Saturday, August 29, 2015

Smokey and Sweet: Priest Lake Olympic Triathlon

Photo by Priest Lake Multisports
Leading up to today, I can only imagine what Ken and Stephanie Eldore must have thought about how the day would pan out. Combined with the already smokey conditions, there existed a considerable chance of high winds and rain. This morning, though, the winds blessed us by traveling in a direction away from the race site, which meant we could see across Priest Lake and take in the beauty of the mountains that enveloped the water. Breathing in cleaner air also made for a more enjoyable race day. As for the weather? The rain and wind held off until after the awards ceremony. I can't think of any race directors with that kind of control, though if you've ever attended a Priest Lake Multisport event, you wouldn't be surprised by what these people and their devoted volunteers can pull off.

Bryan and I arrived Friday afternoon, and we took the opportunity to assist Ken and other volunteers with some of the set up. If you've not taken the opportunity to experience just what goes on behind the scenes, I highly encourage you to do so. Even in the short amount of time Bryan and I spent volunteering, we couldn't help but be impressed by the organization of it all. We left Friday night with our race packets, pretty convinced that Ken had it all under control.

Today, all those present appeared grateful for the opportunity to test their fitness. Priest Lake waters rival all others, and today's water felt cool, but not uncomfortable. Out of the water and up the long path to transition, heading out onto the bike course felt effortless after I'd made it out onto Highway 57. The smooth road helped convince me the higher power output I put forth didn't feel as bad as it seemed last year. No winds contributed to any psychological meltdowns, which contrasted sharply to the images I imagined with the "High Wind Alerts" that popped up on my cell phone last night. Finally, while the 10k run always feels difficult because of the rolling, gravel road, I couldn't help but feel thankful that the sun didn't beat down upon us like it did last year. 

All in all, this year at Priest Lake felt great. I managed to pull away with a win and a PR on what I think to be one of the best courses in this region. I look forward to returning next year. Thank you, Ken and Stephanie!

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