Odyssey Sprint AR

>> Sunday, July 31, 2011

Odyssey Sprint Adventure Race
New Castle, VA
July 23, 2011

Bob and Drew's Race Report
Team #35 - Waterlogged Dogwoods

The first race that the Waterlogged Dogwoods had participated in was a winter Odyssey Sprint AR and that year we did a whole bunch of Odyssey events, finishing 2nd in the Sprint Series. It's been awhile since the Waterlogged Dogwoods participated in an Odyssey Event - the last time was the 3.5 Day EFIX in 2009. This year, Drew and I turned the car north to drive to Virginia for the Odyssey Sprint AR in New Castle, VA.

This part of Virginia was in Drew's old stomping grounds and a beautiful part of the state. We sang duet on some country songs on the way up and took in the majestic views the Blue Ridge Mountains have to offer. Race headquarters was at a great wilderness adventure lodge called Eagle's Landing. The 24 Hour racers were checking in and had already received their maps - it kinda made us wish we signed up for the 24 as well. Also bumped into some AR friends that I had not seen in awhile. After checking into the lodge we got our gear ready for the next day and then walked around the pond, checked out the bass swimming in the weed beds, and shared a six pack of Sam Adams pre-race brew. A sitting room in the lodge had a huge topo map of the George Washington and Jefferson Forest areas on Virginy and it's neighbor By Golly for wall paper - we studied the maps for awhile. It makes you wonder who lived here in years gone by......with the names of some places - Three Sisters Knobs, the Creamery, Lick Run.

The next day, I woke up early to watch the 24 Hour racers start their adventure. A another hour of sleep and we both got up, checked in, and received the maps, passport, and directions. We dropped our paddle stuff at the river TA and planned our route on the preplotted maps - seemed straight forward except that there was a topo map and a map with trails that didn't exactly match up. My opinion for RDs is that if there is a marked trail network, it's better to just GPS the trails and place them on the Topo map. The day was going to be in the mid-90s and mostly sunny, so we were trying to stay hydrated.

Start time was 1000 and we started trekking toward the first CP at the Bluff Outlook. There were a couple trails that went up hill and we decided on the White Trail, the first of three times we would go up it. We were the second team to CP1 and then made the big mistake of the day. The trail map made it look like a trail we needed to get to was close to the water. We decided we would drop a couple hundred feet to Craig Creek and walk around it to pick back up with the trail. The problem was the vegetation got fairly dense and the trail ended up being on the high ground above the creek......so we had to scamper back up the hill wasting alot of energy and time. We also hit up with the trail too far south and didn't realize because the trail stopped on the trail map but kept going outside of the WAEL park boundary. We had to back track slightly and then used pure terrain association to find CP2. All in all, we lost about 30-40 minutes on our ill thought out creek tour. A quick trek to CP3 and we headed down to the start finish to get CP4, also saw that we were somewhere near the 20th team to head to the the paddle TA at CP5.

In the boat, we started paddling down Craig Creek in shallow water. It actually was better than I initially thought it would be. We still had to get out and drag the boat a bunch, but passed a bunch of teams along the way. The water felt great and I wished we had tubes instead of a canoe and were floating down the river next to a beer ball. That would also be a good way to spend a hot weekend day. Reaching Eagle's Landing we carried the canoe to CP6. Two minutes later we were on the bikes heading up the White Trail again.

It felt great to be on the saddle and making good time along the jeep trail. AT CP7 we started down the single track to the hard ball. This was a nice stretch of trail with some tight switchbacks. The route we took was to continue along the single track to RTE 615 and around the fire road to retrieve CP8. This probably wasn't as fast as taking the hardball to Fenwick Mines. The climb up the fire road was also challenging with the mid day heat blistering down on us. We had to take a break to get some electrolyte tablets. We then rode back to RTE 615 to 606 to 614. CP9 was at a ford on Craig Creek and since we approached it from the opposite side, we had to carry the bikes across. The cool water felt really good and Drew layed down in the water to cool off - I should have as well. A quick ride brought us to CP10 and the start of the O-Course.

We had about 90 minutes left to get three points. Back up the White Trail and we took the jeep trail around to the hill top, which we used as an attack point to drop down into the reentrant to get CP11. It was really getting hot now and we were slowing down. The intersection of the Yellow and Orange trail was our next attack point. We went down the wrong finger and had to go down into the reentrant and back up to the next finger to find CP13. There wasn't enough time to try for CP12 so we decided to head back, finishing with 10 minutes remaining.

The post race BBQ was great, but we didn't have time to stick around for anything else. For Results, we got all but one CP finishing 2nd in the 2-Person Military and 2nd overall - not too shabby for making such an early mistake. Odyssey put on a great challenging Sprint race at an absolutely amazing venue. I'll be back for a race in 2012. Racing with Drew is always a great time because we have lots of fun and don't worry about being super competitive. To me, that's what Adventure Racing is all about.


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