Mission Adventure Race
Versailles State Park
WORK IN PROGRESS
will probably take me a couple of days to complete...
Bill Langton & Matt Soraghan racing as Mid Rivers Adventure.
Matt and I finished 2nd out of 12 teams in our division.
19th of 47 teams overall.
About 50 teams (solo, 2, and 3 person) gathered in southern Indiana at Versailles State Park for 18 hours of self inflicted punishment. The race HQ and TA were located at the Group Camp (where ironically, camping is not allowed) on the top of a large hill at the southeast corner of the lake. Facilities included a recreation building with a kitchen area and restrooms, a dining hall, 6 bunk houses, and a shower/bathroom building. The race fee covered a bunk house bed for both Friday and Saturday night, as well as pre and post-race meals.
HQ and TA
Arrive at the TA
Pre-race announcement: All racers should place their packs on a bench at the ampitheater and gather at the start line.
Announcement: First segment of the race: Run to packs, get a biner and a runner and hook up to teammates (sequentially). Solo's had to find another solo to hook up with. Then run to the park entrance and from there to the Saddle Barn, then back to the TA (about 5K). Maps and coordinates for the next segment would be handed out somewhere along the way.
Matt and I were hooked up pretty quickly. I had biners and runners on the outside of my pack. I think were were about the 10th team out on the road. Some teams took the main road down the hill from the group camp, others took the path to the dam and then hit the road further down. We took the main road because we didn't know exactly where the path was (and we didn't think of it).
I think we were about the 7th team to get back to the TA. The park gate and the saddle barn were at out-and-back locations so you could see who was ahead of you.
Plot 4 coordinates. Get gear needed for paddle. Head for the boats which were next to the TA at the top of the hill.
carry boat down hill from TA to put-in at dam.
short paddle north across lake
4K-ish out & back O-leg to collect 3 points
short paddle to park beach
1.5K run back to TA
given 14 coords to plot for bike leg.
Yeah, an hour and a half. I'm not sure what took so long.... got to get better at transitioning!
79K bike leg, mostly roads, 15-20K of single track
All of the road controls were on the perimeter of the map. The single track was all in the state park, sort of in the middle of a rectangular, east/west road circuit. Osgood at the northwest vertex, Milan at the northeast, highway 50 as the southern boundary.
We chose to do the singletrack first (CP 6, 7, 8, 9) to hit it with fresh legs, catch the road on the north end of the trail section and head for Osgood. Then retrace east and complete the circuit clockwise.
CP order: 9, 6, 7, 8, 12, 11, 10, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18
Climb a 100ft water tower
with a free-descent rappel. 150 ft traverse across a large creek with the bike. Mini Mart in Osgood to refill on water and electrolyte drinks.
Back to TA
Repack, fuel, reload fluids.
Run to beach for next set of coords.
Paddle-O with 7 controls.
Last control (CP25
) required portage around dam and 2-3 mile float down a very shallow stream then a long run back to the TA. We didn't bother to plot it.
At this point we're hoping for a clean run, get back to the TA in time to do a couple more points on the next segment.
Get first control (CP20) pretty quickly on spur just across the lake.
Chose a difficult route to next control (CP19
) which is placed in very dense vegetation. Took a 3 attempts but found it. Had to be well within 10 meters to see it. Turns out we walked right past it on the first attempt. Probably lost 20 minutes looking, and 10 minutes for route choice.
It was on the way to 19 that we had a 'lost passport' event. Talk about a heart-stopper. At 20, Matt had put the passport in a pants pocket instead of back into the zippered pack-belt pouch. Easy thing to do after 14 hours of racing.
Back to boat.
is not far, but up a massive hill. Got dark just as we got there. Spent 40 minutes looking. Didn't find it. First problem all day. Verified that we'd plotted correctly. At this point, I believe the CP was not at the supplied coordinates, or at least not on the NAD83 datum. Perhaps it was here
? Same coords, different datum. It would be easy to do if you were hanging the controls with a GPS. And there could well have been a depression there....
From an orienteering perspective, that ridge-top was probably the most interesting and complex terrain that we'd seen all day. The 1:25K map didn't do it justice. There were a lot of knolls, ditches, reentrants, and depressions that weren't mapped at 1:25k. Would be a great location for a sprint course.
Anyway, we lost an easy 30-40 minutes here as well as any hope of getting the rest of the controls for this segment.
Next 3 controls (22
, & 24
) are at least 3K up the lake, in the dark. The dark wouldn't have been much of a factor paddling, but the lake is mostly very shallow (mud flats with 2-4 inches of water) with a narrow channel, and a few sub-surface trees just to make life interesting. Big question is can we get there and back to the TA/HQ by midnight? Intel from other racers says that 22 was hard to find in the daylight. 24 is on top of a ridge with a big, very steep approach. Decide to skip 22 and 24 and go for CP23 which is a repeat from the bike leg. We've seen it before, it's close to the water, and no huge hill. If we have time we can try for 22 on the way back down.
Parked the boat where the river/lake turns north so it would be easier to find on the way back. The 200m to the cp was through waist high nettles all the way. Glad Alpine Shop told us to wear long pants! When we got to the CP location, the control was missing!! (Turned out race staff removed the CP a little too early....) Spent a few minutes confirming location, but since we'd already been there, there was little doubt. On the way back to the boat, didn't pay close enough attention to the compass and ended up doing an extra 10 minutes of walking thus eliminating the chance to get CP22.
Have to return to the park beach and then run up to the TA/HQ before the cutoff at midnight. Paddle hard and make it back to the beach about 23:30. Run (well, fast walk really) up to the HQ.
Check in at HQ
Shower - cold!!!
Food! Find out we finished in 3rd!
Official time was 17:42:00
There was at least 1 and maybe 2 additional segments of the race that we didn't do.
This was an excellent race!! Dino and their volunteers did a great job!!
Pre-race meeting was short and to the point.
Pre and post race meals were good.
The ropes clinic was well run.
The course was challenging, well thought out, and a lot of fun.
The canoes were the best I've used at a race.
The ropes sections were great.
Even the weather was good!
Most fun I've had on a race in a while. Definitely going back next year.
I really like the rogaine format. Would like to see more races do that.