Saturday, August 15, 2009

2009 Oil Creek Biathlon

Almost the race that I have sort of totally overlooked. Been doing it all 4 years it's been held and supposedly it has 10 more years on its agreement with the state. I've overlooked it mainly because I've been concentrating on the "Big One" coming up in 2 weeks. But regardless, we went racing, my dad and brother included and it was as fun as always.

In short, the format is as follows: A biathlon is normally a winter sport, done with cross country skis, with a .22 rifle with two peep sites, one foreword and one aft. I'm figuring that someone loved to run, and shoot, and decided that, "Hell, why not a summer biathlon." And the rest is history. Anyway, for the Oil Creek version of the biathlon, you start by running a loop, roughly 1.2 miles, over cross country ski and off-road vehicle trails, and then you shoot, in the prone position, at 5 circular targets 25 meters away. For every miss, there used to be a 50 meter penalty loop, but now it was 70 meters and an actual loop. So, if your a sucky shot, like I am, then you run quite a bit more. After the penalty loop(s) you take off on another jaunt around the 1.2 mile course, and then back to the shooting range for 5 more shots in the standing, or off-hand position. Afterward, it's more penalty loop(s) and then one more lap around the course to the finish. There are several other little rules along the way, but for our purposes, they are not important.

You start according to bib number, and I was 24th. My brother was 18, and my dad 57. My brother and father are doing the 50 mile Oil Creek 100 in October, I'm their pacer, and I decided that I needed to get my brother. The first loop went pretty much normal, a really great downhill, followed by the quad tightening "gradual uphill" that is the middle part of the 1.2 mile loop. Even my shooting went better than expected as I hit 3 of 5 targets, prone, ran my penalties and then took off for Lap 2. I finally caught my brother in the latter section of the loop and managed to brush by him long enough to get his attention. While I was impressed with my earlier shooting, the same can't be said about the off-hand portion. I missed all 5. Nada, bumpkus, zilch. This always stood to reason because in the Navy, I could've scored more points by throwing the gun at the target than actually taking the shot. I run my 5 penalty loops and then dragged my ass off to the last loop. It sucked, but I managed to cross the finish line right before my father took off for his own race.

Being a lousy shot isn't all bad though. For every missed shot, you get to put a ticket into the box for some pretty nifty swag. One year, I got 500 .22 bullets (have em, never shot any...yet) another year, I got a really cool sweatshirt, and this year I got a gift card for King's restaurant which I plan on using for the Angry Mob, the all encompassing ice cream and brownie dessert that replaced the Castle. Plus, you get a poster for finishing it.

As for finishing place, I finished in 32:35 over the 3.84 miles the iPod said I ran, and the time to shoot. My brother finished 3rd in the 30-39 age group and I finished 1st. Supposedly there was a guy who ran it in 22 minute, but for some reason he got DQ'd, and for what, I have no clue. Must've been pretty egregious, because they are fairly lenient even though they are very safety conscience with the firearms and the safety involved.

Awesome race, and a great way to go into the taper, especially since I re-aggrevated my left foot.

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