Competitors test ‘Ironman’ will in first-ever GorgeMan

HR triathletes excel in both events

Not to be outdone by the more than 500 marathon and half marathon participants in Hood River last Sunday, another group of athletes was testing a different kind of endurance extreme: The triathlon extreme.

While runners from 41 states and five countries made their way from The Dalles to Hood River, participants in the first-ever GorgeMan Half-Ironman Triathlon were testing the highways and waterways of the Gorge.

And, despite a few goosebumps from the icy Columbia River, the locals who participated came away feeling on top of the world.

“I really enjoyed the course, and would definitely do it again,” said Bill Mellow of Hood River, who was the lone finisher in the 60-and-older division.

“The water was a bit choppy and it was pretty cold, which surprised some people. But I didn’t mind it because I’m always in the water,” he said.

Mellow, 61, who is a member of the Mid Columbia Masters Swim Team, finished the GorgeMan in a time of 6 hours, 35 minutes, 5 seconds — enough to place him ahead of people half his age in the overall standings.

The best local men’s finish was turned in by Jay Clark of White Salmon, who completed the course (1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike, 13.1 mile run) in 5:03:15.

Leading the way for the local women was Jennifer Donnelly, who completed the course in 6:10:49. (Official results are available at; hometowns are not listed).

Most of the event participants from Hood River chose to participate in a slightly less-extreme Super Sprint Triathlon, which took competitors on a half-mile swim, a 15-mile bike ride, and a six-mile run.

Sharing much of the terrain of the Half-Ironman course, the abbreviated Super-Sprint race offered competitors a nice early season alternative to the longer distance.

But that isn’t to say that the Super Sprint course was a walk in the park, either.

“I’m glad there was a shorter alternative because the sprint course put me to the test,” said Hood River Police Chief Tony Dirks, who finished second in the 35-39 year-old men’s division with a time of 2:30:52. “And it sure felt good to finish,” he said.

Christopher Korwin of Hood River was the only Super Sprint racer to surpass Dirks, winning the 35-39 division in 2:30:52.

Tim Rayle of Hood River placed second in the 40-44 year-old division with a time of 2:16:22, while David Barringer placed fourth in that division at 2:27:53.

Topping the list of local women finishers was Jennifer Wardell at 2:17:23, Katja Asaro at 2:24:03, Kathleen Korwin at 2:36:33, Jody Barringer at 2:55:02, and Denise Doney of Mosier at 2:48:53.


The GorgeMan and Super Sprint drew approximately 100 participants, and race organizers, X-Dog Events, are already discussing plans for 2004.

One reason the turnout was relatively small was that a larger triathlon at Blue Lake was happening the same day.

All in all, GorgeFest — the festival that encompassed the GorgeMan, Super Sprint and Gorge Marathon — drew 1,000 spectators to the Marina on Sunday, and netted an estimated $600,000 to $1 million for the local economy. GorgeFest 2004 will be nine days and will feature nine events.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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