The 2018 Washington Island Ultra: 24 Hours Of Triathlon

Goal #5 on my 30 Before 30 list was to complete an ultra endurance event. ‘Ultra endurance’ was loosely defined in my head as something taking longer than 8 hours. I added this goal since it had been over two years since I completed an event of that magnitude.

I stumbled upon the Washington Island Ultra, a ‘choose your own adventure’ of any combination of (8, 12, 24, 36 hour)  and (solo or team) and (triathlon, duathlon, or cycling). I thought it was an interesting event, as well as cheap and nearby, so I registered for the 24 Hour Solo Triathlon.


0.25 Miles swim loop in Lake Michigan, 10 mile bike loop around Washington Island. and 2 mile run loop out and back from the campsite. Complete as many loops as you could, in whatever order you want.

Race reports are boring to write and exhausting to read, even if you’re into this kind of stuff. So instead, I”ll give you a brief overview of the thoughts going through my head throughout the event.

Swim #1 – 2.5 Miles

It’s a 24 hour race so I should take it really easy to start. But I should catch that guy ahead of me first! I am going to destroy this race. I’m the juggernaut!

Run #1 – 10 Miles

If I run more miles in a day than I have in any week in the last year, does that guarantee an injury? Is it socially awkward to cheer on other runners if you just saw them 5 minutes ago, and will see them again in 10 minutes (it was a two mile looped course)? How many permutations of good/great/excellent and job/work/form are there?

Bike #1 – 50 Miles

First 30 miles: When Alexis is making boo koo bucks, we should definitely get a house out here. These rolling hills are far better than my basement trainer. 12 hours on the bike is going to be no problem.

Last 20 miles: If I’m four hours into the race and ready for it to be over, how am I going to feel 20 hours in?

Run #2 – 12 Miles

What happened to the speed of the first run? Is it still considered running if I walk/hobble along for 12 miles? Why doesn’t anyone cheer you on when you’re walking? Why is there a guy in a bear suit doing the floss on the side of the road? It’s too early to be hallucinating…

Bike #2 – 50 Miles

Fuck running! I’m superman on this bike, but why is everyone passing me? They must be on relay teams…

Run #3 – 12 Miles


Just jog to that tree, then you can walk again. Your reward for finishing the next loop will be using the restroom.

Mmmm….Skittles! Changing the green Skittle from lime to apple was one of the greatest achievements of the last decade. If only they could fix yellow and orange.

Bike #3 – 70 Miles

Deer…Deer…Deer. Where were all you guys hiding during the daylight? I’m going to invent a sport where you ride a bike and shoot at deer. We’ll call it biathlon. I’m moving slow, but a 15 MPH collision with a 150 pound deer might kill me.


These Pop-Tarts are delicious. Why didn’t I buy more Pop-Tarts!

Swim #2 – 1.75 Miles

I’m just going to pee here in my wetsuit. Why did I think an hour of swimming would be a ‘victory lap’? Just don’t drown, that would be embarrassing. Nobody can see you cry when you’re swimming.

Wrap It Up!

Overall, I swam 4.25 miles, biked 170 miles, ran (maybe traveled by foot would be a better description) 34 miles, and slept 0 hours. I got smoked by the first place guy. He did 240 miles!

I was pleased with how this race went. I wasn’t in great shape, but finished without any injuries, and suffered for the good part of 16 hours. The post race beer from the guys in the tent next to me hit the spot.

Next Year

Running, biking, and swimming for 24 hours sucks, but the race itself was fantastic. It had a super relaxed, ultra-marathon type vibe, with a majority of competitors camping on site. I plan on doing it again next year, aiming for a longer distance. A double Ironman (4.8 mile swim, 224 mile bike, 52.4 mile run) would be possible if I was in good shape and an Ultraman (6.2 mile swim, 261.4 mile bike, 52.4 mile run) would be feasible if I was in elite level shape.

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