IsoSeries YukiJoy AR

Iso-Series Yuki-Joy 12 hour Adventure Race Report

Pilot Mtn State Park, NC – The Adventure Family Race Team was at it again on May 17, 2008. I teamed up with Patrick Downie, another adventure racer from the Triangle, to compete in this new race.

Friday evening started off with race check-in at the Yadkin River North section of Pilot Mtn State Park. I had to go drop our boat at the Rockford bridge. Bruce Dale from Cary nearly ran into me as I pulled out of the park entrance. Several teams caravaned to the drop site, including the Scheidt brothers from Fuquay-Varina. The drop site was in a nice field just downstream of the bridge. Future campsite? I noted the hills and convenience stores on the 25 minute drive over. Might use that info during the race.

Saturday morning dawned crisp and clear. We got our maps and half of the UTM coordinates at 6:30 am. We finished plotting the points just in time for a brief briefing at 6:50 and at 7 am we were off! The first TA was at the southern edge of the mountain section of the park, where the corridor horse trail begins. We were to drop bikes there and then get the four mountain CP’s on foot. Several teams got on the road ahead of us. On the way up, Patrick and I picked up the CP’s scattered between the start and TA1. The Scheidt’s caught up to us at one of these CP’s but we apparently took a different route after that and lost sight of them.

By the time we reached TA1, there were a depressing number of bikes laying around. Lots of teams were ahead of us! We switched to trail shoes and took off, heading up the Mountain Trail. We climbed up and found CP4 right on the trail. A little further up we met Dwight from Asheville, the lone solo racer, coming down from the mtn already. He said he had all four mtn CP’s. We wished him luck and acknowledged the fact that he was in a class way above us!

A little further up the trail, just beyond some big boulders, we caught up with two other Triangle teams: Barnacle Nuts (Brent and Davie), and Bushwhackers (Jeff, Bob and Bob). They were all searching for CP5. Our UTM coordinate placed it on the west slope of the mtn amidst a sea of non-descript contour lines. The park map had trail lines but Todd, the RD, already told us they were not proportionally accurate. The other teams had already searched past the two trail intersections above and were coming back down to look around again. We looked with them. We looked back at the boulders, and off in the woods on either side of the trail.

After 15-20 minutes of fruitless searching, we decided to move back up towards the intersections. From there, Patrick and I chose to head out northward around the mtn on the Grindstone Trail. We soon met team El Presidente (Bruce and Dale) coming up the trail. They had been to get the summit CP and were returning to look for CP5 again. Team Bushwhackers came up behind us then. We all continued down the trail until we reached a blue-blazed trail coming down from the summit. El Presidente had just come down this trail. They went further down the Grindstone Trail while the rest of us made the decision to give up on CP5 and go to the summit CP. We hiked up the blue-blazed trail to the summit parking lot. At the top, we met Barnacle Nuts and the Scheidts, who had taken the Ledge Springs Trail to the summit parking lot. The Scheidt’s were the smartest and decided the quickest to give up on CP5. Our four teams then headed over to grab the summit CP, which was on the east side of the big rock outcrop. From there, it only took a few minutes for all of us to decide to bushwhack down towards the last of the four mtn CP’s.

The descent was steep and briary, but manageable. There was some butt-sliding involved. Near the bottom, Patrick and I split off from the group and tried a direct bearing towards what we felt like was the location of CP7. We had no solid nav clues to go on, so it was truly some instinctual navigation. We soon hit a road bed where we started looking for the spot where the map indicated a pond (a blue oblong rounded shape). We thought we were further north than that spot, so we headed south on the roadbed. We passed an open field and then a little further on we met several other teams coming up the trail – Barnacle Nuts, the Scheidts, the Bushwhackers, El Presidente, and one of the coed teams. We went back up the road to the field and decided it should have been a yellow field, not a blue pond, on the map. We headed off into the woods on the east side and saw lots of flagging all over the place. The Scheidts soon found the CP and we tried to slip over quietly to punch it. Before we could get too far away, some of the other teams saw us and/or the CP and headed over.

We then took off running through the woods south towards the trail and road on our way back to the TA. Most of the teams soon caught up with us and we were all in the TA together as we loaded up to bike back out. As Patrick I pulled out of the parking lot, I heard Bruce cussing and looked back to see him dropping his gear to fix a flat tire. That sucks.

Patrick and I had already picked up the other CP’s in this area, so we only had to return to the start area and head out on the second part of the course. The ride back was mostly downhill, ok at least some of it was downhill. We had some headwinds that made the level sections seem uphill. When we cruised into the HQ area, the morning chill was gone so I traded my long sleeve shirt for a nice red hawaiian shirt. We ate a quick bite as we refilled our camelbaks and then took off towards the river parking lot. About 100 yards from the HQ area, we hit a real mother of a hill. Probably the worst one on the entire course! We pushed our bikes up this gravel road and then rolled on towards CP10. At CP10 we greeted the volunteer and chose a PFD from the pile. We had to wear it until we reached CP11, on the other side of the river.

We were in Pilot Mtn SP, so we couldn’t ride our bikes. We ran down the horse trail to the river rolling the bikes along beside us. After two river crossings, knee deep, we met RD Todd walking up the trail toward us on the middle island. He had a large paper bag with him. Turns out he was setting the CP’s for the orienteering section. I didn’t find this out until after the race.

After two more river crossings we met Jimmy, the volunteer at CP11. He took the PFD’s and we pushed our bikes up the second worst hill on the course on our way out of the park. From there we began a long grind of a bike ride over to the TA2, at the Rockford bridge. The wind was always a headwind, and was stronger now, and the hills were just a relentless gradual uphill. It was about 7 hours into the race at this point, so our first wind was giving out and we were just waiting for our second wind to kick in. Ok, not waiting, we kept going and wondering when it would kick in.

The final downhill to TA2 was fast and filled us with relief at being able to get off the bike. It wasn’t until after a minute or so of talking to Christine (race staff and Isotopes team member) that we realized we were not ready to paddle yet. We still had a four point bike-O section to do!! Looking at the map, the obvious way to these CP’s was to ride back up the hill and follow an unpaved road down a ridge. I would rather have run the whole thing than pedaled the bike back up that hill! We chose to take off down a riverside mud road and then see if we could bushwhack up the ridge and find these points. Since it was a bike-O section, it made sense that we should be able to ride to these points. But the quad map didn’t show many roads or trails in the area.

When we got about a km down the road, we started seeing four-wheeler tracks heading up the hill side. We started up one of them. Just then we saw Dwight coming flying down through the trees on another trail about 50 meters to the right of us. We hopped over and pushed our bikes up his trail to the ridgeline. We were really tired of the bikes by now so we decided to hike the two CP’s that were within a few hundred meters of this spot. There were four-wheeler trails leading to both of them, so they were pretty easy to find. Especially once we started to trust that the RD had put the CP’s on a trail.

From there, we rode down the ridgeline to where the third CP was. We found it off the trail on top of a knoll, then we dropped downhill towards the river for the fourth CP. The trail down the hill was a little slick with mud and very steep. I finally chickened out before my butt went flying over my head. I walked/slid down the rest of the way. The trail dumped us out at the riverside mud road and we found the CP right on the riverbank at the water’s edge. Then we headed back along the riverside road to the TA. Halfway there we met El Presidente coming towards us. They were just starting on the bike-O section.

Back at the TA, we happily ditched our bikes and shoved our canoe towards the river. The Scheidt brothers showed up about then and were talking about not even trying to get any of the bike-O CP’s. We waved at them as we headed down the river. I think they were sitting down at the picnic table as we disappeared downstream. It was 3:55pm as we laid into our paddling rhythm.

The first paddle CP was on the left up a small creek. Easy to find. We stopped for a minute to have a quick snack. The second CP was up the Ararat River, past the first rapid. We pulled the canoe over just below the rapid and Patrick ran the 100 yards up to get the CP.

From there we started looking for a CP in front of a hill. We were expecting to see it on the bank, but did not. When we had paddled to the far end of the knoll and the terrain flattened back out, we turned around and paddled upstream about 100 meeters to where I thought the point might be. Patrick jumped out, climbed the bank and found a trail. He followed it to the right and soon found the CP, well out of sight of the river. I think this was near a small cave, according to the post-race discussions with Todd.

We briefly enjoyed the view of Pilot Mountain from the long straightaway on the river.

The fourth river CP was on the right up another small creek. This one gave us some trouble. It was in a tree about 8 feet up the bank from the water. We looked behind the tree at the waterline and then paddled upstream another 50 meters, looked around, and were backtracking when I finally saw it.

The next CP was up on a hill on the south side of the river. We paddled down to where the reentrant below the CP location met the river, and then followed the reentrant up. We soon found a trail and followed it right to the CP. Piece of cake.

We reached TA3 at about 6:30pm. This was located at the public river access on the south bank just above the Shoals. Volunteer Jimmy waved us on and told us not to stop since it was too late to start the foot orienteering section. We were supposed to have been done with the foot-O by 6:15. Since we had not seen anyone behind us on the river yet, we were ok with missing the foot-O section.

We had one more CP to get on the north bank. It was a little further downstream. We pulled over, climbed up to the railroad tracks and found it about 100 feet away. As we returned to the canoe, we saw El Presidente go floating by. Not far away was Barnacle Nuts. We raced back to the canoe and took off in hot pursuit. The Shoals were the typical maze of rocks and ledges. Trying to race through them was a mix of adrenalin and frustration. The rocks eventually snagged the other guys often enough to let us slip ahead of them. Patrick keeps talking about my superior canoe steering skills. I was just happy to be heading through there in a canoe not overloaded with camping gear. Maybe all those past trips through here paid off after all!

We were looking for a manned CP on the river’s edge, but didn’t see anyone. We found a spot where the horse trail came out, maybe. There were some people with boats up at the railroad track, but I wasn’t sure if they were racers or not. In my endorphin haze, I felt like there was a better spot further downstream. I knew the parking lot was further downsteam anyway, so we went on. About 100 yards down I realized that we were further downstream than the steps on the big island, and that didn’t seem right. We pulled over and I got out to climb the bank and see if I could tell where we were. I ran back up the trail along the bank for 100 yards or so and that’s when I saw everyone hauling boats up the trail to the parking lot. Where that trail came down to the river was not obvious from the water. We had missed it. I ran back towards the canoe and yelled for Patrick to get out. It was time to portage! We hooked up the shoulder straps and started the long trudge up to the parking lot. What is normally a pretty light canoe felt like lead after our long day!

We finally reached the parking lot and set the canoe down for the last time. Everyone else was out of sight already. We grabbed our passport and map and started up the road. We walked the uphill part, until it started leveling off. My legs were starting to cramp again, so I popped another 3 Endurolytes and when the road started to level off, we started a slow jog. We looked at the time and realized that we could probably make it back in time to be under one hour past the 7pm cutoff. We couldn’t make it in under 45 minutes past the cutoff. So we were expecting a 3 point penalty – one for each 15 minutes late.

At the top of the last long hill, we started running down. The legs were not as limber as they could be, so I felt like I was running on stilts. We neared the bottom of the hill and charged straight through the steam crossing. We ran up to the picnic table and handed our passport to Todd. He was calling out the race time as we approached – 12:59 and 53 seconds! As he wrote our time down, his watch alarm went off. Woohooooo!!!! We made it to the line in less than an hour over!!

Several of the other teams were already there with burgers in hand and/or in mouth. I caught my breath and then grabbed a burger myself!! What a great day!

It wasn’t until during the awards presentation about an hour later, after all the teams had returned, that we discovered the finish time had been extended an hour! We had really come in with 7 seconds to spare. No penalties at all! That’s a great lesson in “never give up”!

Dwight was able to get to the foot-O section in time to go get at least one of those CP’s. I think there were 8 of them in all. No one else got there in time to try. I don’t think any of the teams behind us on the river got all of the river points. We ended up with 20 points, out of a possible 30. Dwight had 22. El Presidente had 18. That put us in first place in the 2 person male team category!!!

Some of our top finish was due to luck. We managed to spend time getting CP’s before the mountain section while the other teams were searching for CP5. That let us catch up to them and not spend as much time on that search. But every other team had the same option to get CP’s on the way. They probably chose to go straight to the mtn while they had fresh legs, which was not a bad approach. We chose to get two of the CP’s that were close to the river while we were paddling, instead of getting them from the bike. They were listed with the other bike CP’s, but the rules said you could get them in any order you wished. The rules did not say you had to get them by bike. Many of the other teams rode the extra miles to get them by bike while we walked about 200 yards to get them from the river. The RD agreed after the race that they could be gotten in any order.

Overall, I think it was a great course. It would have been a wonderful 16 hour course. There was just too much fun to pack into 12 hours, or even 13 hours as it turned out. The terrain there was awesome and we got a good tour of the area. I hope the Isotopes put on another race in that area, or using some of the other parks in the region. I’ll definitely sign up if they do!

Don Childrey

Details to follow.

Michele and Beau teamed up with Beau’s boys to race in the May 3rd Impossible Panther Adventure Race. They did well, taking first place in the 4 hour coed division!

Just getting to the starting line of this race was an adventure, or should I say a series of unfortunate events. I first lost a teammate to appendicitis, instead of to more obvious shoulder problems. Other potential teammates fell to the flu, a torn LCL, and at that point I refused to let anyone else consider it, for their own safety. I had my own share of unfortunate events in the last few weeks – a run-in with barbed wire on an O-course, endo’s off of my bike, and endo’s while trail running. The day before the race, just hours before I hit the road, I learned the accommodations for a group of us were double booked and I had to find another place. On the drive to the race, I faced torrential rains and high winds. About an hour from the check-in, I had to take a detour to a dealership to figure out why my truck had suddenly started to cough and sputter when I tried to rev beyond 2,000 rpm. But eventually I made it to the pre-race checkin – with just 8 minutes to spare.


Steve Morrone, the race director, was kind enough to give us the race maps and most of the UTM coordinates the night before. That enabled me to stay up much later than I would have otherwise, to prepare for the race, of course. The map was a thing of beauty in itself. It was bigger than any table in my hotel room. Maybe bigger than most tables anywhere in the hotel. And certainly bigger than the hood of my truck. Like most racers, my map case will hold one sheet of 8.5×11 paper. If it’s thicker than that, it can’t be quite that wide. How do you spell origami?

Race day dawned with more rain, but at least it was relatively warm – mid-60’s. The forecast called for temp’s to fall during the day, down to the low fifties by evening. That was about perfect. The high wind forecast – 30 mph with gusts to 50, wasn’t so appealing. By the time we arrived at the start, the rain had stopped. Steve had announced the night before that the high winds were too dangerous for the paddle section, so it was being dropped. We were getting some extra biking mileage to get to what would have been the paddle to bike transition area. He had marked on the maps the route we had to bike to that TA, in order to stay off of heavily traveled US 17. Travel along 17 was prohibited – we could only cross it. Fair enough.

I hung out at the start line with fellow TrailBlazers RDU chapter members Sheila and Shelly, Team “Slow and Steady”. Bruce Dale and Dale Long were there to, racing as Team “Five-O Racing”. Matt Tabor and his team “NC Adventure Racers” were also there. I know there were others from Raleigh, but I’m not sure if there were any other TB-RDU members there or not. There were just over 100 racers in attendance, many of whom I’ve met briefly at the races I’ve put on.

Steve started us off by having teams use their 10-20 feet of 10mm rope to tie each teammate to the other members of the team. Solos had to wrap the rope around our necks. We were all given a map of the historic district of McClellanville and directions to 6 checkpoints. We had to run to each CP, write down a letter-number code found there, then come back and use the code to find 6 letters off of a chart. Then we had to unscramble the letters to answer a question before we would be given our passports for the rest of the race.

The passports were nice. They were 8.5×11 sheets of paper laminated with a coating as stiff as a driver’s license. It was probably bombproof. I almost strained something trying to fold it in half to fit it into my pack. It certainly wasn’t going to return at the end of the day looking like a soggy wad of paper pulp – which makes life easier for whoever has to verify results (been there).

Having already plotted all of the CP locations, except for the orienteering course that we would do from CP 12, several of us were thinking of doing the course in reverse order from how they were numbered. That would put the foot section earlier in the event, while our legs were fresher. Steve nixed that idea because he might not be able to get volunteers out to CP 12 and set up before racers would arrive. So after the historic run, teams pedaled off along the same route. The sun was starting to chase away the clouds by this time, and it was looking like a great day. The westerly winds were directly in our face, as they should have been. I was just hoping that it would blow in the same direction for the afternoon’s ride back along this same road.

The paved road eventually gave way to a sand road. It gave way shortly thereafter to a soft sand road. A few miles of that, with more headwind, and some of the teams were starting to lose steam. I had planned to hang with Sheila and Shelly for a good part of the race, but the adrenalin of being able to pass other teams got to me. Sheila had already told me to go ahead if I wanted to, so I didn’t feel too bad about it. I was racing in a different category from them anyway.

At the end of the road we were on, we should have found US 17, and been able to cross it into Buck Hall Recreation Area where we would pick up the Palmetto Trail. There were some side roads that cut the corner, so I decided to try one of them. Another team was coming back up towards me, so I figured they were thinking the same thing. When we got to 17, we could see the entrance to Buck Hall, but it was a quarter mile away to the right. They turned around instead of traveling along 17 to get there. I made one of my impulsive moves of the day and crossed 17 and went down a dirt road on the other side. If I was where I thought I should be, I would find a small road to the right that would lead me to the trail. I didn’t find the side road, but I did find a pit bull and a golden retriever who thought it fun to bark and chase me down the road for a quarter mile. I eventually yelled at them enough that the golden stopped running, at which point the pit bull did too, thankfully. That left me near a powerline, which fortunately had a well used trail under it, heading in the direction I wanted to go. So I followed it.

The powerline trail brought me out on the road into Buck Hall, and I saw a couple of teams riding down the road towards the location of TA 2, which was no longer needed. I continued along the powerline and found more teams at the trail/powerline intersection, studying their maps. I already knew I wanted to go right on the trail, so I just rolled by them and headed off down the trail. The Palmetto Trail here was really nice, pine needle covered tread winding through a palmetto and pine forest. I soon came to a small bridge over a creek – neither was on the map, and met a team of three who were dismounting their bikes. Because they stopped, I did too and that’s when I noticed the control hanging under the bridge. We’ll call this “race magic”, when a fortunate bit of being in the right place at the right time occurs and saves you from making a big mistake. I would have missed the control had they not been there. Turns out one of the guys was Jack, the RD for the Poker Run AR, another race in the this year’s TrailBlazers Sprint Series.


I rode with these guys most of the way to the next CP, but left them when they stopped to map read at a turn in the trail. I think having my map folded and hanging where I could read it and ride helped save me some time. I saw a lot of people stopping to read maps during the day. The next few CP’s were hard to miss. With three of four teams’ bikes and people milling around, you couldn’t miss the turns to the CP locations. Had I been the only one there, it would have been much more difficult to spot the right locations, so I’ll call this more “race magic”. Most of the control placements were out of sight of the main trail, and the 1:24k scale maps were not exactly full of landmark details.

After our train of teams crossed back over 17, and contined along the Palmetto Trail, the nice pine needle covered trail changed to root soup. We had puddles, no, sections of trail that held standing water 4 to 8 inches deep. At least the bottom was solid and we just splashed through, throwing black water all over us. There went the dry socks! I passed a few more teams who were map reading as we made several more road crossings.

Eventually I reached a trail intersection that wasn’t clearly marked on the map. I knew I was near an option to leave the trail and hit some roads to save time. Instead of hesitating with the group of teams, I took a left turn and zipped away on my own. A few of them followed me shortly, and caught up as I realized this just brought us out to 17 and the road we were looking for was to the right several hundred meters. This team had raced the last Gold Nugget and knew me. We reluctantly turned back and rode the trail back to the last intersection before going the other way. We didn’t want to risk a DQ for traveling on 17. The fact that there was a trooper, with blue lights flashing, parked in the middle of that few hundred meters might have helped us decide to behave.

At the next road crossing, I decided to go left and continue my earlier plan of using the road to save time. It was longer, but the trail could be slower, especially if it was rooty and flooded like the previous sections. No one followed me. Along the road I found even stronger headwinds than before. I think that killed any advantage I might have gained. As I neared the spot where the trail came out, I saw teams that were just behind me on the trail earlier. They were just ahead of me now. Oh well – mental note to self to think about wind direction before taking open road section again.

At the next CP I passed some teams as they dallied at the CP. The teams I had been closest to didn’t dally, but they weren’t busting it on the ride either. I passed two of them and kept rolling. By now I had been out for almost 2.5 hours and my 2 hour bottle of Perpetuem was empty. I thought about continuing on, but knew that I would need the energy later. I stopped and mixed up another bottle, and watched these teams pass me again. I don’t think I caught them again, certainly not before the O-section. Note to self – find a faster way to refill the bottle.

CP 7 was along a creek, between two roads that met at angle. There were several teams there looking for it with no success yet, so I went around the corner to the other road to attack it from a different angle. Their numbers prevailed and they found it before I did, but I heard the shouts and soon had it punched too.

The next CP was about 9 feet off the ground. There was a wire ladder, with 6″ long rungs, stretched between the tree and the ground, at almost a 45 degree angle. If I’d had a teammate, I could have hoisted them up to punch the card. As a solo, I would have had to hang from the ladder with one hand, hold the passport with the other, and operate the punch with … Ok, so here’s a good reason for a bombproof passport – I could hold it in my teeth while I jumped up, grabbed the one tree limb within reach, wrap my legs around the tree, lean over with my head and get the passport within reach of the punch. Voila.

I saw the team there before me head off to the east on an old nearly overgrown track, but it wasn’t on the map, so I backtracked to the last intersection and followed a road that was on the map. It came out on a paved road, as expected, but there was another sand road across to the right. The map said it should have been left. Two other guys disappeared up it, so I took a chance and did so too. I was starting to drag at this point, so I never caught them. This was about the time I decided that four Endurolyte capsules per hour wasn’t enough. I had a few muscle cramp tweaks every now and then, so I decided to up the dosage. It helped, and I kept going.


I think the next section involved a long grinding ride of 5 or 6 km’s to get to a few more CP’s before we reached CP 12 and the TA. With no one to talk with to help pass the time, this was not a particularly fun section. It eventually passed, but not before having to face killer headwinds that nearly stopped my in my tracks. I took a great picture at CP 10 where the wind was blowing the control flag out sideways from the branch it was tied to. It was disheartening to watch my bike speed drop by a third in a split second just because of a wind gust.


At the TA, we had to stick a tossed tomahawk in the target twice before they would give us the O-course UTM’s. I messed up the first three tries, but on the fourth I got the technique right, and the fifth try stuck too. I tried for number six to see if I really had it, but it bounced off. Don’t get cocky.

We had 5 UTM’s to plot for the O-section. One of the other racers there asked if they had to be done in order, and the answer they were given was yes. I learned that many other teams did it in the opposite order, which might have been easier, but who knows. I went in numerical order, and the first leg was a straight shot about 2.5 km down a road. My legs were not recovered enough to run yet, and my back was feeling a bit tight, so I alternated some jogging with fast walking. At that first CP, I met the team from the Gold Nugget again, and we went together to the next CP. It was another case of “not all roads are on the map”. The UTM plotted 500 meters from any road, but there was a road bed that led to it. We saw Bruce and Dale coming out as we went in to it.

From there we could bushwhack 1 km to the next point, or run 5+ km around by the roads to get to it. Another team there said they’d just spent 15 minutes and couldn’t get through the brush and briars. We tried for 10 minutes and then decided to go back to the last major road and try another old roadbed we’d seen. It soon gave out but we were closer, so we tried to punch through again. The briars just got too thick for us, so we would go a little further left and try again. We repeated this until we finally found a thinner spot we could scratch through. On the other side the vegetation opened up and we looked for the backstop road we were expecting. We kept going and didn’t see the road, and didn’t see the road, and didn’t see the road. By now it had been about 40 minutes since we left the last control. Then we spotted the control up head!! Then we saw the road bed. What luck!! Had we punched through the briars sooner, we might have missed the road altogether and really wasted some time. In the end, I’m not sure we gained any time on teams that ran back around, but it was fun to have lived through the briar bushwhack experience, and to feel the elation of coming out right on the CP. I wasn’t up to running anyway, so it worked for me.

At this point, the team I had bushwhacked with kept walking and I decided to jog again. The slower bushwhack pace must have loosened me up and rested my legs.

At CP 16, I had the option to bushwhack a half km, or run roads for 2km. The map placed a symbol for swamp in between, and after the last bushwhack experience, I chose not to try it. Bruce and Dale did it, and reported than the water was only mid-shin deep. I missed an opportunity there. Oh well.


I passed two teams on the last jog back to the TA, and left out just before them. I stopped briefly on the road to chat with Sheila and Shelly as they were heading to the last O-course CP. The other teams passed me but I caught up again and drafted with them for a while. I lost some ground against them at the next CP’s, partly because I had to take my pack off to get the passport out, and partly because I was starting to drag again. I pushed on as much as I could, trying to not to cause a cramp and still trying to keep up with them, although they weren’t in my category. They were just a good measure of my progress against the clock.

As they headed off on a side road to get the last CP, I enjoyed a final emotional boost. I had picked up this CP on the initial ride out, so I didn’t have to stop for this one. This gave me the chance to get several minutes ahead of them and out of sight. The homestretch adrenaline kicked in at this point and I hammered the pedals as hard as I could. Ok, it was more of a hard push with some worry about cramping, but it was close to all I could give at the time. I noticed that I managed to maintain a higher speed than I had all day, despite some headwind, and that encouraged me too. I did stop once to pop four more Endurolytes before I crossed 17 for the final 2 km to the finish. The headwinds picked up even more in the last 500 meters, just to whip me one more time, but I made it in anyway. I did it!

Steve had a guy with a laptop taking the passports and verifying results and entering them in on the spot. They had a 30 inch monitor set up so you could see the results. Very nice. It showed me that I was the third Solo to come in – even nicer!! That was pretty amazing considering all the training I had not done. Can’t wait to see the final numbers to see if I would have had a shot at 2nd if I had not made all the mistakes I did. My watch said my total time on the course was 8:28.

After a change of clothes, I hung out with the other finishers and ate cookies, drank gatorade, and tried to stay in the sun and out of the wind as much as possible. We clapped for the other teams coming in and waited for the shrimp creole to be served. I know I made several mistakes on the course, but I think you have to go make them in order to learn from them. It was a lot of fun, even if I did have to race solo, and I’ll probably do it again next year. Maybe we’ll get to paddle then!

Official results 

May the Adventure continue!



Sheila and Shelly finishing!

Report from Rogers

Report from COP:

Hi family! !

Hope all are doing well and enjoying the winter!

Wayne Riley and I made a mad dash to Mt. Rogers this Friday for a weekend in Rogers weather. COLD, SNOW and more COLD.

When we arrived Friday night NOT a bit of wind all the way to the pine trees. With snow from the past week of about 10 inches. A nice warm 20 degrees as we set up the tent. Great view of the sky and ski slops and no wind!

Over night fresh 2 inches of snow, nice 17 when we got up for a warm breakfast of srimp and grits – – – in the tent. We did a few hikes all over the place. Yes Infoman I did find the new camp site! Lunch back at the tent and of course a nap for 1 to 2 to recover from walking in snow drifts two feet +.

That afternoon Wayne went on another hike I stayed in the warm tent and read a book. After a great dinner Wayne brought he went to sleep at 7:30 me I was reading some more but after the third time the book fell out of my hands I also said good night. THEN THE MT. ROGERS WINDS COME! ! Strong winds from hell all night. Going out to take care of the needs was no fun!This morning 18 degrees, still strong winds with the whole Mt. covered in rim ice. What a winter wonder land it was.

We hiked down and went to highway 16 and 58 and had a breakfast with a scout troop that was around the bend from us. They all talked about how cold they where. One asked how two old people could stay warm. WE JUST SMILED!



Dec on Mt. Rogers

We’ve decided that we should make our services available to all the municipalities who are suffering from “exceptional drought” conditions this year. All we have to do is go on a trip and the rains will be there!


Six of us headed up to Mt. Rogers for a semi-traditional December backpacking trip. Four of the group were present on the October monsoon paddle trip. Hmm, maybe one of us is jinxed?

We arrived late Friday after dark and in a drizzling off and on rain. The first two guys up the mtn had fun with navigation and were not able to locate the side trail off to the new favorite camping spot. Muffin Man is safe from accusation, because he hadn’t been there before. COP on the other hand… Hey, that reminds me, we need to work the story about not being able to find his backpack into this report somehow. Apparently RV’ing has a way of degrading your memory chips.

Infoman and Flex arrived later, after a tour of east Greensboro and dinner at Cracker Barrel. Seems navigation challenges were abundant Friday night. We hiked up and found COP and Muffin Man at the fence, in a tent, waiting for us to show up and show them the way to the new campsite.

It was windy, but warm, about 40 degrees. I’ve hiked up that hill on Friday nights when it was about 4 degrees. It’s much more fun when it’s 40! There were a few remnants of Wednesday’s snow left in the usual snow drift spots as we hiked up. I made sure to step in them, but forgot to snap a picture for proof.

As we waited for them to take down the tent, we spotted Noodle Man and Cookie Man’s headlamps coming up the trail. I showed COP the way to the campsite. He was close, but passed right by the sign at the intersection. I told him it didn’t matter if the sign didn’t say anything about the camp – it just had a horseback rider symbol on it. I told it was a “sign” and that was all he needed. 🙂

We all got to the campsite about 11pm and pitched our tents. It didn’t take long to decide that we’d had enough of a day already and a little sleeping bag time was in order. It rained a lot during the night and the wind howled. I worried at one point if the tent was going to pop a pole, since the wall was leaning in and pressing wetly against my face.

Saturday morning arrived rainy and damp. Visibility was about 50 yards. Wayne pulled out his tyvek tarp and we strung it up over a semi-wind-sheltered spot in the trees so we could cook breakfast. We ended up spending a lot of the day there under the tarp.


The rain keep coming and going, so we never did. We headed to the tents around lunchtime to have a long midday nap while the rain pitter-pattered on the tents.


Then we hunkered under the tarp until dinnertime. Wait, I think Wayne and I actually hiked up the hill behind the tarp about 100 yards in one of the breaks from the rain, just in time to see a dark cloud where the sunset should have been. We debated about packing up and heading out, but decided to stick it out. COP promised sunshine on Sunday. We were done with dinner and ready for more naps by 8pm.

Sunday did dawn with a few breaks in the clouds, and we could see a spot of blue sky, and that thing known as the sun – briefly. At least the rain was gone, so we had breakfast and broke camp without getting wetter. My pack thermometer read 50 degrees. It was a short hike back down the hill to the cars.


It was 69 degrees when I got home to Cary. So much for winter backpacking. We all apparently stink at doing the snow dance.

Pix from Michele

Pix from Don

October Kayak Trip

The Adventure Family ventured out to sea kayak on the last weekend in October 2007, contributing in part to the temporary end of the severe drought in NC. There were three sort of new Adventure Family recruits along on this trip; Shark Lady, Mighty Mouse, and Georgia Boy. All of them had shared Adventures with some of the group before, but this was the first time they’d been on the Shackleford kayak trip, a long-standing tradition in the Family. We even had three people fly in for this Adventure, coming in from Chicago and Georgia.

Our plan was to launch from Shell Point on Friday, paddle to Shackleford Banks, spend two nights and come back. The monsoon rains started midweek and were still in full swing when we arrived Friday afternoon. Being hardened Adventurers, we didn’t let that stop us, but we did decide to paddle to Brown’s Island instead of Shack. We reasoned that it was closer and would be easier to get back from if conditions worsened.


Setting up camp Friday night was a challenge worthy of including in an adventure race someday. It was a team effort to erect the tarp and tents in howling winds and driving rain. Dinner was only half possible, as the intermittent showers, no, downpours, prevented us from boiling the srimp.

Sat dawned with a beautiful sunrise, and dry conditions…


until halfway through breakfast, when the monsoon rains returned and stayed with us as we paddled back to Shell Point. We decided that the forecast of strong north winds on Sunday was too risky – we’ve already spent an extra night on Shack that way. So we went looking for a different place to camp. We found a nice flat grassy spot near Cape Carteret.


Fortunately it was Muffin Man’s place, so we didn’t get run off the property. We had a wonderful dinner of long-sought-after red beans and rice with fajita chicken. This dinner required at least three trips to the grocery store, but it was worth it! Afterwards, we enjoyed a nice moonlit stroll around the neighborhood.

The next morning we enjoyed chocolate chip and pecan pancakes on the front porch.


Then we paddled out to an island in the intracoastal waterway.



The winds were brisk and strong enough to make us not regret our decision to skip Shack this time.

On the drive home, we stopped and introduced three new Adventurers to Bojangles’ cuisine. I think they’ll live.

As always, the group found a way to have fun despite the challenges we faced. That is the Adventurer’s way!!



Don’s pix

Michele’s pix