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Saturday, July 13, 2002 -- Thurmond - Fayetteville, WV
Captain Thurmond's Challenge (iPO Event Id#: 4773)
Story and photos by George Gannon

[Details] [Coverage] [Overall Results] [Pic Set 1] [Pic Set 2]
NOTE: Due to camera difficulties, the two above sets are the only photos available for 2002.
[1998 Coverage] [1999 Coverage] [2000 Coverage] [2001 Coverage]

Race Pic
All geared up for the Captain's Challenge
Maura Kistler took the top spot for the ladies in the 2002 Captain Thurmond's Challenge. While that might not be too much of a shock, what is surprising is that she had time to stop and help a friend. Midway through the 18-mile bike ride, Kistler came across fellow triathlete Tug Chamberlin walking his bike through the woods.

"Tug was walking and I said 'What do you need?' He said 'I need a tube.' So I gave him a tube," Kistler recounted. She added that her charity was an effort to keep right with her karma.

While Kistler may have been reaching Zenful enlightenment, she was also soaking wet - just like all the competitors in the race.

It is tough enough to battle grueling bike trails, Class IV wildwater on the New River and a six-mile run on a nice, dry day. Throw in eight hours of rain, and you have the makings for an even more brutal event.

Race Pic
Running the big boat on the New
After starting the bike leg in Thurmond, racers made their way through some rough and muddy terrain. According to one racer, you could have taken a boat down some of the creeks the bikers had to cross. The trail ran along the New's banks, then cut off into ACE Whitewater property and made use of a host of technical, single-track paths.

The first solo participant off the bike at Cunard was Chris Poltowsky, followed by Kevin Fletcher and Pete Traylor. Team No Whiners rider Jonathan Martin came in ahead of them all, getting his expert men's team off to a very fast start.

A few class III and IV rapids later, Flethcer had taken the lead at Fayette Station and was out of the water first. Traylor was hot on his trail, and managed to take the lead about a mile-and-half into the six-mile run from the bottom of the gorge to Fayetteville.

Although Fletcher kept Traylor in his sights the length of the run, and got pretty close at some points, Traylor was able to cross the finish line first with a time of 3:01:38. Fletcher was next at 3:02:06. Poltowsky (3:13:38) rounded out the top three.

Race Pic
Eating up whatever the Capt dishes out
Traylor said "the race was a lot of fun."

Although he conceded the bike section was "sloppy,: he added that Arbuckle Creek, which was knee deep when the racers crossed it, was particularly memorable.

In the male team division, No Whiners (2:54:19) took the top spot for the expert division, recording the fastest overall finishing time, and Hyperform (3:04:48) took first place in the sport division. In the female team division, TriDivas (3:25:49) took top honors. For the solo ladies Kistler (3:59:31) crossed the finish line first.

Despite the rain, a first for Captain Thurmond's, the racers agreed that the event lived up to past years.

An iPlayOutside shout-out goes to Beth from ACE for getting us the results so quickly. [And sorry again about iPlayOutside missing out on more pictures.]