We did it! Sort of.
This was a rough one from the start. I felt like a newbie for as prepared as I was. All I thought about when I packed was 81 degrees. I didn’t think about the chillier dark night, ticks, and other creepy crawly things.
Things to not forget when doing an Adventure race:
Long pants or tall socks to help fend off ticks and poison ivy.
Jacket for chilly start or finish.
Compass. Yes, I forgot my compass.
Map case. Oh how I missed my map case. My punishment for forgetting was dealing with folding and refolding the maps into the gallon ziplock baggie and praying it didn’t rip from the carabiner’s attached to it. It held up in the end, but I don’t want to do that often!
So it started out a little rough since I felt off and unorganized. Sheri is usually better than I am, but this was a new low.
We checked in Friday night at 6 and got our first map. Our first map at 1:50 scale. Not my fav. We plotted our map and got a confidence boost when one of the top guys wanted to check his map off ours. This map was to get us from Clinton Lake to Lake Perry about 25 miles away and if getting all of the checkpoints on the way bike 45 miles back all on the bike. That’s the only map and information we got that night so we didn’t know the plan for in the morning. No restless late night worrying about that strategy.
The race started with me still at the car, I spent too much time trying to mark roads for the first biking section and didn’t get my stuff together in time. Ugh. We had to run to get our passports to get started.
Then we got on our bikes to pick up a few on our way to the first trekking section. The first set of bike/trek was all a part of the 6 hour course and we really enjoyed this part of the race. We picked up everything we searched for, although spent some extra time on one. Thank goodness for Sheri! She’s the official scout!
We made it to the first trekking section and pretty much stuck to our plan of only going for 2 and then moving on. We spent a little too much time on one of them, but thanks for Sheri’s eagle eye, it was worth it!
Bike to the bikes to pick up a few more before stopping by the Start/Finish to let them know we were on our way to Lake Perry.
It took us a lot longer to get to Lake Perry and we stopped halfway there to reassess our plan. Could we skip Lake Perry and head back and pick up some more checkpoints on the way? We checked in with the race director and found out that unless we checked in at Lake Perry we couldn’t get any checkpoints for the return trip. It was less hilly on the next half so we decided to move along. Plus we had some food and a change of clothes in our transition bags. We both had some wet feet from some swampiness in accessing a checkpoint.
On our way, we stopped at Casey’s and had the best pizza ever.
We eventually made it into TA2 as it got darker after one missed turned that required a very long uphill to retrace our steps. Not fun.
We changed, had snacks and tried to decide what to do in the dark. Biking section was out….no way was my butt going back on a bike more than it already had to to get back! Canoe or trek? We decided to go for a trekking checkpoint or two. And that didn’t work so well. Neither of us practiced in the dark and I felt blind. We knew we were supposed to bushwack across a section to get between roads but we were in the wrong spot in the dark. We went back in after awhile and to decide what next. Sheri’s dislikes canoeing on a good day in daylight so we decided to skip that as well and just head back.
Planning on picking up a couple checkpoints on the way back and just taking it easy as it was now past 10 pm and the longest we’ve been out. Have I mentioned our longest training ride was 10 miles?!
About midnight I felt something shift on my bike and once we hit hilly gravel I learned my back brake went out. We tried looking at them to make sure there wasn’t an easy fix….like a rock stuck, but we couldn’t tell what was wrong. We alternated walking/riding for an hour contemplating what to do, and picked up a checkpoint. Could we make it if we walked all the way back? We were walking up hills at this point as well, and if we had to be careful on the downhill too…. During the daylight I’m sure we would have pressed on. But in the dark, hilly roads after 18 hours, with Casey’s light shining, we called in and got our first DNF.
Such a bummer to end that way after all that effort but we learned a lot….and what we like and don’t like. For now I think we’ll stick with daylight races.
Have you raced in the dark? How was it?
Next up for us is a 4 hour urban and my 9 year old son is joining.
**Some of the pictures are from Fort Leavenworth Outdoor Adventures. Thanks for the great pics!