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Saturday, June 12, 2004 -- Thurmond - Fayetteville, WV
Captain Thurmond's Challenge (iPO Event Id#: 6078)
Story and photos by Jason & Julie Black

[Details] [Coverage]
[Triathlon Results] [Mountain Bike Results]
Pictures: [Set 1] [Set 2] [Set 3] [Set 4] [Set 5] [Set 6]
[5K/Kid's Race Coverage]
Past Coverage: [1998] [1999] [2000] [2001]

Roaming the countryside
It's been nine years and counting for the Captain Thurmond's Challenge. This event has grown into a full blown community builder. Bringing the registration and finish back to the court house and main street of Fayetteville, West Virginia was just the first of many perks in this full day challenge.

The day started early downtown with registration. With a little pep in their step thanks to the free Red Bull refreshments, the runners and walkers took flight in the Captain's 5K Challenge. After those racers finished in front of the court house, the kid's got their chance to strut their stuff in front of a large crowd.

By 2:00 pm. It was time for the triathletes and mountain bikers to head on out to the historic Thurmond train depot for a Le Mans start.

Captain Thurmond
Cheers to you Captain!
Thanks to Captain William D. Thurmond, during the first two decades of the 1900s, Thurmond, West Virginia was a classic boomtown. Fifteen passenger trains a day came through town with its depot serving as many as 95,000 passengers a year. The town's stores and saloons did a remarkable business, and its hotels and boarding houses were constantly overflowing.

On Saturday, June 12, the depot bustled with people once again as racers lined up for the triathlon start. New for 2004, the Captain added a West Virginia Mountain Bike Association (WVMBA) Race. The bikers started with the bike leg of the triathlon and finished in Fayetteville. Greg Moore (2:46:31) was the first biker in the MTB race to finish.

Welcome to the jungle
The Captain, with gun in tow, fired into the air and the racers were off to ride the 13 miles through the forest of the New River Gorge. The biggest challenge of the day was by far, the Whitewater Leg (from Cunard put-in to Fayette Station take-out, 8 miles of class IV to V rapids). A juicy New River swelled to 6 feet. Many Racers were used to levels no higher than 2. The athletes prevailed in the end, many with awesome stories to tell afterwards. (*Stay tuned for more details about the whitewater leg.) The mountain triathlon ended with a 5 plus mile uphill run. It finished, you guessed it, right in front of the Fayette County Court House.

The Solos Ride Again "Great kid! Don't get cocky." --Han Solo
Expert Male, Chris Pohowsky, the first person to complete the entire triathlon ended his challenge in 3:26:05. He was also the first Solo Racer to finish in 2000. A longer and more technical Bike Leg, and certainly a more challenging Whitewater Leg made the difference in the times this year. Dwight Shuler, whos paddling skills gave him an edge on this day, finished second overall. Chris Lambiotte (4:02:24) came in a respectable third overall, and first in his class, Sport Male.

Big water day on the New
There were two females in the Solo Race, both who finished might I add. Both raced in the Expert Females category. Although Susan Wagner (5:22:28) had a much faster bike leg than Mandy Heaton (5:19:35), it was Heaton who overtook Wagner during the paddling leg which ultimately earned her the quicker finishing time.

There's no "i" in Team, but there is "me"
"Oh, I told you it was dangerous here." --C-3PO
Over 11 teams raced, not all of them finished, but Expert Male team Visual Speed really dominated. They finished in 3:04:54. South Minden All Stars (3:32:30), Sport Male Cat., placed second. Expert Mixed, team New River Bike (3:33:46), placed third.

Happy to be done it all
Racers finished as a storm rolled in and the sun went down. It was dark before it was all over, and everyone gathered on Main Street for hugs and pats on the back. It was a great day for an excellent community.
For the Record... Thanks to Brian of Search-n-Rescue who showed me the MTB trail leg somewhere in the middle of Thurmond and Minden. Many thanks to all of the gracious sponsors who gave discounts, and provided support. Thanks to all of the Captain's Crew who worked hard to make sure everyone was safe and accounted for, including the Rescue Squad, and sweep raft on the New.