by Eva Potter
The first annual Pain in the Alleganies, presented by Ridecarbon.com, was held in scenic Allegany State Park in Salamanca on Sept. 23.
“Considering the weather that Mother Nature decided to hand to the athletes, we are pleased with this inaugural year,” said Rich Clark, vice president of Score This!!!, Inc.
Out of 209 registered athletes, 143 braved the cool and rainy weather conditions to participate in long distance triathlon, aquabike half iron, sprint distance triathlon, duathlon and relay events. About nine Ellicottville area athletes participated in the event. Eager competitors came to Allegany State Park from as far away as Ontario, Canada, Michigan and Tennessee to as close as Pennsylvania.
“The weather was the biggest challenge this year. It was at times warm, cold at times and as cold as 41 degrees, rainy, and one athlete even claimed they saw sleet on the bike course,” said Clark. “At 5:15 a.m., when athletes were just arriving, the sky was blue, the stars were out and we were all dumbfounded that it was raining. Then came the hail for about two minutes.”
According to Clark, feedback from those crossing the finishing line with priceless expressions was very positive, punctuated by comments like “It was tough, beautiful and fun,” “You sure did name this course right, cause it was painful at times and glorious at others,” and “We will be back in 2013.”
A volunteer who brought his guitar and banjo and played music for the athletes all day on the run course at one of the turnaround locations proved to be a highlight of the event.
Based on the comments that his organization heard from many athletes, Clark feels the word will get out and this event will grow to about 400-500 athletes in year two.
“Athletes said the course was challenging, we named the race appropriately, the post-race chicken BBQ was awesome, and the shirt, arm warmers, socks and bottle opener where a big surprise,” said Clark.
The volunteers on the course were plentiful. A thankful Clark said, “A race like this can’t happen without the support of Allegany State Park, the New York State Park Police, Salamanca Fire Department Water Rescue Team, Allegany Indian Reservation Volunteer Fire Department, the Girl Scouts and all of the volunteers!”