The Eurekan Multisport Festival is a 3 day, 4 event weekend of fun that takes place in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. It consists of a super sprint triathlon, bike races, bike rides, and runs. The Eurekan Challenge is to do the triathlon on Friday, the century ride on Saturday, and the 10k run on Sunday, all within the allotted time limits.
After stumbling upon the event last year during a weekend getaway and running the 10k on a whim, I decided to take on the challenge this year. Running is my passion but it was time to broaden my horizons and do my first triathlon and my first century ride.
My training was somewhat lacking consisting of a few swims in the river and a couple months of cycling with my longest ride being about 34-35 miles. I was depending on my running ultras to pull me through the ride on Saturday.
I arrived in town on Thursday to pick up my event packet but the real reason to get there a day early was to be able to ask the triathlon officials questions and get some tips from them at an open session that evening. I am really glad I did so because I learned some valuable information about the transition set up that I put to use on Friday.
The tri started about 3pm Friday and I was in the second wave. It was a 300 yard open water swim in Table Rock Lake. My goal was simply to finish the swim and move on. I was slow but got it done in 7:57. I felt totally spent but kept moving to the transition area. The bike leg was 7 miles of rolling hills, curves, and turns but was a great chance to recover from the swim leg and I completed it in 27:51. The 2 mile run took place mostly on the cart path around a golf course and was the most enjoyable part of the tri for me. Total time to finish 56:05.3. Happy to finish in under an hour and have the first event behind me.
Saturday began with a 4:15 wake up for breakfast and then to the starting area for the bike rides. Pretty sure I had the oldest bike with my 1983 Peugot 10 speed. The weather was as perfect as it gets for August and it was a cool start shortly after sunrise. It was pretty flat for the first mile or two and after that you were either going up or down it seemed. I settled into an easy speed and was really surprised when I passed about 10 cyclists like they were standing still at about mile 18. Oh wait, they were since they stopped at the first aid station. I also bypassed the second aid station as I was wearing my hydration pack and not using bottles. The course was very scenic and this stretch was mostly downhill until we crossed the lake. A short stop at the third aid station at mile 55 and I was back on the road. Around mile 62 the climbing seemed to really start in earnest. At the mile 72 aid station a cold wet towel was welcome and it was time to reapply the sunscreen. Around mile 80 we crossed into Missouri and were met with some serious uphill stretches. The mile 85 aid station was a welcome sight after the climbing and a great chance to add some ice to my pack. A sweet section of a long and fast downhill was next followed by a gentle rise to the mile 93 aid. station. One reason for me to stop here, cold beer and watermelon! The last 7 miles was mostly uphill but nothing like what we had to deal with earlier. The finish line was a welcome sight after over 8 hours on the bike.
The 10k run on Sunday takes place in and through beautiful Eureka Springs itself starting and finishing near the courthouse. It begins with a short uphill followed by an equally short downhill. I chose to run by feel instead of using my Garmin and wanted to hit sub 8 minute miles on average. I took off and quickly settled into a good pace passing some and being passed by a few but not worrying about it; I was there to run my own race. Part of the course is an out and back so after enjoying a downhill section it was time to pay the price by returning uphill. Just slowed it down and took shorter strides. This was followed by some rollers before the steep climb up by the Crescent Hotel. More short strides to the top but kept running. Recovery on the relatively flat section headed into the final mile dash. The last 2/3 to 3/4 of a mile is downhill after you turn a corner and looking back I saw one other runner. I lengthened my stride and sped it up. About a 1/4 mile to the finish I began hearing footfalls closing in so I kicked it into sprint mode and barely held her off, coming in at 47:27 for an average pace of 7:39.
The organisation, volunteers, staff and community made this a first class event. At all events the courses were clearly marked and all major turns were staffed as well as any possibly dangerous intersections. The awards ceremony was first class with tons of really nice door prizes given away to entrants of any of the weekends events.
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