The Segments of the Race (approximate distances)
- 5 mile river swim
- 22 mile kayak thru Class I-III water
- 20 mile trek on foot
- 40 mile mountain bike
- 26 mile run/trek on foot
- 12 mile kayak
- 15 mile run/trek on foot
- 40 mile mountain bike
This race was awesome but as with all adventure racing a couple of unpredicted things happened including a piece of bad luck and a tactical error that turned the tide for Team Commie Bar.
Starting off on the river swim was not good for us. I have not done ANY swimming this year at all and even though we were in wetsuits and fins trying to kick for 3 hours absolutely wore my legs out from the start. That plus the cramps from pronating my ankles killed me. It was fun going thru some of the rapids but we came off the swim dead last.
Coming off the swim I was dreading being cramped up in the kayak for 6 hours but it actually was okay. I enjoyed it and me and my teammate did pretty good making up a ton of time we lost in the swim. The kayak portion was characterized by sections of thrilling whitewater mixed with LONG sections of paddling on flat water.
It was almost 7pm when we came off the kayak and we knew it would be getting dark soon. This is where we made our tactical error that cost us the race. Basically we had to get to a checkpoint located on a small trail that was surrounded by cliffs. We had two options: attack from above or attack from below. Unfortunately we chose from below and ended up spending a ton of effort in climbing close to 1000 feet in elevation in less than a kilometer in the dark. We ended up on a small, narrow parcel of flat terrain stuck between further cliffs in front of us and the drop behind us. We tried moving west to the checkpoint but we’re turned back by the terrain. Another team made the same error and one of the guys broke his arm falling which meant an evacuation at night. After all of this we knew we had to move to the north which meant a trek of 10 miles out of the way. At this point we knew that we were basically out of competition and now it became a race against time to meet the cut off times. That plus now we were severely lost made a miserable night.
We stumbled into the transition area at about 7am on Saturday. We made that cutoff time but then did not make the next one at 2pm because of the distance of the 40 mile bike and marathon 25 mile trek. After the first 24 hours of racing we were forced to abandon the course…..
Navigation is so key in these races and although I consider myself a “good” navigator, I’m basically a neophyte when compared to the “great” ones. It doesn’t matter how fast you can run it matters how fast you can find the points….
Well, chalk another 24plus hour race up for Team Commie Bar. I’m tired…..