race race (Adventure race) 12:00:00  ***
The FIG 12 hour, race notes.
First about the event, when #^! adventures says "Expect spectacular views and a tough, rugged course." they are not making anything up, this is exactly what the course was. We started with a prolog of a series of close points that had different number values. The key was to collect enough point to total 10 with easier controls having lower point values and harder to reach controls having higher values. The prolog served to loosen up the field and prevent the whole thundering herd storm the first three controls thing that happens in so many events. From there a long march to the Bike T/A picking up controls 1 through 5, missed 2, wrong spur had to go back around and pick it up. Control 3 was ok but 4 was trouble, the high contour interval value left many smaller details out, leaving no obvious attack point that I could see to approach the control from. At this point we had formed a loose group of solo's and teams of 2 who were moving at about the same pace at this point and we moved across the terrain looking for the hill top until through a process of elimination we finally found it. After that is was a stroll to the bike, picking up control 5 on the way. from there it was on the bike, picked up 10 and 11, Much the bike section for me was hike a bike through some serious baby head gravel and serious bomb holes to T/A 2, picked up another trekking control there then rolled back around headed to the paddle section . Stopped at control 19, had an Ale 8, then rolled to the paddle section that was in a flooded limestone quarry. Very interesting paddle, without a light the place was absolutely pitch dark , missed one control in the cave but at that point I was ready to get out the boat and get to the finish so I gave up on it and got out. From there it was a simple ride back to the finish
Things that went right.
Rail Rider pants are all that no matter how many briar patches I went through or rock faces I slid down they took it and kept on going.
Fenix headlamp worked well in the cave, good light with a wide field of view
My navigation was ok I was able to focus and stay in the map for a good bit. there was only one section, the climb from control 10 to 11 that I was out of the map and had to gather myself once I got to the top of the ridge, I was following the mapped trail but it was so muddy and full of bomb holes(One of which was so deep my bike sank to well below the wheel hubs, luckily I wasn't clipped in.) I spotted what looked like an old logging road that looked to cut off the lower section of the trail loop. I carried the bike up the hill and around and caught what I thought was the jeep trail final climbed to the top of the ridge and had to spend some time getting myself together and figure out where I was.
Things that went poorly
My training wasn't right, I expected long bike rides on pavement or gravel roads. Didn't expect, the rocky terrain or more technical riding. Setting up the bike for ridding on technical terrain is one thing, but the road is another. Not sure what to do to find that happy medium.
I was totally surprised by the terrain. I expected rocks and Rhododendron thickets but the briars and thorns were not on my list of things to worry about.
I carry way too much food, Never eat it all and it takes a lot of water to digest a lot of it. While I only had some minor cramping at around hour 10 to the finish it still is too much food and this case didn't prevent the cramps. Need to find a better way.
Need to find a better way to carry everything, The RIbz chest pack has about 2 or three events left in it before it gives up. it is showing a lot of wear where I carry my compass.
My Solomon XA Pros have dies a terrible death, The soles were fine but the uppers have completely given up. I have a pair of Solomon Spike Cross I save for special times but I think it is time to explore other shoe option.
I need to bring scissors and a ruler so I can trim the map to remove any excess parts that I don't need. The map was bigger than my map case, meaning I would have to pull the map out and refold to see the different areas. A lager map case should help too if I can find a decent one. Saw a couple of people using Ziploc bags. Maybe that's the way to go given the many sizes of bags available now.
There were other things I need to work through logistically that are more of a long term project but overall I am happy with my result. I finished it, I feel like a left some controls behind that I might have gotten had I understood better how to measure my efforts particularly on the bike. There was one on the way back past the store that I might have tried and of course the one I left in the cave.
All in all I am satisfied, I'll do more 12 hours, and I could see longer races, maybe up to 24 hours in the future with the right training.
Now it is back to training, the gym, need to hit the weights hard and work on paddling and trekking skills. And of course work on my navigation and map reading skills.
One other thing to work is simply how to move around in broken terrain. that kind of up and down route choice thing that coupled with a certain agility allows people to move through the woods so much faster than I can. I saw this in the prolog people were moving with much greater confidence than I was and seemed to be able to be able to cross obstacle's with much greater confidence. I think this as much experience as anything else so off trail travel is something I will work on in my "Off season".
I have lots of work to do to get ready for next year's AR season .