Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Big Chill 12 hour Adventure Race

It had been 3 years since my last adventure race. Probably 4 years since my last 12 hour adventure race so needless to say, I was out of practice. But that's okay because one of the things I love about adventure racing is that it is very mental. One really has to get her mind in order even just to pack for such a race! The crazy/scary thing is that it came back to me so naturally, just like riding a bike. No problem.

I even packed lighter and better than I ever have for a 12 hour race. Is it because I'm now a Mommy? Now I really understand the concept of packing only the things you know you will need and use? That very well could be it! They say women come back stronger after having a baby. I always thought that just meant physically stronger, but I think it's also mentally stronger.

It was my first adventure race in Texas and my first time racing with Shayne, Ross and Sebastian (Cbass). Over all I think it went very well. They are all pretty laid back guys with very good senses of humor and the perfect amount of competitiveness. We worked well together and made a great team. I feel really lucky to have jumped on to this team right away with this group of guys.

We started the race with a 30 minute orienteering run that took us around the campground area in order to spread out the teams. It was a little congested and we had to wait in line to punch our passport a couple of times so we ended up leaving for the next leg behind a bunch of teams.

We returned to the TA where we found out what we would be doing next and we got the maps. Ross and Cbass plotted the points and devised our plan. We were allowed to get the check points in any order so it was always hard to tell what our placing was throughout the race.

We took off on the bikes and rode a very wide trail through the trees and through several water crossings and muddy areas. I felt like we were really moving well because we passed several teams and just kept on truckin'! There was only one little mishap when Cbass didn't make it though the water crossing and fell in. But other than that, all was great! We rode for a while with the Houston AR Team until we went down one path, decided we didn't like it, turned back and took a different path and that's when we lost them.

After about 2.5 hours we returned to the TA to find that we were to paddle next. Shayne and I were in one boat and Cbass and Ross in the other. Luckily we hit the water before the wind picked up too much. Ross did a great job leading us directly to the furthest check points then back towards the TA. But about 20 minutes before we exited the water, the winds started howling and we could see the white caps in the water. We felt badly for those teams that were just headed out.

At the TA again we found out we were in 4th place overall and 1st in the 4 person co-ed division. Our transitions were really fast and we ended up catching and passing some teams because of those fast transitions. We all stayed focused and helped each other.

The run was a little tough. We were all starting to get a little tired so we walked/ran this section. We ran on some nice wide foot trails, found the check points and returned. I got a little help from Ross with the tow rope but over all I felt pretty good.

We went back to the bikes and rode on the streets through the town. We picked up the points and moved quickly. We kept seeing the teams that were 20-45 minutes ahead of us and the teams that were just behind us as well.

The last leg was the orienteering trek through the forest. Unfortunately we had a little trouble with the first check point and we spent a little too much time looking for it. We finally left to find the other points only to return to look for that one on our way back to the TA. It was dark by the time we returned but we found it and ran back to the finish.

I guess we must have lost more time than we thought on that check point because we ended up getting passed by a team that we never ever saw the entire race. So we finished 2nd place in the 4 person co-ed division. But we were super happy with our performance and encouraged to keep racing together to get even stronger and better for the rest of the season!

I really enjoyed my teammates, the course and the weather for my first Texas adventure race!

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