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Training Log Archive: abiperk

In the 7 days ending Aug 20:

activity # timemileskm+ft
  Adventure Racing2 42:45:00
  Bike - Roads1 45:00 7.31(9.7/h) 11.76(15.7/h)
  Total3 43:30:00 7.31 11.76

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Sunday Aug 20 #

9 PM

Bike - Roads (Trainer Road) 45:00 [2] 7.31 mi (9.7 mph)
shoes: Surly Long Haul Trucker

Super EZ trainer spin while watching Armageddon, per Mark and Andy's recommendation (may give you insight into some of the songs we were singing on the long bike ride).

Only a few twinges in my knee. Achilles still tight but not painful.

Tuesday Aug 15 #

12 AM

Adventure Racing race 18:45:00 [3]

We got into Freemont around 3am and made it through the first few obstacles easily. It was actually more tedious than anything else, with water levels low and no choice but to scoot over rock fields. Then things began to get more interesting. The water was bigger, the shoots more technical, and the portages weren't as straightforward as they seemed. I never felt in danger, but I also wasn't entirely comfortable doing it in the dark. I ended up swimming twice (thank goodness for the Mysterioso gear that Mark recommended we order right before the race!), and somehow managed to save the boat, the packs, and my paddle when we flipped.

Finally, we exited the canyon and began the 12km trek to the Alcova Reservoir put-in. I walked ahead of the guys then, hauling the filled center beam from our boat, in part to warm up and in part to collect myself. It was my lowest point of the race, but relative to other expedition race low's, it really wasn't so bad, and I knew it even in the moment. I walked and cried and let the emotional release happen, and within 10-15 minutes, I had moved on. As we exited the canyon, a race medic drove up and offered us hot water to drink, which definitely helped, too. Later, I saw some footage of the section during the day, and it actually looked like a lot of fun. Wouldn't mind going back at some point and trying it in daylight!

We shuffled our way along the road to Alcova, the end of the race in sight. NV Journey rolled in as we were inflating, and we got on the water about 10 minutes ahead of them. We paddled across the reservoir, portaged over the dam, and then settled into the final stretch -- 20-ish miles down the North Platte, a relatively lazy moving river with few benchmarks along it to let us know where we were.

We all had moments of sleepiness on the water, and at one point we put down our paddles, laid back, and let the current carry us for half a mile or so. Otherwise, though, despite some failed sing-a-longs and stilted conversation, we were able to keep ourselves moving, and we whooped and hollered when we finally saw the bridge at the takeout.

We knew NV Journey probably wasn't too far behind us, and we made it our goal to get in and out of TA before they arrived. We frantically built our bikes and swapped mandatory gear from our paddle kit before taking off down the road for a 36-mile ride up and over Casper Mountain, our TA time just under 40 minutes. We never saw NV Journey come through. I wish they had splits of our TA times throughout the race -- we made a point to focus more on efficiency coming in and during our transitions (the moments we could control, during such a fast and furious race), and we all felt really good about how we moved through.

Brent and I were both pretty sleepy at the start of the ride, but once the big climb started -- 3000+ feet over ~15 kiometers -- we woke right up. We rode with 361 Adventures and Good 'Nuff, and it was really nice to chat with folks we hadn't seen yet on the course and hear about their adventures.

It began to drizzle as we neared the top of the climb, and then a steady rain started to fall just as we got to the paved road. We knew we'd gotten lucky with the weather -- we'd heard stories about teams getting stuck in cement-like mud on that road during a storm the night before.

Brent navigated us right to the CP on the mountain (which was actually a couple kilometers below the summit and had us fearing that we'd passed it and would have to climb back up), and then we coasted down the other side, flew through town to the final CP underneath a railroad bridge (talk about confident, precision nav from Brent!), and hit the finish line at 6:45pm, meeting our goal to be in Casper by dinner time... and good for 22nd place.

Overall, I'm so happy with this race -- we had a great team experience, we successfully raced a course (rather than focusing on other teams' performances) that offered a fantastic journey with stretches of far more interesting and complicated nav than we expected, and I felt stronger than I ever have before, expedition race or otherwise. It was the culmination of eight months of hard work and training, and it felt so so good to have it all come together.

Four days later, I'm nursing a few blisters and some tendonitis in my left ankle and right knee, but generally feeling good physically and mentally, and excited for the next challenge.

Monday Aug 14 #

12 AM

Adventure Racing race 24:00:00 [3]

Around 1am, we were moving roughly 6km per hour, in complete darkness and into a stiff headwind. We'd ridden 120 kilometers, and still had 140 to go. We were all exhausted, unfocused, and irritable. We'd tried a brief puppy-pile on the side of the road, but the ten-minute catnap did little to boost our energy, and it was too cold to stop for much longer. We passed a sign -- 2.5 miles to a cattle farm -- and we hoped that there would be something there.

When we first pulled up, we saw rusted-out vehicles and a dilapidated old barn, filled with dead buzzards in the stalls and hundreds of bottles of animal antibiotics. "We can make this work," we tried to convince ourselves.

And then Brent called out from a few meters away. He'd found a modernized covered wagon, and it was unlocked. It was only a couple meters long, a meter wide, but inside was a bunkbed, mattresses, and a sleeping bag. It was absolutely perfect. Brent, Andy, and I snuggled up on the bunk, and Mark made himself a nest out of foam pads on the floor. We set the watch for two hours... and then another hour... and then one more. We learned later that AMK had caught a couple hours there the night before.

It was the best sleep I've ever gotten during a race, and when we woke up, just before sunrise, we had a new lease on life. We picked up our bikes, tripled our pace, and got back on course. The rest of the ride wasn't particularly fun -- more washboards (oh, those washboards -- at one point, I told Brent that I thought I'd broken my uterus and that even if we wanted to have another kid, we were probably out of luck), more sagebrush, a bunch of flats in Mark's skinny tires (the rest of us were, thankfully, riding tubeless - so glad I converted!) -- but it passed quickly enough.

We paused at the next two CPs for race-provided water, then again at the hottest point of the day, on the side of the trail next to a giant chemical plant, with plenty of warnings of toxic gasses in the air. "Well, the wind is blowing," we reasoned. "We can probably stay for a few minutes without getting too sick."

At the final point, in the abandoned town of Ferris, Randy Ericksen provided us each with a can of Pepsi, and from there the ride turned into a fun, twisty, sandy spin through canyons and up and over ridgelines. We rode for a few minutes with NV Journey out of the last CP, and on the final ascent East Wind sprinted by us, offering high-fives as they passed.

We rolled into TA just as a big storm was forming above us. We packed up our bikes, grabbed our packraft gear, and transitioned quickly to the last big section of the course -- roughly 45 miles of trekking and rafting across reservoirs, through whitewater canyons, and down swift rivers. We'd heard that the section was taking top teams substantially longer than predicted, so we prepared ourselves for a long night as we walked out of TA...

...for about 500 meters, until the storm broke over us and we pulled out our rafts, burrowed under them, and waited out the thunder and lightning, thankful that we hadn't yet made it onto the water.

Twenty minutes later, we were back on our feet, moving toward the CP on the banks of the Pathfinder Reservoir. Dart and Quest were just in front of us, and we all converged along the water, where we thought the point should be. And we looked... and looked... and looked -- wasting four hours of daylight, and trying to get into the mind of the RD to see if we were misunderstanding the purpose of the checkpoint (which, we thought, was really just to get people down to the water!!).

Finally, at 10:00pm, after hours of wandering and retracing our steps, we walked onto it, and fifteen minutes later we were inflating our rafts and setting off. Frankly, I still have no idea what happened. Something about discrepancies in the water levels? NV Journey ended up following us to the point and getting on the reservoir with us. Dart and Quest found it not long after we did. A maddening moment, but luckily not a race-altering one.

We paddled smoothly across Pathfinder, Brent's nav sharp as he traced the various coves and shorelines in the dark. We pulled out at the dam above Freemont Canyon, and paused to consider our options. Olof met us there and warned us that the whitewater was trickier than it seemed, and that Team Canada had ripped open both of their boats. Dart told us they were planning to sleep until first light and then run it. I was tired and cold at that point, and a little bit wary of heading into the canyon at night, but ultimately I acquiesced with assurances that we could portage around all of the obstacles.

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