Race week finally arrived and I took off work Friday. Packing camp stuff, bikes, required gear, food, and water for two racers sure seems like more than twice the normal amount of packing. It was a good thing I took the vacation day. But as you will see shortly, I will never again complain about why we are required to carry so much first aid stuff with us.
We were the first ones to arrive at the campsite we would be sharing. Got all set up and unloaded about the time Bob and Travis from Team Virtus pulled in.
Orange Lederhosen with world famous volunteer Emma, then SuperKate and Jim, all of us were goofing off and sharing a lot of laughs.
Jacob took the time to remind Kate about a certain volleyball bet she had lost to him earlier in the summer where the loser had to eat a raw egg. Unfortunately for Kate, Jim heard it, and Bob, and pretty much everyone else at the campsite. But she caught a lucky break when no one had an egg. It went downhill l quick when Bob said, “Nobody said it had to be a chicken egg…. There’s got to be a nest around here somewhere.”
But the egg bet would have to wait. It was time for check-in and the pre-race meeting. Maybe there will be an opportunity to go double-or-nothing soon.
We drove over to BASS resort and checked in at the main office (you have to get a tag to hang in your car or the chubby-nazi-security guards will get all puffed up and excited). While we were in their office we checked the cooler for eggs (none) and Jacob spotted a bin with volleyballs for sale. He bought one with allowance money. There is a sand volleyball court near the race meeting pavilion, so he was getting people to play with him while I was hanging out waiting for meeting to start.
The meeting got going and some attendance prizes were tossed out. Jacob caught a tee shirt and a water bottle to go along with the cool orange tech Berryman shirt all racers received. We picked up 1 map and cluesheet for each team. The meeting was quick and to-the-point, which was nice. It meant more time for plotting, planning and sleep.
I slept great, but morning came quick anyway. We loaded up and took bikes, paddles, and a drop bag with extra water and bike lights to the boat ramp.
Focused and in the zone.
Just before 8:00am we all got lined up and sang the National Anthem, which is always a great thing, but let me tell you, adventure racers are not singers. Haha, we were so bad.
I must have been talking or something, but I didn’t even hear the start signal, just all of a sudden everyone around me took off running. So we did too. All the racers looked to be taking the same line into the woods that we had chosen the night before, so it was lucky that Bonk Hard had two punches hanging at the first checkpoint. It kept things moving along great. We ran the entire first section only pausing to punch the points. My nav was right on during this section, so we got to the bike transition (CP5) in just under an hour. There was a lot of bikes still on the ground which is always a good sign.
The 12hr and 24hr course split here with 12hr racers getting on bikes, and 24hr racers going out by canoe. There was a 6 mile road ride to CP6 and the next cluesheet. We were only passed by one team on this leg – Out2Play. The Scherff’s are super-fast and outstanding navigators. I was feeling pretty good about ourselves to even see these guys after 5 checkpoints.
Gear Note: If you are still racing without a map board on your bike, get one, or even better make one. These things are the only way to go.
At the transition we were handed a cluesheet with 10 points to plot (CP7 – CP17). Jacob was great, he had caught on to the UTM reading method that Robin and I figured out a long time ago, so we were plotted and moving again pretty quickly.This is where I made the big nav mistake of the day. It would have been so easy to pull out my compass and set a bearing, or at least north the map. But no, I guess it was overconfidence from the morning success. I just took off running down a likely looking dirt road. The first clue was reentrant, so I ran us down a reentrant, obviously turned out to be the wrong one, then tried the next reentrant over, then the next one. Grrrrrrrrrr. After we had searched and wasted about 45 minutes, I finally pulled my head out of my ass and took us back to the transition area to re-set ourselves. The error was so obvious.
Only like 5 minutes later and we were punching CP12. Why, why, why, didn’t I do that the first time, we had started off so good. I should know better by now. Never Assume.We got back on a roll and knocked out four more CP’s (11, 8, 7 and 9) when the AR Gods of chance bit again. We were moving fast down a ridiculously steep and leaf covered hill when I stepped on a baby head hidden in the litter. I never even saw it. My ankle rolled out from under me and I crashed down the hill with a high pitched and probably very girly-sounding “Yelp!” I heard some popping sounds, but maybe it was just the sound of the rocks rolling under me. My ankle hurt so bad I thought I was gonna puke. I sat there on side of the hill cussing for a few seconds trying to get it together with my head running ideas around about search and rescue, helicopters, hospitals, casts, etc.
PART 2 COMING SOON....