Adventure Race 18:57:23  94.0 mi (12:06 / mi)
USARA Nationals w Biz and Erl...WEDALI!! 3rd place!!
when we got the clue sheet on Thursday evening, we noticed there were a lot of sections, a lot of TAs, and a lot of those TAs in the same location. the gear list for Nats is minimal (yay!) and weather forecast was favorable (also yay!). so we crafted a gear strategy to minimize use of packs. we put our mandatory gear all in 1 pack (Biz's) then Erl only used a pack for food/water for me and him. we all carried packs on the point-to-point bike but it was no biggie. and just used TAs to catch up on calories. this worked really well and not carrying a pack on the trekking sections kept me really fresh and feeling fast.
PROLOG/TREK 1 (CPs P1-P12, 2.5? miles, 0900-0919)
quick run thru disc golf course in Wildwood SP. almost everyone went clockwise, including us. Tecnu went opposite. but Biz figured that finding flags with a herd would be much easier as long as Erl could get to the punch first, which after the first flag, he did. the woods were really open, and we were on the disc golf "fairways" a lot so very fast. we got back to TA with the first pack of 6 teams. (AMK, Rootstock, Poopy Pants, and boy teams Happy Mutant and Terminal Velocity)
TA at Wildwood - we just grabbed Biz's pack, our paddles, PFDs, and ran.
PADDLE 1 (CPs 1-8, 18? miles, 0919-1323)
lake paddle loop on the res. "blazing paddles" section. we got a good boat and went counter-clockwise. first CP8 w AMK then they went CW with most other boats. sort of a headwind for us but i felt we paddled really well. pretty clean on the nav, which was hard bc of low lake levels. and really fast on the close punches - we would drop Biz off to go punch and paddle a few meters around to pick him back up. got to see BOR out there! got to race a butterfly for about 100m which seemed really long. passed by the CW teams with Rootstock in the lead! then Tecnu caught us from behind and we couldn't hang w the JB power paddle, but didn't let them get too far ahead, either.
TA at Wildwood. Tecnu still there when we came in. AMK already out on bike.
BIKE 1 (CPs 9-12, 12? miles, 1323-1435)
trails to Mistletoe SP. mostly double and singletrack, some bikewhacking. somehow we got on a parallel trail to TA which was not fast. but made it still w Tecnu in TA.
TA at Mistletoe.
TREK 2 (CPs 13-15, 3? miles, 1435-1530)
fast run around Mistletoe SP. we were behind Tecnu going to first CP (13) but caught them there. had short discussion as the flag didn't have a manual punch. but we decided to both ePunch and leave. we left faster and later they caught us on trail run to 14. but we attacked a bit earlier and got ahead. then they caught us again at 15, but we short-cut back to trails and were ahead when mayer22 alerted us that we had punched the wrong 13. Tecnu had figured out there was an orienteering flag placed really close to the AR flag (same reentrant, about 50m higher than real CP), which was why they dropped behind. we weren't in a great location to go back but we did anyway and found the correct CP13. about 10-15min lost there based on Tecnu's split back. (post-race, the results do not show an ePunch time for 13. so we probably didn't have to go back. oh well.)
TA at Mistletoe.
BIKE 2 (no CPs, 12? miles, 1530-1649)
retracing our route back to Wildwood SP. saw a lot of teams riding outbound which was cool. trails continued to be confusing but Biz solved it with a long bikewhack thru the logging area.
TA at Wildwood, about 20min back from Tecnu so they gained another 10 min on the bike back)
TREK 3 (CPs 16-21, 4? miles. 1649-1822)
loop around Wildwood SP. we went to western clump of CPs first and struggled with the veg. attacked them all directly and it was SLOW. just thick, thorny, and trashy scrub woods. i think we lost about 20min here bc we got all the eastern clump really well. finished this trek in the daylight which was our pre-race goal.
TA at Wildwood - last time. saw Alpine Shop in TA which was so awesome. gave them a bit of advice to go west first in the remaining daylight.
BIKE 3 (CPs 22-24, 17? miles, 1822-2041)
Bartram Trail singletrack point-to-point. "king of the mountain" section. also the first section of the race where i wore a pack. got going on the Bartram and learned what a fun trail it is!! flowy, fast, and no "gotcha" rocks on blind turns. we took some shortcuts here and there but nothing that gained us any time as we did not see Tecnu. we turned on our lights just before CP22.
TA at Below Dam Rec Area.
TREK 4 (CPs 25-29, 4? miles, 2041-2232)
loop in South Carolina. "o-team" section. i asked race staff if they could share any information about the woods and they said "steeper and thicker" so we all put pants on but i left my pack behind. we went to 25 first and walked thru toxic beaver dam water. then popped out on road and saw AMK's lights almost finishing their loop. then saw Tecnu at 27 so not far behind! hit the rest cleanly and good hustle up the hills. saw Happy Mutant starting their loop as we finished w a road run. race staff at TA thought we might have fastest split but not sure. we didn't know it was the o-team section. at this point we were pretty solid in 3rd but without a major breakdown from AMK or Tecnu it would be hard to catch them w no trekking sections left.
TA at Below Dam Rec Area.
PADDLE 2 (CPs 30-33, 12? miles, 2232-0159)
downstream on Savannah River. beautiful night paddle w nearly-full moon. paddled cleanly out and not a lot of current in the river. we had some trouble with the "tip of island" CP31 as we took the channel over but attacked in too early. came back to the boat, paddled more downstream, found another tip, went in and punched. then i got cold and sleepy but rainjacket hood and chicken fingers helped. portaged over CP32 at a dam. then again at CP33.
TA at Savannah Rapids/finish line. pretty cold but Erl gave me his dry rainjacket to wear, that plus dry armwarmers helped a lot.
BIKE 4 (CPs 34-36, 10? miles, 0159-0359)
on the Augusta Canal Bike Path and MTB trail. we thought this was a straightforward bike path, and it started out as such, very fast and pleasant riding. but not for long!! we followed the signs for CP35 (MTB trail) but ended up in a gravel pit instead of singletrack. so bailed to 36 and ended up in the 'hood and an under-bridge hobotown. so many paths, trails, roads, and bridges not on the map. we weren't panicking but v close to it as we were losing massive amounts of time and we thought the "local" team Checkpoint Zero was behind us and would know where to go. finally figured out the access trail to 36 and punched. then went back for 35 which was a bit better signed from the south. then road home with pits in our stomachs thinking that someone definitely passed us. but no one did!
overall i thought we had an amazing race. the course didn't really suit us at all (paddle- and singletrack-heavy and no long trekking sections) but we just kept hustling on our feet and fast TAs to keep us in the game. great teamwork w carrying stuff and the boys took really really good care of me. Biz did great on the maps even without hardly racing (or training!!) at all this year and it was so fun to be on his team. the Biz/Erl combo is just magic and i was v fortunate to be a part of the WEDALI crew. so great to see everyone too, great turn out for this year's race!