Last year the Hokes Bluff Public Library held their inaugural Booking It Through The Bluff triathlon featuring a bike ride, a paddle, and a run. They had a successful event and when plans for the second annual event were announced we decided to form Team Tourism,
Greater Gadsden Area Tourism Executive Director, Hugh Stump, is an avid cyclist, I love to kayak, all we needed was a runner. This is where Eric Wright, Communications for City of Gadsden, came in. Team Tourism was formed.
In the inaugural event the bike ride was 8 miles, but had been increased to 22.6 miles for this round. Hugh rose to the challenge, cycling the gently rolling hills of Eastern Etowah County and ending up at the Hokes Bluff Ferry. Fun fact; there really was a ferry at one time. Want to know more? Click here.
So this is where I come in. Kayaks are lined up all over the boat launch and as cyclists race in (many mentioning the large hill they climbed immediately prior to their arrival) they dismount their bikes in the transition area and either wait for their team-mate or continue across the line to their kayak if they are participating individually. I spot Hugh, race over to grab the chip timer off of his ankle, place it on mine, and off I go.
The kayak leg of the race consists of a 3 mile paddle adventure on the mighty Coosa. We head down river to the takeout at Coosa Veranda. The weather was gorgeous and the scenery on the river was spectacular, but I quickly discovered that this was a little different from my usual leisurely float. This was paddling with a purpose!
I get to Coosa Veranda and am helped up the ramp and out of the kayak by volunteers from the Boy Scouts. Eric grabs the chip timer, we jog across the transition line, and he takes off for the 4.4 mile run back to the Hokes Bluff Community Center.
Eric is a great runner and makes up some time for the team arriving at the finish line not much longer after I did on the shuttle bus. We make our way to the tent where there is ice-cold water and snacks for all participants.
We had a great time at Booking It Through the Bluff. The event was well run and the volunteers were amazing. AND we got to make some money for a great cause, the Hokes Bluff Public Library Foundation.
Participation doubled this year and plans are already underway for next year's event. They even had kayaks available to rent if you don't have one of your own. So why not "tri"? You've got a whole year to get ready!
In case you're wondering, Team Tourism didn't come in first, nor did we come in last. We did have a great day and I discovered a new place to kayak.
Did you participate in this year's event? We'd love to hear from you. Comment, tag us on social media, or use #greatergadsden. And remember, wherever you are, or wherever you live, be a tourist in your own town.