Not too long ago, I had the opportunity to participate in something called the Luling Dry Triathlon. You’ve probably know that a triathlon is a race where participants or teams compete in running, cycling & swimming sections, so how could it be dry? Well, you might’ve guessed or maybe you already knew, but a dry triathlon replaces the swimming with a paddling portion. In this particular small town Texas race, there was a 12 mile bike, 3.23 mile run and 6 mile paddle.
I am by no means a competitive racer but after participating in my first race about a month ago and having such a positive experience, I thought I would give this one a try too. I formed a relay team with a mountain biking friend and my frequently running mom and soon found myself preparing for my second competitive paddle. Just like before, I only have good things to say about the experience. The race itself was very well organized and all of the proceeds benefited the local police and fire departments. To top it off, our team finished with a good time and we (and the rest of the racers) were treated to some great music and Texas BBQ afterwards. I raced in a Pyranha Fusion, not your typical racing ‘yak, but found myself passing other paddlers when the river became narrow and windy. The retractable skeg definitely came in handy too!
What stuck out to me was how varied the competitors were. There were soloists, tag and relay teams with intentions similar to my teammates and I (to finish) but others came out who were experienced triathletes or experts at a particular section. The six mile paddle was by far the longest section of the race and those participants who were most prepared for it in particular seemed to do best. In fact, the soloist with the best time placed 11th in cycling, 15th in running but 1st in paddling. I would attribute this to the fact that dry triathlons are a relatively new idea and great triathletes aren’t necessarily going to be great paddlers. That being said, I believe dry triathlons are become more common so maybe this will be something that we’ll see change in the future – I’ve already heard from a couple other ACK customers who are competing in dry tri’s in other states! Would love to hear about local paddle races or dry tri’s in your area, just comment below! – Joseph@ACK