I got to do the amazing "Shasta Picnic"
Swim 1.2 mi
Bike 15 mi (up 3700')
Summit Mt. Shasta 10.6 mi RT (up 7200')
Bike 15 mi (hauling ass!)
Swim 1.2 mi
I started at 5:23am with my hand on the Green Parking Gate of "Parking Area Siskyou Lake Beach"
Ran down the immediate diagonal trail to the water and jumped in.
The morning swim went rough, super rough. Between closed pools and zero open water swim practice in years, I was rusty...and I was solo. Goggle fog and dim dawn light were not friendly to sighting my exit point, but muddled through in right near 50 minutes. But I was scared of the second swim...the idea of massive cramps in the water tried to unnerve me.
Breathing through these thoughts, I jogged up the trail to the "Cable Beach Parking" to pull off the wetsuit, with help from @ashly.winchester, and transition to the bike, all-in-all about a 10min transition.
Took off on the bike feeling a bit sick from the swim but making good time, until I caught the train while rolling into Mt. Shasta City, only lost about a minute there.
My legs felt sluggish from so recently doing "Shasta-Shasta-Shasta" (that's running town to summit and back). But my heart and lungs fared well so after about 1 hour 24 minutes of biking I was at Bunny Flat transitioning (~10min) in my already staged van.
This is where it got really fun, during the bike ride I saw @maxkingor and @elchristopherjones rolling down to start the "Shasta-Shasta-Shasta" and "Shasta Duathlon ascent from town" FKTs, respectively. I knew I would have a couple powerhouse-legends chasing me. So it became a game of "how long can I hold these fellas off"..."Game on!"
Max King caught me on Avy Gulch proper about 1k' below Helen Lake...HE WAS FLYING! As he floated by, he mentioned that Chris gave him a 20min head start to be a good sport. I then wondered, "could I make the summit before Chris?" Thereby notching an improvement to my own Duathlon Ascent mark that I set during a February storm on Shasta, getting frost nip in the process.
This motivation pressed me up the mountain in 3:05:58, personally second fastest only to my 2:39:44 ...I could see Chris step onto the summit plateau as I tagged the summit. I had completed the "side quest" ?!
I reoriented my mind to pacing out the downhill running/glissading on the Mountain to recover a bit...as the enormity of the final swim came flowing into my mind again. Between running down the mountain and my transition, I ate up another hour and 24 minutes.
I flew through the downhill ride in 25 minutes!!! It was amazing!
Riding that stoke, I powered through my transition as quickly as possible jumping into the water and powering into a strong rhythm...not starting my watch until 5-7 minutes in and then also accidentally starting my watch in pool mode instead of open water mode (luckily it still gives an accurate "end time")
However, @whereskaitttt and @jashe81 recorded footage as they paddled alongside me, acting as lifeguards in the event of debilitating cramps. @ashly.winchester also recorded me finishing, tagging the gate, stopping the watch, then voicing my frustration about it being in the wrong mode. I think the final swim took roughly 42-45 minutes in water.
All-in-all, total time was 8:25:30
For those interested in the ascent half only 5:40:27 is the ascent split.
Photos in Strava