. Setting a good example for our kids in all ways including fitness. Also to encourage them and support them when they show interest in pursuing fitness related activities. Teaching them to be good sports and enjoy the outdoors in an area so rich in resources will hopefully carry on for generations to come.
|Photo by Brodie Schock|