Grand Columbian Super Triathlon report

Hi Team Great Divide peeps! Here’s my post-race report…

Friday morning I headed west with a friend to Grand Coulee, WA, to take part in the “Grand Columbian Super Triathlon”. Race check-in was at the starting line on the shore of Lake Roosevelt/Columbia River, just a couple miles north of The Coulee Dam @ Spring Canyon Campground. (We camped here both Fri & Sat).  The race was boasting a myriad of distances: Olympic, Aquabike, Half-Iron, Full-Iron and (dun, dun, DUN) a “Super Tri” that was just a bit farther than an Iron: 200K bike, 5K swim & 50K run. (Seriously? An Iron distance isn’t far enough???)

Race day was dark and a bit chilly @ 6:30am. The water was a balmy 68 degrees. The coolest thing about the 2.4 mile swim was that there was a white rope about 5 feet below us that held by anchors & buoys so there wasn’t the perpetual search for site markings. It felt more like a pool swim, just following the line with a teensy beach run over the timing matt in between the 2 laps. 1 hour 15 minutes later, out of the water I ran to the women’s transition tent.
(Never have I been in a tri where there were fancy-schmancy “his & hers” tents.  Pretty luxurious! T1 was especially slow as I tried to quickly apply compression socks to damp legs with poor fine motor skills due to chilly, sleepy fingers.
On to the bike leg. The weather was overcast and high 60’s. Perf! The race started off with some good sized hills that were so intense that in years past athletes were caught WALKING their bikes. (Scoff! However, I didn’t see such behavior 🙂 The ride was windy and on slender country roads with barely a shoulder. I feared for my life as a semi-truck passed hauling hay & didn’t move over an inch. The draft was frightening and nearly knocked me over! Yikes! This 112 mile bike took just under 7.5 hours.
T2 was in a different location that T1, just below the Coulee Dam near the Visitors Center @ the finish line. The area was festive with music pumping through giant speakers.
Next came the 26.2 mile run. Fortunately the course was flat as a pancake with only one hill as we made our way down to the “downriver trail”. Unfortunately it was a 2 lap ordeal. Mentally it would be so much easier if it were 1 large lap. The nice treat for some of the racers and the spectators @ the finish line was the laser light show that took place @ 8:30pm. They let some water flow down the dam which makes a white backdrop for the show. (I missed it race night but saw it the previous night.) As darkness fell the aid stations handed out flashlights for athletes to navigate their way down the dark river pathway. I walked a TON of the marathon as did many others. Whatev. In the end I finished in 15 hours. Yay!
After crossing the finish line I went to the EMT tent as planned. I had prepaid the $35 fee for a 1,000 ml bag of IV Lactated Ringers. Hallelujah! Bring on a speedy recovery!!! I think it helped. As I sit here typing this I’m wearing compression socks and was on my feet all day at work but didn’t have the “Frankenstein walk” or “fall to the toilet” that I’ve suffered from in the past.
I would recommend this race to anyone considering an Iron-man but frowns when they realize they can’t get in because they needed to register 1+ years prior.  There were only about 50 Iron-distance racers & 20ish “Super Iron” racers.

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