Champions of the SIlverman DVD

I got the DVD from Silverman this week. After watching the coverage from Kona in December, I was concerned that the DVD would be nothing but a pity party because of how hard Silverman is. Happily, I was wrong. Silverman is a challenging course, with over 9000 feet of climbing on the bike and 3000 feet of climbing in the run. The weather has also made the race difficult in the last three years, with 2008 being no different. The DVD – Champions of the Silverman brought the reality of the course to everyone watching. As someone who competed in the full distance triathlon, there was a little too much focus on the half, but that’s where the race was. Chris McCormack has participated in the half the last two years and the interview he provided on the DVD was really good. He really is an articulate speaker. Another major interviewee was Dave Scott. He did the swim and bike the first year of the race and has been a major figure in the race every year since. Having experienced the brutal hills on the bike, Scott also provided insightful and articulate commentary. There were interviews with member of Operation Rebound, a division of Challenged Athletes aimed at getting injured service men and women back to life through sports. Having met most of the athletes at the race (I was a fund-raiser for OR this year) it struck me that none of them were looking for pity. All of them were very matter of fact about their injuries and how hard they had to work to participate in sports. It was also interesting that most of the OR participants were at Silverman for the challenge of the race and to show other disabled athletes that participation in such events was possible.
One reason why I love Silverman is the beauty of the course. People might think that riding 112 miles through the desert would be boring. After driving through most of Nevada, I would agree. But Silverman is held in Lake Mead National Recreation Area and the rock formations and land scape is just striking. Add in the time on the bike, from the early morning light on the outbound leg and the full, late morning or afternoon light on the return leg and everything changes as you ride. You’re looking at something new every few minutes as the course winds around the lake. I felt that the DVD really captured the beauty of the course and the surrounding area. I’m not sure where they found so much sun – I remember mostly rain and wind and occasionally hail while I was riding my bike. Watching the DVD really brought back memories of the last four years racing on that course. It was cool to watch the reactions of the other racers out on the course. Except on the run, it’s hard to interact with other athletes in a triathlon of this size. Everyone is so spread out on the bike that a smile and wave is all that you can do. The DVD captured the beauty and the challenge of Silverman and I will be using it for trainer time motivation when the weather closes in again.
If anyone is looking for a good late season challenge, Silverman is the race to look at. It’s a tightly, smoothly run race, put on by athletes for athletes. Everything from the ease of registration to the awesome swag bags given to the athletes to the hordes of uber helpful volunteers make Silverman the best iron distance race I have done. You don’t have to sign up a year in advance and the registration cost is reasonable, unlike the ironman races. The course is hard, the weather has made it worse, but the sense of satisfaction for completing the challenge is worth it. I will be honest – this year on the run, I have never seen so many athletes in a half distance triathlon just looking shell shocked. I have also never heard so many athletes at the awards banquet saying that Silverman was the hardest race they’d done – and that it was also the best time they’d every had and they’d be back. Seriously, anyone wanting to do an iron distance race should consider Silverman – just make sure you train for the course!


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