Yesterday Team Nature Calls headed back out into the woods for another excellent adventure race, The Squiggy 6-Hour AR, at Morris Bridge Park in the Hillsborough River area.
Jason, Lori and I had not raced together since the Turkey Burn, so we were ready to rock!
In order to split up the teams and put a little distance between them, the race started with a short prologue. Basically we ran through a mini and short obstacle course right around the start/finish area. We tried to stay near the front of the pack as we knew there would be back ups at some of the obstacles. And in a few shorts minutes we were done and on our way to the next part of the race.
Ride -N- Tie
The next part of a race was a section called Ride N Tie. One teammate rides a bike while the others run. You can switch off at anytime you want. The section was only a couple miles long, so we decided Lori would ride and Jason and I would run. The ride actually turned out to be harder than we thought as sections the trail were not bike friendly. But Lori did a great job while Jason and I tried to keep a good running pace. When all was said and done, we finished the section in about 3rd place overall.
After a very quick "special test" back at the TA, we tok off for the bike portion of the race. This section was awesome! Most of the bike was on great single rack trails which were perfectly maintained. Very fast trail and very fun to ride. We were the first ones of the trail, followed closely by our friend Greg (from Pangea Adventure Racing) and his son.
In this section we had five checkpoints to find, three of them would be right along the trail, while two we had to go find off the trail. We moved quick on the trail and easily found all the points. Lori who hadn't ben riding much (since she just finished a massive 7-day kayaking trip) did amazing on the bike!
Greg and his son stayed with us most of the way, but unfortunately halfway through the bike one of their derailleurs broke, and Greg had to tow his son all the way back to the TA. Great job on that Greg!
So we were the first ones back to the TA, and quickly jumped on the boats to star the paddling section.
Now it was time to canoe down the Hillsborough River. This was a very nice paddle. Very pretty river. And thanks to all the rain we had the last few weeks, the water level was high which made paddling easy. Well, except for the fact that heading south on the river the current was against us and very though.
The CP's on the river were again fairly easy to find. Saw a nice big gator sunbathing or waiting for one of us to tip their canoes, one or the other. Anyway, once we reached the last CP and turned around to head back to the TA, we were smoking it, thanks to the very strong current.
Made it back to the TA in first place, with a few teams about 10 minutes or so behind us.
With a few teams on our tails, we wasted no time in leaving the TA on our last section of the race, the trek/run. We had seven checkpoints to find in what was basically a very big swamp area.
Kip and Jessica had warned us about the mosquitos in this area, and man were they right. Only once before have I experienced anything quite like it, and that was while racing through the Everglades. It was insane. As soon as you stopped for even a second, you were swarmed by hundred of big nasty mosquitos. Luckily were had prepared with bug spray, but it was still annoying.
The first two checkpoints on this section were fairly easy to get to as they were off trails. But the rest were out in the middle of the swampish area next to the river. It was very wet and very muddy. We hard a little problem finding FP3. Looked around for a bit until we finally got our bearings (after making it to the river) and got it. After that, it was smooth sailing. Jason's navigation was, as always, spot on.
On our way back to the finish we decided to take the shortest route, which meant taking a dip in the river. We tried to pick a good section to cross, but still ended up having to swim in what turned out to be pretty cold water. That's adventure racing!
Made it to the finish line where we had to do a small mental test before finally crossing the finish line. So a few minutes later, we came across the finish line, 1st Place Overall! Second place came in about 5 minutes after us.
As always, I want to thank my awesome teammates, Jason and Lori. We had a great time and good laughs! Jason was again the man on his navigation and got us to all CP's very quickly! Awesome job guys! Can't wait to do it again!
And thank you to Kip, Jessica, and the rest of the WeCeFAR volunteers. Excellent course!!
Now to get ready for next week's 30-Hour adventure race up in Nocatee, Florida with Trung and Jamie. Should be fun!