Well, I finished my 2nd race of the year, so far. Actually, I didn't finish the first....my team had a disappointing DNF at the North Georgia Adventure Race this past January...and then I spent the 4 weeks after that trying to heal a stress fracture and patellar tendonitis.
So anyway, this past weekend was the Raging Russell Adventure Race...a 18-20 hour race in the Lake Russell WMA of North Georgia. The race consisted of a total of 40 miles running/hiking, 35 miles biking and bike-whacking, a 220+ foot rappell of Curahee Mt. in the middle of the night, and 3 miles of paddling. Way too much time on the feet, and not enough time on the bike in my opinion!
I raced with Tony Berwald and Tim Morris (both were great teammates...very strong and great attitudes!). Tony Berwald is the Race Director infamous for making the North Georgia Adventure Race (www.ngar.org
) one of the toughest to complete in the country. Tim Morris is a friend of Tony's and the Course Designer for the upcoming Smoky Mountains Adventure Race (www.smokymountainsar.org
). Anyway, it was a tough course and we had some challenges in the navigation, for example...we mis-plotted the race Start (d'oh!). We all really wanted a top five finish, so we had to keep pushing hard to make up spots. Tim and Tony alternated towing me on the run, and Tim towed me for a short distance on the bike. That, combined with some good nav choices and our record-fast Transition times, we were able to make up several places. Before we knew it, we went from 18th place into 3rd!
Several small mistakes added up, though, and we found ourselves back in 7th or 8th place. We spent a lot of time looking for a couple checkpoints, and then got caught in the bottleneck looking for CP 12...which was hidden in a cave. We would remain in 7th-8th place (overall) for the rest of the race.
The mid-night rappel of Curahee Mt. came next. Keep in mind, I've only rapelled a handful of times...all indoors. This was a 220 foot rapell on a single line, outside. Very different from indoors. Thanks to Jono from Hairy Scary Evolutions for making the initial decent off the ledge with me and for talking me through it. Thanks to Tony for rapelling down along side of me to keep me sane :) And, thanks to Sam Council and Jon Barker for being there and belaying. I won't be doing that again until I'm rope certified! The good thing is that I made it through (even though it was pretty slow), and even better...I didn't die :)
The next few legs consisted of hiking, a little biking, a little paddling, and..yes..more hiking! We tried to shuffle but running was no longer an option.
Several teams did not find all 20 checkpoints (CPs), but our team did. In the end, we were the 8th team to cross the finish line, overall. And the 5th or 6th co-ed team to cross the finish line. Once penalties for missed CPs are assessed, we should end up in 4th or 5th in the co-ed standings. Not bad for an early season race, I think!
It was a tough race (read: too much running), but still a lot of fun! It's true that good teammates really make the race. I also want to thank Eddie O...he was my team's wonderful support crew. He had to set and pack up Transition Areas 6 times in 18 hours all by himself! And, thanks Neal for helping him and us out at TAs.
Next up: Smoky Mountains Adventure Race on April 2-3, 2005. I will be racing with Stephen Morris of North Carolina, and his regular teammate Michael. I'm hoping for a top 5 finish there as well!
Team TBD: Plotting at the Raging Russell Adventure Race
Team TBD: Namrita, Tony Berwald, Tim Morris