If drama was something you were looking for last Saturday, you should have come out in the occasionally pouring rain at Blueberry Lake to check out the happenings at the fourth annual DisasTour triathlon. There were tautly contested races and truly inspiring performances and no drama is complete without a trail of tears.

More than 50 athletes competed in teams or as ironmen in taking on the 12.5-mile bike, mostly on dirt roads and singletrack; the 4-mile paddle around the lake; and the 5-mile trail run. Foreboding clouds hung low in the sky above the lake as riders set off, but for the most part, the rain held off during the bike leg, which covered a nine-mile loop on local roads before entering the Blueberry Lake trail network.

Three riders – David Sinclair, Don Massucco and Kevin Bessett – entered the singletrack together. But Sinclair, dexterously negotiating the numerous hairpins on his short-wheelbase mountain bike, arrived at the transition a minute ahead of Massucco. Even closer was the duel between the top two women; Amy Miner charged into the bike-paddle transition just two seconds ahead of second-place Isabelle Caldwell. Game on.

As paddlers using various modes of transportation – kayaks, canoes and one stand-up paddleboard (Barry Bender of Clearwater Sports) – began circling the lake, the skies opened and the wet leg of the triathlon became very wet. It was clear, however, that no amount of excess moisture was going to slow down Hugh Pritchard, whose paddling skill was a display of athleticism fusing with art form. Pritchard sped through four laps of the lake in a time of 44:03, almost seven minutes faster than second-fastest paddler John Lazenby.

More important, Pritchard had taken the overall lead from Sinclair, who emerged from the water with four minutes to make up on the run leg. That would mean he would have to gain almost a minute a mile on Pritchard. But hey – this was a guy who, running his first-ever marathon last spring on more or less of a whim, clocked a time of 2:37-something. Sinclair knows running.

Sure enough, somewhere in the woods, on a trail made slick by the newly fallen rain, Sinclair passed Pritchard and arrived first at the finish with a time of 2:13:25. Pritchard held on for second with a time of 2:15:10, while Reid Greenberg, who could be dubbed the Boss of Blueberry with his home right at the lake's edge, completed the ironman podium with a time of 2:26:22.
Meanwhile, both Miner and Caldwell struggled through the misery of the rain-soaked paddle, but Miner struggled a bit less, extending her lead as she set out on the run. Caldwell regained a bit of time once she was able to put running shoes to terra firma, but in the end, Miner's overall time of 2:57:31 earned her a comfortable margin of victory.

A wonderful bit of ancillary entertainment was provided by Kerrie and Culley Thomas and their two kids. Competing as a team, Kerrie and Culley decided to make the canoe leg a family affair, bringing their two young kids with them in the boat. When Kerrie emerged from the water to start the run leg with a time that was suspiciously speedy, the truth emerged: The misery of the rain had brought tears to Thomas family eyes and their scheduled four laps around the lake was reduced to a more kid-friendly two. As mom hit the trail, a little soup and hot chili provided by the race organizers, Rochester Area Sports Trail Alliance (RASTA), restored a bit of happiness to young hearts.

When all ironmen and teams had completed their appointed rounds, it was time to raise toasts with beverages supplied by The Alchemist, a major race sponsor. In the team competition, RASTA assembled a crew fast enough to win its own race, but not by much; second-place Teddy Hopper (see The Alchemist, above) was just 21 seconds arrears, with a team from Green Mountain Valley School completing the podium. The rain had stopped, the tears had stopped and plans for next year's race had just begun.