Adventure Race race (USARA Nationals) 29:25:21  100.0 mi (17:39 / mi)
Started with a run/hike up to the top of the ski hill for the whitewater river boarding. I don't really like stuff like this, but I did it. Unfortunately, I had trouble getting into the stream and ended up getting caught by the eddy twice before finally getting on the course. Mark was first and tried to swim right to the finish and got caught in that eddy. Phil rocked it, but we were still one of the last teams to the bikes.
I was still a bit keyed up from the whitewater, but we rocked the first bike leg - catching and passing many teams. Phil had been here for a race a few weeks ago, so he was familiar with the trails and did an awesome job on the nav. So, we got back to the TA, grabbed our paddling gear with new confidence and took off for the paddle on a "go big or go home strategy." Even though the 2 far paddle points would take 2 hours to get, we just couldn't skip points so early in the race. It was super choppy and really took a lot out of us, but we managed to keep about 4 mph pace even into the wind. After getting the far canoe points, we did the timed O-course, which Mark navved really well. On the paddle back, the sky opened up and poured on us. I didn't want to stop paddling to put on a coat because we were pretty close to the end. Quick transition, run back to the TA, where we all got warmed up with some dry clothes as the rain died down a bit.
8pm we took off on the bikes not realizing how long this bike section would take. Big mistake not estimating the time on this by adding up the segments because we should have saved 3 hours on the canoe and skipped the 2 points. There were a few errors, but nothing major, and we continued to pass lots of teams who'd skipped the 2 canoe points. The cold weather did a number on our battery life. My bar light ran out about a mile before the TA and my helmet light was red, but made it. Yikes! The others weren't any better off. Tons of hills, and I got lots of tows, but I thought we were doing pretty well here.
Next was the weird scored O-course where we needed to get 100 points to get the 10 CPs for that section. We figured we'd get them all, and things went pretty well with the first 4, which we were able to get along a ridge in a big loop. Back to the road, grabbed the fifth as the sun came up, and then headed north for the farthest point. It was a really cool point with a pretty route and view. I was nervous about down climbing what seemed like a scary steep hillside, but it ended up fine.
At this point, we decided we'd be better off going to the finish to get those 3-4 points, which was safer from a bail standpoint, if necessary. However, Mark and I were out of water, so I went to the river to fill bottles. I stepped on a rock and slipped, twisted my ankle and wound up lying on my back in the river shouting expletives knowing that this was NOT good. I hoped that I was wrong and I'd be able to walk it off, but I wasn't and all plans changed. Instead of running back to the bikes, we were reduced to my limping pace. On the bike, I got about 80% of my power from the right and 20% from the left. On every down hill, I put my weight on the right foot and lifted the left to prevent pain when hitting rocks. There was no way I could go off trail, so all the other foot points were out of the question. After a painfully slow bike back, we finished without getting even #33, which was really close and would have given us 2 more points (33 + 36, which was the finish line, only punchable if you did the last foot segment.)
Overall, I think we were doing well and we had a good race until I got hurt, but I'm disappointed. The whole car ride home was a big "what if" on skipping the two far canoe points. What more could we have done with 3 more hours? I wanted to directly compare our team against the other top teams in the country. When we all do a slightly different version of the course, it's hard to make a direct comparison. I'm all for strategy in route choice, but I want to see the top 10-15 teams clear the course so there's no element of "gaming" the race or luck. I've never heard anyone complain that they finished a 30-hour race in 24 hours.