Tuesday, April 10, 2012
Lightning Strikes Adventure Race 2012
I know, right, after reading my post on the High Profile Adventure Camp, you have been anxiously awaiting my post on the Lightning Strikes 8 hour race that was held during adventure camp. So here it comes, I have to start by saying Gerry Voellger puts out a very challenging course, lucky for us Chuck is great at orienteering and he went directly to every CP. For our team, Chuck, Lori and I, the race was more about having fun than going fast, of course we always want to go as fast as we can, but this was a learning event and chance to try new things.
Chuck: It was a very challenging course, but totally do-able. The LIDAR orienteering maps were awesome (the USGS maps were, well, what you expect from USGS) and every checkpoint was plotted dead-on. It was a great test to navigation skills though, and there were no ‘Gimmee’ points. Most of them were well hidden in depressions, caves, boulders and logs. You absolutely had to know where you were on the map at all times. We had to pay attention to map scale too, it messed with my distance judgement once when we got off the 1:24000 bike map and started immediately trekking on the 1:5000 map. It didn’t affect the race, we just ended up at the cave WAY faster than I expected.
After two days of sleep deprivation, we were wakened earlier than we planned by our roommates, so we got up and got moving, driving our bikes to the bike drop and getting back for a quick breakfast before the race started. As we milled around near the starting line, Gerry asked me if I hurt my knee, I think someone told on me and he found out I was icing it the night before. I assured him that it was fine, just a little sore, like I said in the last post, I am an internet doctor. I said it would hold out for a good 10 hours and since the race was only 8 hours, I had no worries. It surprised me that he would have even noticed or cared, but I did appreciate his concern.
At the start line we were given last minute instructions and told to be careful entering the water or we would end up like a team during a previous camp, who had to quickly get dry after capsizing right off the bank. During the paddling presentation the night before we saw a photo of the capsized team, scrambling to get dry and when we saw it Chuck and I both said “Hey that’s……?” (I will not mention the name to protect the innocent here).
Next was the group photo, we were in the back and I’m not sure you can even see us in the photo. After the photo we had a couple minutes to relax before the start and somehow as everyone moved around we ended up in the front of the start, I did not want to be there, but there was no way to move back. The gun went off and it was a mad dash for the canoes, and I mean an all out sprint. My thought was, “do these guys realize this is an 8 hour race”. We had to portage the canoe to the river, it was about a quarter mile. After dropping the canoe on the bank, we headed out for 3 CP’s before returning to the canoe. We had no problems finding the points, but it was some tough terrain.
After some climbing through rocks and walking through the river, we were back to the canoe and being very careful not to capsize. One team had capsized and were walking down the river trying to find their passport that had gotten washed away.
Chuck: We had just learned all these cool new paddling techniques at camp the day before, and barely got to use them. The shallow fast river was more like combat than paddling technique.
As we headed down the river, I couldn’t help myself, it was so beautiful along the bluffs I kept snapping photos instead of paddling.
It was ok though the water was so shallow in places, Chuck had to keep getting out and pushing the canoe. You see, Lori and I kept pulling the GIRL card on him, he had to do all that manly work. We made it to the take out much quicker than we had planned, but we had to use our muscle to lift the canoe over a 4 foot bank, good thing me and Lori were there to help Chuck out, as skinny as he is, lifting that may have just snapped him in half.
Chuck: You know, I don’t think we’ve ever had this ‘girl card’ thing before my friend Robyn B mentioned it at camp. I’m going to have to talk to her about that. Have you seen our picture yet?
It was time for the bike leg, we had heard from other racers that the bike would be really hilly, but we had no idea what we were in for. I’m glad we didn’t know, otherwise I would have worried about it the entire morning. There was no flat to be had, and the hills were giant, we all rode them in the little ring and on one hill all three of us got off and walked the top section of it. On another hill, I was riding like a mad woman and a guy walking, pushing his bike, passed me, I started to wonder if maybe walking wasn’t a better choice.
We made it through a couple of CP’s on the bike and rolled into the O section. There were some great volunteers there waiting for us and they had ice cold coke, I wish they would have had ice cold diet coke, but “you get what you get and don’t throw a fit”. The O section held lots of challenges for us, first the ticks, I think I spent most of the section brushing the ticks off me, then there was the thorns, I’m still nursing those wounds and of course what’s an adventure race without poison ivy, I brought that home with me too. The terrain in the O section was tough, but we went right to every CP. As we left CP 11 we came across a military team, they were running and singing, well I don’t think they call it singing, but that’s what it was, and they ran right past us and the CP. After a while they realize the mistake and had to go back, they weren’t singing after that.
Chuck: I just checked with Major Chizmar. It’s called a Cadence, not a song. And apparently we heard a very tame and fit for public hearing cadence. haha
We were watching the time and we wanted to make sure we made it back to transition in time to hit the CP in the cave and do the ropes, so we skipped CP12 to save some time. (Lori: cave yes, ropes- NO, not so much!) We knew that we were getting tired and we still had a lot of hills to ride. Gravel and hills, you know how much I like both of those things, NOT! The down hills were not as fun as you would have thought though, since some sections of road had lots of loose gravel, we had to be careful coming down the hills, I certainly didn’t want to be picking gravel out of my skin, we wanted to make sure it was wheels gravel side down the entire race.
We rode back to the canoe takeout and attached our paddles and pfd’s to our packs then rode up the next hill, this one looked really bad, but I was surprised we all seemed to get up it fine, maybe it was the coke we had before leaving the O section. We even passed a team at the top of the hill, of course we passed them because they were sitting on the ground taking a break.
Chuck: I bet it was the bottle of Ensure. That stuff is like rocket fuel for adventure racers.
Finally we were back at the transition area and we didn’t have much time, so we took off, skipping the first CP to go directly to the cave. If we would have missed the Bat cave, Chuck would have never forgiven us, he had been waiting all day for the cave.
Chuck: I was really hoping for a bear or mtn lion den. Turns out there was nothing but bats and frogs.
It was really hard to see the cave opening because it was covered with big rocks and green moss, but we found it. To get to it you had to cross the river, it was only about waist deep if you stayed on the rock ledge.
The river felt cold, but after feeling the water we walked through in the cave the river was like a sauna. We saw bats hanging off the top of the cave, and it’s a good thing I had a helmet on because, I hit my head a couple times. I was too busy looking around to watch my head.
It took about 5 minutes to get to the CP, but we made it, our feet were numb from the cold water, but it was worth it.
Coming back out of the cave we jumped into the river and I decided to take a little break while in the river, good thing Chuck and Lori were not downstream from me.
Chuck: Yeah you read it right, she was pee’n.
We climbed through the rocks to a trail and headed to the finish. We did not clean the course, we missed the ropes section, but I think Lori was ok with that (Lori: made my day, this HUGE weight had just been lifted off my shoulders! A fear of DNF as the final moments on the clock counted down because I was stuck on the side of the cliff… it will not let it get me next year!!), me and Chuck were a little disappointed though.
At the finish we were met by cheers and Gerry the race director. And the first thing he said was how’s your knee, what a great guy to even remember that my knee was not quite working right.
We had a picture snapped, well maybe a few, Lori and I wanted to make sure we got one that we looked thin in to use in our post. (Lori: we eventually had to give up because I was too tired and sore to suck it in!)
After a photo or ten we went into the lodge for some food and ran into a guy who had finished and he asked if we were ROCK Racing, we said, “Yep, in the flesh”. He is a new racer and said he reads our blog all the time and that it has really helped him out. He said “I know it’s kind of creepy”, heck it’s not creepy, we love people reading our blog! So be on the lookout for team 2 Much Trouble if they get really fast we will claim it’s because of us. Hey, take it where you can get it.
Awesome race Gerry! And to all the great volunteers and Robyn, a great big THANK YOU too, without you, we have no adventure. Oh and of course Chuck can now say his personal friend Robyn, not just she is my friend on FaceBook.
Chuck: have you seen our picture yet?