The alarm went off at 4:30. Yuck. I forget how noisy tent camping can be. We listened to some coyotes during the night and one of us snored. I’m not saying which one.
We pulled on our clothes which consisted of new socks for both of us, and new pants for me. Which totally goes against what we’ve been taught…..“Nothing new on race day!” Nothing like being out there for hours and finding out something rubs. We were up and ready. My stomach was not so ready. Nothing like getting ready to be active for 6 hours and not wanting to eat anything.
We met our new partner at 5:00 am at the starting point. It was a quick introduction and then had to get moving. We then caravaned to the 2 bike drop off points. Then made our way back to the start. I felt rushed at the start. I was trying to get down a 1/2 banana and needed to fill up my hydration pack. T and Sheri went over to listen to the last minutes talks, which were mostly weather updates. They would pull us off the course if needed but otherwise be careful. Thunderstorms were expected that day. There was no time for any strategy session with the team or even much time to share with T the plotting we had done and possible route.
The race started and we were off. We just followed the pack and made it to checkpoint (CP) 1. Woo hooo. We were definitely back of the pack since we are normally and I was struggling to keep my banana down. After a few minutes of fumbling around trying to get a bearing, we realized that we hadn’t communicated that we had gotten CP 2 not 1. I had been looking at the map thinking we were in a different place. Once we figured that out, we got back on track and found CP 3. But not before it started raining. We probably spent about 30 minutes getting poured on but there was no danger so we kept trucking along.
We got CP’s 3 – 5 pretty well and then caught up to a few groups searching for 6. We were in and out of a creekbed, climbing and crawling through the trees. I think that’s where I lost my headband. Bummer. We had decided earlier that we did better when we focused on our own thing rather than what other’s were doing. We moved on thinking we either missed it or hadn’t come across it yet. We took a ‘trail’ headed where we wanted to go (also not in the direction everyone else was searching). We passed up the ‘fit’ team (I call them that because they all look super fit) who was looking another way. We got into some trees, down a hill….and found 6!
It was hard not shout it out, but we kept it quiet to keep our advantage. I wish we could bottle that feeling. We were ecstatic!
Fit team passed us on the way to 7, but we didn’t see any other teams. We got 8-10 no problem, and moved to Transition Area 1 to get Sheri and I’s bikes. We then went with T to the kayak area, where Sheri and T carried the kayak to the riverfront and T paddled off.
Sheri and I took off to do our set of CP’s while T was on the river. We walked our bikes a bit more than I expected but got all of the points. We met a great girl from Kansas during that section. Her dad was doing the kayak portion. This was the 3rd year they had done that race and have traveled to 8 states competing in Adventure Races. They even put one on themselves in Salina KS. We plan on checking that out for next year!
We met up with T at her transition. She had to wait about 10 minutes for us (too much walking our bikes!) and had missed her checkpoint. Bummer.
At this point we decided not to pursue our original plan to go to a cave area that not many people had seen in the last 100 years. CP’s were worth double and the area was supposed to be really neat. It was a tough call, but it had taken us longer to get the point we were at and facing some serious winds. We were concerned with the time. We decided to do a bike loop close to us and then head back near the starting point with whatever time we had left and grab any CP’s up there.
Great plan. And would have had a great finish had that plan worked. We came in the section backwards from the way I thought….we missed the first entrance. By the time we figured that out, we’d passed by 2. We tried to backtrack for 1, but could not find it. We were trying to stay on the bike trails, which I think is what killed us, instead of stopping and going by compass and map. We were letting the trails take us and assuming they were off those trails. We were going for another one which we knew was around a section of trees and we’d have to back a little to get to the other 2. We pushed our bikes up a mammoth hill (which I might have thought was pretty another day) we saw a couple of other racers. They were headed back down the hill. Hmmmm…..
We got out past that hill and just got too far gone. We were following a dang trail and ended up in the middle of a cow pasture with our time running out. Now we were just wanting to head back. This was the not fun part of the day. We were done looking for CP’s now, we just wanted a road to get back. We’d take a farm trail with truck tracks and it would just disappear into nothing. For awhile we got farther and farther away from our original search point hoping we’d find a path that we could use to get to the finish.
No luck. I thought we were going to have to call the race director to come get us. I figured we were so late we’d lose all of our points. (You get docked 1 CP for every 5 minutes late.) We decided we had to head back the way we came to get out (the opposite direction of the finish).
We finally made it back to a road and starting moving toward the finish. We are tired and hungry at this point but giving it our all. We ended up being 10 minutes late. Not too bad for what I thought!
I didn’t know until we got back that Sheri had run out of water 2 hours back!! We opted not to refill our packs at Transition Area 1. I hadn’t realized we could refill so had been conserving mine….plus we were totally new at knowing how much we would for that length of time and activity level. We also feel like we didn’t fill our packs full to start with. Guess we need to practice that! And neither of us thought about bringing spares to put on our bike cages.
Socks and pants held up fine with no chafing or blisters…..which I’m surprised by the blisters since were soaking wet in the morning!
No poison ivy!
Ended up in 7th place out of 13! I’m cool with that considering our ending!
Things to work on:
Not getting lost, getting our bearings sooner…even if get turned around not getting that far out.
Planning….we could have done a few more things to our map that would have helped and make sure to trust ourselves and not follow others.
Buy some better hiking/biking pants.
All in all, a success and I can’t wait for the next one. Our next Adventure Race is the State Games on July 19th! We have another ‘new’ teammate but this time I know him!
Any tips for hydration estimates? Or how to fill up a camelbak? Do you have any recommendations for hiking/biking pants?