2005/10/01 – Terra Firma Sprint


Rocky Hill Ranch, Smithville, Texas

What Is It?

According to the Terra Firma website:
A 2-3 hour course for 2 person teams that will challenge teams with Mt biking, trail running, and possible mystery events. Course will be marked so teams do not need navigation skills.

  • Trekking: 4 – 6 miles
  • Mountain Biking: 8 – 15 miles
  • Mystery Events: ?

Team Mates

Chad Holman


Terra Firma – Male


13th out of 19! It took us 4 hours and 21 minutes to complete.

Official Results: Results saved from Terra Firma’s website locally.


  • Trekking: 3.8 miles (Kind of, see below)
  • Mountain Biking: 16ish miles
  • Mystery Events:
    • Run up the hill with on pair of shoe laces tied to your partners.
    • Find 5 check points on a kiddie map around the camp area.

Woohoo! That was awesome!! Firstly, thanks to Chad for racing with me and putting up with my slowness towards the end because of my lack of endurance. Secondly, thanks to Houston Fit AR for getting me on the path to Adventure Racing. Thirdly, thanks to Megan and Jason for helping us out in transition!

This was my first race. And definitely not my last! I am so *censored* hooked!

Started off with registration at 5:00am this morning. And then there was a pre-race meeting at 5:30am where they explained the rules and a little of what to expect. And then told a story about a 77 year old lady who survived the New Orleans floods for two days standing on the roof of a pickup truck, water up to her neck. And if we ever thought we weren’t going to be able to finish, just think of that lady, and how she survived.

At 6:05 we were off and racing! First event: Mystery. We had to tie our shoes together with a caribiner. After some discussion with the other Houston Fit AR members there and some testing, we found a way to do it that gave us quite a bit of slack, so we were more stable than a lot of other people. It was about a two mile leg of the race (included in the Trekking maybe?) Chad and I got this down pretty quickly and we could even jog and pass quite a few people. Once we got to the top of the hill we took the caribiner off and ran down normally back to the transition area (TA.) Part of our solution to this was we tied off our shoe laces at the tips and then hooked them together. Then we grabbed on to each other for support and I would walk normally commenting on what was coming up so Chad could prepare as he was keeping his eye on what my foot was doing so he was keeping in step with me. This was a perfect solution for us.

I wish I thought to time our laps, but silly me, I didn’t. Anyways. The next leg of the race was the 16 mile bike loop. It was great, until the last bit when I was just so physically exhausted that I was having problems going up the smallest of hills. I had to get off and walk up them. But this gave Chad a chance to fix his bike as he had chronic crank problems. The screw kept unscrewing itself. The only mechanical problem I had was my chain fell off once. So that means I fixed it up pretty good Friday just before I left. I also didn’t fall off the bike, had some close calls, and some few fantastic saves! But no actual fall offs. Chad wasn’t quite so lucky, and fell off a couple of times. No injuries thankfully! I did get a sore foot though as I was going down and up the other side of a dip and my foot slipped off the pedal toes first into the ground. I wasn’t clipped in because it was quite a technical area and I didn’t want to take a bad spill because I couldn’t put a foot down in time.

After the bike leg, we has a simple navigation trek. They gave us a map with four check point on it that we had to run (hobble?) to, write down the words that were on the check point and move on to the next. This was pretty quick and simple. We had problems with one, as it was on something that was called the Dragon Post, but it was basically just a cross in the middle of a ghost town that use to be used for medieval festivals at the camp ground.

And that was the entire race. We got a nice glass for finishing. And for entering the race we got some neat swag.

  • Post Card
  • Mini Cliff Bar: Chocolate Mint
  • Cool Max, USARA, Terra Firma socks (best thing in the bag!)
  • Adventure Sports Magazine
  • Hair Glue (even looks like a little bottle of Elmer’s Glue.
  • Coupon for a hamburger at the Saloon.


I wish I had thought to take more pictures, but since I was racing and helping others race, I just didn’t think about it. Next time I will try to get more pictures of what is going on!

Chad and Steve

Chad and Steve


Houston Fit AR, Terra Firma Extreme Teams, Transition Area

Matt and his father after the race, chilling in their TA.

Matt and his father after the race, chilling in their TA.

Final Thoughts

I think this was a perfect race for me to start with. The biking was a little longer than I would have preferred but it was still really good. The mystery events were neat ideas, and there were no real running. Chad was a great partner in this race and I would be more than happy to do another race with him if he wanted (and if he could stand doing a race with me!)

After the race, I hung around to help out with the Houston Fit AR, Terra Firma Extreme (12 hour) racers. They did an amazing job! Just watching them and helping out when I could with whatever, I learned a metric butt load of stuff. From things I need to remember to bring next time, to just how to organize things, to just how to have a good time while being out there.

We had one group doing the Terra Firma, that DNF’d, which was sad, but the biking section got the better of them, which is completely understandable! It was tough! And we had a Terra Firma Extreme team that managed to get in an unofficial time as two of their members has to bow out on the second to last event which sucks. But one of them had a serious ankle injury, so completely understandable there, don’t want to do permanent damage, and it was his first race ever so he did an amazing job anyways! And the other guy, who this was also his first race, had to bow out because of heat exhaustion. It was seriously hot out there in the afternoon (I have the super bright red sun burn to partially prove that.) There were other teams that DNF’d because of the heat, and one guy had it real bad and the paramedics had to help him out, he was in real bad shape. The remaining two team members left for the last leg of the race, but I didn’t get to see them come back as I had to leave. Wish I could have been there to support them when they came back!

All our teams did a great job! And we also did a great job on those free hamburgers that we got as the post race meal! Those suckers were pretty much the best burgers I’ve had in a really really really long time! And they were HUGE! Which was good! Because according to my heart rate monitor, I burned over 4,000 calories during the race!

Pretty much everything today was amazing, and not something I will soon forget, especially as I start training for my next race, which ever that may be!

Days Later… (2005/10/03)

I’m just a little tight in the shoulders and upper legs today. Nothing bad at all, like I figured would happen after the race. I guess this just means I didn’t go hard enough! I have been eating a lot more though and drinking a lot so I must have done some serious depletion of resources even after that 4,000 calories in the race. Just can’t seem to get enough.

But I am definitely looking forward to the next race! Bring it on!

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