Ski, bike, paddle, prizes and the shotski of all shotskis
story by Than Acuff
With positive energy flowing from all sides on Sunday, April 26, 45 athletes lined up for the third annual CB3P and came away with huge smiles, prizes, liquid libations, food and a soul-warming turn on the ROMP shotski, if so desired.
The CB3P is the brainchild of Tiff Simpson, with massive organizing support from the Crested Butte/Mt. Crested Butte Chamber of Commerce and Elk Mountain Events, and is slowly but surely becoming one of the premier local events.
The event takes racers, both individuals and teams, on a tour from one end of the Gunnison Valley to the other following the spring runoff. The race kicks off with a Le Mans start in Mountaineer Square into an uphill/downhill ski on Crested Butte Mountain, followed by a 27-mile bike ride from Mt. Crested Butte to the North Bridge put-in by Garlic Mike’s, finishing with a 4.5-mile paddle down the Gunnison River to the finish line in the Whitewater Park.
This year, despite a dubious weather forecast, Mother Nature cooperated, for the most part, with just one midrace squall between Riverland and Round Mountain. Other than that, the weather was better than expected.
“For a 90 percent chance of rain and precipitation, we made out pretty damn good,” says Crested Butte/Mt. Crested Butte Chamber of Commerce director Dave Ochs.
“I think we were all kind of shocked with how the weather turned out,” adds race director Tiff Simpson.
But not everyone made it out unscathed, as the last three racers to finish were caught in a hailstorm while paddling to the finish line. Repeat CB3Per Randall Chapman from Grand Junction and the husband and wife racers Adam and Hanni Deters from Denver suffered as they made their way to the finish line.
“They were literally getting pelted in the water as they arrived,” says Ochs.
“I was starting to get a little worried and was going to send some people out to look for them but they came around the corner and the whole beach erupted in cheers,” says Simpson.
Throw in the effort of Crested Butte Mountain Resort to keep the ski course intact for race day with some preemptive grooming, free beer and cash prizes from New Belgium Brewing and (have I mentioned this before?) a custom ROMP shotski and it turned out to be one of the best CB3Ps to date.
In addition, there was plenty of back-story to this year’s event. First of all, there was the unbeatable men’s team of Marshall Thomson on skis, Brian Smith on the bike and Milozadik Wishecudski in a boat. There really was no beating that team, considering Thomson and Smith are world-class athletes and Wishecudski is in a class all by himself.
In fact Wishecudski summed up the race in no uncertain terms at the finish line, saying, “I felt like a great white shark around a bunch of seal pups. It was a slaughter.”
Then there was Veronica Jarolimek. Jarolimek is a local firefighter and spent the better part of Saturday night before the race fighting a fire in a condo complex in Mt. Crested Butte. Yet she still managed to show up Sunday morning to compete in the women’s solo category poling, pedaling and paddling her way from Mt. Crested Butte to Gunnison.
The Hegeman clan put on a show as well. Both Butch and Colleen jumped into their respective solo classes and each held their own. Butch stood out for his costume, his effort and his gear. Dressed in a Thing One (dubbed Thing CB3P for the race) full-body costume, Butch opened the ski portion struggling to get into his borrowed ski gear as the entire field took off ahead of him. Once into his bindings, Butch reeled in a majority of the field to hop on his borrowed bike, still in costume, only to find a cable shredded, preventing him from using the big ring.
He finished the race in a classic fiberglass Jaycox slalom boat that his kayak coach gave him when he graduated from high school in the 80s, complete with some duct tape repairs.
On the überathlete end of things, while the aforementioned über-team ran away with the team title completing the course in a time of two hours, 13 minutes and 22 seconds, solo racer Jon Brown gave them a run for their money in the overall, crossing the finish line just 18 minutes behind them.
Meanwhile, the women’s solo race was hotly contested with Jari Kirkland and Brynn O’Connell battling back and forth all day, taking turns in the lead throughout the ski and bike portions. Kirkland and O’Connell hit the water at the same time in their duckies, when Kirkland’s experience as an adventure racer played out as she sealed the women’s solo race win in the water, finishing in a time of 2:57:22.
The post-race party on the beaches of the whitewater park provided a fantastic “warm down” from the race, with MountainHeart School of Bodywork students providing massages and people taking turns on ROMP’s CB3P shotski built with a ROMP ski, paddle blades and each shot glass mounted on a SPD pedal that could be clipped out of a cleat for a solo shot if necessary. Genius.
Simpson believes about the only thing keeping the CB3P from blowing up is the weather and looks forward to next year’s event.
“The next CB3P that has a gorgeous forecast is going to be off the hook,” says Simpson. “It’s not just for the Jon Browns out there, but also the everyday person.”