Saturday, November 10, 2012

Gilmore Adventure Race 2012

Fall racing season started off with the Gilmore Adventure Race in September. This is my favorite race of the year because we always win our division. This year it sucked because we didn't win our division.  Ok, it's actually my favorite because it is the most challenging, both mentally and physically, of all the races we do and it has super-fun mystery events. This year was no exception. Maybe it was too challenging, though, since we didn't win our division.  :(

The race started with some trekking checkpoints first. To get to the wilderness, we had to run through this neighborhood. We were behind all those people.

But we caught up...and here we are - IN THE LEAD!

The hiking checkpoints went well. Irene navigated fabulously. I provided fabulous moral support to her navigating. It was good. Having fun trekking:

After we zipped through our first set of checkpoints, we headed back to the transition area for some mystery events. Yay, mystery events! Why doesn't someone create an event with no running, no navigating, no clue-solving, just all mystery events? That would be a blast!

The first event was to throw balls into a bucket. Easy enough, except one of us had to wear the bucket tied to our back while facing away from our teammate. Like this:
Obviously that is not us, but there were no pictures of us so you get to see the team that was first at this point. Irene and I did not do very well at this. We switched off wearing the bucket a few times and eventually got all the balls in. It was fun even though we sucked at it.

The second event was to go out around a cone and back without your feet touching the ground. We were given pieces of wood to maneuver under our feet. If you fell off you had to start over. We fell off once at the beginning but then figured out a method that would work.
Next up was the bike leg of the race. Have I told you how bad I am at biking? I've been doing a lot of road biking recently so I was hoping that would translate to better mountain biking. Irene plotted the checkpoints, transposed the checkpoints onto a better quality map and we were off. About halfway to our way in to the wilderness, Irene changed her mind and decided we'd do better coming in the back way. We zoomed back past the TA and headed down past where we had been hiking. After we got to the back end of the wilderness, we couldn't find where we should go in to start looking for the checkpoints - it was all still neighborhoods. Uh oh. No, really, UH OH!

After looking at both maps for a bit, we realized that the transposing of checkpoints was wrong. We had marked our better map a few miles east of where we really were supposed to be. UH OH.  We were too far from the correct entry into the forest, so we re-routed and came in the back way. The back way included a mile or so of STRAIGHT UPHILL biking, seriously STEEP uphill biking. It was torture. However, it seemed that my road biking had helped after all, since we were still road biking and I was able to make it up the mountain.  When we finally reached the park, we had probably lost close to 45 minutes. Ergh.  But nothing to do but keep on keeping on.

Now that we knew where we were, we knocked out a few checkpoints. Biking:
Then, UH OH, I have a flat tire. In our 5 years of racing, we have never gotten a flat tire. Neither of us have ever changed a tire. Usually before a race we make Brian show us how to change a tire. We didn't do that this year, of course. Nothing to do but give it a go. Irene was a rockstar, she just started taking shit apart and playing with tools that I wouldn't have had any idea what to do with.
And I pitched in by standing there and pretended that holding my bike counted as doing something, though I'm pretty sure I was doing nothing:
Irene used a CO2 cartridge to fill the tire. It wasn't quite enough air so she got out the second cartridge  and UH OH, it was defective. Crap. It probably would have been a good thing to have an air pump, huh? I used to have one but it busted off my bike when I crashed at last year's Dreamy Draw race. Two women (not racers) had passed us while we were using the first cartridge and asked if we needed help. At that point we didn't think we did. Right after the second cartridge was failing us, another women biked by. She had an air pump on her bike. We asked her if we could use it. She said no. Seriously. She said no.

Spurred on by anger at this woman's rudeness, Irene pulled out her hidden MacGuyver resources and willed the second cartridge to work. It was pretty ingenious work. Woo hoo! I'm fixed! Pretty excited! And then we realized that we were now about an hour and a half behind. Pretty deflating. 

We got the checkpoint we were going to and had to head back the way we came to go to the next checkpoint. It was quite a distance...perhaps there was a shortcut? We could see the trail we needed to get to:
And we thought maybe we could just go straight down the ravine and up the other side. Ha! Why do we even try these stupid things? We got about 40 yards and realized we'd never ever get through the pokey, thorny bushes and cactus so we headed back out. Another 20 minutes wasted. This really wasn't our race. :(

Feeling pretty low, we passed the mean lady. Now we are mad again. Then I almost crash my bike and fall off a cliff. It was terrifying. Irene didn't see it happen so she had no idea and kept going. I was so scared I was crying. (There's no crying in racing). Then we passed the mean lady AGAIN going on another trail. Seriously? Gr.  I was so down and scared and angry and unhappy. Finally we got to a checkpoint that had a mystery event! That perked us up. And the team in yellow (from the ball/bucket checkpoint) was there. How could that be? They were about 2 hours ahead of us. Turns out, Sudoku is not their thing. But it is Irene's thing!
She rocked it and finished in one of the fastest times of all teams. We had gained some time back! Whee!

And we were done and headed back to the TA and the big wall. We love the big wall!

We were now official finishers of the race. Surprisingly, we had a bit of time for free-style navigation points. We grabbed the map and were off. Some of the points were in the city areas so instead of orienteering flags, we were to find Go! Adventure stickers on an object in the area. Man, I SUCK at needle-in-a-haystack challenges. We looked forever for the sticker at our first location, finally finding it on a sign that I had looked at 3 times. Gr.

Our next checkpoint was in a wilderness area so we were looking for a flag. Whew. And then we saw this:
Like a crow to a shiny thing, we were sucked right in. We had already lost, right? And how often do you get a chance to climb a rock mountain? So, we climbed instead. It was awesome!  Rocks:
Top of the rocks:
It was awesome! Best part of the day!

Then we climbed back down, realized we had overshot our search by A LOT and moved on to the next few nav points. We found a couple and ran back to the TA just in time.  And guess what?! Though we didn't win, we got SECOND!
 Ok, there were only two teams in the female, two person division. :(
Despite the "McKayla is not impressed" look on my face, I actually wasn't upset about losing. We really like Jill and her partner and we've beaten them a few times before, so no big deal that they beat us this time. We ended up having quite a fun day. And, you can't win them all!

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