Part of the fun for this event is the drive down and the drive back. Nothing like a road trip to raise the spirits and make the heart soar. I went to Lamar with my best friend, Tom.
I try to drive out and back a new way every time. It is getting more difficult, though.
On the way down, we found a ‘farm/ranch’ road that was literally several miles of road with nothing on it including towns.
We reached the town of Eads, Colorado. There was an area map at a rest area just East of town. We decided to go and see the site of the Sand Creek Massacre http://www.nps.gov/sand/index.htm .
This is a sad part of Colorado and United States history. A 700–man force of Colorado Territory militia attacked an encampment of friendly Cheyenne and Arapaho encamped along a bend by the Sand Creek river.
Basically, it was a massacre. It has been claimed that as many as 163 people were killed.
It is a somber, and sacred, site to visit. After the rout, bodies were left where they fell. Some bodies were mutilated. The camp was gone through and things taken.
We did not stay there long. This site is one of the reasons that we must study history or we will be doomed to repeat it. Let’s not.
Lamar is the county seat of Prowers county. It is a small city of 8,800 people. The recreation department is active and sponsors many events for the residents. We participate in the Prairie Punisher. A Duathlon event held in April just about the time of my birthday. Both of us attended last year.
We came into town seeking food and shelter. The local Pizza Hut was our dinner venue. We both had an Italian sausage noodle dish with lots of salad.
We went to the Best Western Cow Palace to seek the shelter part. It was a disappointing experience. 20 minutes waiting, while being ignored. We walked out. Went a block South, where we were welcomed at the Days Inn. We had our shelter.
We drove around and found a sand storm. High winds came at us carrying a lot of dirt in them. You could watch as it approached, wonder at it as it passed us by, and then watch as it headed westward. Rainfall is in decline in that part of Colorado. It is evident.
The Prairie Punisher -
The next morning, I opened the window to a cold and grey sky. It was fairly cold, too. Weather reports had the cloud cover lifting, but around 9:00 AM. Our event was to start at 8:00 AM.
We got to the swimming pool at the event start. Both Tom and I were going to do the short course. The short course involved a 1.55 mile run, then a 7 mile bike ride, and ends with another 1.55 mile run. The pre-event briefing started a little after 8. The course and the rules were reviewed. Immediately after, the first run portion started. I ran back to the transition area to put my jacket away. The sun was starting to come out and I didn’t think I’d need it (I didn’t). While there I remembered that I double knotted my shoe laces. I removed 1 of the knots and headed back to the start line. As I ran to it, the director started the race. We were off!
I was no further then 50 feet when my right shoelace undid itself. I had to stop, tie the shoe, and watch as the rest of the pack got further and further away from me. I got myself ready and steadily started my run. I took the time to wave at cars as they saw us on the route.
The first transition was a slow one. I negotiated changing the running shoes for the bike shoes. I put my helmet on. I got the bike off the rack and put a water bottle on it. I walked the bike past the transition zone, got on it and took off. The water bottle fell right out of the rack. Bummer!
It seemed like the bike ride went uphill both ways. I know it didn’t but sometimes the body and the brain don’t always get along. Half of the bike ride was on the side of Highway 287 (the main drag in town). Everyone driving was nice and moved to the inside. I passed one rider, but got passed by 3 guys. They were good and earned that pass.
I got back to the transition area and walked the bike in. I switched shoes again, then took off on my second run. Somehow the transition seemed too quick or I had forgotten something. About halfway through my second run I realized I still had the bike helmet on. Oh well…
I ran the event this year in 1:02:26. That was 2 minutes and 6 seconds slower than last year. Tom concluded the event in 57 minutes this year. He was 5 minutes fast than I, but 4 minutes slower that his finish last year.
It was a great event with a great group of people! I really, really enjoy this event in Lamar.
We wanted to shower after this physical exertion. When someone suggested singing Happy Birthday to me, I thought it may time to leave. Tom agreed and we headed back to the hotel. We requested a late check-out. We didn’t need it as we out in plenty of time.
It was my last event in the 50 to 59/55 to 59 year age group. Sunday was my my 60th birthday/