2007/07/07 – Houston Fit AR Mock Race, Summer Season

Location

Jack Brooks Park

What Is It?

The course will consist of running, biking, paddling, and a mystery event. It will take approx 2 hours to complete the race.

    Events:

  • Run
  • Paddle & Portage
  • Bike
  • Mystery Event (Hike & Bike)

Team Name: OUCH (Obviously Unprepared, Confused & Hurting)

Team Mates

  • Steve Mertz
  • Andrea Dahlke

Category

  • 2 Person Coed

Placing

  • 1st Place Coed & Overall (Time: 1:32:00)

Official Results are hidden away on the HFAR forums. But are reproduced here (PDF File)

Experience

Again, huge thanks to Andrea for racing with me again! I had a lot of fun out there and not just because we won!

Houston Fit Adventure Racing put on a super mock race. You would not have known that it was a mock race at all, except that it was free, with free food and drinks afterwards! Big thanks to those guys!

After the last race I had decided to try just using a bagel or two for fueling up before races. So I figured, this would be a good race to try it out on again. So I ate a bagel at about 2 hours before and then tried to keep snacking on another one from about an hour to go, up until race time. I never finished it as I didn’t really feel like I needed it or wanted it. So I listened to my body and didn’t force it. This plan worked out quite well. I had one swig of a gel during the race and didn’t feel hungry until towards the end of the last event.

Now that the boring stuff is out of the way, on to the race! Andrea and I do a nice 15 minute warm up run/jog to get the bodies ready to rumble. I felt pretty good and told her so, so she could be setting the pace out there as she’s the better runner. We get back just in time for the pre-race meeting…

At the pre-race meeting we learn that the race order was going to be run, paddle, bike, mystery event. We also learn that the paddle was only going to be half as long as it should have been, as we had to paddle down the bayou and then portage the boats back along the bank. This sucked for us, as 1) We are quite decent paddlers and 2) I just finally got my new paddle finished last night (drove a total of 5 hours to get it done!) and now we won’t get to fully shine! Plus portaging Sevy’s is a PITA since they are hard to carry due to their shape. But that’s fine, it’s the same problem for every one. We also learn that the bike section will also be a bike nav, where we are to stay on the roads.

After the meeting, we have a couple of minutes to finalize things and I debate running with my CamelBak as it is faster and easier to run with out it, but I also sweat a tonne and my mouth dries out quickly. Andrea also debates whether to take it or leave it. We both decide to leave them behind. This brings us to the race start!

We all line up and we are off! Andrea and I are close to the front of the pack and we try to keep our own pace going. I’m feeling pretty good on the run, and we see two teams go ahead of us, they are quite a bit faster than us and so we don’t worry too much about them. With all of the rain we have had over the last couple of months, the trails are really slick and muddy. And it’s a clay like mud, so it sticks to everything. So the shoes start to get really heavy and I start to feel good on my decision not to wear the CamelBak as that would just be extra weight on top of the extra weight.

We come out of the run in 3rd place. The Race Directors were worried we cut course some how because we all ran it too fast. But we don’t worry about it and head off to the Paddle. We pass the other two teams in TA so we are first to the paddle. Jump into the boat and away we go. I have a bit of a problem adjusting to my new paddle. It feels awkward and too light and flimsy like it will snap, but since it’s carbon fiber, that’s just how it feels and it won’t snap. I slowly adjust to it and we get going pretty good. We put a large chunk of time into the second place team here and get to the take out spot. This is where I start to curse the race director for making us portage. I figure the best way to do it is for me to carry the Sevy myself, using a paddle as a handle and then let Andrea carry the other stuff. This works out well until my arms tire from switching back and forth, and then my legs tired from the fast run we had. So we put everything back into the Sevy and carry it between us, and walk the rest of the way back. Second place team is also walking back so we don’t lose time to them here.

We get back to TA and I complain a lot at the Race Director about the portage (all in fun.) And it’s bike time. We drop the boat and start putting our stuff on. I grab a swig of Gel and HEED and Andrea goes to check us out and get the map. I catch up, get the map, and we fly off while I try to read the map on the go. I figure out where we are and where we are headed fairly quickly. The map is posted under “Maps” Below. There were 5 checkpoints, a question mark and TA. We went from TA to CP2, and nailed that quickly. Then CP3 gave us a bit of a problem, as I stumbled on reading the map correctly and went the hard way to the CP and then made a wrong turn. So we lost about 5 minutes here looking for it. But we found it and rush off to CP4. We nail that one instantly, and head up to CP5. I road right past it, luckily Eagle Eye Andrea was right there to holler at me that it was there. Then we high tail it back to CP1, which again we find instantly, and head back to TA.

On the way back to TA Andrea asks about how people do a Hike and Bike, whether you run in bike shoes, or what. Kind of spooky, as when we get into TA, we find out we are doing a Hike and Bike back to the red question make that is on the map. Andrea says she is feeling good and wants to start the run. We get off going and and we see some of the other teams that are still biking around looking for the CPs. At about half way to the turn around point we swap out and I start to run. I figure towing would be in order so we can pick up the pace a bit, and I grab a hold of Andrea’s CamelBak and tell her to go and we find an easy pace that is faster than my normal run. At the half way point we swap out again, and Andrea runs while I bike. This time Andrea tries the towing and we go a bit faster than her first run which is good. And at the last quarter, we swap out one last time and I tell her to go as fast as she can to drag me in, running around 9mph we hit the TA and I am completely blown. Luckily that was the last event, I wouldn’t have been able to continue past that!

Once we were in, we also found out that we didn’t cut the run part of the race at the beginning, we just smoked the run really fast. So that was good that there wasn’t a screw up there.

Multimedia

I had my camera… But I forgot to take it out of the truck again! I am waiting to see if I can get some pictures from the folks that were out there taking pictures.

Maps

We did have a map, but I didn’t keep it. I will see if I can get a copy of it to post here.

Jackbrooks Map with Checkpoints

Jackbrooks Map with Checkpoints

Final Thoughts

Another really fun race with Andrea. There wasn’t much more we could have done out there, maybe try to trim a little more time in TA, or try to figure out a better way to carry the Sevy to be able to run with it better.

Something else that we could have done is maybe try to make better use of the towing for the hike and bike. I had my towing stuff with me, just didn’t think to grab it out of TA. If we had a better setup, we might have been able to go a bit faster.

Just before heading out on the hike and bike, I should have grabbed another swig of gel, but it wouldn’t have done much, other than quell the hungry sensation I had when we were almost done. If the race were any longer, it would have helped though. Might try to remember that for next time.

One last thing I could have done better was read the map for CP3. After looking at it once we found it I realized the mistake I made. Hopefully I won’t do that again and, it won’t cost us so much time, next time around.

Days Later… (2007/07/09)

Feeling pretty good today. Nothing is sore or too tired. The legs feel it a little bit, but that’s from hauling it on the Hike&Bike that last quarter mile or so.

Still feeling good about how well we did. Checking out the results I look at a couple of places that we might have done better, like I mentioned before, the bike nav error cost us 5 minutes. And some of the TA times were a bit long. But other than that I’m quite pleased with how things turned out.

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