It was a tiny bit miserable. Just enough to respect the challenge. Not so miserable that I don’t totally want jump up and down shouting “Again! Again! Let’s do that again!”
Saturday May 27th 2017 was partially sunny, not too hot, not too windy, just right for the perfect amount of type 2 fun. Team Velocikitty Snuggles, did it’s first Adventure Race. It was the 8 hour Rib Mountain Adventure Challenge.
We finished. Not as well as we are used to doing. We did a meager 33 out of 45 Check Points (we called them Chick Peas after Andrea’s kitties) in 7:36:36 which put us 26th out of 30 teams. Although there were only two women’s teams in the 8 hour race. There was so much we couldn’t really have prepared for until we experienced it. The things we learned don’t capture the experience.
- Remember to use the bug spray.
- Better sun block application.
- MORE nutrition earlier – brains bonk before bodies!
- Speed changes the whole game – both for navigating and paddling.
- Problem solving, communication, and social/emotional management are CRITICAL race skills.
Here’s the story in pictures:
We arrived at Wawsau WI the day before. We did our race toenails on the porch an enjoyed a little chill time before a night out at Red Eye Brewing.
Race morning – when we were energized, clean and naive. After waking up at a Starbucks, dropping off our bikes, and finally checking in to get our packet…we studied our maps, optimistically planning our route, assuming we understood how it would go.
They bussed us to the race start and we finally began the adventure!
1st – Andrea ran to get a puzzle. Solved the puzzle correctly (on the second try) before heading off on the first trek. It was a wild mad dash into the woods, through swamp and brush.
2nd – Paddled a lot further than we had initially understood from the maps. We got passed a lot and saw a swimming snake!
3rd – Biked to a city park. Did a maddening team challenge involving legos.
4th – Did our second orienteering trek/run. We did the minimum number of check points to try to catch up. Andrea couldn’t seem to count to four. OMG eat!
5th – Navigated the suburban roads to the single track trails.
6th – Did the mountain biking loops. I swear the trails were more challenging than those pictures let on. I also know I look ridiculous.
7th – Biked back the way we came and then up Park Road. It didn’t occur to either of us that we were biking up Rib Mountain until we were miserably walking our bikes up the damn thing.
8th – Exhausted stumbling/walking our last orienteering trek on top of Rib Mountain.
Finally – biked down the mountain (which wasn’t nearly as steep as it seemed on the way up) and to the finish line and party. Friends from the YWCA Endurance Sports group had done the 3 hour race and were there to greet us!
We were worn out, as were our maps.
I’ve been trying a lot of athletic things that aren’t in the endurance sports family. Despite this race being new and weird this was still an endurance event. I felt at home. It was such a wonderful reminder how much I like these these types of challenges. How comfortable I am with that type of discomfort. My desire to seriously train for a race has been dormant since B2B. This tickled that spot just a bit. I got a warm sense of familiarity. That reflexive twitch to keep going.
So while I would really like to do another adventure race… and I probably will at some point.
It’s still time for me to do things that feel awkward and foreign. To be bewildered and feel unnatural and slow.