Uberman - swim 21 / bike 400 / run 135 - Catalina to Mt Whitney
This event just came to my attention, and it seems pretty interesting, notwithstanding the wetsuit-allowed aspect.
Basically the California version of Arch-to-Arc, but a lot harder. From the website:
Uberman is the world's most challenging ULTRA Triathlon. The 556 mile course goes from the Mists of Avalon to the Snows of Mount Whitney. Starting on Catalina Island, participants swim 21 miles in the open Pacific Ocean to the shores of Palos Verdes. The 400 mile bike route leaves the city of Angels and climbs 20,000 vertical feet before descending to Badwater basin, at 200 feet below sea level, the lowest point in North America. From Badwater, athletes run 135 miles through Death Valley before ascending 13,000 feet to the trailhead @ Mt Whitney, the highest peak in the Continental United States.
I love that the event states very clearly:
The race does not entail thousands of participants vying for a hundred spots. There are no multi-million dollar corporate sponsors. All aid stations and race support crews are provided by each athlete. Uberman is for those unique individuals who want the ultimate challenge, without all the hype. The cost is free. The reward for finishing is infinite.
I am unsure of how they will be verifying these feats... but apparently the field is limited to 20.
Having grown up in Southern California, I know this terrain pretty well.... anyone who does this solo is a pretty serious badass, and will have some stories to tell.
It looks like it has happened once. And the photos show 4 bags in transition? Maybe 4 athletes? Only photos of one person towards the end... starts tomorrow!
I'm curious how they manage the swim portion...
I don't know if the Big Richard is still run in Southern California, it's not a uber event, but I love the purism. Swim 7 plus miles no wetsuits, run 20 some miles on the beach with no running shoes. Of course it's not really manufacturer sponsor friendly when you don't use equipment.
A relay started last night... unsure of whether it finished the Catalina leg... weather was a bit dicey.
A few weeks ago, I was asked to fill in as the swimmer on a relay doing this event. The team wouldn't give any details about safety cover or escort boats though - too many red flags raised for me, especially if 20 people are really attempting this swim at once.
Oh good. Another ultra-endurance event that uses 'man' as the generic term for human.
You could always complete it and be the first Uberwoman.
We're all just carbon, water, starlight, oxygen and dreams
@IronMike On so many levels, i think that's unlikely.
The swim portion was successfully completed yesterday by John Chung. He left from Two Harbors and finished about 2 miles south of Terranea. This is John's third year in a row completing a Catalina Channel Crossing. His time was 15 hours 54 minutes. About half way across he hit really strong south currents and was struggling to finish at the pre-determined location to meet his biker. However it was clear that it was necessary to allow him to drift south and not fight the current. Even after almost 16 hours of swimming John offered to run the two miles to meet up with the bicyclist. Fortunately his teammates came to where he finally landed. John following CCSF rules during the swim and was unofficially observed by Jim McConica (CCSF requires too many days pre-notice to have it sanctioned by them). He was supported by fellow Catalina Channel swimmers from Ventura Stacey Warmuth, Karina Garcia, and Tamie Stewart, and Jim. Karina's father, Bob Garcia, kayaked the entire time never taking a break. The support boat was the Perfect Mistress after the Bottom Scratcher had to pull out. Upon the completion of the swim Tamie had this to say:
"John was a rock today never seen anything like it. He never gave us any reason to pull him out of the water. He was exhausted coming into the Cove and luckily we had a lifeguard there monitoring John. His teammates came down and help him up the hill. He suffered and conquered that hell of a swim. Bob, Karina;s dad was amazing. He deserves a trophy. Paddled the entire way, literally nodding off at times but persevered and had the energy to cheer and get John moving."
Sounds great. I am wondering if you noticed many other swimmers out there while John was swimming?
An article with a bit more background on this event.
I wasn't on the boat but there were two other swimmers that finished. One before and one after John.
I kayaked a Tahoe Width this summer for a guy that was training for this event Don't remember his name but he was dang fast.
Hi Cathy - That was me! Thanks for the post. We did Tahoe together in 6:15. :-)
I was one of two participants attempting to complete the entire course as an individual. The other racer is still on the course as of now as far as I know. I passed him yesterday (Saturday) heading to Furnace Creek on his bike while I was on the run heading back towards Panamint. Springs on my run.
I successfully completed the swim on Wednesday. Left Two Harbors just past 4:15am and crossed in 14 hours and 24 minutes. (With wetsuit. I hung on the kayak during feeds. I did not climb aboard the boat at any point.)
The first 15 miles were super smooth conditions. I was at or just below a 2mph pace. Far better than expected.
The wind and current picked up as the day wore on, as expected. By the last three miles, the swim became very, very tough. I dropped to under 1mph pace, basically swimming uphill covering 0.2 miles every 15 minutes and considered bagging it a few times.
I eventually got to shore after sundown and back to the boat just as darkness came.
Another swimmer left with me but was unable to finish, stopping with about five miles to go.
My shoulders were pretty wrecked from the swim, along with cuts to my feet from the Terranea rocks, so I skipped the first portion of the bike to rest for a day. I picked up on the second bike day, then completed part of the run course yesterday before concluding my effort and heading home.
I've been posting along the way on Facebook. Just search for me by name there. Or comment here with questions.
Here's a link to a quick video after the swim from the boat:
If anyone is interested, here's my full report of the swim across the Catalina Channel. If you're thinking or planning a crossing, I'm happy to answer questions and offer whatever perspectives might be useful to you.
Blog post here:
Instagram photos here: https://www.instagram.com/uber_scott/