If you are a weekend warrior endurance athlete looking for a good event to test your skills, then Yakima might have what you are looking for. Each June for thirty-four years they have been hosting the Gap2Gap adventure race that includes running (3.3 miles), road biking (22 miles), mountain biking (8 miles), kayaking (3 miles), and trail running (3.1 miles). The distances involved are substantial, but not beyond the reach of the average amateur athlete, and they have a variety of categories to enter in either as an individual or as a team with two to five members. There are typically about 40-50 teams entered, so the event has a fun and low-key atmosphere with a wide range of talent represented.
The running leg is flat and parallels a busy road for much of it, so it’s probably the least inspiring leg. The race then transitions to road biking through the rolling agricultural areas of eastern Yakima and includes a surprising number of hills as you climb to the mountain bike start. This segment courses around a hilly pasture that is surprisingly rocky and technical for the first portion, and then ends with a gravel road that follows an irrigation ditch. Dropping down to the Yakima River, there is a 3-mile section of water that includes some small riffles that challenges some of the sea kayaks. The kayak pulls out near the city park where it all began, and the trail running section courses through the riparian areas below the high water mark of the river. There isn’t much elevation change, but a range of natural obstacles such as sand, cobble, and trees do complicate the course.
Our family found this to be a fun event, and if you enjoy the activities represented, then you should, too.
[Feature photo: “Quick celebrations at the transition point from mountain bike to kayak” by Harley McAllister]