Posted: Apr 28, 2013 7:54 PM by Dustin Klemann - MTN News
Updated: Apr 28, 2013 7:55 PM
RED LODGE - Along the 65-plus miles, the wind blustered, the sun peeked through only to scurry back behind the clouds, then rain -- that felt like a blizzard to some -- said hello to competitors.
But Montana's ever-changing weather remained -- for the most part -- quite friendly during the 35th annual Peaks to Prairie Adventure Race.
What's consistent about the race is its absolute demand of energy from those who take the challenge.
The race begins on the Beartooth Pass where the 470 athletes pound the 9.3 miles of pavement to Red Lodge.
From there, competitors climb atop their trusty steed and bike 49 miles along Highway 78 but make no mistake, the tour is exhausting.
"Red Lodge to Roscoe, the big hills are hard and you suffer. From there, it's just one steady grind into Columbus," said Ted Lovec, as he geared up for his bike leg of the race.
As precipitation touched the ground, competitors pushed on, winding through the curves and large hills.
But as competitors arrived to Columbus, it didn't spell the end for triathlon participants. All you needed was a kayak and a paddle from Itch-Kep-Pe Park to Special K Ranch; 10 more miles to the journey.
The mad dash ended at Special K Ranch where festivities, food, and hydration reinvigorated racers.
Now not all who signed up did all three legs of the race. For Mike Wessels, his rigorous training put him first in the soloist category for the triathlon.
"I just did a half-Ironman training program. But I substituted the swimming with the paddling. It's a lot of training, twice a day, five to six days a week," said Wessels. Half-ironman training program? Psh, no big deal...
Even though the race is highly competitive, there is still plenty of room to have a good time with friends.
"I look forward to this every year. It's just one big family here and I love all the people here. We start training in January and February; it's just a lot of fun," said Glenda Sprankel.
Lovec agreed; "Pre-ritual, you go through your equipment checks. And you get your mind focused. Afterwards its just a [cool] down, rehydrate, get some food in you. Then just relax and enjoy all of your friends,"
Participants and crews alike expect the next 35 years of the Peaks to Prairie Adventure Race to only grow.
Coordinator Joe Keener praised the crews who assisted on the event and the astounding increase in volunteers this year.
"The dynamics of the whole event are growing. We feel there is a future here for our children to mentor and grow the event for sure."