Photos courtesy of Blue Ridge Adventure Racing and Florida Extreme.
From Val Hardin/Team Commie Bar
The day started out great, good weather, about 30 teams, and we were bused about 45 min to an unknown location. Mark and I were racing as a C2. We started out with a 15 mile run/trek up a mountain and then across a ridgeline where we ran over several peaks, then back down to cross a waist high river to a TA.
We were with 4-5 other leading teams. Next leg was mountain biking on mostly double track, up and around the mountains. Again, staying with lead teams until the first of many challenges presented themselves. About 8-9 hours in to race, Mark got a flat, his tire had a huge hole in it. After that was fixed, his bike map carry case on the bike broke. This could not be fixed. We had to give up some CP's on this section. We made our way to the next TA, where we got on the river....now a bit behind all leading teams. It was about when we started the paddle. The river was very rocky and challenging in some spots. We ran head on in to several large rocks, had to back paddle furiously to keep from going over a fall, navigate more white-water at night, and ultimately lost a paddle which got sucked in whitewater. Luckily, we only had about another 1/2 mile on river.
We were happy to get off at about. Off on a trekking section, we did really well, and got to the next TA for more mountain biking. Another challenge when Mark had a fall that seemed harmless, but it knocked his seat out of alignment. When trying to knock it back in place, he knocked it right off the post. He fixed it using those plastic tie downs. Mark was definitely having a rough race, but kept positive and we just kept moving on. The last section was a flat water paddle to an O-Course. We were able to get a few more CP's then had to head back on a 7 mi bike to finish in time. We ended up 7th out of 30 teams. We thought we would place top 3, but were happy with our result after dealing with all our mishaps. Mark did a great job navigating, and we were one of very few teams that did not get dunked in the river.