The number of race options in the world is enough to excite and, in some cases, overwhelm athletes. There are road races, themed races like the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon and Color Me Rad, charity races like Race for the Cure, mud runs like the Dirty Dash, and even more daring events like the Bare Buns Fun Run. Unfortunately, once you start participating in multi-sport events like triathlons and adventure races, the price tag also increases.
In Spokane we are lucky. Race fees here are modest compared to high-dollar events in other cities. For example, you can enter a sprint triathlon like the Valley Girl Tri for $75. But some people don’t have the flexibility in their budget to drop that kind of cash; or, they might prefer to spend money on gassing up their cars for a weekend in the mountains. Another obstacle to organized races can be making the time. Mountain athletes, for example, are already multi-sport athletes, as they hike, ski, and climb in pursuit of summits. It doesn’t make sense for them to dedicate weekends to long runs and brick training sessions; their consecutive days are spent going to the hills.
I was inspired to think about DIY multi-sport challenges by a group of climber friends. We work together as partners and teammates in risk management, decision-making, and trading leads on long ascents. But, every once in a while, we thought, it might be fun to switch up how we train and to unleash our competitive sides. In other words, it’s time to throw down over some homegrown adventures. Here are a few local DIY multi-sport options we came up with.
Bike, Swim, Bike: From the trailhead at Government Way and Milton, ride 10.8 miles to Fish Lake. Once there, lock up your bike and wade past the kids splashing at the swimming beach. A 30 minute swim—15 minutes out and 15 back—should put you around one mile, which is the standard Olympic triathlon distance. Grab a towel from your backpack to dry off, then hop on your bike to ride home. Plan B could include riding to nearby Eastern Washington University to catch the bus home. Keep in mind that Spokane buses are equipped to handle only two bikes at a time.
Bike, Climb, Bike: Pack up your panniers with climbing gear and coast to the Centennial Trail. Plan to take longer on this ride with the extra weight so that you don’t blow out your knees. Ride the 5.5 miles from downtown to the John C. Shields Park, lock up your bike, and cruise some of the Minnehaha classics with a partner. If you’re after a workout, set up a top rope and run laps.
Run, Throw, Run: From downtown Spokane, walk or jog down to High Bridge Park for some disc golf. If the course is empty, try for a more challenging speed round to get that heart rate up. Instead of teeing off and taking turns, let the first person pull then run to where her disc lands, pick it up, and try for the basket again. Allow this person to throw, run, throw, run, throw, until they score. Then the next person tees off and repeats. //
Summer Hess is a fledgling surfer and Out There Monthly’s new managing editor.