Sunday, July 26, 2009

The Mighty Snake

We've made our way back to the Wasatch Front to our little nook of a town edged in the side of Mount Timpanogos. We enjoyed another fine year of Spudman, the best triathlon race in the world. My two younger brothers took first and second overall, and you can read more about it here.

B.J. has been chasing the dream of winning the Spudman since he was in high school. As every year, I passed Ed on my way toward the run. By the time I start the run, they're usually finished. So I asked Ed the usual question, "How'd you do?" Ed answered enthusiastically, "I got second and B.J. got first!" I let out a loud holler. I was so proud of B.J.'s dogged accomplishment, and of Ed's fine performance as well. Ed is 11 years younger to B.J., so if he can keep improving, he can match or even beat B.J.'s triathlon prowess.

They insisted in racing in only Speedos, much to the complaint of my mom and dad. It must have worked, though.

Kulani bested his previous best time by about seven minutes. His master's swim class has really paid off. He'll likely be writing a hilarious post on his blog about the various spellings of "triathlon" he saw around town this weekend. But he's currently sleeping, as it's early on Sunday morning, and though we've been encouraged by the bishop to "get back to basics" and make it to church on time and not late, the Fishers will probably still be rushing due to my sleeping beauties and my long-winded blog posts.

I also had a good race. I passed my oldest brother Doug, age 40, at mile three on the run. He was suffering mightily. He started about 10 minutes ahead of me. As I passed him, he says, "I'm just going to take a quick break and look at some of these rocks here. Don't tell anyone you passed me!" He's the funniest person I've ever known.

After the race, I was talking to a competitor who parked his bike next to ours. I asked him how he liked the race. Most people are pretty happy after the race, but this guy was rather sullen. He didn't look especially happy, despite his team taking first place overall. During the awards ceremony, I found out this guy was part of the team of the Don Moorhouse Memorial. I assumed he was somehow related, perhaps a son, to Don Moorhouse, who died last year during the swim of the Spudman. It made me reflect on how the Spudman, and specifically the Snake River, must hold a sad part in this family's life.

The Snake River is a glorious thrill for those of us who grew up in the Mini-Cassia area. In other parts of the state, the Snake is shallow and rocky, but as it winds through Rupert, Burley, and Heyburn, the river is wide and perfect for water skiing and water-associated sports.

I took the girls down to the boat docks to drape their feet in the cool water. Nohea, the daredevil of all the girls, quickly wanted to get her feet wet and squirmed to try to get me to take my arms off her. Lilia timidly scooted to the edge to feel the water. And Melissa was content to sit on Dad's lap far from the water's edge.

Kulani is a great daddy bear, and kept warning me to keep a hold of Nohea. He reminded me of the river's heavy current and the murkiness of the water. If she went under, we may never find her again. The thought chilled me, and I didn't loosen my grip.

When I think about it, it's amazing there aren't more reports of drowning in the Snake River. I fell into the river once when I was 5 or 6 years old. I fell between the gap between the sidewalk lining the park and the boat docks. A stranger fished me out almost immediately. Stories of near death on the Snake are rampant.

My grandma would tell us to stay far from the river, because there were "mysterious undercurrents" that would pull us down to our deaths. When my grandma would talk about it, I imagined this great pull on my legs that would drag me to the bottom and not let go. Now that I'm older, I realize the undercurrent wasn't mysterious at all; it was just the big, huge current of the Snake. But the "mysterious undercurrents" did strike fear into our hearts, and we stayed far away from the Snake River unless we were boating as a family.

In my high school graduating class of about 300, three people have died from drowning accidents. One died in one of the canals connected off the Snake and used to water farmers' crops. Another died cliff jumping in an area of the Snake we've all been known to frequent. And a third died in a lake near Logan.

Thank goodness the Spudman didn't take any lives this year. We live for the next Spudman, which for me is just an excuse to be with the best people in the world: my family.

All the Christensons (and spouses) who competed this year. Left to right: B.J., me, Kulani, Hetty Gower, Jeff Gower, Doug, Ed, and Wayne. Hetty, Wayne, and Jeff took first place in their team division.


Aundrea said...

I loved reading about all the stuff in this post...but all I have to say is,DAMN! I wish I had your brother's legs!

Christensen's Craziness said...

That is so great! I sent the article to my mother!

erin said...

Holy Cow you are awesome! I need to start running again. You've inspired me!

Keri said...

'Ello Speedos! The last time I saw that much of Ed was when he was in diapers. Congrats to the crew whole crew, though. Way to make our hometown proud!

go mom go said...

Loved reading this post. I wish we would have been able to catch up that weekend. I hear Brad met up with you two though. I just posted some pictures of your brothers' victory moment on Facebook. Brad was just barely able to see all of the results as we left the days after the race for Island Park. Arrgh! One whole week without an internet connection. Torture!

go mom go said...

So are you the one putting together the 15 year?

mariann and Tory said...

That is awesome! Heard one of your brothers is getting married! Awesome!!