Race race 11:30:00 
Physically Strong Adventure Race - estimated race time
My second year here - this time w/ Mickey, Kevin, and Scott. It rained the whole drive up and more overnight so mud was expected. I wasn't able to get there until later Fri. evening and really appreciated the guys taking care of the maps and remote car drop. I couldn't bear the thought of mice snacking on my race food again, so I skipped the heated cabin and slept in my car instead (seats folded down, legs in trunk - actually quite comfy as long as you're child-sized like me). Was surprisingly chilly - glad I brought my -15F sleeping bag.
Race morning was delightfully uncomplicated. But so few teams! That was kind of disappointing, esp considering this event benefits the Boy Scout camps where it's held. We were the only 4P co-ed. Wah. We started in the dark on a 7-8k (not sure - totally guessing on dist) foot O' with a paddle and the climbing tower in between checkpoints. #1 was a rather unpleasant trek through a thick, thorny, muddy creek bottom (lots more muddy creek bottoms to come!) and it seemed to take us a lot longer than most teams. Kind of a rough start, but we tried to shake it off and click off a few more points until the paddle. It was dawn when we put in at the pretty little lake. We zipped around to get 3 more points and then were back on our feet. At the climbing tower, we had a bit of a wait (30 min.?) which was a little frustrating, but it seemed consistent with what other teams experienced, so it was fair. Plus, ropes=wait at races. Safety first! Climb up, rappel down.
After the foot section, we headed to the bikes. No singletrack this year (just fine w/ me, esp. considering the mud), basically just ride the back roads from Camp Saukenauk to Camp Eastman w/ a few O&Bs and checkpoints sprinkled throughout. The ride...well, let's just say if there wasn't mud, then there was brand-spankin-new gravel (like just laid that week and not driven on yet). Plus there were serious winds out of the north - our primary direction of travel. Our plan was for Mickey and Kevin to tow me and Scott and that worked OK for a couple miles until Kevin's tow broke. I was feeling just fine and Scott wasn't having the best bike day, so he took Mickey's tow. It was kind of a slog and much longer than expected at nearly 45 mi. but I gotta say, I really enjoyed the misty farm fields and quiet beauty. The temp held steady at 35-40F all day - was thankful for my massive ski mittens and Japanthers. I was also very pleased with the reasonable perceived exertion - a nice confirmation of my bike training efforts so far.
Finally at Eastman, we were surprised to see only 1 set of bikes. We didn't pass anyone, and assumed we were at or near the end of the pack. Huh - nice! We hustled on to a few more foot O' points, then the "2 man saw" (2 pairs of team members cutting through a log using a large crosscut saw - hilarious! - but not that hard really) then a second paddle section on a Miss. river tributary then the Miss. River itself. We were running short on time before penalties would set in and were still chasing the first place team. We debated skipping a CP, banking on the other team being overtime, but decided to go for clearing the course (which ended up being the right choice because the other team cleared too). The Miss. River section was my favorite - quiet, huge water and so many waterfowl. Spectacular! One more foot O' point and then the finish.
Yes, we "won" the 4P co-ed division by default, but had a strong race against some talented teams and we felt really good about that. Mickey did a great job w/ nav and we worked well as a team. Since this race is a regional qualifier (seriously, how were we the only 4P co-ed team?!?) we got the sponsorship to nationals which was an awfully nice surprise.
This is such a great little no-frills race. All checkpoints were correctly placed, the maps were decent, and the format was fast and fun. Hope the RDs get better attendance next year...