2007/09/15 – 2007 Lake Charles Adventure Race

Location

Sam Houston Jones State Park

What Is It?

3 Person coed/male/female race

    Events:

  • Run
  • Bike
  • Canoe
  • Bike
  • Mystery Event (Swim)
  • Run

Team Name: HoustonFitAR.com

Team Mates

  • Megan Holman
  • Chad Holman
  • Steve Mertz

Category

  • 3 Person Coed

Placing

  • 15th out of 16th: 3:43:25

Experience

First off. Thanks to the Holmans for inviting me to race with them. It was a wild ride and I had a blast racing with them!

For me the race started on Thursday. What I normally do for races where I’m going to be traveling is buy 2 large (16″) pizza’s so I have food for eating on the way, while racing and on the way back and don’t have to worry about where to eat or what to eat. I placed my order exactly like I normally do when I order online. And then I waited. It normally takes them about 30-40 minutes to get the pizza to my house. This time it was almost an hour when they showed up. And this is where things start taking a weird spin. Instead of my 2 – 16″ pizzas. They delivered to me 1 – TWENTY EIGHT INCH Pizza.

Yes. Go get a tape measure and measure out 28 inches on it. That was the diameter of the pizza. How does one store a pizza that big? The slices are 14″ long. I ended up cutting each slice in half and tossing them into zip top baggies. It was quite a PITA to deal with, especially since I was trying to pack for the race!

With the pizza troubles behind me, I get things packed up and ready to go. Friday after work, I call up Chad to let him know I’m on my way up. Only to find out that the race started for him on Wednesday! He was doing some work on his bike to get it ready for the race only to notice that it was leaking brake fluid all over the place. So he had to find a bike shop that could repair it by Friday evening so we could get on the road to the race. Luckily he did find one, and he was on his way to pick it up when I called.

The original plan was to leave their house about 7pm, and get into Lake Charles around 9 or so and have plenty of time for getting good rest. But traffic was really bad and Chad didn’t make it back to his house until 7:30. And so we had to load up his SUV and then go find some food for dinner and so it was 8:15 by the time we actually hit the road.

We pull into the motel sometime after 10 and get checked in, and start hauling our gear up to the room. At this point I find out that my rear bike tire is flat. Well no problem, I will fix it in the morning with the new slime tubes I just got in this week. Perfect timing. We get to sleep and we all pretty much zonk out quickly. And 5:30am comes too quickly and I’m up and getting ready so I can go get my tire changed out.

At this point, you must be thinking “Well, that’s a simple process and nothing should really go wrong there…” Yeah, well this is Murphy’s Race apparently (anything that can go wrong… will.) I grab the first tube, and try to undo the presta valve so I can blow it up a bit before putting it into the tire. It won’t unscrew, so I try harder and the core removes. Great, that won’t work. I grab a second tube (good thing I bought five of these things!) and the valve works. I pop it into the tire, put the tire on the rim, check the seal to make sure it’s not pinching the tube or anything and start to pump up the tire.

I pay attention to the pressure on the gauge on my pump and I get it up to about 20lbs and it doesn’t move from there. I put more air in and suddenly, the tube pops out of the tire, and is about 6-8″ in diameter and this section is about a foot long. I think “that’s not right” and lean down to take the pump off and as I lean down, the tube explodes. Now, remember, these are SLIME TUBES. Green slime is now everywhere. All over me, the bike, the ground, my truck, just every where. I looked and felt like a guy who was slimed by Slimer from the Ghostbusters. Great. Down another tube and covered in slime. Can’t do anything at this point and laugh. Oh yeah, Chad was down stairs at this point putting stuff away and heard the BANG of the popping and saw me covered in slime. And he to was laughing, not with me, but at me. It was quite a sight to behold!

I clean up enough to put another tube into the bike, I pump it up just enough to make the tire take shape and figure I will just leave it and pump it at in TA once we get there, as I still had to clean up and find some food stuffs for breakfast.

One the way to the race site we have to stop and buy some ice. Buying ice. That’s simple enough! Oh wait, Murphy’s Race…. Chad and I go into this skanky gas station to get the ice, and there is some lunatic lady rambling on and on about friends and some such and just babbles as the store keep laughs at her, as does another gentleman in the store. She was a crazy lady and seemed to be getting a bit crazier by the minute, finally she leaves and things calm down a bit and the store keep and other gentleman talk about the lady and well, it seems she’s a regular customer. She kind of reminds me of Omar, but also all hopped up on crack. (If you get it, you get it. If you don’t, I’m not explaining it… moving on.)

We finally get to the race site with out any more challenges. We setup our TA and get things ready to go. We talk a bit of strategy and think about what we need to do. We got the maps about 30 minutes before race start, so Chad studies the map so he knows where everything is we need to go and then relays the info to Megan and myself. All the instructions are on the map so we knows just about everything (one mystery event is the exception) that we are going to be doing before start. So we can prepare what we need and be ready.

We go about the normal pre-race meeting and they talk about the sponsors, what to expect on the trails, etc. Then in the first time that I’ve raced, we went straight from pre-race meeting to lining up and racing. So much for the bathroom break just before the race!

We line up for the first run of the race. And off we go! And off we go following Chad to were ever he was taking us! Well, it was just around the road and a bit of the trail to CP1 and then down to CP2. A nice short run to start us off with, before we hit the bikes…

We get back to TA and get our bike gear ready and head on out. We get to the trails quickly and start going through them. Chad up front, Megan in the middle and myself last. I can tell that Megan seems a bit tense on the trails, like she’s not been on them in a long time, so I try to encourage her as much as I can over the obstacles and hills and such. Then we run into a bit of a problem. Right in the middle of a large mud puddle, Chad’s chain slipped so he had to stop, which caused Megan to stop suddenly. Her tires got stuck in the mud, and she fell over, being almost fully submerged in the puddle. It was kind of funny to watch, but not a good moment to laugh, that’s for sure! We get Megan out of the mud and back on the bikes and start going again. Megan starts to loosen up on the bike and is able to handle the obstacles better.

Then Chad has another mishap with his bike, the chain shifted up into his spokes. After several minutes of fighting, he eventually won and got things working again. And off we went again. We finally get out of the trails, Megan did an awesome job there! Chad hooks up the tow system to Megan so he can tow her. And he suggests that I go in front and block wind for him while he is towing. Apparently I’m pretty good at blocking wind, I have been compared to blocking it like a semi truck. Not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing, but I block the wind for Chad to make it easier on him.

We get to the paddle section, which is canoes. Three of us in the canoes and two people paddling. We decided before the race, that we would see what the situation would be like before we decided who would go where. So we ended up with Megan in the middle, Chad up front, and me steering. I use to know how to steer a canoe… honest!

We start off with an obstacle course. Great, I have to remember how to steer immediately with out warning! I manage to bumble our way through it, and we get going up to CP8. Then back down to CP9, and it’s just shortly before CP9 when I actually do remember how to correctly steer the canoe, so we start to build up a bit more speed as I can steer us with less backwards resistance now. And we put more time in on the people behind us, and start gaining on the people in front of us. We get down to CP10 and I ask Chad if he feels like trying to pass the one team that has been ahead of us the whole leg, and he said sure, so we go about doing it and actually get into the dock area just feet before them. Good job Chad!

We hop out of the canoe, put the stuff where it needs to go, and get back to our bikes. Murphy’s Race. Chad back tire is flat! Okay, no problem. He has slimed tubes. I get out my CO2 dispenser and we fill it back up. But it starts hissing again quickly. Okay, tube is no good. Swap the tube for a new one. While Chad is doing that, I start fighting with my C02 dispenser. I can’t get it apart to get a new cartridge into it. What a piece of junk it is! But luckily it is a hybrid and we can use it as a pump. So Chad starts to pump up the tire with it. It’s a small pump so it takes a lot of effort to do much with it. And then the presta valve breaks off in the pump! So we are now down one new tube, one old tube. Chad and Megan didn’t have any other tubes, and mine are too big for their bikes. So we think, okay let’s try to patch the old tube. Chad patches it, and I finally get my CO2 dispenser apart to swap cartridges. We get the patched tube in the tire, and blow it up… and it leaks. It’s leaking around the valve. No way to fix that.

So there we are, wasted probably a good 20-30 minutes trying to fix a flat. And well, didn’t fix it. So we make the decision to run the bike back to 2 check points. CP11 and CP15. Chad starts running with his bike, we rig up a bit of a tow system so I can tow him while he runs. Once we hit the trails though I can’t tow him anymore and so we progress along at Chad’s running speed. We Hit CP11 and continue on a bit, and then he and I switch out so I run with his bike while he attempts to ride mine. I say attempt, because if you know my bike, and you know how tall Chad is… There isn’t much more he can do than attempt, but he was able to ride it! He mentioned after the race though that his calves had cramping issues since he was basically pedaling with just his toes almost to reach. Anyways… I run the bike back to about a 1/4 mile of the TA and have to switch back out and Chad runs it the rest of the way in. Biking from Hell done.

Mystery Event! Swimming! Chad’s not a swimmer and I can’t swim in a life jacket! Perfect! But as it turns out Chad is a decent swimmer, and I’m a really really bad swimmer in the life jacket. It was basically out around a buoy and back, in some strong current river/bayou/thingy. I finally get back in from the swim and we get back to TA for the final run. Simple loop to pick up the last two CPs.

We start off good, everyone is feeling not too bad from the way we were running. I start to feel the effects of chaffing on nipples. I start to try to protect them as best as I can, should have patched them up prerace! We get to CP17, no problem, and start down to CP18 and I look down and my nice white jersey is now, red from the chaffing. Nice. It stings like hell, and I’m bleeding. What a way to finish the race! We get the last CP and head back to TA for a final time of: 3:43:25

I do have to say, with everything that went on during this race, it was probably one of the more fun races I have done. The venue was awesome as were my team mates. Definitely going to keep this race on my radar for next year!

Multimedia and Maps

Final Thoughts

This race was a lot of fun. The only thing I can think of that I need to try to remember for next time, is to patch the nipples pre-race. My nutrition was bang on, no bonking, or even signs of bonking. So that was good… I think I have that all figured out now.

I probably should have tried to be a bit more helpful to my team mates during transitions or when Chad had his various mechanicals. So I will have to work on that part. And I could have also been a bit more encouraging/cheerleader like for everyone to help try to keep everyone’s spirits up with the various issues we had.

A Couple Days Later… (2007/09/17)

My body feels pretty tired. But I didn’t take a day off after the race so I didn’t have any real recovery time. But that’s alright, fatigue the body and make it stronger as a result as soon as it can get recovered from it all (some time next year maybe?)

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