Four KPFF teams of three athletes participated in the 44th Annual, Eppie’s Great Race held on the American River in Sacramento over the weekend of July 15th. Known as the “World’s Oldest Triathlon”, the race features a 5.8 mile run, 12.5 mile bike and a 6.3 mile paddle down the American River in kayaks or SUPs. The race attracts over 2,000 people from all over the world.
Our teams arrived by 7:30am and the race started at 8:00am sharp. The civil group put together the fastest team and arrived at the first transition where the runners sailed across a rubber mat that marked their time. They ripped off the timing device strapped to their ankle and passed them to their biking teammates to the roar of the crowd.
The bikers traveled along the American River trail. After six miles, they passed William Pond Park which would mark the finish line but they had to continue peddling another six miles upstream to the transition point where they met the kayakers. After crossing their own finish line mat, the bikers jumped off their bikes and ran to the kayakers. Volunteers at the race moved all the bikes to a storage area so the racers could move as fast as possible.
The kayakers, decked in helmets and life vests, slapped the timing device to their body and raced across river cobble, dragging their kayak in the water and started their downstream paddle to the finish line. The San Juan Rapids are a popular viewing spot for the spectators as many kayakers wind up taking a dip in the river if they find themselves crosswise to the whitewater. To the many that faltered, the cool water was probably a nice relief from the 90 degree heat.
The kayakers jumped out of their boats and the volunteers moved them to a storage area while the racers ran the last 50 yards to the finish line mat. The crowd cheered and an announcer let everyone know who was crossing the finish line and what team they represented. The park was full of food trucks and other vendors, a big screen television with a view on the finish line, and many racers laughing and telling stories.
The race was a blast and we are looking forward to next year with promises to start training a little earlier next time.