Despite the rain last week that made course preparation somewhat challenging, the 9th Annual XTERRA ACE Big Canyon Triathlon was a great success.
This year was the second time we had to cancel the swim portion in the New River. We waited as long as we could to see if the water would drop, but to no avail. It held steady at 25,000 cfs — about 10 feet above normal summer pool.
To compensate for the shortened course, we finished the race with a 1.2-mile victory lap around the campground.
As a helper for the event, my first duty of the day was to get the volunteers on the course. Once complete, I had the task of getting the burrito lunch bar set up. I became a bit of a food nazi saying to each person, “Keep it to one burrito for now so we can be sure everyone gets to eat.”
So many times, they would start with a modest portion of chicken, then beans, rice, and veggies, but by the time they made it to the salsa and sour cream, a huge heap of food would be sitting on this little 7-inch tortilla, forever buried.
I had to chuckle.
A personal highlight for me is the raffle during the awards ceremony. We don’t just give stuff away — these athletes have to work for it, and it usually involves push-ups, sit-ups or food.
This year we had a Banana Eating contest. Of course, race director Jeff Walls slipped on one of the banana peels and unceremoniously landed in the mud. It was a classic scene straight out of “The Three Stooges.”
The Gatorade Guzzling contest was also entertaining. I was impressed these folks could consume an entire bottle in less than a minute after running 7 miles uphill and biking 10 grueling miles in the mud.
But then again, it was to win a new pair of running shoes.
In closing, I truly hope a good time was had by all. I’m just glad no one got lost, minimal blood was shed, and the sun smiled upon us most of the day.
To get race times, photos and race recap, visit www.iplayoutside.com. Julie and Jason Black have been covering ACE events for many years, and they do a spectacular job.