Endurance athletes at home and abroad were in the news this week in the wake of the 70-kilometer Paumanok Pursuit, a 43.5-mile running race that took place recently along the western section of the Paumanok Path’s trails, and Ed Cashin and Mike Bahel’s return here from the Cape Epic, a 497-mile eight-day stage race in the environs of Cape Town, South Africa, that is known as “The Tour de France of Mountain Biking.”
A party was held for Bahel and Cashin, who placed in the top tier of the Cape Epic’s 300 masters (over-40) amateur competitors, at the Montauk Brewing Company Sunday afternoon. Cashin was a no-show, having been felled by the stomach virus that’s been going around.
Asked how he was feeling, Bahel said, “My ass still hurts — 46 and a half hours on a bike will do that to you.”
As for the race, which involved 49,000 vertical feet of climbing (the stages varied from 45 to 80 miles), Body Tech’s owner said, “It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done.”
And that’s saying something, for the 47-year-old Bahel has been in numerous endurance events over the course of his career, including Ironman triathlons, marathons, and 24-hour races. “After the third day, you couldn’t believe there were five more to go. Ed was a monster — he would climb and pass everyone and wait. He and Dan Farnham are the strongest bikers on the East End.”
“Don’t forget to tell him, Dad,” said his daughter, Alyssa, a long-distance runner on East Hampton High’s girls track team, “that you flew in the air.”
“Yeah, I crashed on a downhill,” Bahel said.
“He cracked his helmet,” said Alyssa.
Bahel and Cashin finished in the middle of the 600 professional and amateur contestants, though, as aforesaid, in the top quintile of the masters competitors. “The pros did it in about 35 hours, we did it in 46,” said Bahel, who added that Andy Sabin’s South Fork Natural History Museum had been their prime sponsor. In turn, the two endurance athletes (Cashin is the owner of Exceed Fitness on Plank Road off Route 114) raised more than $4,000 for the museum.
The Brewing Company crowd of 50 included Holly Li and Alixandra Sidor, who had been among the 175 participants in March 30’s Paumanok Pursuit, which spanned Rocky Point and the Sears Bellows County Park in Hampton Bays.
“There were four females and one male on our relay team,” said Li. “We could have been a contender if it weren’t for some directional difficulties,” she said with a laugh. “Though it was a lot of fun.”
“Chris and Elisa Carney [of the Railroad Fitness Studio] were the only tag team. It attracted a lot of ultra runners.”
Dave Gatz of Riverhead, who, with his wife, Jen, and Sinead FitzGibbon, organized it, said later that “it was a nice way of introducing a lot of people to this trail system. There were 20 solo runners and 155 on relay teams, most of them five people, who passed off microchip ‘batons.’ The solos ran the whole 43.5 miles; the relay legs were 10.75, 8.5, 10.0, 7.5, and 6.75 miles. People came from all over, from upstate, the metropolitan area, there was even a runner from Georgia.”
While the entire Paumanok Path spans 125 miles, from Rocky Point to Montauk Point, “this section was plenty from a management standpoint,” said Gatz, who added that “there’s a 15-mile stretch between Hampton Bays and Southampton that’s all on the road, which would have meant having to bring in police and so forth. We limited the field to 135, though next year we’d like to double it, to between 300 and 400. There’s that, and then I’ve got a couple of other crazy ideas.”
The Montauk Brewing Company is to serve as the staging area for Paddlers 4 Humanity’s Brew-a-thon, which is to be held from 2 to 5 p.m. on Saturday, April 19.
Vaughan Cutillo, one of the Brewing Company’s owners, said the event, which drew 300 spectators and 20 teams the last time, “is a great fit for us — we’re celebrating serious athletes who like to have fun.”
A Paddlers 4 Humanity release said the Brew-a-thon would include “a 5,000-meter ergometer machine row, a 10K bike leg, and a 5K run. . . . Each team must have at least one female on it. The top three teams will receive prizes.”
Li and Sidor said they would be among the Brew-a-thon’s contestants. “Alli will be our rower, Rikki Furman will be our biker, I’ll do the run, and I can’t tell you who our chugger will be — it’s a surprise,” said Li.