Saturday, February 27, 2010

Challenge Four Adventure Race

Today Chris and I had a "spa day" (meaning we had a sitter!) and got to race the Challenge Four together. It was sunny and nearly 50 degrees so we were pretty excited to get to run around in the woods. We had some formidable competition in the form of Kevin (one of my NGAR teammates), Bill (a past OME teammate), and Gina.

The race started out with a trail run along a mandatory route that was supposedly marked with flagging tape and volunteers. The problem was that the majority of the volunteers were teenagers who only spoke when spoken to (and even then it was just a mumble), and there were some confusing intersections that didn't have arrows, flagging tape or a volunteer. I'm not sure what happened, but somehow we (meaning us, Kevin's team, and some other front running teams) got directed off course and were kind of running around in circles wondering which way to go. We made our way back to the TA with a couple of other teams and headed out on our bikes.

We had to fight traffic on the way out, as there were runners coming back in, and on the way back in we had to fight bike traffic heading out in the wrong direction. We managed to lose the marking tape on the bike section as well and ended up going out of our way. We also had to contend with a nasty mud bog section that my drivetrain could have done without. When we returned to the TA, Chris scaled the climbing wall while I did the rope maze. The wall actually turned out to be pretty tough, as Chris had to climb the "hard" side since they were working on the easier side when we got there...and he climbed in bike shoes. Next it was off to the log pull which wasn't too terribly bad, but I'm glad I didn't have to do it by myself.

The next section was the canoe and we managed to get to our boat just before Kevin and his team. They had a much faster canoe so they blew by us on the water. The first two paddle points required a climb up a rocky embankment and I humped it up there and back pretty fast so we could stay close to Kevin's team. After CP 6, we could thankfully ditch the boat and head out on foot, which was much faster than paddling or dragging the boat in the 2-3 inches of water. We caught Kevin near CP 7, but they headed out before us. That was a good thing for us, as they managed to get a bit turned around and we were able to sneak by and nab all the CPs before they got back to their boat. Chris did a nice job with the navigation on that section and we were pretty efficient. We needed a buffer, as we knew they'd probably make up at least 5 minutes on the paddle back to the YMCA. The paddle back was a bitch as we had to drag the boat through the shallow section again (and the water was probalby 40 degrees! Cold!!!) The wind was horrendous as we came around some bends in the lake and at one point we were blown sideways into a bunch of stumps. We had a bit of reprieve for about 3/4 mile but again were nailed by the wind as we rounded the last bend to the YMCA. I had visions of the wind catching us and pushing us all the way across the lake, but thankfully that never happened and we were able to keep the nose straight and paddle back in at about 1.5 mph. We didn't see Kevin behind us, so that was good for us.

The last section was an orienteering section that we did on foot. It was mostly on the same trails as the earlier run and bike. We picked up the points without any issues, other than a slight hesitation as to what order to go in. We went in numerical order so we could just run across the muddy inlet to shortcut the trail on the way back in. We arrived at the finish at 5:12 pm, and it was fairly anticlimactic as no one really noticed we came in. Chris ran through the finish with his arms raised in an attempt to draw some attention. Kevin and company came in about 15-20 minutes later. I'm not certain, but I think we were the only two teams to clear the course.

We had burgers and awards afterwards at Little River Grill and even though Kevin's team was technically in a different category than us, the competitor in me still wanted to duke it out with them. We chatted afterwards and they joked that they should have followed us on the trek in the middle of the paddle, and then just smoked us on the paddle back in (which they would have). That seriously would have sucked, but I knew it wasn't Kevin's style to idly follow. Even though there were some issues with the race, it was still a fun day in the woods.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Back from Raleigh

Well, good news is survived our trip to Raleigh for the Sycamore Scramble Orienteering Meet. The bad news is that there were a bunch of National Team Orienteers there and we got pretty schooled. On top of that, I managed to run 7.8 MILES on a 7.4 KM course...ya think that qualifies as a bad day? At least I got in three solid workouts over the weekend and my body is feeling it now. My bike workout today felt WAY too hard for what it was. It's early, but Jayden is asleep and I need some shut-eye to rebuild all the muscles that I tore up so Chris and I can redeem ourselves at the Challenge Four Adventure Race this weekend. Nighty-nite!

Monday, February 15, 2010

This time LAST year..

At this time last year, I was at Fort Mountain riding...

Some things to note:





Ugh...I hate to be a debbie downer, and all the Northerners with 5 feet of snow are rolling their eyes at me right now, but this weather sucks! I live in Georgia because I like mild winters, no snow, no ice, and no worries. This past week has been a pain to train in. Icy roads, snowy trails...yes, it's pretty...but if you have to do more than just ride along, it can be a real challenge. Not to mention the amount of time it takes to layer-up, put on shoe covers, etc. I'm about to ask my coach to start including all that in my workout time.

This weekend I opted to hit Blankets (yes, it was actually open) and see if I could do my scheduled workout there. I was off to a great start by wiping out on the ice at the bottom of the hill at the end of my street. Thankfully my bike wasn't damaged and none of the neighbors were outside. The roads in my neighborhood were still icy and seriously sketchy to ride on until I hit Sixes Road, where the ice was melted. I popped into the trail and after about 5 minutes realized that I wasn't going to be able to get my HR over 145 so I turned around and headed home. Some dude in the parking lot was kind enough to harass me for not sticking it out...sorry if my training actually has an GET FASTER...and not just admire the snow covered trees...I can do that on a walk with my daughter thank you very much! I ended up suffering mercilessly doing my over/under intervals on the trainer for an hour, then later that afternoon, after the ice melted off the roads, managed to get out for another hour and a half and do the rest of my intervals.

Sunday we headed up to Noontootla, and I had visions of muddy, wet FS roads. Nope..try snowy, white FS roads. All of 'em...even the ones down low. The climbing was pretty good, though we were getting colder than usual on the downhills since we had to take it easy to avoid sliding out. It never got above 40 degrees and actually started snowing on us pretty good during the ride.

Thankfully, we didn't see any snow last night or today yet, so all there is to deal with are the cold temperatures. Spring where are you? I'm soooo ready.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Adventure Race Class

That's right kids, school is in session for an Adventure Race Survival Class to help racers prep for the Challenge Four Adventure Race. The class will be at OutSpokin' Bicycles in Woodstock, on February 17th at 7 pm.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Back in the Saddle

Whew! Back to life as usual and of course just in time for the weather to take a nosedive. Saturday's ride was good to spin the legs. It wasn't ACTIVELY raining and I had on enough warm clothes to stay warm in the 38 degree temps. I was thinking how great it would be on Sunday when it was supposed to be MOSTLY SUNNY and 46 degrees. Hmph...never least the mostly sunny part never happened up in Bartow County where I was riding. Thankfully it was only a two hour ride.

Tomorrow I have a hard workout scheduled and it is supposed to rain...oh the misery, and there's no way I'll be able to hit my HR zones on the trainer so I HAVE to do it outside.

Thursday, February 4, 2010


So I'm sitting out Snake Creek Gap (again) this weekend, as my coach advised me to just do easy rides since I am recovering from illness. I am a little bummed, but at the same time, it is supposed to rain today and tomorrow and sections of the course will probably be pretty nasty. Saturday weather isn't supposed to be great, so I doubt that many uber-fast times will be posted. I'll have to make the call at the last one, based on the times posted so far if I want to show up. It would $130 for a single race, but the 5th place payout in the women's open is $130...I'd hope I can at least get that...depends if a bunch of pros show up at the last race.

This past weekend, Jayden and I did the yellow course at a GAOC meet and she won! Granted I did all the walking and map reading, but still... She made it about 20 minutes this time before conking out. Unfortunately, mom likes to run the yellow course (can be done mostly on trail) like a red course (minimal trail) and Jay got to do some bushwhacking and we slid down a hill on some leaves. What fun! I'm hoping for warm weather soon so she can sit in the bjorn facing outward and I won't have to wear such a heavy coat to keep her warm.

I'm looking forward to the spring and warmer temps. Once we have a dry, warm weekend, I'm going to head up to Mulberry Gap for a mini training camp. We won some free stays from our NGAR win, so you can bet I'll be there.