2007/11/03 – HFAR 2007 Fall Season Mock Race


Huntsville State Park

What Is It?

Adventure Race


  • Three Legged Race
  • Paddle
  • Bike
  • Mystery Event
  • Trekking/Navigation
  • Special Nav

Team Name: Threesome in the Woods


  • Andrea Dahlke
  • Steve Mertz

Category: 2 Person Coed


  • First Place Coed, third overall (5 hours, 19 minutes)

Official Results (PDF)


First and fore most, HUGE thanks to Andrea for racing with me again, and letting me do something stupid prior to the race. As always she had a great attitude out there, put up with my silliness, and did a plain ole awesome job out there!

I got to TA and started to set things up. Then at check in, we got our map, passport and a piece of string. Uh Oh. String. That can only mean three-legged race. That is a bad thing. The one thing I can’t do at all and we are starting off with it again. The start of the race comes around and we find out for sure that it is a three legged race. But the rules are, tie it how ever you want. Great, we can try something new that I’ve wanted to try. We tied both of our left legs together so we could try running single file. And off we go! And FAILURE. This running single file doesn’t work at all! The only thing I can think of to fix this is for me to carry Andrea via piggy back. So She jumps on my back and off we go! And if it wasn’t for the fact I had just run that other race, this probably would have worked, but my legs were rather tired and couldn’t keep going. So we just stumble along trying to finish this leg of the race. Woohoo! Last place!

The next leg is paddle. I get the coordinates to plot and quickly plot them out. And we are off to the put in spot. We are looking forward to this as paddling is our strongest leg. We get in the Sevy and start heading off to the first point. We start cruising quickly and get our rhythm down. As we get closer to the CP something seems a little off. Not too sure what’s happening. Andrea jumps out and gets the CP and I realize as she is out, that my Sevy seat has a leak in it. This is going to suck bad. Soon my seat is completely flat and I have no support for my back. I try to keep upright but I just don’t have the core strength to do that and paddle. I end up almost laying down while paddling strictly with my arms. This causes us to slow down a bit. So much for our good leg of the race. I struggle through, trying to paddle as best as I can with just my arms, while laying down. Andrea suggested maybe switching seats so that I had the good one while she used the flat one. At the time I didn’t think it would make much difference. But thinking on it later, it probably would have been a good idea. I could have used my feet for the back of her, so she would still have proper support. Will have to remember that for next time. Anyways, we get the three checkpoints and head back to TA. At this point I count 5 boats back in, so we did manage to pass quite a few teams on the water.

We did the typical bike trail out here at Huntsville. Pretty straight forward, follow the trail and find two check points. Andrea did an awesome job tackling some of the obstacles that are out there. While we were out there, we did manage to pass a couple of teams which was great. A couple of times I was a bit worried that we ended up passing the CPs we were looking for, as they were supposedly just on the trail, so no idea where on the trail they were. But once we found them there was much relief and things were good again. Other than this, there wasn’t much to the biking, although I believe I took a wrong turn at one point which made us go a little bit further than we needed at the end. (Sorry Andrea!)

On to the next event! A mystery event at that! We have to blind one of ourselves, and then the other has to guide the blind folded one to four trees and back to the start. Oh yeah. The catch. The one guiding couldn’t touch or talk the other person. So I quickly come up with one clap for right, two claps for left and three claps for going straight. So we blindfold Andrea and I try guiding her. And in the mean while I keep getting myself confused with left and right and how many claps was required to guide those ways. So she kept getting confused herself. When we got to this event we were the only ones around, but then as we struggled through this more people got to it, and started to pass us. I need more work on mystery event strategies! There were some much better, easier methods for directing team mates through this. One team had their member just thumping their chest and following that sound, which was much quicker than me trying to remember how many claps I needed. But we finished it and moved onto the trekking section.

This was going to be the interesting leg for us. With my legs being a bit tired from the previous race, I would probably not be able to run much or for long, so we would have to walk a bunch. But my legs actually didn’t feel too bad at this point starting off, so we started jogging a bit as I figured out where we were going. I figured out our plan of attack and we started to pick up speed a bit. The plan was to hit the CPs in this order: 6, 7, 8, 10, 9 and back to TA. The easy ones are 7, 8 and 10 as I know where those are without needing much help from a compass or pace counting. CP 6 and 9 were going to be a bit different. So we get to the point on the road where I wanted to start bush whacking and get Andrea to give me a pace count in. Once we get her count, it was time to start looking around. We came across some horse trails and figured that the CP would be fairly close to those, so we started to look around a bit. And Andrea found the CP quickly. There was a team close to us. So I played sort of a decoy while she quickly punched the passport. Then we ran off down the trail back to the road. Where we found a sign with the trails on it. So that made finding a quick way to CP7 & 8 easier. So we bolted down the trail to the road where we needed to be, ran south of the creek that was there and bolted into the brush following a game trail to about where the CP was suppose to be and there it was. In the middle of the creek. Score! Andrea punched the CP and we went back to the road, came across another team and let them know that the best way to attack the CP was from the South (we are so nice!) We then ran up the road towards CP8.

We heard some people in the brush bush whacking their way through. But I have been to this CP many of times. And the best route was to run up to the fence line and then follow it down as there is a road there which makes for faster travel than bush whacking. We quickly get to the pond where it was, I grab the passport from Andrea and run into the pond. As soon as I step into the water I can tell it’s very nasty. As the blisters I acquired from the previous race, started to sting real bad. But I continue on and grab the CP, and run back to Andrea, who managed to some how lose a fight with a thorny vine and her leg is covered in blood. You were just standing there waiting for me… What happened?!

We go back along the fence line and to the road and head back the way we came to get back up to the northern side of the park to hit up CP 10 and 9. CP10 is easy. We just have to run to the north fence and follow it to the top of a small hill, then charge into the brush to grab it. Worked out perfectly. We start heading back to the fence from CP10 and I made the mistake of going a little too far west in our direction and we parallel the road a bit before I realize what was going on, so it seemed like we traveled much further than we did when we went in… and well… we did. But we hit the fence line head down the lone star trail do where CP9 is. It had the clue of “do not travel on maintenance road” which makes trying to find it complicated as it was down by the maintenance sheds and such. We look around a bit and we hear one of the other teams holler out that they found it, so we casually walk back and thank them for letting us know where it was. After that we ran (well I hobbled) back to TA for the final event.

It was one more nav section. This time using a park map, we had to go find at CP at the lodge and the North West trail head. At first I had problems figuring out the whole lodge part. I thought there were multiple lodges in the park. But it turns out there was only one of them. So off we went to the lodge first. We walked around it and found the CP fairly quickly. Then we ran off to the North West trail head. As we went towards it we passed the coed team that was ahead of us, they were heading back to TA already… No way we could catch them. But then about 30 seconds later, they holler back to us that they couldn’t find the CP. Perfect. All we have to do now is to find it and we will most likely win the coed division! So, we went off in search of it. We did spend some time looking for it. We walked up and down the various trails that were all right there in search and nothing. And finally I walked to where some of the parking was for the trail head and I caught a glimpse of it. So I called to Andrea, we got our passport punched and started walking back. Then there were a couple of other teams starting to run towards the CP and that made us realize that we would have to run to possibly keep our placing. So we started to jog back to TA.

We finally get in and I’m rather tired at this point. And despite the silliness of my running a 25km race about 1.5 hours before this race. And my feet being a bit beat up from that, we actually got in to TA as the second coed team. But because the first coed team didn’t find all of the check points we won! And we got third place over all! Sweet!

Andrea did an awesome job out there again. I was quite proud of her and how she is growing in her abilities. I look forward to racing the Jail Break with her in two weeks!

Multimedia and Maps

Final Thoughts

This was a good race for us. Very little went wrong for us, other than the whole three legged race and the flat Sevy Seat. The three legged race will require much practice for me, as it doesn’t matter who I race with on this, I just can’t do it. But if I practice then maybe it will work out.

The flat sevy seat issue… Andrea was probably correct, if we were to switch the seats around then I could have used the good seat and it would have helped my posture… while she was using the flat one I could have propped up her back with my feet. Will remember this one for next time.

Everything else went our way though. We had a great bike leg, Andrea is getting stronger here for sure. Our nav leg was decent. Could have got a bit more smoothly. But I was starting to tire a bit from having done the 25k earlier in the day. So I just won’t do that again, that will solve that problem!

With these small tweaks, we will definitely be having a strong race at the Jail Break in two weeks!

A Couple Days Later… (2007/11/05)

Yesterday was bad. My legs were very heavy and stiff, and the bottoms of my feet were very tender from the blisters. But today the feet are better and the legs are a bit more usable. Probably won’t go running any time soon on them though.

I did push myself doing the two races in one day. And thinking back, I could have probably pushed myself a bit harder during the trekking. I feel like I slacked off a bit, when I could have pushed it a bit more. I won’t be doing that during the Jail Break though, I will make triple sure of that.

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