Saturday, March 30, 2013

The Unicorns

Today, three of us got sunburned out in West Irbid.  We should know better.  Say hello to the first Wild and Free Adventures Triathlon and Duathlon.

She was so relieved there was a "No Swimming" sign.
Then bummed when swimming was OKed for today.

Looking towards the Jordan Valley area.

Red Bull was a major sponsor.

The muck when we first arrived at 9 a.m.
There's a lake in Jordan.  It's far away, anywhere from 2 to 2 1/2 hours away from Amman.  A dammed river, the water level is steadily dropping still.  The Jordan Valley is a major agricultural zone so every drop of water matters.

When the race organizers first checked the course at 6 a.m., the lake was clear.  A brisk wind brought in muck and plenty of it.  While it wasn't solid enough to walk on, it was plenty strong to support growing grass and rocks.

Rebecca was the youngest participant aside from one boy who did the short race.  Actually, let me 'splain.  There were 4 races run (Sprint Triathlon - 800m swim/15km bike/6km run, Sprint Duathlon, Novice Triathlon - 400m swim/10km bike/4km run, Novice Duathlon) , with a bunch of categories including the adult class, the 18 and under, and the 16 and under.  The only category that did not have multiple categories was the team race, where each person completed one portion.  Rebecca was part of a team.

On your mark...

The muck pile had grown so much while we waited (an expected 9:30a.m. start time became an actual 12p.m. start time, I'd expected to be home by 2, we made it back to the school at 5:30) when a large traveling muck island crashed into the already existing muck beach.  The entry point for the swimmers moved from the near rocks to the far rocks.  There were about 25 swimmers.

And they're off.

Photo of swimmers in a lake just don't do the sport justice. Her swimming partner was an ACS math teacher, the swimmer for the ACS team.

To complete 800m meant swimming from the rocks to the far buoy, along the coast to the near buoy, then along the muck island back to the rock... checking in and then doing it all a second time.

She and Mr. Lewis swam neck and neck until the last 1/6 of the race when Mr. Lewis pulled ahead, but the marker was up at the transition stage at the bikes where her teammate was waiting, so Becca ran ahead of Mr. Lewis while he stopped to pull on shoes.

She came in 4th out of 25.  Against the cold, and the current, and the sticks and muck and swimmers twice as big as her.  Because, you know, she rocks.

They were completely covered in muck because the lake was filled with it.  It filled her hair and her swimsuit.  Not as bad as Mr. Lewis though.  And some of the swimmers swam through the muck island instead of around it, which looked to be about as fast a snail moving through molasses.

Down at the ecolodge.  Leftover ruins.
Becca had to take a potty break (why she didn't do so in the lake we don't know, she says she was busy swimming), so we went down to the EcoLodge.  The "lodge" is rustic.  Cabins do have power and even AC, but without bathrooms, and the fields around are filled with all sorts of nasty plants and bugs that simple want to attack you.  On our first trek down (thank you, coffee) we went with another ACS teacher, her kids, and her visiting parents.  We took the running track which at points was barely passable with the nettles and thorns.  Thank goodness we wore jeans, but it still hurt.  We took the road back which was long and steep.  The second time we decided we would be smarter and went the back way because we "saw a path" that led directly from the road to the restroom.  Only it didn't and the nettles and thorns were even worse that way, with a path that quickly fizzled out. We pushed our way through, came out scratched and itchy and hot and sweaty, and swore about how much we hated nature. Again the road brought us back.

We made it back to the finish line in time to see our two ACS team runners cross.  Our young biker finished his leg 4th overall and in front of our adult team.  He would have been far ahead but he blew a bike tire and waited for a replacement bike.  Our runner made up the time, only to be sent on the wrong path and have to make his way back by traversing over some barbed wire and getting hurt in the process.  He came in about 10 minutes after the ACS teacher team.

Our two teams were the only 2 teams racing, everyone else raced as individuals.  Our kids (all freshmen) were treated as adults, as there was no category for student team.

In this race, there's no award for 2nd place.

Does it look like they care?  Nope.  They rocked the race, and are already talking about next year.

Just to the right of middle are the bathrooms.
Between the road and the restrooms is a field of nastiness.
Don't let how pretty it looks fool you.
Nature sucks.


  1. I can't let my daughter read this - it is SO her idea of fun. All I will hear is "WHY couldn't we have gone there???????"