It was a big race weekend being the culmination of our training for the adventure race. We all arrived on Friday afternoon to a nice light rain. We unloaded and setup the transition area. DINO hosted dinner that night and we bedded down around 10pm. We weren't sure what the weather was going to be like, the forecast said 60's and cloudy in the morning and rain/thunderstorms in the evening. We awoke at 5am and the weather was beautiful, mid-50's and hazy. A few mins till 6 (race start time) and Brian (race director) gave out the final directions. We were to take the bearing on our passport and walk 225 meters in that direction to find a stake with a playing card that had our number on it. He said go and we took off. We hit the woods behind another team. We ended up with 3 other teams all searching for the same stake. We went back and redid our bearing, by the time we got back into the woods the other teams had spread out into a search line and had found the stake. We ran over and got our playing card. A little disappointing start not being able to find the stake quickly.
We returned and got our first set of checkpoints. Kyle plotted them while Cindy and I readied the bikes. We would be mountain biking on the trails in Versailles State Park to get 2 points, then back to the boat ramp for the 3rd checkpoint. We take off and the trails are slicker than snot. We found the first checkpoint at a trail intersection and then preceded towards the 2nd checkpoint. This one we would have to dismount and hike a ways to find it. Here's a few pics from when we dismounted and after we returned for the bikes. As you'll see the bikes were covered in mud.
Cindy getting ready to hike to a checkpoint
Kyle (Mr. Navigator) getting drink
Looking back down the drainage we had to descend and reclimb
Cindy climbing the drainage ravine
We then rode back out and to the boat ramp. There we loaded our bikes into a semi-trailer and were given our next set of points. These points were all trekking in and around the town of Versailles. With all the rain, we weren't allowed to ford the creek in the state park because it was too high. So this made for some extra hiking. We started jogging on flats and downhills and proceeded over the covered bridge to the dam just outside of Versailles. We skipped the rappel off the water tower thinking that we would make it back to that point later in the race (unfortunately, we didn't make it to that checkpoint again due to running out of time). We hiked ran lots of miles and at one point had to walk up a hill that was over 230 feet of vertical elevation. Who would have thought there would be something that steep in Indiana. We found the last point by the waterfall and ran almost all the way back to the transition area. At this point it was 1:30pm, just over 7 hours of racing.
Kyle plotted our points as Cindy and I replenished our food/water and got the paddling equipment ready. Kyle said that we would be paddling a long long way. I didn't really understand how far he meant. This was a major segment. We went back to the boat ramp and got a canoe. Kyle was up front, then Cindy, and finally I in the back. We had some training on steering and maneuvering a canoe. We paddled to the dam and portaged around it. I didn't have any experience on navigating a creek, luckily Cindy was well versed at creek navigation. Cindy would give us direction on where to go to find the best/deepest water. We did well getting the first point. On the way to the second point we got into a little trouble. We got pushed on a bend into a tree that angled over the water. It hit Cindy and I leaned forward to push off, while pushing the left side of the canoe went underwater and we were taking on water. We get past the tree and I realize that I don't have my paddle anymore. OH NO! While all this was going on, Kyle happened to look over into the creek and see a paddle going by and snatched it out of the water. We preceded on to checkpoint two. We pulled the boat up on the canoe and dumped it out. We got the rest of the points, but haven't seen any other teams in a long time.
Here's Kyle trying to get up to one of the checkpoints:
Cindy wondering what's taking so long
It took us almost 4.5-5 hours of paddling. I was hating life and just wishing that we could get off the creek. When we finally saw the DINO truck, I was ready to dance a jig. Big props to Cindy for her navigation and getting us through it.
We pulled the canoe out of the water to see row after row of bikes lying on the grass at the National Muzzle Loader and Rifle Association. We think that maybe we aren't doing as bad as we thought. We get the next points and quickly realized that everyone else was already out orienteering. There were 6 points that to be found.
Kyle plotting some more checkpoints:
Cindy getting her pack ready for orienteering:
We started out along a "road" that ended up fording a creek several times instead of going over it.
Me being weird (it happens more often than not)
Cindy and I crossing:
After getting 4 points it was starting to get dark and we ran over to the other side of the road to find the other two points. We decided to look for the one on the hilltop close to the road. I was wondering why some people were coming back after finding these points all torn up and cut on their legs. Well, it was these last 2 checkpoints were in woods that were just covered in thorns. We searched and searched and even joined other teams looking for the points but we were unable to finding them and decided that we were out of time and needed to get back to the finish. We ran to our bikes and did a quick turn-around and it's now completely dark out. We started riding with our lights on and the new light that Kyle bought was brighter than a car's headlight. Brian was oh so nice to let us climb a really really long hill to get out of the town Friendship. Once on top we hooked up the tow system. That was exciting being hooked to another rider in front and behind me in the dark going about 12 mph. We ended up meeting some other teams and we all rode back together. We had a good time, but were a little discouraged that we were unable to find those last 2 checkpoints. The final results were a little surprising. We finished 24 out of 46 teams total and 4 in our division (3 person co-ed). We even qualified for a slot at the Adventure Race Nationals! We were sore and beat, but I think we all had a good time.