Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Edge Adventure Race

Yesterday my friend Sharon and I competed in an Adventure race in PA called the Edge Adventure Race. This was the first time for me as I'm familiar with the XC and Endurance game but not the Adventure stuff. I knew going into it that it was going to be a cool day with 5 miles of running/orienteering, 10 miles of biking, and 5 miles of canoeing that awaited us. Little did I know that it started off with a human wheelbarrow race. Not a short one either. Probably 30 - 40 yards uphill and then back downhill. Crazy!

Next we ran to grab our passport which would tell us the order of the remainder of the race. 1st up was the bike. This was cool but was hard to get a flow going since we had to stop so often and punch our card at the checkpoints and orienteer on the bike. The trails were nice as they were pretty smooth with a few loose sections to climb but nothing too crazy. It was a mix of roads and trails depending on the order you selected to get the checkpoints in. We did it pretty solidly with no mechanicals and one REALLY hard to find checkpoint and then we moved on to the run.

The run was good since we already had a bit of knowledge of the park layout from the bike and we hauled and did our checkpoints pretty quickly. The race directors were a little sadistic in the fact that some of the checkpoints were made so you had to run through thorns or cross rivers to get to them. We kept each other's pace really nicely and were pushing but not getting too tired. The run was solid and we were very excited to get to the next leg - the canoe.

The canoe leg was cool but first you had to run about a mile to the canoe launch with your paddles and life jacket. Then you had to carry the canoe and drop it in and go get your checkpoints. Some were right on the waters edge - others we had to run up onto the shore to get them. Once that was over we did a little bush-whacking to save time and get back to camp to start the final event - team challenges.

The challenges were pretty simple but a little unfair. The first was the buddy carry. I had to carry Sharon across a part of a field about 40 feet and back piggy back style. And then it was her turn to carry me. With a little argument over the fairness of a 100 lb girl carrying a 170 lb guy she threw me on her back and got the job done! Then we had to crawl over a cargo net, do a little tightrope balancing and crawl under a bunch of ropes and run back to the start finish for the end.

We had 6 hours to complete the event and we finished in 3:57 with all checkpoints completed. It was a blast. Sharon had a really good race as well as I. We felt good the entire time but really had no idea how to pace ourselves. We agreed at the end that we definitely could have pushed harder but we just didn't know what the day would entail.

We finished 5th in our division of 13 or so and 30th overall of 103 teams. If you're looking for just a fun and interesting event this style may be the ticket. It's like a big adult scavenger hunt. Pretty cool...

Sunday, October 5, 2008

H2H Campmor #8 - Chainstretcher at Blue Mountain

This race was an absolute blast as usual. Quietly to myself I was wishing for rain since I think I have an advantage in the sloppy conditions and I got what I was wishing for. The course received a nice amount of rain early this morning which slickened things up and made the rocks just a little more dicey. Much thanks goes out to the crew that ran and organized the event as the Expert race went off on time and we had nice 3 minute gaps between groups to help sort out the madness. For a change it went Pros - 30/39, 40/49, and me - 19/29 with JR's and 50+'s. Which was nice to not have the 30's and 40's big guns fly through within the first couple of miles.

The first laps was good and we set out on a hot pace. The climbs were grimy and power sapping as you could feel your tires sliding out especially when out of the saddle. I settled in 3rd place after a little shuffling and was fighting back and forth with Geoff Lenat and the junior Cody K. <---- what a fast dood. Anyway it was good and we settled into a pace and heckled each other as we swapped positions and grinded out the climbs and we were all solid. Things stayed the same for the remainder of lap 1. Then I realized that there were two more laps to go

On lap 2 I caught Allistair(#1) as he had some issues but as I had forseen, about a 1/2 mile later he came flying through. At one point I passed Geoff and then he took it back a little while later and then came his downfall. He pulled off to be a nice guy and got a stick in his derailleur and his day was over. Sheared it right off. So now I was sitting fine in 2nd for the remainder of lap 2 - still feeling good and putting some nice power down. Then I reminded myself that we had one more lap to go...ugh...

So through the start/finish I went and took it down a notch to maintain and I just told myself not to be fast but to be smooth and the rest would fall into place. I was trying to catch Allistair but I knew it would be a tall task. I didn't see anyone in my own category on lap 3. I did start passing some of the 40/49 guys and then I started cramping. My left hammy and my right quad fired. I instantly downshifted, sat, and spun hard to get them to go away and they did. So trail by trail I worked on staying smooth and finally I got to the finish. I maintained to stay in 2nd with a time somewhere right around 3 hours. It was a great day as I love that course SOOOOOO much. Definitely my favorite park in the area. So I got my stuff together got my medal and some $$$ and got out of there. Now for some football and beer....mmmm.