Adventure Race race (Mission) 17:22:00  65.0 mi (16:02 / mi)
We got pretty much NO info the night before - not even what clothes to show up in. I guess we got a little extra sleep without having to plot and plan our routes, though I would have liked a general overview. Oh well. We showed up in trekking stuff assuming some sort of foot prologue. At 6:00 they announced that there were 10 CPs out in the woods, and we had to find 7 of them in order to get the coordinates for section 1. No map. The only clue was that they were at an elevation of 800 ft and within 1K of the start. (You wanna talk about an Easter Egg Hunt!) We took off on one direction... and were the only team to go that way. That doesn't bother us, though. We found one, and then continued on that contour and eventually found all 7. We got our 7th, and got back to the race start 10 minutes before the hour cutoff when they would mass distribute UTMs to those who didn't get them. Only 2 or 3 teams found 7 to get any advantage, so it didn't really have the intended effect of spreading teams out. Not a fan of this even though we got lucky and got the slight advantage.
We quickly plotted and took off on the bike leg. THIS was a fun leg. It started with bike orienteering on the local single track trails, which were very nice. We did some creative route choice and managed to take the lead for maybe 20 minutes. Then, Bushwhacker made a better route choice and passed us back. Darn. We did a little road riding with CPs off the road for short runs into the woods.
We got back and, as expected, we were paddling next with a twist - we were allowed to split up on the first 4 points. We decided to drop Phil and Mike off on the south end so they could work together to get the points that were up on the ridge. I paddled the canoe solo up to what I figured was about south of 10. I had a little hand-drawn map with the river bends. It was an oddly leisurely paddle for the middle of the race. I got there, ate, drank, took a bathroom break, and maybe 5-10 minutes later, the guys showed up. Cool. We paddled back down, at a much faster pace, stopped for 12 and somehow didn't notice the big wide path to it, probably losing more than 5 minutes looking for the reentrant in the thorny mess of roses. As we paddled up past where the guys had gotten out, we saw Alpine Shop pushing out to continue the paddle a hundred yards in front of us. Dropped to 3rd, but in sight of 2nd.
We were portaging at the dam, and I decided I couldn't stand the rock in my shoe anymore. When I put my shoe back on, it was no different. I took it off and looked again - there was a 1/4" diameter stick completely spearing all the way through the bottom of my shoe! I had to use a rock to push it back out. Crazy.
This was the start of the bad part of the paddle. We saw this river on the way in and talked about how we REALLY hoped we wouldn't be hauling canoes down this super low river. Oh, we were... for 4 hours. We did get out once to get a point up a hill. Oh, and we got out probably a hundred times due to being stuck on rocks. Well, Mike got out a hundred times. Phil and I got out fewer times than that, but too many times by probably a factor of ten. This would have been a fine paddle with 6" more water in the river. This was one instance where whitewater was neither exciting nor scary. Just a sign of annoyance to come. About halfway down, the thunderstorm started. If it was hard to see hidden rocks before, it was pretty much impossible in the rain. It felt like forever, but it was probably only 15-20 minutes. Eventually it cleared up. We tried to tell ourselves that this would help with the water level, but I think it was wishful thinking. Not a fun section.
We finally got out of the water a bit before 4:00. Alpine shop was there finishing plotting the next section - a foot trek back to the TA/start area. With our soaking wet map, the plotting was challenging - even with a sharpie. We got our points and started moving, but we were tired and stiff, so not as much running as we would normally do. We weren't feeling a lot of hope for catching the two speedy teams in front of us. We picked up the few points that brought us up to the North, including a "vegetation boundary" that wasn't, a weird building foundation on a hill, and a waterfall. At the foundation CP, we were surprised to run into Alpine Shop, who had picked up a buddy along the way - a friendly black lab, who befriended us as well. As we all headed out toward Versailles (pronounced Ver-Sales, apparently) they yelled at the dog to make it run away, effectively pawning him off on us. We tried doing this as well, but eventually, the dog joined back up with us. We were discouraged from taking 50, but it was the shortest way, so we did it anyway. Unfortunately, this dog kept finding us and then randomly running out on the road. Cars were giving us evil looks like we were the worst people ever running down the road with our backpacks and unleashed dog. I was mouthing "not ours" at them. I doubt that helped.
We made it to the water tower for the rappel with the dog still alive. We had to climb up the ladder to the rail on the water tower and then rappel down. The safety on the climb was a prussic, but I would have much preferred an ascender. I would have felt safer and it would have been easier than manually pulling this prussic up the rope. The climb was the hardest part. The rappel was a rappel.
After picking up 2 points on the way back to the TA, we moved on to the bike section, which they said wasn't the last leg. We took off on what looked to be a clean road ride so everyone put on dry stuff except me (I hadn't brought it). Our first planned point changed things. When we arrived, they told us we had to paddle a raft with mini paddles across the lake and get the point up on the hill. I hate surprises and "special challenges" like this. The water was too shallow, so we were mid-calf in muck. It was really just a gratuitous out and back in the mud to get us dirtier. Annoying and time wasting. We got back on the bikes and hammered as much as we could. At least I felt like we were pushing the pace. About a third of the way through, my rear derailleur started acting up when I was in middle ring, so I was only able to use my big and small rings. I eventually settled on using mostly big and standing on the hills. Cross-chaining! At 28, we had to make a choice - go down and get 30 to try to clear the course or skip it and be sure to get back before the cut off. I was thinking we would probably make it, but the guys thought definitely not, so we skipped it. We arrived at the finish missing 1 CP at 11:22. We still had almost 40 minutes , but they said we had to get 2 to make it worth it and it didn't look doable in the time we had, so we called it a day.
A 2 Male team, Silent Chasers, came in 10 seconds before the cut off with all the bike points, and edged us out for 3rd overall. We ended up with 3rd in the 3-coed, though. Overall, it was a solid race and we were happy with how we did.