2005/10/29 – Huntsville Mock Race

Location

Huntsville State Park

What Is It?

A mock race put on by Coach Tracy and Coach Jason from Houston Fit AR to prepare us for the Texas Jail Break Adventure Race. It basically consisted of:

  • Paddling
  • Mountain Biking
  • Running

With navigation in each part of the race.

Team Mates

Grace Castellini was my original team mate. Then she had to go as the race was taking too long and she had plans in the afternoon. We did complete two-thirds of the race together though. And I would race with her any time.

For the final third of the race I teamed up with Rivers Patout and Roger Rowe.

Category

There were no categories.

Placing

It was all for fun! Times in bold are the fastest for that part of the race. I am the Steve in both Where’s my Wheel? and Rail Riders.

Team Number Team Name Team Members Paddle + TA1 Bike TA2 Run Finish
1 Where’s My Wheel? Grace, Steve 1:55 1:42 n/a n/a n/a
2 Sports Aholics Anonymous JoJo, Travis 2:10 1:48 0:11 1:20 5:29
3 3’s A Crowd Megan, Marlowe, Chad 1:30 2:06 0:03 0:58 4:37
4 The Willies Michelle, Jim 0:58* n/a n/a 1:25 n/a
5 5th Element Josh, Juan 1:25 1:47 0:09 1:29 4:50
6 Rail Riders Roger, Rivers, Steve 1:48 2:05 0:11 1:20 5:24

* Paddle only, no TA included.

Experience

What a great practice race! Many huge thanks to Coach Tracy and Coach Jason for setting this up for us!

I started off with Grace as my team mate. Things didn’t look so good from the start. When Grace got there and started unloading her bike, she realized she forgot her front wheel! But thankfully, the Willis’ were there and they weren’t planning on doing the race, so Grace could borrow a wheel from them. And this is how team “Where’s Me Wheel?” was formed!

We were given the points to plot on our maps. Grace and I were a little slow at doing this, but we did it correctly, which is a lot more important than quickly. So we were slow getting into the Sevy for the paddling section of the race.

It was an awesome day for being out on the lake! The sun was shining, it wasn’t too hot or cold. Just absolutely perfect! We started off with the standard “What are we doing wrong? Why are we just going in circles?” but got that cleared up fairly quickly. I was sitting too far forward and after that adjustment, we started having no problems with the Sevy.

We get to the first point and check it off on our passport. And get going down the lake for the other point. We started heading into some massive field of lily pads, and paddling through them was tough! And wrong! We got quite a ways into them, and there was another team up ahead of us heading back saying that they couldn’t get to it and were coming back, and that other teams had made for land and ran to the check point via a trail along the lake. So Grace and I turned around and headed back to where the others had gotten out and we ran down and got the check point. There were some Scouts along the way cleaning up the trails (Thanks Guys!)

We get back to the boats and start heading back. About half way back, Grace and I mused that we should just forget the rest of the race as it was such a great day to be on the lake, we should just stay out there and paddle around. But we ended up heading back anyways and it was onto the bike leg!

The bike leg was quite simple. Just follow the bike loop that is in the park for the most part, as the checkpoints were on trail, or easily viewable from the trail. So we just followed the trail, found the checkpoints and made it back no worries. Tracy said at the time we had the fastest bike portion. This is because we didn’t do extra check points or mis-plot our check points. We had everything done correctly and stuck to our plan.

At this point Grace had to leave the race as it was getting late and she had prior engagements this afternoon. It was a blast working with Grace and any time she needs a partner for a race, I’m there!

After this, I wasn’t really planning on continuing since I lost my partner and was still having lung issues that started last week. But then Team Railroad (Rivers and Roger) invited me along and said they were taking it easy. So I fell in behind them and followed them.

We found the first two points no problem. They took interesting detours to get to them, but we hit them right away, which was fun. Then the next checkpoint we had some issues. The main issue here was they had mis-plotted the point, so it wasn’t where we were when we got there. Only to realize that afterwards. We had bush whacked our way there as well so we got some nice reminders on our legs about it.

Roger has an uncanny ability to know which direction he is headed in, and for following along on the topo map! It seemed like he just knew which was we needed to go, and where we were on the map at all times. It was fun to watch him work. I hope to be that good one day so that I don’t need to keep checking and double checking the compass and guessing on the map.

After looking around and realizing what we had done, we decided it was getting too late and we should just head back. So we headed off back to the TA. Rivers and Roger turned down this path at one point, and I noticed off to the side “Checkpoint #7”, not the one we were originally looking for but it was one that we needed still! We had just blindly stumbled across it! We laughed a good long while at our dumb luck there.

We then headed back, and didn’t stumble across any other check points along our way. And of course we did the obligatory, once we get in range we run back to look good!

Pictures

I have some pictures here. Not as many as I would have liked to have had. But I didn’t take the camera in the Sevy as the camera isn’t water proof, and I forgot to take it on the bike as well, but that’s okay as I didn’t really have anyplace for it since my shorts were wet from kayaking still.

Grace and Steve - Team: Where's My Wheel?

Grace and Steve - Team: Where's My Wheel?

The back of Rivers as we walk along some power lines.

The back of Rivers as we walk along some power lines.

The back of Rivers and Roger as we head out to another check point.

The back of Rivers and Roger as we head out to another check point.

This is what our check points looked like. Just a little orange flag with numbers and letters.

This is what our check points looked like. Just a little orange flag with numbers and letters.

Construction

There is quite a bit of construction going on in the park. Here is an example of it.

I really wished I could have taken more pictures as it was an absolutely beautiful place. I will have to go back soon if not to race/train, but to just take pictures.

Final Thoughts

It was an absolute great practice race! Again many thanks to Tracy and Jason for putting this together. We all, that participated, had a blast doing the race. The area was absolutely beautiful, the day was perfect. Could not have asked for a better event!

The first thing I need to deal with is, learn to plot points faster. I can do it accurately, just need to do it faster. This will just come with time and practice, but I do need to do more of it to get this time and practice.

The other main thing I’m going to be taking with me is positioning in the Sevy is key. If I am steering the boat, I need to be sitting as far back as possible. Otherwise I end up doing circles, which are bad.

Days Later… (2005/10/29)

Today I am just a little stiff from not moving around enough I guess. I’m also not sore at all from Saturday’s race. I wonder if that means I just didn’t push it hard enough, or if I’m just getting that much more fit, or a little of both. I suspect the latter.

I am still amped up about the race, and really wish I could make the November 19th race. But there is always next year!

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