Sunday, March 7, 2010
Yesterday I did the 6-hour adventure race, The BOAR, with JD and Nikki Bell. It was a beautiful, somewhat cold morning, in East Orlando (Ft. Christmas area).
The race started out great. We had a short bike ride from the start to the Paddle TA just a few miles away. The roads were all very nice and hard packed. It was easy going. Made it to the boats together with the first two teams. But here's where very quickly our race would get turned upside dow.
The paddle portion of the race was in the St. John's River flood plain. Usually, when the water level is low, the flood plain has a very distinct channel that you can paddle on. And the maps we had for the race, which were taken directly off Google Maps, showed only this clear channel. However, thanks to all the rain we've had lately, the flood plain was flooded. There was water everywhere! It was very hard to figure out what the main channel was because everything looked the same.
So we easily and quickly made it to CP1. But then we got completely lost heading to CP2. As you can see on the map from my GPS watch (below), we ended up paddling way north. Notice how it looks like we are going over dry land, but believe me, it was anything but dry. 1.5 hours later I was completely lost. I have never been so lost in a race before. There was so much water everywhere that it was nearly impossible to figure out where you were. But finally after about 1.5 hours, we saw another boat and finally figured out where we were. From there we decided to get a few close CP's then just head in. Turns out almost every team had a hard time with the paddle, so that made me feel better. But it still sucked and cost us a lot of time. So we picked up only 4 out of 8 possible checkpoints and headed back to our bikes.
The Bike (1)
Both bike sections of the race were really easy. After getting off the boats we got on our bikes and biked up to CP9. From there we backtracked back past the main TA and continued on to CP10 and CP11, before heading into the TA. Very easy.
The Bike (2)
At the TA we had an option, we could go on to the next bike leg, or to the next trek leg. We chose to do the bike leg first, get it out of the way, then have the remaining race time to do the trek.
Again, this leg was easy. All roads were really nice and the CP's were exactly in place. We saw a lot of big gators in this area just sitting right on the side of the trail, a mere 10 feet from where we were riding. Very cool. We finished this section pretty quick and picked up all the CP's (CP20-CP26). Then we headed back to the TA.
Now it was time to trek. I knew this was going to be a long trek, and we had just about 2-hours to complete it. Since this is a rogaine race the finishing time is very important. You have to be back to the finish line before the cutoff (3:00PM). So we kept a a good eye on our watch.
We headed off running and quickly found CP18. From there we moved up to CP12 and then CP13. CP14-CP16 were really cool because you had to shoot navigational bearings to each one from the previous one. Then you had to follow your bearing and find the CP. I owned this section. I came up on all 3 CP's right on! At one point Nikki and JD were wondering what the hell we were doing, but then, there would be the CP, right where I said it would be. I felt good getting those points so easily.
We finally reached CP17 and had just over 30 minutes to spare. Now, looking at the map, the trail from CP17 to CP19, and then from CP19 to the finish, looked like a nice hard packed jeep trail. It was about 2.4 miles from there to the finish. So I thought we should have plenty of time to finish, no problem.
Unfortunately just south of CP17, the trail turned into a nasty, muddy, mucky shit pile that was impossible to run through. Parts were under water, other parts you would just sink ankle deep into the cow dung mud. Running was out of the question. But, we had already committed so we had to keep pushing.
We found CP19 with exactly 15 minutes left to go. Again, I thought the trail would get better and 15 minutes might be enough. But the trail did not get better. It almost got worse. so for about 1 mile were were walking through this nasty ass crap. It was so frustrating because I knew this woud cost us big time and we would not finish before 3:00PM. Finally the last 0.5 mile we got to a nice packed shell road, but by then it was too late. We were already past 3:00PM.
We finally finished at 3:11PM. We had a total of 22 points which was good for a solid 3rd place overall finish. But the penalties for being late were 1 point per 10 minutes late. So we got a 2 point penalty and ended up with a net of 20 points, which put us in 5th place.
But we still had a fun race. JD did really good! And Nikki was a freaking machine! She was on fire running ahead of us to every single CP and getting it right away. Plus the girl has eagle eyes. She was spotting CP's from all over the place! Good stuff! So I want to thank both of you for an awesome race! I was sorry I miscalculated our time, but, that's racing!
And a huge congrats to Jason, Erica and May-Li who ended up 3rd place overall with a total of 21 points! Erica fresh of having a baby. That's good shit!
Here are the two maps. One is the entire race map. The other is just the paddle map to show you how lost we were going from CP1 to CP2.