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  • Kenny Souza caught cheating in the final mud pit - get down and slither you little weasle! - photo by Rober Oliver


    Yet another example of the blatant cheating Paula and Kenny employed in the quest to top Roch and Huddle. Paula wearing swim goggles on her way to a 1-minute deficit behind the honorable Frey and Huddle - photo by Robert Oliver


    Huddle showing the strain of playing by the rules - photo by Robert Oliver


    Roch Frey exiting the final mud pit with a half smile combining the effort of a tough day with the satisfaction with the knowledge that he competed fairly - photo? You know who took the photo! It was Robert Oliver for heaven's sake.

       
     

    Showdown in the Mud Pits - The Other Side of the Story

    It's true enough that this all started back in late June when Bob Babbitt, local bizarre event instigator, decided that he needed a grudge match within his spectacle. What fun is there in watching a bunch of freaks (which, let's face it, are a dime a dozen in Southern California) grovel around in the sand, dirt, and mud of Camp Pendleton? Babbitt, in true National Enquirer journalistic style, decided that a team composed of women against a team of "men" (we're using that term loosely) would be much more interesting. Better yet, what if the team of women were the spouses of the men's team? Now we've got something. Tennis is interesting but Bobby Riggs vs. Billy Jean King? You get the idea.

    When Heather wisely elected to sleep in, Paula had to convince everyone's favorite local sportswoman, Kenny Souza to race with her. Kenny has been a hired gun for many an adventure racing team and fit the bill well. After all, he's the same weight as a strong woman, only he's not as strong.

    Now Paula alluded to a version of the day's event that makes her team seem the underdog. Underdog? Hardly. Consider that Paula is an 8-time Ironman Champion, multiple top-5 finisher in adventure racing, and still competes at a professional level. Further consider that Kenny Souza is the winning-est duathlete in the history of the sport. Together (even with Kenny's pregnancy), the two might combine to break 200 pounds. Throw in two pairs of shoes, the lung capacity of Finland and the combined race savvy of Ned, Lance, and Lynn Jennings and you have, arguably the best team in the race.

    Who did Mr. Babbitt consider a fair challenge to this fearsome pair? Roch Frey and I (Huddle). Great. A couple of former pseudo-pros who couldn't race their way out of most women's waves when they were "in shape". Nice. Now that Roch has spent the past two months traveling to all parts of the globe sacrificing his body for the good of others, he's expected to race at a time (on the clock) that his body thinks is supposed to be the second stage of REM sleep . . . two days prior. Me? I'm in great shape - for an over weight left tackle entering spring training in the NFL.

    Gun goes off and Roch shoots to the front of the crowd of mountain bikers. Little did I know it but the leaders had a difficult time finding the proper route (wasted time issue #1). Then, after breaking trail (just like in the snow) for the entire race (wasted time issue #2), we discover that the whale known as Huddle (that's me) ended up doing the majority of the running (wasted time issue #3) while the sleep deprived (but fit) Frey stood waiting at every exchange. Never known to be poor sports, we weren't even going to mention the handicaps we had to endure - while the gazelle like team of PNF and Souza glided unimpeded through the course, catching the draft of those lined up in front of them the entire way - until we saw the first report.

    Even with all of this adversity, we came out with a gaping 1-minute cushion at the end of the race. This victory, combined with all of the extra points for psychological duress, puts Roch and I firmly atop the Coaches Challenge. We humbly accept this responsibility and vow to extend our lead over the remainder of the 2001 multi sport season.