The 1st Annual ISLAGIATT New Year’s Day Backward Xterra Triathlon
The plan was hatched in the usual way 2 weeks earlier.
Last year we celebrated with a Sufferfest, which was the perfect start to a year in which we would quest for Knighthood of Sufferlandria. With new goals and schemes, we needed an appropriately epic kick-off for 2016
For Kristin, it’s The Year of Dirt – gravel rides, Xterras, CX, plus the full 3 Day PMC. For Nancy, it’s The Year of Epic Cycling, including theBattenkill & PMC. For me, it’s The Year to Bring it All Together – all 3 disciplines, better nutrition & injury prevention. This terrible idea brought it all together and the plunge into the icy, cold water would seal the deal!
As usual in New England, the weather necessitated plan modifications. Recon on the course the day before, revealed too much ice on the trails to make the run leg hit our minimum fun level – so it would be a road run. The crunchy trails were fine on mountain bike, so Fatbikes would be perfect.
We met at noon and it was on! This was actually the first time we had all run together. We pretty much crushed the hilly run, each setting a PR for the number of times we stopped to play with items on lawns along the way.
After the second longest transition in history, we were in the woods, crunching through the snow on Fatbikes. (Special thanks to Anders for letting me borrow his Xmas present.) We covered every trail we could find and following Kristin’s lead, we opted for riding across streams despite the availability of a wooden bridge. We discovered beautiful structures crafted from fallen trees and only a single set of footprints in the first snow of the winter. It was colder in the woods than we expected based on the run, so we determined the ride duration by the discomfort of Kristin’s hands, knowing that body heat was required for the final leg.
We peeled off our warm layers and waited in the warm cars for the arrival of the life guards, Jason & Steve. (Safety is a priority, even amidst craziness) Once the men arrived, we forced ourselves from the warmth out into the cold air. (For her first plunge, Nancy was the most prepared with the awesome robe) Just to add to the shenanigans, we added a shot of Irish liquid courage and started the swim lap on our Garmins. Kristin and I set up for a last pre-swim picture and realized that Nancy was marching stubbornly into the reservoir muttering, “I can do this, I’m a triathlete, dammit.” We dashed in to catch her and take the plunge into the new year, together.
The water was just frickin’ cold – stupid cold, but exhilarating…life affirming… adventure commencing.
It’s amazing what epic adventures you can create with friends who are willing to jump in with both feet with you. Not just in sport, but in all aspects of life, I feel lucky to have many wonderful friends who are willing to jump in with me! We support each other. We rely on each other. We humor each other. We challenge each other.
Together, we live the kind of life you feel; where there’s no doubt we’re alive.