Adventure Race (Checkpoint Tracker) 29:48:00  100.0 mi (17:53 / mi)
Started on the bike going after 9 bike points up on the ATV trails. Holy cow, the maps did NOT do justice to the hills here. When it looked like you were following a contour on the map, it just meant that the difference of the small climbs was not big enough to register as a contour. We realized that this was taking a LOT longer than anticipated. The trails were hard and at times unrideable due to extreme steepness or, you know, ledges to go up. Did lots of bushwhacking in the bike gear. One time, dropped my chain and it got stuck between my cassette and my spokes. I was having a hard time getting it out when some ATVers stopped to help. The guy grabbed my rear derailleur, and was cranking on it pretty hard for leverage by the time I realized what he was doing. Fortunately, no damage was done. Unfortunately, I had dropped my sunglasses and they had driven over them. No more glasses the rest of the race. We decided to continue going after points on “A” because we were already up at the top and they were a bit easier along the ridge. The plan was to ditch more on “B” and move along to have time for easier points later in the race. CP1 was missing, and we spent at least a half hour looking for it.
Rode back to the TA and Brenda did the shooting while I transferred the data onto the maps for the 2 O-points. We rode down to get those and then set out to get a few points on B. It was 2.5 hours in by the time we got both CPs 10 and 11, so we decided to head back without any points on foot. Brenda had fallen on A after hitting some slick rocks, and I bit it on B. So, we were even. Took it a bit more cautiously on some of these trails at night. Brenda is a beast climbing, though. Wow, I can do the short climbs ok, but the long ones, she was killing me. Maybe I need to join her for the spring Blue Ridge Parkway trip. Going out to 10 and 11, there were quite a few steep/sketchy sections that we walked. Brenda was suffering some bad chafing, but at least I had some hydropel to help her out.
We got back to the TA after spending 5 hours on 2 CPs in B. That was a bad decision at a rate of only 1 cp per 2.5 hours. We then had to bike to the canoe put-in via roads. We were able to ride with 2 solos and eventually Checkpoint Zero to the paddle put-in. This was a weird leg that involved riding on the freeway. I have never done that before. Lots of times, we said “it’s a good thing it’s the middle of the night.”
When we got to the paddle (after 17 straight hours on our bikes), the fog was extremely thick. We had to turn our headlamps off and paddle by compass only and try to use a shoreline to guide us. It didn’t work. I had to keep checking the compass and correcting course, so I paddled very little at night. When we did get to shore, it came up so quickly we almost ran right into it. We hit what I thought was the far east point where the river turns south, but it wasn’t. I had accidentally navved us to the other side of the water, and we started following the shore south back toward where we came. Ugh. So, the plan was to go to the northeast because I figured we hadn’t gone as far as we thought. Soon the sun came up and I found out that was true. We saw Wedali and paddled with them for quite a while until I started falling asleep and lily dipping in the front. I had to take a whole bunch of Foosh, but the thing that really helped was getting out and running to get 3 foot points around a small lake. We were super happy to run, and it felt great. One hour of running in a 30-hour race. Crazy. After this, we got back in the boats and skipped all the rest of the points including the cave to be sure to make it to the finish on time. Heard it wasn’t that cool anyway… Wow were my abs tired at the end of the paddle.
We took out and walked to Outdoor Knoxville where one guy tried to get us to go on the shuttle to the finish, but someone knew and gave us the instructions. We walked through the crazy drainage tunnel and somehow found our way to the finish tent with 12 minutes to spare.
It was a tough race. We ended up being the first place female team, but they lumped us into the “2-person open” and we got 3rd in that one. Not too bad. It was very fun racing with Brenda. She is a very strong mountain biker and even our unconventional paddle set-up seemed to work well. The one hour we ran went well, too. I think we had a strong race, though the strategy could have probably been a bit better. Today, I’m still very tired, but not overly sore muscularly.