Sunday, June 8, 2008

Speaking of Alcatraz...

Considering my earlier post about Alcatraz, I found it interesting that the Escape from Alcatraz Triathalon took place today. I love the concept, and now that they've added a "relay" option, I feel like this is something I'd love to try to conquer someday (a girl can dream, can't she?).

Of course, I'd need partners to take care of the running and swimming parts. I'm strongest at biking, although if pressed, I could swim as well. However, running? No, not so much. Although the biking part is really the least realistic for "Escape from Alcatraz". I mean, really, how does that fit into the escape plan?! And trying to picture the Birdman of Alcatraz biking around the Presidio just makes me laugh. That is what would make the swimming part the most fun - jumping off a ferry into the freezing cold Bay and swimming to the San Francisco harbor shore. Yeah, that could be really cool. Crazy and immensely challenging (especially with the SF currents)? Absolutely. But that's why it's a triathalon and not a tourist attraction.
Triathalon Course MapI didn't get to see this in person today, but it's supposed to run on TV June 20th. I'll be keeping an eye out. It's definitely fun to watch. Check out the official website for more info. And here are some fun facts that they have posted. You decide if this would make you more interested or more intimidated to do this yourself!

1. The waters of the San Francisco Bay are a frigid 55 degrees on average and also a major shark nursery, home to leopard sharks, sevengill cowsharks, brown smoothhound sharks, spiny dogfish sharks and soupfin sharks.

2. Perhaps the most famous “Escape from Alcatraz” was that of Frank Lee Morris, who was the brilliant mastermind of one of the most legendary prison escapes in history. Morris and two others escaped from Alcatraz on June 11, 1962, and they were never to be seen again. The story of Frank Morris and the great escape can be seen in the 1979 film, “Escape from Alcatraz,” which stars Clint Eastwood.

3. According to many sources, the Triathlon is based on a race called "Les trois sports" that took place in France during the 1920-1930s.

4. Alcatraz was once home to more than 1,545 prisoners during its existence as a federal penitentiary from 1934-1963. Famous inmates include Al Capone, George “Machine Gun” Kelly, Henry Young and Robert Stroud “Birdman of Alcatraz.”

5. A number of challenged athletes will be competing in the race, including two “Operation Rebound” soldiers who each lost a limb fighting in the Middle East.

6. This year there are more than 50 teams taking part in the Corporate Challenge Relay, including teams from Smith Barney, Stanford University,, Walt Disney Animation Studios, Toyota and many more.

7. In 2006, Inside Triathlon Magazine named the Accenture Escape from Alcatraz™ Triathlon the number one triathlon.

8. The fourth mini-event in the triathlon is a one-mile "warm-up" run between the swim and bike leg to reduce the occurrence of hypothermia.

9. This year’s event will feature world famous athletes such as last year’s winner and 2006 International Triathlon Union Team Champion Andy Potts from the U.S.; French triathlete and one of the world’s fastest swimmers Benjamin Sanson; as well as Pip Taylor, a member of the world champion Australian Elite Triathlon Team; 2006 winner Becky Lavelle; and Jenna Shoemaker, an American and 2012 Olympic hopeful.

10. Alcatraz is home to the oldest operating lighthouse on the West Coast of the United States.


vivzan said...

I was with you on this one until you mentioned sharks. Yeah, no. :-)

Chelc said...

Those aren't scary sharks - their mouths are too small to get around anything vital! :) I've actually held a leopard shark - very cool, and not that big. They leave you alone if you do the same (besides, you've got a whole wetsuit to get through first!).


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