Archive for September 24th, 2007

9-1-1 Adventure Challenge

The 2007 9-1-1 Adventure Challenge was held on Saturday September 22 in and around Umstead State Park near Raleigh. The Adventure Family Race Team was seen in action again in this adventure race. Infoman raced with new Family members Lady D (Deena) and Mighty Mouse (Marcilynn) as a trio. I am proud to report that we had more fun on the course than anyone else – I am sure of it! There were 27 teams/solos racing, with 64 racers in all.

Post-awards picture

Check-in started at 6am, and the Race Director had told us he would give out maps and passports at that time. Most adventure racers live for getting their maps/passports as soon as possible, but I was indirectly threatened with certain death if I required my teammates to be there at 6am. There was a pre-race safety briefing at 7:30, with the race starting at 8am. So we agreed to meet at 6:30 to check in and get the maps. At 6:45 we checked in. ๐Ÿ˜‰

During the pre-race briefing the RD threw out a number of red herrings, intentional or not, including a recommendation to use the trails on the run, and a compass on the O-course.

Our first leg was a mass start run out to two CP’s and back. We held back in the pack towards the rear and let the main pack follow the road. They went left, but we went right, taking a bushwhack to save a few miles. Another solo and a duo (training friends of mine) also took this shortcut. We weren’t the fastest runners, but this navigation trick worked well and we made it to the first CP well ahead of the main pack. By the time we had punched the second CP and were headed back to the Transition Area, a number of teams had caught up to us.

No worries, I had another shortcut in mind. When the pack turned up the main road to the right, we went off on our own direction again. Our duo team of friends also took our route. We had a little creek to get across, which cost us dry socks and shoes, but with all the sweating to be done later, it was inevitable anyway. I only wasted 2 seconds hesitating on that decision before plunging in. Besides, we were just a few hundred yards from the TA at that point, and we’d be switching to bike shoes then. We ended up making it back to the TA in second place overall to start the bike section.

The trails were a little muddy and slick and we lost a little ground on the bike leg over to Lake Crabtree. Even though Lady D is recovering from a dislocated shoulder and fractured protuburis (shoulder part), she still swam faster than me and ended up towing me, just like KLK did the last time AFRT won this race. Unfortunately we did not pass any other teams in the water this time. It’s a great morale booster to pass someone while you’re being towed across the lake by your teammate. I don’t think there were many racers ahead of us to pass. =)

After the swim we had to bike back to the main TA. The route was straightforward without much nav skill required. We did notice that our system of having Lady D carry the passport and being responsible for punching it at the CP’s worked smoothly. We rolled up, she punched, and we rolled on, leaving several other teams still standing there. I think we did a pretty good job of not wasting much time at the CP’s that way.

We had dropped to 5th place overall by the time we returned to the main TA, but we felt ok. We only had the O-course left. I think the gals and I were all looking forward to the O-course. A number of cracks were thrown around about that. The whole day was pretty much like that – wahooo! The girls had been touting my nav smarts all day and planning for this to be the section we shined on. No pressure, right? At the pre-race briefing, Bruce, the RD, jokingly said that teams could do the O-course without a compass if they wanted to. He laughed, as did most people. I didn’t. ๐Ÿ™‚ After a transition to running gear again, we headed out on the O-course to find the 9 controls. It was up to us to choose our route and the order in which we looked for the controls. Apparently most people chose to go clockwise through the map, but I chose counterclockwise, for no real reason. Maybe it’s the whole counterclockwise trend we’ve noticed in mtb trails. I left the compass in my pack.

One mistake I made was not slowing to eat as often as I should – the gals haven’t gotten to know me well enough yet to push me harder in that regard. I could have used KLK there! We had such a good pace going that slowing to eat seemed inappropriate, so I just tried to maintain the pace, not wanting the gals to show me up too much. My mistake started to show as we worked our way through the second half of the O-course. They started feeding me Clif-blocks and gels. We were moving, but it wasn’t top speed. As we headed to the last control, we had a long stretch of uphill bridle path to cover. I wasn’t quite up to jogging it, so after briefly trying to summon some testosterone-laced pride, I succumbed and let them strap a bungee between them and around me and off we went, jogging up the hill. Teamwork. It was beautiful thing, being tied between two sweaty gals out in the woods! I have no manly pride at all, but most of you know that already. These gals rock, and they pulled me up the hill!

From the bridle path we dropped down an old trail, followed the stream downhill, Mighty Mouse scampered down to punch the control and then rejoined us, and we made our way down to the edge of a small lake. From here it was a few hundred feet to a trail that let back to the finish. We ended up walking most of the trail uphill, but managed to summon enough strength to run in for the last 200 yards, so that everyone could see us finishing strong. Ok, so some pride had returned, it was a race after all. Unfortunately, there weren’t many people to see us – we were only the third team to finish. The first was a solo, the second a duo, and that put us in as the FIRST PLACE TRIO!!! Wahooooooo!!!

Notice that I called it TRIO. This year, they grouped all the teams, male/female/coed, into categories by number of team members, so we actually beat out all of the all-male trio’s as well. Wahoooo!!!

Post-race picture

If you can’t tell, it was a very satisfying day. We laughed a good way through the whole thing. Sure, we had the expected amount of exertion-induced pain. Each of us had moments when we weren’t the strongest, and moments when we were. I held the strong position throughout the O-course, but the gals wereย  happy to let me lead them through that, especially when they never saw me pull out a compass and I would say things like “it’s over that ridge, down the gully, and …” boom – there it was. I was apparently “on” with my nav that day, and we just lost maybe 5 minutes on one CP. (Actually, that cost us 2nd place overall, but that’s ok.)

Even better, I raced the whole day wearing a hawaiian shirt – my new summer workout wear. Rayon is the new/old performance fabric! (These pictures are post-race clean-clothes shots.) I know others thought I couldn’t be taking the race seriously if I was dressed like that, but I’m ok with that. The gals called me called Deceptive Don. That shirt looked pretty good from behind, and that’s the view most other teams had all day!

I can’t say enough about these two wonderful ladies. They are excellent teammates, great racers, and fantastic friends. I would race with them anytime, anywhere.

May the Adventure continue!!


Waiting for the other teams to finish

Waiting around for the other teams to finish. Jeff Thompson is on the right, he raced with the Adventure Family Race Team in Utah in The Adventure Xstream Expedition AR in 2004. Jeff was volunteering at this race.

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