Pinnacle Challenge, which is a 4 event relay race consisting of an 8k (they called it 5 miles but it was really 4.97) road run, a 5.4 mile mountain bike, a 13.75 mile road bike, and a 3.5 mile trail race. Steve Wolfe and the boys over at Acidotic racing needed another guy to do one of the two runs. I found out about this towards the end of last week and decided to give it a go. It sounded like fun and I had never run in Newport before (hence 'bagging' another NH town).
The morning was rather crisp and as I headed down through the Sunapee area, a bank's display showed that it was a cool 30 degrees out. There was frost all over the grass and hills along the road. As I pulled into the parking lot of the school where the start/transitions/finish area is, I immediately spotted the van-de-la-Quintal with 2 bikes leaning up against it's side. I figured maybe both Mike and Dave were doing the 2 person relay. I walked over and grabbed my Acidotic singlet from Wolfie and the boys and headed inside to use the facilities. As I got inside, I noticed a team of faster looking dudes in the corner, getting their gear together. It was none other than Justin Fyffe (CMS), Greg Hammett (CMS), Mark Miller (CM...I mean BAA), and Josh Ferenc (BAA / US Olympic Cycling Team). They had put together a team called 'Four Runners' (even though Josh is officially retired from running) and they looked to be the favorite. I also spotted Dave Quintal (CMS) who was there solo and was going to do the whole thing himself. I was amazed, considering he's been out w/ injury for a while and has been doing light running / cycling to try to climb back into racing shape.
I went out on a warmup w/ Justin, Josh, Marc, and Greg along the road course and then headed back over to throw on my singlet and get ready for the showdown. As the race got underway, Justin and I ran the first mile and a quarter or so together along the main highway and then winding up the backcountry road (complete with an old wooden covered bridge). For the first 3/4ths of a mile or so, we had a couple guys right behind us. As we made our way up the windy road (mostly uphill on the way out) Justin started to pull away just a little bit. There were no mile markers so I had no clue how fast I was going, which was probably a good thing. Halfway out, there is a small island in the middle of the intersection of two country roads, which you run around and then back down the same way you came up. I may have been 10 or so seconds behind Justin at this point. As I came back down the road, I noticed the 3rd place guy wasn't too far back and then some more runners coming up the way including Dave Quintal, who may have been going a little too hard in the road race portion, considering he was doing the entire relay himself.
Over the course of the next 2 or so miles, it seemed like a lot of downhill and twisty roads back down to the main highway. As I took the right back onto Route 10, I was maybe 20 or so seconds behind Justin and that's where I stayed. I never really lost any distance on him over the last mile or so. Right before the main highway, I was actually closing the gap just a little bit, but that stopped once the road flattened out and the long main highway stretch was all that was left.
As I came by and down into the transition area (which is a tight turn onto dirt, then grass for maybe 100 meters), I glanced at my watch and saw I was going to dip under 25 minutes, which I was thrilled about. I hadn't broken 25 min for an 8k since college. I passed over the finish mat just under 25 and had to run another 40 yards or so before I saw Austin Stonebreaker (my relay teammate doing the Mountain Bike stage of the race). I tagged him and on he went. He was about 20-25 seconds back of Mark Miller, who was doing the Mountain Bike leg for the Four Runners.
After catching my breath, I grabbed my clothes and headed over to the section of the mountain bike/trail run course where the racers come out of, and started filming the rest of the event. Below are 2 videos I pieced together with mainly my footage from my Iphone 4 + a brief 8k clip from the run and a couple of clips of Greg Hammett finishing the trail run portion, all given to me by Justin Fyffe. I missed Greg coming out of the woods because my phone wouldn't come on for some reason, and I didn't get any clips of my actual race because I'm not Ken Skier ;). The Four Runners won first place overall in the relay and my team was 4th overall. I believe there was one solo runner just ahead of us, which is very impressive.
I'm saying this now...I am somewhat inspired to maybe do the entire thing next year (a la DQ), but we'll see. I think Mark Miller said he was considering it. I think it would be fun. First I need to get a decent road bike and learn how to ride it (and learn how to mountain bike).
I highly recommend watching these in the 720p version...
Video 1: Events 1 and 2:
Video 1: Events 1 and 2: