SOS is one of the longest running & in my opinion the best triathlon in the world. This was the 30th year of SOS & for me 3 times was a charm. It was a very special year not only because the weather held out & I had my best SOS yet, but also my wife & Nick crewed for me as well of Don Griffin, who also had a great race. Additionally fellow member Meg McCallion raced and came to SOS with her whole family as her crew. By the way Meg crushed her 1st SOS in 6:14.
SOS is truly a race of experience and when you can share your experience & learn from other Survivors that are willing to share their experiences it makes one of the toughest races in the world very rewarding.
The race starts with a 30 mile bike, the 1st 25 mile are fairly flat with some up & downs & a hairy S turn at mile 10, every year someone crashes. At mile 25 you turn onto rt 45/55 & climb over 1000 ft for the last 5 miles to Minnewaska park where your crew waits for you takes your bike & sets your transition. The whole race is point to point. From this point you have to carry all your stuff you will need to get to the Survivor line. I had a new plan this year to hopefully prevent cramping in the lakes by wearing Xterra Lava pants during the swims. I did have to carry the pants through the 18 plus miles of running, but this worked well & had very minor issues with cramping & virtually no cramping in the lakes. I wore my 1 piece kit & stuffed my shoes in the front on my stomach. The plan worked & I was able to take 20 minutes off my total swim times over the 2.1 miles in the 3 swims.
So after you get off the bike you run 4.6 miles on a lose gravel trail up Cardiac hill (aptly named) to lake Awosting for a 1.1 mile swim across the lake. This year thanks to a very warm Summer with hardly no rain the lake was fairly warm about 74 degrees, which starts with a 3ft. plunge off a rock into 7ft. water. The 1st swim was a little ominous this year with a little fog on the lake & overcast skies. But I was able to swim continuously across the 1.1 mile lake & took 10 plus minutes off my swim time from last year. I did get minor cramps exiting the lake while getting the Lava pants off & getting my shoes on. The 2nd run was a touch shorter this year as a trail was closed to maintenance. So what is normally 5.5 miles to lake Minnewaska was 5 miles & mostly down hill, however I did cramp several times on the is run. The 2nd swim is a half mile & again I didn't experience any cramping. Getting out of Minnewaska is not easy as you have to climb several rock steps where I did cramp slightly. The next run is a grueling 8 mile lose gravel fire road run to Lake Mohonk & the majestic Mohonk Mtn. house. It is mostly flat until mile 6 where you hit Godzilla hill, then when that finally flattens out you quickly hit the son of Godzilla. There is plenty support with aide stations every 2 miles & that is the best way to breakdown the 8 mile run, I had a better run this year taking 3 minutes off my time plus I stopped for a minute of so to help the 4th place woman who fell hard on a down hill section & was in a lot of pain. The last 1/4 mile is gorgeous single track that opens up to lake Mohonk, I did get a little to excited during this section & cramped up a little. The toughest part of this swim was climbing over the split rail fence to get into the lake. I wasn't quite as worried about cramping during the last swim this year, but I did feel everything starting to cramp as I tried to pick up the pace. I knew I was going to break the 6 hour mark with ease but someone from my AG jumped in the lake right behind me & he was a good swimmer. Now as you climb out of Lake Mohonk & it is a 5 ft. rock climb all that is left is the 7/10th of a mile & a 400 ft. climb up to Smiley Tower & the Survivor line. They do give a separate award for the fastest run up to the tower. The last 2 years Don Griffin has won this award. Everything came together perfectly this year & I finished in 5:36.
Registration opens on Halloween night at midnight. So stay up, eat all your kids candy & register for SOS 2016. Don't forget to register for IMathlete prior or the race will sell out before you complete both registrations. There is also a lottery so if you don't get in get in the lottery. If this race is not on your Tri bucket list you better revise your list. http://sostriathlon.com/information/