>> Thursday, October 27, 2011
Checkpoint Tracker Adventure Racing Championship
October 21, 2011
Team #62 – Waterlogged Dogwoods
|From Waterlogged Dogwoods Photo Album|
The 2011 Season started off, not racing, but Marcey and I race directing the Gleneagles Challenge Sprint Adventure Race in April. It wasn’t until late April that we toed the line for the first time at the Bushwhack AR produced Yuki-BAR. After 4 races under the Waterlogged Dogwoods Moniker and many teammate combinations, we found ourselves at the Checkpoint Tracker Championship for 2011 at the beautiful Land Between the Lakes in southwest Unbridled Kentucky. After a last minute injury (hope you are healing Jeff), the team was finalized with Bob, Marcey, Dave (TIMEFIN), and Marcilynn representing the Dogwoods.
The drive was long, 9.5 hours, but the location was awesome. Lake Barkley Lodge was one of the best venues I’ve seen to host a race at. Plus we were able to share time and space with the Schmidt Family Reunion……a great wholesome family from Western Kentucky. After checking into the lodge and unloading a gear bomb in our hotel room, we checked in with the race staff – great swag by the way….fleece jacket, hat, swiftwick socks. We posed for some M&M pics with the girls and a nice sorority sisters lean-in, hands on the knees, pouty lips shots with the guys. (MR - Bob was way too familiar with the pouty lips sorority girl pose) There was even a ‘Significant Other +1’ representational ribbon capture that provided some laughs for everybody - sorry Rob. After a nice buffet dinner we went to the race brief. Yak was on his game for the brief and Jason, from Bonk Hard Racing, did a great job presenting the race instructions. Ian Adamson, AR Legend, was on-hand to assist with the race and add some flair to make it truly memorable.
We were handed a few maps with the first half of the UTMs. Plotting began on a ping-pong table in the game room of the lodge. The course looked like an Orienteering Prologue, Paddle, 10 Hour O’Course, then Paddle to a Bike TA where more UTMs would be handed out. We plotted enough detail to get the race started and did a small amount of planning on how to attack the first O’Course section. We strolled back to the room to do some last minute gear checks. This is where I realized I had probably not packed enough nutrition – that’s what you get for throwing stuff together the night before, my J-O-B is taking too much time right now. Luckily, Dave had a big supply of pizza and sausage biscuits and my other teamies could hook a brother up as well. My goal was to not Rat F my gear too much and hunker down for some decent sleep – already being a bit deprived. (MR - it doesn’t matter how many times one can make a list and check it, there is always to much Rat F with the gear)
|From Waterlogged Dogwoods Photo Album|
The race start was at a remote location near a beach. We dropped off our bikes and funion sacks of gear to be hauled to the Bike TA and checked out our yellow plastic canoes. Except for the Solos, all the boats were the same. Our Nation was honored in a singing of the Star Spangled Banner and then we learned of a twist to the start. There was one start to grab all our paddling gear and another to have Dave and I run to a canoe to paddle a small loop in a mass mess. It was fun except watching a Soloist in an unstable kayak fall in the chilly water. Back on shore, we were off on the short O’Log. CPs 1-3 retrieved with no issue and we were in the lead group heading out on the water at TA4. (MR - On the way back to the paddle, Bob almost got ran over by a deer running through the woods. I think it was his cousin.) And speaking of Deer - the joke is that Marcey has been slow while Bushwhacking and I told her she needs to go live with a family of Deer and watch them run through the woods. Well, not any more - she is a bona fide Bushwhacker now. Great improvement shown by Endurogirl
It was decided we would have a boys and girls boat and we tried towing the girls first. The tether was cut due to the boys being too slow and not being able to paddle straight. The 5 miles of paddling was ducks in a row, not having to pull the map out once. At first I thought there was a bit of a lemming effect until I realized the off-course route was due to a sand bar that popped up out of nowhere – great lakes, but not a fan of the foot shallowness hundreds of meters from shore. We reached TA5, made a quick transition to foot, and were on our way to check into the O’Course. (MR - David and I didn’t dress properly for the paddle. Thankfully it was short since we were both shivering messes by the time we hit the shore). It was nice to be running alongside fellow Triangle friends from Northern Lights – Bruce, Brent, Dale, and Mark. We attacked CPs 7-8 together, separated a bit, and came back together for CP 10. We then found CPs 15, 14, 9, 11, 20, and 21 walking right up to the points so far. We stopped for a water fill up at a shallow pool of water. I always add both sets of tablets in together and then never wait the recommended time. David followed the instructions. (MR - thankfully, we did not need emergency Imodium due to Bob’s bravery). Then CP 22 cramped my style, by not finding it, and also not knowing where we ended up except for a general box to work with. After some searching and trying to reorient, we shot an azimuth to come out on the unimproved road to the southeast. Already feeling bad, matters were made worse by taking a decent tumble while looking at the map too much. (MR - I have never seen Bob do anything awkward so I was surprised to see him fall and slide down the hill. Up until that point, we had been jogging most of the fire road sections and walking the bushwhacking portions. He fell in the woods again after that so twice in one night was hard on his knee) My knee was now injured and the icing on the cake was another not found point at CP23 – a series of north-south spurs / draws. Some advice during Ian’s presentation Post-Race would have been handy at this point, Pull Back and Re-Attack.
CP18 re-saddled me on the horse and we headed back to the Paddle TA. We decided that due to the cold weather and Marcey’s previous experience with hypothermia at Mandatory Gear, it would be best to get started on the paddle during daylight hours. My knee was hurting and I was concentrating too hard on the map. Marcilynn reminding me of my nutrition and water intake helped, but I was starting to get Map Fatigued. Dave had the map for a bit and had us headed to CP19 which we had no problems finding. CP13 is where I stopped for a Chef Boyardee Ravioli break. The metal lid folded over makes a great spoon. CP30 was the last point we retrieved and also where Dave and I enjoyed a swig of a volunteers Miller High Life and we all had some Snickers bars….YUM-O. Our Bushwhack Adventures Friends are asking AR Teams to put together some videos of what Adventure Racing means to them, so Marcey was using this race as an opportunity for us to tell the world what AR means to us. For me, it is Chef Boyardee and Miller High Life at random spots on the course, later it would be swig of Kentucky Bourbon.
Back on the water, we started north toward the Bike TA. It was still light for CP32, but the light was leaving quickly, with the cold coming in behind it. Cool sunset on the lake. (DP - after the sun set, we were the only boats on the water and there was no ambient light. We were able to see the whole milky-way and Bob showed me how to ID the North Star. Not only that – but Bob NAILED the boat cp’s. pitch ass black and we paddled right up on both boat cp. Bob’s a hell of a Navigator!!!) We portaged the canoes across the sand barge at CP34 and left the boats. The fire lured us in slightly and we were off on foot. Being in the boat for about 7 miles, my knee was locking up a bit and sore from the fall. I zoned out for a bit, so we took a detour to get to the Bike TA at CP35. It felt good to be on the saddle finally, but only for a bit. My knee was starting to hurt progressively worse. We started biking south to CP13 and then west to Sugar Bay where we linked up to the first section of real great single track. It is always great to ride single track on a race and I was excited about exploring it as much as possible. (MR - FINALLY! Bob lets me ride single track at a race!) At CP38, we evaluated our progress. My knee was not doing well and Dave said his leg was at an 8 on the pain scale due to an injury as well. We decided to head east back to the Bike TA 49 at Energy Lake. This was frustrating because there seemed to be some great terrain in the northern single track and we all are MTB enthusiasts. Hindsight, I think this was the right call – the risk of jeopardizing our future outweighs placing a few teams higher. If we needed additional mandatory points to get a ranked finish we would have pressed. With the Waterlogged Dogwoods, it’s always more about the adventure, the fun, and the course. Although, it still isn’t easy to have to make a call like that when other teammates who are relying on you are ready and able to push. (MR - I didn’t realize how bad Bob’s knee was until this point. Bob never complains so I knew that if he was pulling out, it was because he was really hurt. I let him make the call. AR isn’t our job and we aren’t saving anyone’s lives by doing it so it’s important to pull out when we have to.)
At the TA we decided to hang by the fire until we could bike to the paddle TA and be on the water when it was starting to get light. The fire was nice and warm and luring. Dave and I enjoyed the Bourbon and it was fun to hang with the great volunteers and some other like-minded teams. (DP - I want to give a huge shout our to Derrick Boos (pronounced ‘booze’ – appropriate, huh?) for sharing the brownest of the Brown Bourbon) It did feel a bit pathetic to have some top teams make speedy shivering transitions and be on their ways. (DP- it sucked being hurt and watching the teams roll in and out – I vowed to myself I’d never be unprepared for a race – I was mad at myself for not listening to my P.A. and love of my life for not stretching more- bad move on my part) We got back on the bikes and had an agonizing short ride back to the boats. The fog had rolled in and the navigation was becoming a bit of a challenge - very thick fog. We turned too soon to steer clear of the lemming dune, and then started getting turned around trying to stay east across the Barkley Lake. I would check the compass, paddle a bit, check the compass, and be drifting right toward the south…..right into a sand formation. After de-layering and getting my compass situated where I could have it on the bottom of the boat and just stare at it while paddling we were off again. The compass does not lie, but in this case my brain was playing very weird tricks, even with the occasional sun peeping through to confirm the eastern direction. I knew we were staying east, but it felt like we were circling to the left and too far north. This is why when we reached the other side we started south instead of searching north for the Little River entrance toward the Lake Barkley Resort Park. The sun was starting to burn off the fog now and we had a nice straight paddle to the finish. What should have been a 1.5 – 2 hour paddle turned into 3 hours. (MR - I am sooooo glad my watch was under my glove and I couldn’t see how long we were taking. On the other hand, I had some nice conversations with Marcilynn on all three of our paddles.) Our boats reached the sandy shore followed by our wake and we were finished…whew.
We gathered our gear, took a team picture - I bet I look cool and like a BAD A-Double S holding a bilge pump (MR - I literally choked on my tea from intimidation when I saw you with that bilge pump!) After getting all the gear to the Suburban, we sat down for a nice bowl of chili and cheese with a hot potato. (MR - I am sure we will be on the Vogue December cover. Erin, you would be proud, Bob made sure we always had the right lighting and pouted when we needed to.) It was nice to talk with Ian for awhile as he described the “Noodle Affair” at CP43 – something we didn’t partake in, but heard many stories about. We drove back to the hotel and were lucky to be able to get a room early. Thanks Marcey and Dave for letting Marcilynn and I get cleaned up and rack out a bit before driving home that day. The Post-Race Banquet and Awards was a lot of fun and it was nice to be with Northern Lights again to share the experience. The buffet dinner was “Kentucky Chic” – whatever that means, great food. No raffle wins for our table, boo. It was great to watch all the top teams do well. Northern Lights finished first in the 4-Person Male…….amazing work, and our Elite 4-Person Coed Division had WEDALI first, TeamSOG/Tecnu Extreme second, and Odyssey Adventure Racing-ImONPoint.org third. Ian Adamson had a great presentation with some clips from the New Zealand Eco Challenge where Team Eco Internet beat out the Kiwis using some late race sleep strategy. He also had some great advice about race prep, foot care, route planning, and race nutrition. The quorum was closed with an announcement of the 2012 Championship being held in West Virginia New River Gorge / Gauley area and the course designed by Odyssey…..familiar venue and closer. The ride back through the night was not fun, but we made it back safely in time for Marcilynn and I to turn right around and go to work…..blah!!!!!
(MS - The race was laid out well. Appreciated the split paddle although the length wasn't bad overall. Controls were where they were supposed to be which is #1 importance to me. Enjoyed the O course as well as small single track we rode. Nice decision tree for Jason to give racers to use roads vs single track. Long O and bike courses were a good challenge for teams to overcome, especially at O'dark 30. Lodging was great, Highly recommended to visit. Rooms were clean and affordable. Venue was primo for pre and post race festivities. Plus start location not far away and convenient for all. Appreciated "new" challenge of rolling terrain vs large mountains. Different type of challenge for Navigators - overall excellent race.)
Congratulations to all the racers who toed the line, to those that finished, and especially to those teams that rise above and inspire us all. Checkpoint Tracker did a great job organizing this world class event and Bonk Hard Racing put together a phenomenal and challenging course – I wish we saw more of it. (DP - Jason at bonk hard put on a top notch race, a new standard was set!) I also think the sponsor support from Swiftwick and Photographers - Chris Radcliffe of Mad Race Media and Vladimir Bukalo was exceptional. I bought a few digitals from each and Marcey raves on Swiftwick Socks and Arm Warmers. The volunteers were all amazing and we truly appreciate your time and effort to make the experience enjoyable. RDs cannot put on a race and racers cannot race without your selflessness. Great news was received – Dave was selected with the Raleigh Fire Department’s Training Program – YAY!!!! And to the family, thanks for allowing me this. My hope is that I can share these adventures with my little Buddy-B and Vivi-V someday as future Waterlogged Dogwoods.