Mountain Bike race (Wilderness Traverse) 6:49:00  80.0 km (11.7 kph)
Wilderness Traverse with Team Hafke Legal Services. I've known these guys for a long time, but never raced with them before. We did the Spring Fury together as a tune-up, but this was the "big one." Definitely a challenging race.
This mountain bike leg was mostly on "Hydrocut" which is Canadian for two-track. It was a beautiful ride, but it beat me up really badly. I do most of my riding seated - even on the single track where I do stand up for some rocks, roots, obstacles, etc, but they're not like this. Lots of Shield rock to ride on, which looks pretty smooth (if you were running it) but on the bike, it still is a pretty bumpy ride. There was some sand, some wet/mud hole sections, and generally rocky hills along the power lines. Glad I wasn't relying on bottles to drink because it was too technical and bumpy for that - it was hard enough to eat! I tried to ride though some water on the trail once, and my bike sunk in to the hubs. Anyway, I was TIRED after all this technical 2-track, absorbing the bumps with my legs, and pushing a harder gear than normal so I could stand up more. By the time we were at CP2, my left knee was starting to really bother me. I told the guys that I was going to have to spin it out and take it a little cautiously because I was worried about the rest of the race. They took turns towing me in to TA1/CP3 to keep the pace up, which was awesome and really appreciated. I was super worried for the upcoming trek, though.
Hike race (Wilderness Traverse) 9:38:00  20.0 mi (28:54 / mi)
We knew this would be tough due to the 1:50,000 scale map with 20m contour lines, but Mark Voit did an AWESOME job with it. There could be a 10m cliff without even a single contour line on the map! Whaa!? We started off with a swim, which actually felt pretty good to get the grime off and cooled down after the bike. The plan quickly had to change when the trail we were expecting to hit was not there or extremely indistinct. We eventually followed a lake around, did a couple short swims, and found CP4. Followed our plan to get to CP5, which went well (of course with another swim.) Did some fun coasteering and climbing on rocks to get to the road to 6. Unfortunately, this is where Jim Hafke started getting sick. Nothing was working with him food or water-wise, and he started with the puking after we swam across a narrow channel. When you can't eat or even hold down water, that's a bad thing. Jim Wynn took his pack, but he was having a hard time. We eventually made it into the TA, but he was looking BAD. After 50 minutes in TA, we had to leave without him. That's the worst feeling. Dropping out is hard, but it was the best decision from a safety perspective when someone can't even hold down water.
Paddle race (Wilderness Traverse) 9:18:00  20.0 mi (27:54 / mi)
We had to put 3 in one canoe unexpectedly, which means I sat on a soaked PFD for a seat the entire time. Also, all my awesome practice for padding form went out the window because I was so low in the boat that I couldn't do a "real" paddle stroke. I took the map for this because it's easier for the middle person to stop paddling and look at the map. LOTS of portages. Jim and Mark hauled that boat all over the place. I found my role was "find the trail" and carry the paddles/extra PFD, and bailer. On one, we were up on top of a cliff with the canoe, and I told them to set it down so I could find a route. It wasn't looking good, but then I went around the peak of the hill and found the actual portage trail on the other side - we couldn't find the take-out, so I was surprised an actual trail existed! Sweet! After one beaver dam, we had to choose which leg of channel to take, the one to the right looked more obvious, so we took it, wrongly. We ended up pushing/pulling the boat back to the right channel probably 150m through a narrow channel that couldn't be paddled. It was much better when we got there. Things got smoother from there, though some of the beaver dam sections were really narrow like this with some portaging. After CP7, we were golden and 9-mile lake was nice (and shorter than 9 miles). We were all happy to see the take-out!
Run race (Wilderness Traverse) 1:22:00  6.0 mi (13:40 / mi)
All these times include the transition times. I decided to do the last leg of the race with no pants because I had some serious chafing pain from being soaked the entire race and I figured running in just my underwear would reduce friction. I think it helped 50%.
I was super happy that we were able run the entire trail (except when trying to figure out which way it went) We were hoping to catch the team that was about 10 minutes in front of us, but they were running too. Bummer. Cool trail, though. I really liked this. We were happy to get in to the finish at 11:07, which meant we had 3 hours to spare on the cut-off and we still had the hotel room until noon and could get showers! Woo!
Overall, I'm really happy with the race. It's a bummer about Hafke getting sick - its always the goal to finish as a whole team. I know he was unhappy about having to drop out, but it was the best option from a safety perspective. If he hadn't been sick, we would have run the road section and probably moved up a few spots, but that's how it goes in AR - so many factors that are often out of your control.