Monday, August 28, 2006

Tough Sprint Adventure Race!

This past weekend's Blue Hills Adventure Race was one of the top two toughest if not THE toughest one yet in this series! I decided to make it a little harder on myself by forgoing the necessary rest the night before. Getting a little over 2 hours of very bad quality sleep, I got up at 2:15 to load the car up, drive over to get Shane, and hit the road for the drive up to Kellog, IA for the race. Three quarters of the drive up was in pouring rain and it began to make us a little nervous thinking that we might have to slog it out in the mucky stuff. It's best to mentally prepare yourself for the worst just in case. Thankfully, the course was dry, but definitely not easy. This time, the guys from Blue Hills wanted to make sure we all got out money's worth of racing, so they made the course longer than in races past to ensure a MINIMUM of 3 hours racing for everyone. We ended up doing the events in the following order with approx distances:
1. run ~1 mi
2. kayak ~2 mi
3. run ~ 2.5 mi
4. bike ~10mi
5. kayak ~ 2 mi
6. run ~2.5 mi
7. bike ~10 mi
This course was also much hillier than I expected it to be. Lessons re-learned from this race include getting enough rest the night before and make SURE to eat a good breakfast the morning of a race. Coffee and hammer gel does NOT constitute a good breakfast. During the first bike leg, we met some race course officials on one of the roads that made us stop for a "mystery challenge". They gave us a card with instructions to drop our bikes in the ditch by the road and proceed on foot into a pine grove. In this grove, we were to find hidden checkpoints A, B, and C and punch the card with them. These were cleverly disguised hanging in the trees varying distances apart. Another special test had us collecting random objects from a list and putting them in a plaastic bag for race officials to check off. We had to find a bug, coin, credit card, leaf, rock, hammer gel, piece of litter, and a piece of toilet paper. Most of these things were readily in the transition area, but a few teams had to run back to their cars to complete their tasks. Although the kayak leg(s) seemed to go on and on and on, the biking was definitely the difficult part. A good part of it was cross country on newly mowed brush clearing which bridged some of the singletrack sections. The hills surrounding the lake seemed endless with one right after another and almost no flat areas to catch your breath.
Shane and I ended up taking second place in this race behind the Backwoods WildHares. I think we had a good race since we made no big mistakes and felt ok. I think we could've done better with some solid food in us and with a little more rest beforehand, but the team we lost to has been stronger than us all season thus far. It's a bit of a downer to keep finishing behind them, but it's also good for us to have to keep pushing ourselves to race UP to the level of competition they bring.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Ben -

I ran across your blog and appreciated you providing information about the last Adventure Race. FYI... I agree on your philosophy of life. I am 31 and will try my first adventure race in two weeks (Platte River). Me and my buddy are not feeling prepared. Basically all I have are running shoes. I still need to get a bike! Do you have a recommendation on my first bike? You can respond by e-mailing me at Thanks!