Monday, June 18, 2007

The SCAR 8-Hr AR (2007)

The SCAR (Seminole County Adventure Race) 8-hour adventure race took place yesterday in and around the Oviedo/Chuluota area.  A lot of my good friends from adventure racing were signed up so I knew it was going to be a great race.  And given that it's a Dr. Ron designed course, I knew it would be challenging yet fun.

I signed up for the race with Jason and Erica as Team Hoof Hearted.  Erica's parent and her brother (Jim, Lori, Matt) signed up as Team Nature Calls.  We also had Jason's cousins Ryan and Kevin racing as The Brothers.  And then there were tons of good friends like teams Figjam, Jim's Bicycles, Gecko, Zig! Zag! Zoom! (Trung and friends), RUOK, and a bnuch of other really cool and really nice people I've come to know over the years in adventure racing.

Prior to the race Dr. Ron warned us that the race was going to involve a lot of tough navigation.  And thankfully he also warned us that there was going to be a lot of bushwhacking.  Nasty, thick bushwhacking.  And he was not joking.  But luckily, we all came prepared wearing pants instead of just shorts.

Anyway, on to the race......

The race started at the Oviedo Riverside Park just off Lockwood.  At around 8:00am, we were off.

Our first leg was a trekking/running section.  We had to go collect two points (C1 and C2) and return to the start/finish area (S/F).  All teams headed off together running towards C1, which was about 1 mile down the river on a fairly nice trail.  Then we headed back up and passed the S/F on our way to C2.

C2 proved to be quite an experience.  There was no trail, so we had to 'handrail' the river up for about 1 mile towards the CP.  Since there was no trail it was slow going.  And there was a lot of bushwhacking.  Pretty thick at times.  We got to the point first and quickly turned around to head back to the S/F.  It was a really fun trek!

Back at the S/F we transitioned to our bike gear for a very short ride up to the bridge over the Econ on 419 where the TA was located.  The ride was all on paved roads (Lockwood and 419) and it was short, so we were there in no time.

Once at the river TA, we dropped off our bikes and headed off on our paddling leg of the race.  We had to pick up three paddling points (P1, P2, P3).  P3 was North on the river while P2 and P3 were South.  We decided to go to P3 first, as did a few other teams.

The paddling towards P3 was not too bad.  A lot of turns on the river and some debris, but nothing too bad.  Also, we were paddling with the current.  After we got P3 then things got tough.  Paddling back against the current was tough, very tough.  At times it seemed as tough we weren't even moving.  But we slowly made our way back to the TA and continued South to get P1, followed by P2.

On our way to get the paddling points we saw a handful of teams.  Figjam was leading the way (actually RUOK was, but we didn't know), with us close behind them.  Then there was Higher Ground followed by Jim's Bicycles and Geckos.  We ended up passing Figjam.  Actually, they got lost and paddled right by P2.  So when we made it back to the TA, we were the 2nd team out of the water (that got all 3 points).

Now it was time to bike again.  This next section was going to be a combination bike/trek with us biking and bushwhacking to the rest of the points on the course.

We started out by biking from 419 to Lockwood and up to 426.  Our first point (B2).  We stayed on 426 to B1.  Then we followed a few trails up towards B8.  We skipped B7 because we had decided to get it on the way back out.

We continued on to B3 and then to B4.  So far we hit all the points pretty quickly and were feeling good.  But then, right after we left B4, on our way from B4 to B5, something kinda bad happened.  We were riding on some sandy road covered with logs and debris when Jason got a thick piece of wood jammed in his back wheel.  Before he realized what had happened, he pedaled through it and his rear derailler snapped right off.  Shit.

So without wasting time we removed the chain, bungied the hanging derailler to his frame, and continued on, pushing the bike.  The trails we were riding on made it impossible to tow or push a rider, so we walked it.  Jason and I took turns.  He'd walk the bike for a little while while I rested pedaling mine.  Then we'd switch off.

We made it to B5 and found a handful of teams looking for it.  Didn't take us long to find it and pretty soon we were off walking the broken bike towards B6.  B6 gave us a hard time.  We knew we were in the right place but got a bit confused for a bit.  So it took us about 45 minutes to finally find it.

From B6 we walked our bike to the hard packed road SouthEast of our location.  Once there, we were able to tow the broken bike.  We put Erica on the bike while Jason and I took turn towing/pushing her.

We got back out to 426 but still had to head up to get B7 (which we had skipped earlier).  So we went up.  B7 Was at the end of a long and very cool boardwalk.  At the boardwalk we dropped off Erica (and yes, we told the race director we did this) while J and I rode to the end to get the point.  Got B7 and now we were home free.  Just a short 5 or so mile bike ride back to the S/F on paved roads.

Jason and I pushed it hard towing/pushing Erica.  it was hot as hell and we all felt like total shit, but we wanted to get done as quickly as possible.

We made it to the finish line after 7 hours and 23 minutes, not knowing how we'd done.  We figured we were probably top 3.  But it turned out that we were the only team to get all the check points!!  All other teams missed at least one checkpoint.  So we got first place overall!!  It was a good feeling, given the hell we went through with Jason's bike.

Anyway, it was another awesome, AWESOME race!!  Now only 6 weeks to wait before our next big adventure, The 30-hour ACC Adventure Race!!

And huge, HUGE, props to both my teammates, Jason and Erica.  Jason, as usual, was a machine!  And Erica completely kicked ass!  She never complained and pushed hard the entire race!  She was simply bad ass!! I had a great time racing with both of you!  Thanks guys!!!