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The bikes begin the race as they head out of historic Thurmond Train Depot
Friday, June 19, 1998 -- Fayetteville, WV
Captain Thurmond's Challenge
New River Triathlon

[More Pictures] [Complete Results]
[Individual Split Times] [Team Split Times]

The morning's severe thunderstorms did not deter over 100 paticipants from taking on the New River Gorge with their mountain bikes, kayaks, and running shoes. The weather cleared for a beautiful afternoon of racing at the third annual Captain Thurmond's Challenge.

The event, for individuals or teams, began with a Lemans style start for the mountain bikes as they left the historic Thurmond Train Depot in the New River Gorge. The riders briefly headed up the road, out of Thurmond, before heading into the woods on the Thurmond to Minden Trail. The mountain bike route continued through the gorge, following the New River downstream. They eventually arrived in Cunard, 12 miles later, via the Brooklyn to Southside Junction Trail. The racers commented on the updated route for this years race with smiles for the newly added downhill section.

A kayak navigates to shore

Next, the racers jumped (or slid) into their kayaks and hit the Class IV & V rapids on the New River. The water was up this year and there were many reports of racers taking inadvertant swims on their 8 mile journey down the river to Fayette Station.

Once arriving back on the banks of the river, the often challenging exercise of "finding your legs" greeted the boaters. Here the racers either had to stumble their way up the riverbank to make the hand-off to their runner, or fumbled around to get running shoes on their feet.

The runner for team "BRO Pimp Daddys" getting started on the Gorge climb

The final leg of the triathlon was a 5 mile run up the rim of the Gorge to the finish. This was a truley grueling run which, for all intensive purposes, is completely uphill. The overall elevation gain is no less than 900 feet (but the views are magnificent if ever the runners had a chance to catch their breath). Once the runners reached the top of the Gorge at Route 19, they still had to tackle several demoralizing, short, steep climbs to reach the finish line in downtown Fayetteville.

The first to cross the finish line was Steve Heatherington, for the local Expert Men's team of Blue Ridge Outdoors Fayetteville.

Steve Heatherington cruises first into Fayetteville
The team practically led from start to finish with an excellent mountain bike ride that gave them a comfortable lead into the water. Although other boaters were able to gain ground, they were still able to give Steve a head start up the Gorge, and he really didn't even need it. Their finishing time of 2:02.16 was 6 minutes ahead of the second place team, Ridge Rider.

John Currier was the first individual to complete the day's events in an impressive time of 2:18.37, good enough for a fifth overall time. The first female individual to finish was Maura Kistler, with a time of 2:35.31.

It sure looks nice, but the Gorge is a tough place to run
Kenny Powell, muddied from the bike and wet from the boat, works to prepare for the run

Brad Yurish
Some cool water helps Brad Yurish find a reason to smile
Boat exit
Quickly getting in and out of the kayak is always a little tricky