Where to begin,
June has proved to be an action packed month for Ranger Smash Extreme Endurance. All of the excitement began with our first official sponsor: Silver Creek Services. This overly generous company has single handedly funded this year’s season; without them none of which I am about to tell you in this post would have even been possible. Some times “thank you” just doesn’t seem adequate, and this my friends is one of those times.
Soon after our sponsor’s commitment to the Ranger Smash team we began looking for a bike, since we are, literally, starting our triathlon endeavors from the ground up. Step two was a quick recon of local bike shops in the area, as well as gleaning some invaluable “intel” from some local triathletes. What was revealed was a perfect entry level bike and the support of Arnold’s Bike Shop in Columbus Georgia. We picked up the 2015 Kestrel Talon Monday the 15th and were also fitted to the bike by one of ABS’s owners Jeff Gordy (as pictured).
After purchasing the bike, the next revelation was about an upcoming sprint triathlon in Callaway Gardens in Pine Mountain Georgia. Now I have never been known for my superior intellect… but I have been known to RANGER SMASH! So with roughly a five days heads up we registered for Callaway, despite the fact that I would only have two rides, ever, on a road bike. It is also worth mentioning that I had not swam at all in 2015 since I broke my rib at the end of my aquathlon season in 2014. Due to the shear cost of breaking into the sport of triathlon I had no intentions of competing this season, instead I had planned to focus on running: speed, efficiency, and endurance in order to prepare for my 100 miler in October. In short, I have not been training at all for triathlons. If that wasn’t enough to put me behind the curve I succumbed to a wicked chest cold the week prior, and wasn’t even sure it would be prudent for me to even compete come Thursday/Friday before the race, but again the strong Ranger kicked in and we went for it anyway.
Callaway Garden’s sprint triathlon is a great race for beginners. It begins with a non threatening 400 meter open water swim at their beach head, in shallow water with buoys set at a depth of about five feet. The bike ride is composed of a scenic 9 miles around the lake’s access roads. The finish is a brisk, flat and fun 2 mile run around the lake. It is a great race for first timers, but don’t be fooled, there are plenty of “fast feet” attending this race. I am extremely content with my performance on Sunday, all things considered. I missed my age group win by 18 seconds, a bit of a disappointment, but finished overall-male: 15th. The highlight of the race was my finish. My chest cold had created much more difficulty than I had imagined it would, with breathing and what not during the race. As a result, I was coughing spitting grunting, and growing the entirety of the race. By the end of the run I was ready to be finished, so instead of my typical monster kick at the end of the race I opted to ease into the finish since no one was even close to me… or so I thought. Unbeknownst to me, a young athlete by the name of Carlos Salgado came flying through the running portion. I was averaging mid to high 6 minute paces, and this kid caught me like I was standing still! About 30 meters from the finish line I hear the announcer say “I don’t even think he knows he is coming”. He was absolutely correct in this assumption. Sure enough, I look over my left shoulder and see what appears to be legs up to my ears about to pass me like the tortoise and the hare. That was the fastest 30 meters I think I have ever run in my life. We both sprinted to the finish; from the pictures you can definitely tell both racers wanted to beat one another across the line. Regardless of finish time/ rank, most races have finish line photos, most are pretty tame and boring, but I assure you the crowd, Carlos, and I were not expecting a sprint-finish- face off to end the race and I am willing to bet there is a picture or two worth holding on to!
All in all I had a great time, and a great race. Although my room for improvement is tremendous, I energetically look forward to facing these challenges head on during the next few months and years in training. Ready or not, here I TRI!
Check out more photos from this month in our Gallery.