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Training Log Archive: glewis

In the 1 days ending Jun 23:

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

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Thursday Jun 23 #

12 AM

Adventure Racing 24:00:00 [3]

Stage F - Bike

Leaving TA5 (and saying goodbye to that horrid quarry) had a feeling of sprinting towards the finish. I had to remind myself multiple times that we still had 48+hrs left in the race. Still, it felt like we had really gotten the hardest part of the race out of the way; this was compounded by the choice to skip F1 and F2. Out of TA we had a massive descent of ~10km, followed by some relatively flat riding before ascending to the elk viewing platform. We climatized at the bottom of the climb, which is noteworthy because I took off my shirt to wear only the bib (something I had started on Tuesday morning) for the last time. The best way to emphasize the continued heat is that I didn't wear a shirt for 4 days.

We got CP29 at the Elk Viewing Platform in a beautiful morning mist with the pack of race photographers. After a few minutes to view the 3 elk who were off in the distance we set off on a pseudo-bike-o section. Lots of route choice to get the optionals and mandatories. On the ride to F7 we saw two more elk from up close, who got even closer by jogging down the road in front of us for a few moments. After F7 we checked a possible route past the point, where I rounded a corner downhill in front of my team and was greeted by a massive elk with a full rack, directly on the road in front of me, maybe 20m away! It didn't stick around and bolted into the woods, but we all got a glimpse. This was the best wildlife sighting that I'd ever seen in a race!

From F7 we backtracked to F8 (with a slight detour due to a day 4 brain...) and then 30, 31, F5 and F6. Somewhere in there we passed a sleeping Rootstock. From F6 we went to F3 and then up to F4. This took us into the early afternoon where the heat reappeared, but we were managing our temperatures very well and staying cool. Our tracker never picked up this entire section, which is such a shame as we seemed to have put together one of the cleanest sections and put a bunch of time into the teams behind us. Kit took the lead on a number of these points, doing a great job of spotting optimal routes. Scott and I had spent too much time on this section pre-race, and I think we overanalyzed a good bit. I was very thankful that Kit's caffeine pill was super powered, balancing out any sleepiness from our group. Before 32 we stopped for water and sunscreen. It took us 4 days but we finally developed ourselves a system for sun protection (~8AM and again ~12pm) and consistent hydration stops that didn't waste time. The ride to 32 was unfortunately uphill, as was the majority of the climb up out of 32.

We eventually hit a rail trail which we rode for ~20km. This was a low point of the last 2 days for me - super sleepy and nothing to see or navigate too or off of. Our butts were aching from our saddles, and our paceline kept falling apart so that we could rest our tushies. We mercifully made it off of the rail trail in the mid afternoon after a slight turn around while getting on roads. CP33 was at Straub Brewery in Saint Marys, where we stopped for a bit. Scott napped while Kit, Kate and I act some yummy mac and cheese. I also got to boast to Dan Szilier about all 6 elk that I saw. We set off down the road to Ridgway just as OML pulled into the brewery, and used a very effective paceline to cruise downhill very efficiently where we found the TA in town along the Clarion River, before 6PM. I think I speak for the team when I say that we were super happy to be off of our bikes for good and switching to the paddle. I was also very happy to be getting a reset, as I had been incredibly grumpy and difficult to deal with for the previous 10hrs. I'd like to blame it on the lack of sleep the night before, but regardless of the cause I was happy to have something positive ahead of us.

Our TA felt slow, but looking at the splits it was one of the 5 fastest in the race. We took care of our bodies, got plenty of food and water, and set off in under an hour.

Stage G - Paddle/Trek/Paddle/Trek/Paddle/Trek

The stage was set up as a long paddle with 2 embedded trek sections of ~15 miles each along with a final short trek to the finish. We knew that we needed to sleep, and there were many choices of when and where it could take place. There were some rapids (X, Y, Z) marked on our map and river guide, along with 2 intermediate CPs. We had hoped to get ourselves at least to the first CP, if not to the first trek halfway through the paddle. Those plans were dashed when we got onto the river. It was shallow and slow. It felt like I spent equal amount of time paddling and thrusting the boat over rocks. Combine that with the time I spent out of the boat pushing it (instead of drying my poor feet!) and it wasn't super fun. We would make some decent progress before hitting a bad rocky section and losing all of the momentum and time that we had just gained. Kate and I paddled together again and seemed to a have good system, but nothing seemed to help the paddling experience. The slow moving combined with my sleepy eyes, and I let the team know that I needed an earlier sleep rather than a later one. This also aligned with the team concerns about paddling the X, Y, Z rapids in the dark.

We resolved to find a place to sleep as soon as possible. Most of the river had a rocky bank about 3ft below a grassy plateau. We found a good spot like that before 10PM. Kate scouted out the upper bank, and then a took two trips of gear up before starting to set up the tent. As I was laying it out I heard a mouse move behind me. I turned to see it, and my eyes focused not on a mouse but instead on a huge copperhead! I don't do snakes, so I leapt off of the bank and down into the river - Kate soon followed me. She had seen two feet of arm-thick copperhead but hadn't seen head or tail!. Kate was much braver than me, so she went up to gather our things and bring them down below, where we made our camp on a pile of rocks. I enjoyed an OMeal of beef stew before dozing off to sleep. Kate, Kit and I had good spots, but Scott had a miserable place in a rocky hole. We set an alarm for the early morning and had some peaceful rest.

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