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Training Log Archive: glewis

In the 1 days ending Jun 21:

activity # timemileskm+ft
  Adventure Racing1 24:00:00
  Total1 24:00:00

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Tuesday Jun 21 #

12 AM

Adventure Racing 24:00:00 [3]

Stage D - Bike

We began with a long, steady hill climb out of the park. This is where our method of getting CP 12 hurt us. Had we gotten it on foot, it would have taken longer but we would have realized that CP12 was on a rail trail, and we could have taken a shortcut out of the park and saved the climb. Not sure what the total time loss was for us, but it also zapped some energy. We pedaled for about an hour to get to CP13 at Bilger's Rocks, including one more massive climb up the hill to get to the park.

We arrived, ordered some hot food (some strange mac and cheese concoction...), and got briefed on the section here. There were 12 mini o-flags hung in the rocks that we had to navigate to using a crude bouldering map. Getting started was the most challenging part, but once we found a flag or two it became easier to navigate. We struggled with a couple (notably A3 - Ice Cave) but ended up working with thisABILITY on a few points. We weren't that fast, but never spent too much time on one point to really consider skipping one and getting the 15 minute penalty. After we finished we refilled water, saddled up, and rode out of the park.

...And made our biggest error of the race. On the map showing CP13 and D1, we had located an old looking bridge that we could use to cross the creek and connect the two points. When we got to the turnoff for that, it was clear that no teams ahead of us had taken that route, and the trail looked pretty sketchy. I scoured the map for another bridge to cross the creek, and only found the one that we had crossed hours prior on the ride up to Bilger's Rocks. We decided to descend the whole way back down and then travel 3-4km on a doubletrack to the CP. This was really slow for a few reasons. I was frustrated with my choice, as it was obvious that no other team had come through there. We had to stop and check the course book to make sure that we were allowed to be there. My frustration coupled with the long ride around led to the beginning of a low point where I was behind on food and water. This is also where I dropped my bag of peanut butter pretzels, which are a huge help to me when I am not feeling well. When we arrived at the CP, we got there at the exact time as thisABILITY, who had taken the correct route: use the trails that were drawn in north of the CP and then cross the creek. It never occurred to me that the creek would be shallow enough to cross, but it was comical how far we rode around to avoid some rock hopping in ankle deep water... In the end, this was probably less than a 30 minute mistake.

The climb up from here was pretty gnarly, and I screwed up again by misinterpreting where we were on the map. I tried a small shortcut which ended up being a stupid long-cut, probably taking an extra 10 minutes of bike pushing. Ugh. We took a few minutes to reset ourselves once we got out to a known road, right at the same time that Adventure Enablers came through. We applied sunscreen, ate some food, and got our minds correct. I also used this as an opportunity to get my navigation brain reattached. After this error, I didn't try any other cute tricks - lesson learned.

We moved forward to 14 and 15, where 14 gave us some troubles. I didn't feel too bad about it; nearly every team had the same issue with finding the correct trail. Once we got those two point, we tried to find a way to cross under the highway, which got very interesting. Again, lots of teams had the same confusion as we did, but it took us a while to get sorted out and just take the overpass, which sent us towards D2. We had to drop bikes and do an out and back, where we ran into a random hiker in the middle of the woods - super bizarre to see someone there. I think this is where I started to lose control of my body. I asked Kate to carry my pack for a bit, and I was getting lightheaded and blurry eyed, thinking that I kept seeing rattlesnakes. The heat of the day was upon us, and I was melting.

We moved directly if not quickly to D3 and D4, but by the time we got to D4 the suffering was front and center. We took some time to stand in the creek and dump gallons of water on ourselves to try to cool down. The relief was temporary for me, but a bit longer for the rest of the team. After punching D4, we had to ride up a hill that felt never-ending. By the time we neared the top I had to call the team back to me, afraid that I wouldn't be able to stand up when I stopped pedalling. I gave Kit my pack, took a tow from Scott, and stopped in every section of shade. The hill eventually ended, and we coasted downhill to find another small stream, where I spent even more time dumping water on myself and drinking, trying everything that I could to regulate my internal temperature. OML finally caught up to us here, and we saw them again at the picturesque CP17, from which we would begin our last long climb into TA. It felt like hours (I'm sure it wasn't), but I was able to get up with a combination of drinking, towing, and following whatever wheels I could latch onto. Arriving into TA had one more surprise for us, as it was up a short but super steep hill into a quarry that resembled a desert wasteland.

Seeing my wilting figure dumping water on myself in the shade of the tent, Abby suggested that I get myself some lemonade from the food truck - a terrific idea. The burrito was also wonderful, but the ice cream was perfect. By the time we finished our 100 minute TA I had finally cooled my body off and felt, for the first time all day, that I was going to be able to maintain my internal temperature at a safe level. The TA was long and slow, but it was worth it to both recover from the previous stage and also get ready for 30+ hours of trekking. Even more so when considering that our original estimates had us arriving there in the morning, and we didn't get there until 5PM.

Stage E - Trek

After a long, luxurious but extremely well-needed TA, we set out into the Quehanna Wild Area. Post-race, I really enjoyed researching this incredible place and learning about the history here. We were told about some of it the race and in the rules of travel, but if I'm being honest, it was all lost on me during the trek itself. We had a short section of road walking to begin our trek, and we got ourselves sorted out during that time, including timing our pace and getting ourselves sorted out with the quantity of maps. Pre-race, Kit and Kate had done a tremendous job of figuring out how the 5 maps overlapped with each other and plotted all of the points on the supplemental map, which was incredibly helpful to see them all on one piece of paper. Our route allowed for us to get all of the optional points, but it fortunately began with all of the mandatory points, so we had some wiggle room if necessary. This was good, as we began this stage nearly 7 hours behind our slow estimate. The plan was for Kit/Scott and myself to tag team the nav as necessary, playing to our strengths when they presented themselves. I was extremely comfortable with the mapping, plotting, clues, etc. and was able to use that to our advantage as we deciphered some of the more complex problems that presented themselves on the trek.

We started pretty simply with CP 18 where we ran into OML. From there, we tried a bushwhack towards CP19. Technically, it was effective. But it was super slow and thick. We all agreed that taking a longer route around on trails, losing and regaining elevation would have been faster and more efficient. We ended up not losing as much time as expected, as we spotted OML ahead of us on the trail as we approached 19. They missed the turnoff, so we snuck in behind them (and didn't see them again until TA). 19 had a great view, which we just caught as the sun was setting. From there, we followed the crude but well-marked Quehanna trail around to 20, where a questionable bearing caused us to inadvertently wake up No Complaints before finding the CP. It was clear that we were getting tired and it was getting later. Our plan was to sleep in the early night to take advantage of the cool morning before another hot day. Kate was absolutely crucial to our success here, using her big race experience to help us get our plans dialed in for efficient and valuable sleep. This included being sure to eat heavy foods before sleeping and to get our feet nice and elevated. I felt super safe in her hands! We found a nice comfy spot just in the woods off of the trail, pitched our tent, pounded some food (my Good To-Go Chicken Gumbo was the perfect meal!), and dozed off for a perfect sleep.

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