Adventure Race 17:09:00  90.0 mi (11:26 / mi)
Mission 18-hour with Phil and Mike. Of course, we had the goal of winning, but we knew it would be a tough one with the competition at this race. LOTS of great teams there for the 18-hour, including some we haven't beat before.
The start was terrible for us. Memory-O on two checkpoints. We ended up screwing it up terribly and coming off it second to last. Despite this, I didn't hate this start as much as last year's easter egg hunt.
We made up a ton of time in plotting and then proceeded to pick teams off on the bike. There were lots of roads, but an interesting trail/off-trail section that required some navigation, plus some route choice strategy decisions. We went with dropping the bikes to get 4. Even though it took almost an hour, it still seemed the best option. We blew it on 6 (?) though by coming in from the south of the trail when doing an out and back from the other end would have been faster. Darn.
Got to the TA expecting to go out on the paddle. Surprise! LONG, mostly road trek up to another boat ramp. It was 83 degrees and blazing hot sun, and we were feeling it. Not much running was happening here. Some teams took a risk and went up the power lines, which was a super great choice because they gained lots of time on us there. Spent some time trekking with Bushwhacker until we hit CP8 and we all took off. All the teams around us talked about swimming across to save some distance to 9, but nobody did it - worries of private property and the swim being really long to save maybe a K of distance on foot. The whole team was experiencing foot pain at this point and running low on water when we hit a convenience store. We stopped and got cold gatorade, water, pizza and a burger. Mike changed socks, but it didn't help. We spent too long here, but felt much better and even ran the downhills after that. I was chafing pretty badly around this point. Why did I decide before the race that I no longer needed to lube up? Not sure.
By the time we got to the TA, we were SO ready to be off our feet. We got into the boat much later than we thought we would be, but it felt so good to sit down. AND the wind had died down, so that was great. We had to get out for most of the points, so that saved us from cramping. JK, Mike still cramped, but I think it helped me. My feet were feeling a lot better already from just getting off the hot pavement for a while. We made the call at the last second to skip 15. Assuming it would take over an hour to get it, and that there were still 20 points on the course, we thought we had a better chance on the next section even with a penalty point.
Next was an O-course by any mode of transport. We went with bikes and dropped them to get the points, as needed. Unfortunately, the first climb out of the TA, my pedal started clicking, and then it came right off the spindle. Shit! I should have learned something and rebuilt my pedals over the winter. SO, the rest of the race, I was half handicapped on the left and had to keep pushing the pedal back in. Annoying. I'm going to try Times next. We kept our options open, and ended up getting 6 points by 10:05 or so. We didn't think we'd have time for the farthest two points, so we skipped them. We discussed taking the penalty and trying to get 3-4 points on the way back, but by the time we plotted, we'd be down to 1.5 hours to get back, and with a mechanical issue and being tired, we didn't think it was a smart move, so we called it and rode to the finish.
Final rank: 4th overall and 3rd in our division. We had some uncharacteristically long TAs, but it may have felt worse than it was since they did also include plotting and route planning. The stop at the store was pretty long, though... That prologue section was a big loss for us, but we did find a good shortcut to the first foot point, so that was a plus. It was great to be out there, though, and to get the season going.
As a side note, team "MRA Support Crew" did the 4 hour race and proved us right - they had nothing to worry about - second in their division and mid-pack overall. :)