Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Not just another triathlon…A Savage Race to Fight a Savage Disease – CANCER!

This past weekend, my fiancé and I traveled out to Deep Creek Lake, MD to participate in one of our last triathlons for the season. Sporting our Ulman Cancer Fund tri-gear we proudly represented Team FIGHT! SavageMan Triathlon was the name of the race and let me tell you – everything about it lived up to the name. We’ve both done our fair share of triathlons at varying distances and difficulties. From the Ironman distance with long steep climbs to the flat fun sprints where everyone crosses the finishes and is smiling. This race was different, savage in all its elements and not just the difficulty of the course.

For starters, the race course was arguably one of the most challenging courses either of us (and I’d venture to say the rest of the 800+ participants) had experienced. The swim was a pleasant one in the fresh and relative clear water of Deep Creek Lake. From the swim to bike transition is where the real pain began and our “Savageness” was tested. We opted for the shorter international distance (thank goodness!) of the weekend but several friends who were with us went after the longer ½ Ironman distance (1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike, 13.1 mile run). Steep long climbs and sharp dangerous descents – those who were fortunate to make it off the bike in time got to run either 6.2 or 13.1 painful miles. At one point in the run I was jogging up a ½ mile off-road rock trail to a water tower when I decided to walk – only to realize my walking speed was faster than my jog at that point in the race – go figure.

Despite the pain, difficulty and “savageness” of the course, my fiancé and I both finished the race in respectable times and I’m excited to report our friend who encouraged us to sign up finished his first ½ Ironman distance tri in just over 7 hours (a very good time on this course).

Amid all the hills, sweat and pain – there was another savage part of this race that left an even bigger impression on us – and helped justify the self inflicting pain we put ourselves through. SavageMan Triathlon is organized by and benefits the Joanna M. Nicolay Melanoma Foundation . Founded in January 2004 in memory of Joanna M. Nicolay and her courageous battle with melanoma – the deadliest form of skin cancer - the foundation has grown dramatically to become an influential voice in the melanoma community and is now established as the voice for melanoma prevention, detection, care and cure in Maryland and growing dramatically in national outreach.

Skin cancer and Melanoma is a disease that affects young adults in astounding numbers. The UCF and my family have both personally lost close friends to this deadly disease. Although is was a painful way to spend our Sunday morning – we couldn’t think of a better way to spend 3 hours of our weekend with 800+ other triathletes fighting a SAVAGE disease. Kudos to “TRI-TO-WIN” events for putting on a great race and more importantly, doing there part if this FIGHT against cancer! I encourage anyone up for a great race or savage enough to fight this savage cancer, join us again next year.

Brock Yetso, Executive Director

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