A Rumpus in Bumpass
by Linda Salisbury
The physically rigorous Rumpus in Bumpass Triathlon at Lake Anna, like all such sporting events, attracts participants for various reasons. Although the lake temperature in April can register at about 50 degrees, the sunny and warming temperature on April 21 – the first of the two-day races in 2018 – attracted about 700 registrants. Some were not so thrilled about the water challenge, but with wetsuits they were ready to swim, bike, and run.
Greg Hawkins, founder and race director of the Virginia-Maryland Triathlon Series, began competing in triathlons in the 1990s. By 2004 he had started a Virginia franchise, and a year later he began working full time to grow his business. In 2015, the Virginia organization added a Maryland series to it.
Just last year, Hawkins acquired Piranha-Sports and decided it was time to launch a company to unify all 50 races. The new name for his company is Kinetic Multisports. It organizes races in five states: Virginia, Maryland, New Jersey, Delaware, and Pennsylvania.
Kinetic Multisports stages triathlons at two Lake Anna venues each year. The first is at Lake Anna Beach Marina (now called Pleasants Landing) in Bumpass, and the second is at Lake Anna State Park. Both are scenic, and the state park offers a playground, large sandy beach, and hiking trails for families who join the athletes.
On the Friday afternoon in April, Hawkins was busy setting up prior to the first Olympic-distance race on Saturday. The second race on Sunday was half the distance of each event and is called the Sprint. His staff and volunteers checked in participants, handed out packets, and distributed numbers. Some of those who arrived early rode their bikes to test part of the course, and others tested the water’s temperature.
“We ended up with a 55° F water temperature and shortened the courses to 1,000 meters on Saturday and 500 meters on Sunday,” Hawkins said after the event. “It was brisk getting in, but most everyone did fine.”
Athletes first do the swim course and then run or walk to the transition area where they change into their cycling gear. They do the bicycle route, come back to the transition area, change into their running attire, and then do the run course.
From the west end of the seventeen-mile lake there is a view of the Blue Ridge Mountains, but cyclists were unlikely to spend time sightseeing as they circled the body of water during the twenty-four-mile race route.
The question for the curious is why. Why put yourself through the rigorous training and the intense competition?
Participants’ answers were pretty similar. They love the challenge and how they feel.
Paul Sanchez and his wife Laura, of Chesapeake, are owners of Famous Uncle Al’s, a restaurant on Kemps River in Virginia Beach. They enjoy participating as a couple, although he was not looking forward to swimming when the lake was cold.
The triathlon “helps me stay young,” Paul said, noting that he’s in his fifties. Plus, the exercising for the three types of disciplines creates balanced training for him. Laura, in her forties, said with a laugh that it was mostly his fault that she was involved. “It’s a personal challenge.”
It was Paul’s seventh triathlon and Laura’s third, but first Olympic. In the longer Olympic race, there is a 1,500-meter swim, a 24-mile bike ride, and a 10K run.
Another participant from Chesapeake was Andrew Gray, whose wife Christine and children Micah and Olivia came to cheer him on. A radiologist, Gray enjoys the competition and exercise.
Hawkins said the age range in this race was from twelve to early seventies. There were couples, singles, and groups of friends. Some stayed in cabins or camped at the state park while others found accommodations in places like Fredericksburg. Paul and Laura Sanchez asked for directions to the Lake Anna Winery for a quick celebration after the second day of racing.
The stress for Hawkins grows during the event. Aside from all the arrangements to organize each triathlon – fifty a year for his organization – Hawkins said it is important for him to make sure that everyone is safe. Roads around the lake tend to be narrow and have no shoulders. Traffic must be stopped at times. Weather must be monitored.
On hand over the course of the event are 100 volunteers, fifteen paid staff members, and vendors. The volunteers include members of Sacred Heart’s Council 11262 Knights of Columbus who assist with parking and handing out packets and material to the participants.
Grand Knight Jim Marstall said that the organization is paid by the number of hours that its volunteers work, so doing this has been an excellent benefit to the Knights of Columbus for the past ten years. Hawkins said that there were several volunteer groups, and the total donated this year to them was $5,000.
Other 2018 triathlons at Lake Anna are The Giant Acorn Triathlon Festival, which featured Olympic and Sprint distance races at the state park on Sept. 22-23, and the Pleasants Landing Triathlon Festival on Oct. 13-14. There are more around Virginia and four other states throughout the year for folks who are addicted to the competition.
Among the other early arrivals on Friday was Derrick Tibbs of Clarksburg, Maryland. It was his first triathlon, but he knew exactly what he wanted, pointing to the first-place medal. He had his eye on the prize. That’s motivation.
Hawkins was pleased with the race results. “The top three men’s times were all under two hours. That’s really good,” he said. “Even with the shorter swim, the times were amazing. I’m always amazed at the talent level displayed by our athletes.”
For more information about these triathlon events, visit www.kineticmultisports.com.