Saturday, January 24, 2009

Sandmann Adventure Race

We woke up to a rainy morning, so of course I was ecstatic knowing that I'd have to clean my bike and all my gear after the race...ugh.. This year's race was setup as a three part rogaine for the most part, which is my favorite type of format. Of course it didn't help much since our main competitors all went the same way we did. I teamed up with Kevin M, who typically races with my training buddy Kim.

We opted to canoe first, hoping that the wind would pick up after we were done and create 3 foot whitecaps for all the teams that chose to bike first and were mucking up the bike course for us. I don't think our strategy worked out, as it was pretty windy on and off while we were out there. We were in a group of four lead boats and then watched them all pull away from us. The three other teams all had three people paddling and they were in longer, faster boats. As they got smaller and smaller off in the distance I reassured Kevin that we were the fastest team in a short boat! The paddle went without incident, other than a CP being plotted on the opposite side of an inlet as it was hung, but there were enough people standing around that it was fairly obvious. We came in off the paddle in 3rd place, about 5 minutes down to Julia, Paul and Dwight.

Next we headed off on the bike to get it in before the mud got any worse. We had to ride down to the Iron Hill trailhead, but the kicker was we couldn't ride on the pavement to get there...thus we were relegated to the muddy shoulder. As I was slogging along, it reminded me of mashing through the thick mud going up Springer Mountain on my singlespeed. So I guess I felt right at home. Normally I would sneer at the thought of having to ride the Iron Hill trail, as it is more of a bike path, rather than mountain bike trail, but today I was happy with the crushed gravel surface that meant we could still go fast and not have to worry about eating $hit in the mud. About halfway through we caught Julia and Co. - actually at a bike drop - and we quietly tiptoed off into the woods while they kept riding. We picked up two points on foot and then headed back to the bikes, seeing Julia's team on the way back after they had realized their mistake...which was good for us because it gained us like 5 minutes. After a bit more riding it was back to the mushy road shoulder to ride back to the in 1st and 5 minutes up.

Our final section was the trek, which was essentially just an O-course around the park. This section went well except for me not seeing a good cut through on the way out of the TA and instead taking the roads around. Even walking uphill, I think it would have been a couple of minutes faster. We had another issue with one of the early points, which had a clue that said "bottom of draw". The plot didn't fall at the bottom of a draw, but then again, several of the plots were off just a teensy bit, so I just went by the clue. We lost a bunch of elevation, going all the way to the bottom just to find it half way back up the hill on the side of the spur....grrr. I'm definitely not a fan of unnecessary energy expenditure! The rest of the trek went without incident. We saw Julia and Co. about halfway through and were trying to work out if they had gone the same way as us. After a couple scenarios, I figured
hypothesizing their route was just a waste of brainpower, so we just focused on finding the remaining points and getting back to the TA. When we arrived, no one else was there so we managed to maintain our little lead and just squeak in before the others. Julia, Paul, and Dwight came in shortly after for second.

This is probably my last race (other than the Red Top Rumble with Chris) for several months, so it was nice to go out on a high note, even if it was just a local event. Who knows, I may even be motivated to make the trip to Texas to redeem myself at Nationals in November..we shall see.

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