Mount Washington Tuckerman Inferno Pentathlon
by Elaine Campbell
I've been wanting to do this race for a few years but it's usually the same weekend as the NOC Shootout and have gone to the shootout. This year I decided to bail on the NOC event and compete at the Inferno. The Inferno is a 8.3 mile run, 5 mile kayak, 18 mile bike, 3 mile hike, and skiing down Tuckermans Ravine. Here's a link to the race course maphttp://www.friendsoftuckerman.org/2012-InfernoMap-revised.pdf
I was on a Team of 5 women called Team Broads with Kim Seaman our runner, Nicole Vassar our biker, Nancy Caldwell the hiker, Ali O'Rourke skied and I was the kayaker. We competed in the all women's category against 4 women teams and wanted to do well in the overall Inferno category.
Jeff, Nancy and I arrived Thursday night in North Conway, NH so I could get a low water practice run in on Friday on the Saco River and stopped by Saco Bound Outdoors in Conway, NH to talk about Wave Sport boats. The rest of the team arrived Friday for registration at Flatbread Pizza. We ate, had a couple beers and started to get psyched up for Saturday morning.
The alarm clock started going off at 5:30am and Jeff was up making coffee and breakfast. The race started right at 7am with the run and off went Kim plus the other 65 racers. We immediately drove over to the kayak tag zone so I could get ready. Mark my brother, our buddy Simpson and John were all doing the kayak race so we were all harassing each other while we waited for our runners to arrive. Mark, John and I had carbon wildwater boats and Simpson had a wavehopper. Most of the people competing in the kayak race were in sea/rec kayaks.
John was the first to go his runner came in first with a 48:59 time. A few more runners came in then Mark's runner came in with a time of 55:20 and then Simpson went out before me when his runner came in at 1.04:49. I was thinking to myself that Kim should be coming in any second now but there was no sign of her. Joanne who is soloing the event came in at 1.11:18 and told us that Kim was in trouble and we needed to get to her. Kim started out a little hot with her pace and had a touch of heatstroke by the time she got to the transition zone, but after a quick discussion, Jeff, Nancy and I decided to keep on going and I was soon on my way down the trail, across a mostly dry riverbed, into my boat and down the Saco. Unfortunately my starting time did not get recorded as the tag took place just prior to the transition zone. On the upside, Kim had a very quick recovery and we were still in the hunt.
I passed a fair number of boats and felt very good about my performance. Without the official time it's hard to know for sure but think I was in the low to mid 40's based on factors we could figure and my past performances against some of the other boaters in the race. There were some moments where I had to slow down to wait for traffic jams so it could have been a bit longer. I saw the finish and sprinted as hard as I could fell out of my boat and ran to Nicole for the bike tag.
Nicole went on her way and took a wrong turn, luckily, Jayson saw her going the wrong way and let her know. She went about a half mile out of the way… oops! Nicole got to the base of Mount Washington in 1.16:20 and tagged Nancy for the hike up to the Ravine. Nancy flew up the mountain with a time of 1.06:56 to tag Ali. Ali had to "boot pack" up to the top of Left Gulley in the bowl of the ravine and ski the giant slalom course down. She did it in 36:53 and Team Broads finished the Tuckerman Inferno in 5.05:27.
We pulled together when we needed to and bounced back from a rough start. We had a 3rd place finish in the Tuckerwoman event and a 29th place finish overall in the event out of 66. The good news is that Kim was ok and that we continued to compete and not just give up. We are all going to do it again next year and hopefully we have no hiccups but if we do we are prepared to deal with them.
The next event on the schedule is the New England Triple Crown in CT. We got some rain so the level is going to be great! Come out and compete or just come out and watch!
Simpson, Mark and I waiting for our runners.
Mark get the tag!
Ali waiting for her tag.
Mark, Astrid and I waiting for our skiers at HoJo's hut!
Till next time,