Its been a few days since Tracey, Cricket and I fought off Piranha flies, stomped through black swamp mud, climbed tick infested trees, and paddled through a plethora of hungry gators (well never saw any but I know they were under the boat). These few days have allow me to reflect back on Indiana Jones adventure through the Swamps of Francis Marion National Forest with great clarity. What were we thinking, who in their right minds does this for fun? It has to be less then .001% of the US population. Most if not almost all sit at home at watch other do this stuff on the ol' tube-o-matic while eating a tasty bag of Cheese puff. Well I am excited and very proud that I am now part of that .001% adventure race family. I have to admit next time I'll strap a bag of those tasty orange air puffs to my hydro pack.
As a rookie adventure racer I really had no idea what to expect. About the only thing I knew was my team needed me to be like the famous Cars character Mator. My simple job was to pull/ carry/ paddle and not complain, perfect. I was just happy I didn't have to do the smart stuff like plotting UTM, course direction, and all that fancy compass stuff. Just load me up and point me in the right direction and all will be good. Besides a streaming constant supply of food and water my needs are pretty low.
We started off with a cold early morning run around town collecting secret decoder ring stuff. Luckily Tracey was familiar with the town and the game. One catch to the game was each team had to hold onto a rope so we would not get separated. Work as a team, run as a team walk as a team was the point of the game. Once the announcer said GO! we were off straight through back yard, ditches, roads. Cricket and Tracey were like laser beams focused on the first check point. Once we arrived, we saw it was in a tree. I decided to be the one to climb it so as I waited for the few that beat us there to get up there and back down, Tracey used her smarts and ran around the tree and got the code. As she raced back around toward us, chanting lets go, let go! Off we ran to the next point. The next thought that went through my head was wow shes good!!
The second point was just a blur I don't even know if we slowed down for it as Cricket and Tracey grabbed the code with some Jedi mind trick. By now this running stuff was for the birds, we had covered 2-3 miles which is about the limit of my training so the thoughts of roller skates came to mind. I was wondering if they were legal. Just as the second check point whizzed by so did the third. Next stop was the start line to turn in the codes and pick up our passport.
Once we reached the start line I felt like I ran about 30 mile but truthful it was only 4 and I was excited about the canoe. My legs needed a rest. Oh yea about that code thing we had to turn in, I didn't know what it was then and can't remember know. I just followed the girls like a puppy, so props goes to them for getting us through the pre-start torture.
Off to the Canoe we raced, this really wasn't worried about this event, I paddled a canoe about 10 years ago so I was feeling pretty fresh and itching to get to rowing. With my extensive paddling skill I had only used a wooden oar in the famous J-stroke style. The ladies didn't have old trusty wooden paddles they had state of the art, NASA design carbon Fiber stealth paddles from US Kayak Team that we used to propel our floating chariot down the water in fine fashion.
After paddling for a few hours we hit the trail run.
Ok gotta speed up my story a little for those that are falling asleep. The next few hours we raced around the swamp on feet and bicycle searching out check point. Check point after check point we worked our way across the map until we had all 24. At around 10.5 hours we where on our way back to the finish line. With a cruising speed of 17-20 mph our mountain bikes were near terminal velocity, well at least my legs felt topped out. Once we arrived at the finish line we were a little disappointed in our 3 place finish but felt great with our overall accomplishment.
Well, I promised I would finish my first blog entry by the end of the March, all though the story got cut a little short, if your interested in more details, we can chat over some wings and beer and I'll fill your ears with all the micro moments of one of the best races ever.