2006/10/29 – Fall 2006 Mock Race

Location

Huntsville State Park

What Is It?

A mock adventure race. Consisting of Trekking, Biking, Paddling and Navigation.

Team Name: Team O.U.C.H (Obviously Unprepared, Confused and Hurting)

Team Mates

Angus Reid

Category

Male

Placing

First Place!

Time: 3 hours 23 minutes (or so)

Experience

First and foremost! Thanks to Chad and Megan for putting on such a great race! It was a lot of fun and very realistic! So thanks a lot for that!

Second, in adventure racing we usually use meters for distances. So for those of you who doesn’t know what a meter is. 1 mile = 1.6kilometer. And for those of you that don’t know math, 1/2 mile = 800m, 1/4 mile = 400m, 1/8 mile = 200m.

I showed up to the race early. I needed to find a partner for the race since I didn’t really have anyone setup in advance to race with. Angus came by and asked Coach Chad if he needed any help, if not he would race with me. And so that is how I came to race with Angus.

We get our TA setup and ready to go on a picnic table (good thinking Angus!) We decided that I would nav and Angus would be the holder of the passport. We then listen to the prerace meeting and get a hint about the first leg of the race. Angus and I figure it was going to be a three legged race, so we practice a bit and realize that we are going to have some serious issues.

We go up to the start line where we find out it is indeed a three legged race. We have a piece of orange string that we have to use to help tie our legs together for the run. And we have to wait for the signal before we can tie it up. And we get the start, Angus ties us together and we struggle a bit and the string comes undone. Angus retied it and we go a bit further, it’s biting into my ankle pretty good, and comes undone. Finally Angus unties his shoe and uses the laces to tie our legs together and puts the orange string over it a bit to make it look like it’s in use. This leg was probably about 250m total. Not long, but it sure seemed like it hobbling around!

At this point we are dead last and we struggle back to the start, where we are good minute or two behind everyone else. But that’s fine, we can play catch up, it’s a long race ahead of us.

Next leg is biking. We are pretty much doing the standard bike loop at Huntsville and so we get our gear together for it and head out. We ended up passing a couple teams in TA, and get out quickly. We go up and hit the trails and pass a couple more teams pretty quickly out there.

It’s pretty obvious at this point I’m going to be suffering to keep up with Angus since he is so extremely fit. I do my best to keep up, and we start hitting the hills. And I start to get side stitches on the hills. Which makes it that much harder for me to continue along. But I do my best.

Out on the biking leg there are two check points that we have to get to to prove we didn’t cut the course. We find the first one quickly and continue on. I continue to struggle to keep up with Angus and we cruise through. At one point there is a team up in front of us, but it was at the top of a hill and I got a side stitch again. So that team managed to get away from us since I had to slow down again.

We find the next check point easily and head back to TA. When we got out of the trails and onto the roads, we took the scenic route back (What were you thinking Angus?) and we gave up a bit more time to the team in front of us. But that’s alright. The bike loop is about 10 miles. Not sure the exact distance that we biked as I don’t have a way to measure distance on the bike at this time.

Next event was a mystery event. We had to put a puzzle together. One member blind folded while the other directed them to the pieces behind them and on how they were suppose to go. We got Angus blindfolded and he was a whiz! I just told him where the pieces were, didn’t really have to direct him that much. Then he went about putting the puzzle together and he got most of the pieces in the right place right off the bat. I just had to help with rotating or flipping them so they would fit correctly! We passed the team that was a head of us on this event and headed back to TA for the next leg.

Paddling, with nav! I quickly plot the points on the map and we head down to the lake. We get in and start to paddle to the first point, and find it instantly. We get away from the point and I have a quick look at the map to check for the next point. We get over to the spill way, and this is the one point that I misplotted the whole day! But I was only off by 50m and we instantly saw the check point from a bit of a distance away. Angus even mentioned it would probably be on the other side of the spill way from where I had it. So that was good! We paddle quickly to get away from the check point and I have another look at my map for the last point. And it’s by the dock. So we paddle towards the dock, and I couldn’t remember if there was a second dock on that side of the lake or not so we took a swing by the first one, and didn’t see it so I took another look at the map and yes, there is another dock so we head over to that one. Find it again, instantly and start heading back. At this point we notice that we put quite a bit of time into the next team, the same ones we passed in the puzzle mystery event. We then hunker down and get back to TA for the last leg of the race. We paddled about 4km total getting to all the check points. It was about 600m to the first, 850m to the second, 1250m to the third and 1300m back to TA.

Trekking nav! We get the points, I plot them down quickly and off we go. The position of the points makes it quite easy to find without the use of the compass. We run down the road, and turn into the woods just past the lake, head in about 200m pretty much right where I said it was going to be. We turn around and head back out of the woods a bit different place where we went in, don’t want to be leading anyone to the points, but there was no one on the road behind us yet. So we go for the second point. I tell Angus about a kilometer up the road and we turn left off the road by a bridge into the woods. We get to an area that looks wet and swampy, and Angus said that we shouldn’t be there yet, and he was right, about 100m up the road there was the bridge we wanted. So we head into the woods and wanted to go in about 250-300m. We get trekking along the creek and hit about 200/250m and Angus calls out that we should be close to where I said, and I do a quick look and 25m to our side, and there it was! Perfect!

We head about out to the road, and still no one around. I do a quick look at the map and decide we basically need to go South, with a hint of East to get to the next road, and it will be about 900m. We start bush whacking and go for a bit. I notice that we are probably are veering a little too far South, so I take a quick look at my compass for the first time during the nav and confirm it, so we move a bit East and continue on. Angus calls out that we have gone too far, we were at about 1100m. So I decide, lets go due East to hit the road since we are probably paralleling it, we turn East and about 10m in front of us is the road we wanted. Awesome! We know where we are and head up the road to the fence we were going to run along to find the last point. We could tell we were getting close to the pond where the point was, as the swarms of mosquitoes were getting real thick. We find the pond, and the point no problem and decide to just bush whack out mostly going West West North.

We start heading out and come across a marshy swamp area. We were sinking up to mid calf in mud and muck, but we get through it no problem. We also hear some familiar voices out there, and figure because of the slight mistakes we made we got passed. At this point we started to debate if we should have taken the trail map that we were given or not, and we decided that it was alright that we didn’t as we were quite a ways ahead of the other teams and if they passed us then good on them for doing so.

IF YOU DO NOT LIKE SNAKES SKIP THIS PARAGRAPH

On our way up the road to the first check point, I mentioned to Angus about the snakes in the area, which I had learned about from one of the nature shows that the rangers at Huntsville put on. There are 120 different kinds of snakes in the area. Only 5 are poisonous, and unless you are allergic to snake venom, only one is really deadly. That deadly one is the coral snake. And it’s also the easiest one to spot because of it’s colouring. Angus also mentions that the water moccasin is pretty deadly if it bites you more than once and that if you get bit by a coral snake you would have to be trying since they are fairly easy to spot. Anyways, after we got out of the marshy area, Angus ran past a Coral snake and missed it by about a foot (I was right behind him and saw the snake.) Now, I’m not exactly sure if it was a coral or a king, but I wasn’t about to stand around and debate with the snake since they are my one irrational fear and well seeing the one snake that can most likely kill me up close and personal like that… That made me jumpy for the next 5-10 minutes.

ICKY PART OVER, CONTINUE BELOW…

We continue on, and see the creek that we had to cross to get the first check point, which we were more than happy to get into so we could clean off the crap that we got on our legs from the swamp and marsh. During this last run up to the road we had the opposite problem that we had, getting to the last point. We kept going too far North and not enough West, so we kept correcting for it and finally hit the road. We gather ourselves up for a quick breather and start the jog back to TA. From TA to the first point it was about 1000m. From the first point to the second point, it was about 1400m. Then from second to third we went 1300m and finally from third back to TA it was about 2400m.

We call in to find out that we are first team finished! What an awesome feeling to be first place in a race! It’s never happened to me before! Angus was a great team mate, I would definitely like to get good enough to race with him again at what he’s capable of doing. So we waited for the next team to come… About 40 minutes later!

Multimedia

Final Thoughts

I was a little apprehensive about racing. This was the first time I’ve done naving in a race, and it was a long time since I practiced naving as well since I’ve been helping to coach it. But considering I only screwed up one point, but 50m in an area where it didn’t really matter, it’s good to see I’m still fast and accurate at plotting. And my getting us to the points was just as good as my plotting, getting us right where we needed to go, except for the little bit of going too far in one direction and adjusting we didn’t lose much time there. I was extremely happy with my naving.

I really need to work on hills for my running and biking still. As well as continue to build up my endurance so that I can keep up with the faster people for the hour or so it takes to do most loops in the Houston area (Hunstville, Warda, etc.) And then I think I could be a real contender for top 10 at the bigger races.

My paddling was really good. The only time I had issues was when we crossed the wind and it blew us off center a bit. But we didn’t do any donuts and I kept us going straight enough to not lose too much momentum.

I think I do need to practice plotting points a bit more. I’m upset that I misplotted that one point still and need to fix that issue.

And with all that… BRING ON THE JAIL BREAK!

Days Later… (2006/10/31)

Yesterday and today, my butt has been kind of sore from what I think was tromping around in the marshy area. Sinking up to your mid calf and trying to get out of that for 10 minutes is a definite workout. Fortunately nothing else really hurts besides that, muscle wise anyways.

The other problem I have is, when I run with Dry Fit shirts, they rub against the nipple, making them very tender and if I left them long enough, I expect I would get them bleeding. And during the race I didn’t even think about bandaging them up as, I was wearing my Houston Fit AR Jersey, and never wore it before. But while running back from the last check point, I noticed that they were very very tender. And this morning I noticed that they have scabbed over. So from now on, no matter what I decide to wear, I will always bandage up prior to!

Other than those two things, I’m still riding high on my finish of this race. And I’m really looking forward to tackling the Jail Break. I will need to buy some new Sharpies for it though, as I’ve misplaced mine that I had at this mock race, and really need them for the naving! Speaking of naving, I’m still upset over that one misplot. I will have to remember to double check all points when I plot, to make sure they are all accurate before heading out.

Now to recover from this race, heal up the cuts and scratches on my legs, so I can do it all over again on the 18th of November!

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