Shoe Shopping! Invisible roads, and a Drunken Party!
CP4: 11th fastest split – 2h19min
Excited to enter the first transition area, we found our gearbox. The three of us hovered over and as we opened it, it creaked like a treasure chest. Inside there was pizza. Adrian, happy, grabs the box, and the pepperoni and cheese fat glistens in the sun, he digs in! Intellectually, I think this would be absolutely delicious; I loved the idea of pizza. I wanted to want it.
But my top lip snarled involuntarily when I tried to eat. Eugh.
Then, Jacek declares: My shoes are not there.
(oops! or fuck! depending on who you are or your mood)
He had messed up and packed the shoes in the wrong gearbox. Since doing the trek in hard soled cycling shoes was not an option, and since he is not a barefoot runner, we were desperate. Let the shoe hunt begin.
As I force fed myself pizza, I ran around the lovely Marina asking everyone (even 5 foot short women) if they had (by any chance) men’s size 10 running shoes. I did this energetically enough, until I notice a beautiful, clean, gorgeous, wooden porter potty discreetly set at the top of a small hill.
It shined like a porter potty tower, over looking a valley of peasant. “Ahhhhhh!”
The voices of Gods sang! Screw the shoes, I want toilet paper.
When I finally reemerged from my heavenly escape. Adrian and Jacek had bartered and bought a pair of running shoes off a random stranger hanging around the marina. We left our Hero standing with his family barefooted and awkward. We loved him.
Off, off we went, to the swimming launch pad knowing that many teams had gone already (oh, well). The cramps were back in pretty full force. As we popped our gear in dry bags, my abs cramped!!?
Yes, the full sheet of my abs, it felt like waves, or if I was doing a belly dance?? But I managed to calm that down (that had never happened to me before!). I felt like my whole body wanted to cramp.
For the swim, I managed to take off my shoes… but was literally unable to remove my socks. As I tried to pull them off, my toes and calves would seize up. Here I am grunting and puffing, both trying to pull my socks off, and/or trying to get the cramps to let up.
Screw that! I‘ll swim with socks. Splunk! I enter the lake with such non-elegance. Hammer waved at a distance; it was nice to see a friendly face. I tried waving back but it must of looked like a slightly bigger splash crawl move. As soon as I hit the water, my right thigh started to cramp. I awkwardly moved on as best I could with a dangling leg extended at the back and a single “socked-footed” kick. Muscle twitch detectors where on high.
At first the water stung my blisters (the handlebar death grip took it’s toll). Argh argh… Swim on swim on.
Believe it or not, I made it to the other side. Joined up with the boys who were chilling it. Adrian whips out the compass and, hiho, hiho, into the forest we go!
Adrian’s ears change when he concentrates on navigation. They suddenly perk up and seem to act like antennas. Jacek starts mumbling numbers to himself, pace counting. All I had to do it swat the odd bug and box with the dense trees.
We bombed the first trekking control. We headed out looking for an invisible road (it was big fat and orange on the map!?).
We should hit it soon (we don’t). We should hit it soon (We don’t). Okay, let’s hit the next road…. We start veering a “little” east, we should hit the … Lake?! Lake!?
Somehow, we got tricked by a cloaking device, and veered off course. The good part was that we understood where we were; the bad part was that we had to go for swim no.2.
Dry bags out, body jump splash! swim swim swim.
I had cramping fits as I tried to get out of the water. Ahhhh! Both inner thighs (different muscles at least)! I flung myself around in a splashing mess, trying to get them to let up (to the great laughter of both Adrian and Jacek). We actually had to stop and give me 2-3min to sit in the water and just relax before trying to get out (but man I really wanted to get out because I was secretly afraid of leeches!!! )
Once we had the shoreline to follow it was pretty straight forward trekking. Soon enough we started to HEAR CP-4, a noisy booming party (but without music). It was just across the bay, and since we were, by now, expert swimmers… we cut across for swim no.3
Upon arrival we were besieged by college kids with beer determined to get the racers to drink as much as possible before sending them off to an impending drunken stray.
We took great pleasure in indulging them, and drank from their cans to their exuberant cheers and applauds (it tasted dam good!). But one gulp was not enough to appease, they literally held my head up and poured more down my throat. Okay, I swallowed, haha, but I had enough beer for now. Adrian was the hardest to pull away, he seemed right in his element.http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2874/9564015031_b61b...
Ultimate BushWacking! And Amphibian Terror !
CP-5: 5th fastest split – 1h57min
I actually don’t remember much from this control. It was pretty intense bushwacking. Attacking from the top of the lake, we needed to hit a road and considering our previous road-finding-escapade we were a little nervous. We held steady on our 140 degree bearing, Adrian’s ear-antennas going, our sun shadow in right position, and Jacek mumbling numbers, we hit the mystical road easily enough. We crossed a few extremely beautiful valleys, with cotton flowers everywhere. We bounced around as if in an anti-histamine advertisement. Glorious!
Then, more bushwacking (my specialty) and in the thick of it, we stumbled upon a team (I think it was StormRacing). We followed together for a while but secretly we tried to find a polite way to pass them. Once we hit the lake’s shoreline, we gradually did, after some fumbling. Oh the Frogs! Frogs! Frogs! Hoppydihop hop hop! Lot’s of TERRIFIED frogs! I felt like Godzilla for them… arghhh arghghghg!
It was smooth sailing into CP-5. We cut across a another swampy bay for our official swim no.4!!
I think this was the grapes and cheese control! I am actually not 100% but at some point some lovely someone fed me grapes, cheese and crackers! !
Swim no.5 (!!!!!), Plausible Waterfalls and the Magical Trail
CP-6: 5th fastest split – 2h39minhttp://farm8.staticflickr.com/7303/9566808334_e660...
At this point we were starting to get nervous about loosing light! The more tricky ground we cover in day the better, so we tried really hard to keep the pace up.
We trekked over and down a very steep ridge instead of going around, and decided to swim across the river earlier than planned (to try and dry off before night fall). By this time we were not even taking off our shoes to swim. We picked the lovely cottage to cross over. From there, we climbed (steep) the 3 contours up and up of dried out Waterfalls (plausibly a beautiful waterfall in spring).
And from this we found the lake and … then… a trail. Our ticket to GOLD! We only had to run this trail down, and we ate it up!! Arghhhh
We had only one Rule and Regulation: Run the flats and downs but walk the hills.
We stuck to this till the end --- Our threshold of “flat” versus “up” shifted a little but we pretty much stuck to that gun. There were absolutely no teams in sight, not in front or in back… we started to think we were on to something and pushed ever so slightly more (aches and pains permitting – my right knee was giving and Adrian was feeling his back and ankles, Jacek… was pretty solid through and through).
Run, run, run, loosing light, loosing light…. Light, … the darkness sets in, run, run run, it is dark. The moon is gorgeous. They are no wild beasts in the woods. Run, run, run.
We get to the TA. Surprise, surprise, both New balance and Unconquerable Badness are hanging about! I didn’t even think about “passing” them I was like: hi!!! Do you want peanut butter sandwiches!!!!
Let the paddling begin!