NCARS 2 Adventure Race Report

NCARS 2 Adventure Race Report

NCARS 2 Adventure Race Report:

May 12 was the NCARS 2 at Lake Norman State Park. The Waterlogged Dogwoods team was represented by yours truly and David Parsons-Foresi, otherwise known as the ‘hyphenates'. This was our first time navigating outside of Umstead (which we don't really count) and opted to do the five-hour race. We left at 5am and headed to Lake Norman where the race started on time after a pre-race briefing. During the Q&A, a guy asked if he could drive his car to the O-course. He wasn't joking. Doug handled it well and since this was a beginner-friendly event, I'm sure after the race the guy understood why it was funny question!

I decided that our strategy should be to do the O-course first, followed by the paddle and leave our strongest discipline, the bike, for last. This turned out to be a good decision. We biked down to the O-course and after finding the first one right away, had trouble with the second. David held the map most of the time but we looked at it equally. When we were walking around for what I decided was too long, we opted to go up to the road where we could see where we were and use our compass to get a bearing (first thing – know where you are!). David did a great job and we walked about 300 meters straight toward it. Fortunately, there was a guy there already because I may have walked past it since it was under a log and not as visible from the direction I was walking.

We then tried to get CP12 but after searching too long, I decided that we were losing too much time and needed to get back to the road and try for CP11. As much as i wanted to keep hunting for this one, Marcey's call on spending too much time on it was correct and we had to scoot. Excellent call Marcey (DPF) This one had David getting another bearing from the road and we didn't waste too much time. We ran back to the TA because I felt like we were spending too much time on the O-course and we needed to hustle. We only got 3 of 6 CPs but I felt good that I kept an eye on the clock.

We rode back to the paddle TA and hopped in and decided we would only get one mandatory point of the three CPs to make sure we had time to get the bike points. We paddled as far as we felt we could in the shallow water. I almost took Marcey's head off not turning the canoe fast enough. Sorry Marcey (DPF). This is true. I was almost decapitated but thankfully limbo skills were A+ that day. We jumped out and made our way around knee deep muddy grass for about 150 meters. I'm sure we scared a few snakes. I spotted the CP and we headed back to the TA. Jay Anderson (volunteer) said we had time to get another and encouraged us to go. I'm glad we did because we also found it pretty quick. I'm not often the first to spot the CP flags so yesterday I felt great that I found so many. The energy burst is better than a double-shot!

The last bit was the bike course and it was FUN!!!! Kudos to the course designer, Mike Dickinson, for forcing people to ride the sweet, flowy singletrack at Lake Norman. The singletrack is killer – well worth a day drip from the 919 (DPF). The CPs were not far off of the trails and there weren't so many that it felt like we didn't get to ride. David went ahead since he was faster. At one point he hopped off the trail too early and I passed him but we didn't know it. We got a little separated and he had scary visions of me lying by the side of the trail needing emergency help from being eaten by a snake, bit by a spider or knocked out cold. In reality I was waiting at the CP wondering if he had stopped to get a pedicure. I was having a serious oh BOY moment – where's Marcey and is she okay? She was fine, waiting for me. (DPF) It was about 9 miles in distance and about 1.25 hours for us to ride and get the CPs. Many points I forgot I was racing I had so much fun just riding the trails. YEP!!(DPF) This was, by far, my favorite part of the race. I always feel bummed when I am on a course with great singletrack and my navigator makes me bikewhack most of it (yes, I'm talking to you, Major). Anyway, David and I felt like kids and can't wait to go back and ride those trails again!

We came in at 4hrs and 35 minutes and felt that our strategy for the day was the right one. At first I was disappointed that we didn't get more O-points but then I realized that it is also knowing when to bag it and deciding which points are possible in the alotted time frame. I have no idea how we finished and get impatient waiting to post my report so let's just say we didn't win but I don't think we were last either! I needed to be racing with Bob because I realized after we finished I didn't take a single picture 🙁

I conjured Don Childrey and Bob May throughout the race and there were several times that I said “Look what I did!' to Don since he has been patiently teaching me to navigate. David did a great job with the compass and once again we had a great race together and complement each other well. I have raced NCARS races 4-5 times and have never been an official finisher due to mechanical issues, DQs, not getting a mandatory point etc. so it was great to finally finish an NCARS! This was my first NCARS race and I'm looking forward to my next!! (DPF)

On the ride home I decided I needed a post-race milkshake since the last one I had was at Nationals in October when David and I were driving back. I was mildly obsessed with getting one at Chik-fil-A because I had one there two years ago but it was too far away so we stopped at DQ for a small peanut butter frozen hot chocolate (OMG) for me and a small butterfinger blizzard for David. We needed smalls because, well, it's bikini season for David 🙂 Bikini season indeed. Marcey is an excellent teammate and enjoy racing with her and the car ride to and fro is always good car time. DPF

NCARS Adventure Race

Our only picture

NCARS Adventure Race

For Lisa – one gal's cool is another gal's cadaver!

Waterlogged Dogwoods Adventure Racing Promo Video

Waterlogged Dogwoods Adventure Racing Promo Video

Waterlogged Dogwoods Adventure Racing Promo Video:

Check out our promotional video for the Waterlogged Dogwoods and the awesome sport of adventure racing! Special huge, giant, enormous thanks to Kevin Rader-Rhodenbaugh of www.kevinrr.com for the original music. To get the full effect, make sure you listen with speakers for the surprise at the end 🙂

Storm the Eastern Shore 30 Hour Adventure Race Report

Storm the Eastern Shore 30 Hour Adventure Race Report

Storm the Eastern Shore 30 Hour Adventure Race Report:

Storm the Eastern Shore started with just that, a storm!! The events leading up to the race were very stressful for me. We started with a three man team a couple of months out and the navigator was in a motorcycle accident and broke his wrists (good excuse). My other teammate dropped out on me for a family event nine days before the race without finding me a back-up. I had already asked everyone I knew that navigated to race with us before I was down to a solo and now was panicking because I was going to have to drop out. I made one more effort and asked Brent Eishen for the second time and he was gracious enough to agree. I only knew Brent a little from mountain biking so it would be a new experience. The one time we met up to practice paddling we immediately flipped the kayak and never even had time to practice after we finally got all the water out! BE: I was sure she was thinking I don't want to get a Kayak with him when we flip in flat water. 

We left on Friday and drove up with BJ Creehan who was racing as part of Bees Knees to Cape Charles, VA about 4.5 hours away. On the way to VA it stormed buckets of water and was not even safe to drive. We were already storming the eastern shore. We had planned to camp but our campground was flooded and we found a motel near the race start. We shared a room with two solo racers  Scott (2nd place overall) and Shane, and Brent was nice enough to sleep on a cot and let me have a bed (Thanks Brent!). Pizza for dinner and bed by 10:00.

After a good night's sleep (for the night before a race) we were all up at 5am. I had a good laugh at Brent wearing his paisley pj pants tucked into his knee socks and the image stayed with me and caused giggle fits during the entire race. After a 6am check-in we spent the next three hours figuring out our gear bin and packing up everything. We rented a kayak and were unhappy to see that we were the only one that got stuck with a touring kayak! It wasn't even a nice sea kayak. Brent looked it up online when he got home and it weighs 96 pounds (without all of our gear) and had an awful review.

Instead of a prologue at the start we had to run about four miles down to the ocean with our packs, paddles and PFDs, stopping to get a couple of points along the way. We jumped in the water with the kayak only to have our rudder break about five minutes in. The next 9 hours or so we took turns telling the boat what a big fat loser she was and she shouldn't show her ugly kayak face to the ocean anymore. We didn't like her. Brent's seatback was also broken and mine was unable to adjust so we had a hard time getting comfortable too.

Thankfully, the only time it was raining was while we were paddling so the weather was actually perfect the entire race. Not too hot and overcast. We paddled to CP 4 and I jumped out as the primary punch monkey for the race. Paddling to 5/6 we had to jump out and push the boat some because of the low tide. I lost my Keens twice due to mudsuck but we didn't waste too much time. I navigated through the water with the laminated map and we did take one wrong turn that I was unsure about right after we passed it. There were lots of little inlets and marshy areas so it was hard to tell where you were since the map changes as the tide changes.

We went on to 5/6 where we had a choice for a bonus point. We were afraid that we wouldn't get to the cut-off at 3p and lose the bonus points so we skipped it. CP8 was a portage of the Beast about a mile, punch and then portage back. We both thought this was kind of BS because it was a portage just for the sake of portaging and not to go anywhere but we had to go with it.

NOOOOO!!! Five steps with the Beast and the portage wheels broke! Probably because she was so heavy?!?!?! Brent is strong as an ox and dragged it about 300 meters and asked me if I could pick it up. There was no way. Our only other option was to take back the portage wheels we had loaned to BJ who we saw running back from CP7. It was easier for him to drag his boat along the shore in the water than for us to do it so he kindly gave them back to us. After pulling the monstrosity we hopped back in the Beast and opted not to get bonus CP9 even though we would have had time.

Then it was a paddlethon. Thankfully we ended up paddling at the same time as Bees Knees and could bounce navigating ideas off of them. It took super effort from Brent and I to be able to keep up with them due to combination of them probably being better paddlers and definitely having a better boat.

All in all, the paddle took us about 9.5 hours. I have never paddled so far. Someone said it was about 27 miles so I guess the route we took and a couple of wrong turns in the marsh areas was probably more like 29.

I was so happy to see TA1 but not happy to hear that we would have to paddle again the next day to the finish! We changed into dry clothes and were thankful that Rob Ward was there to help us a little bit and take our broken portage wheels back to the campground. It had been awhile since Brent plotted so he had to reteach himself. I initially thought Oh, s..t. but I could plot if I needed to. We marked up our map and took off.

Right off the bat we took a wrong turn and lost about 10 minutes. BE: On the map it looked like the road out of the park. Hit the road we needed to be on so all we had to do was make a right. Lesson #1 note to self, check the name of the road and or the direction by compass before you start) every race I have lessons = learn/remember something I said I would not do again. When we got to the first bike CP, Factory Refurbished caught up with us and left right before we did. We were a couple of minutes behind them at CP 10 but took a road we shouldn't due to a misunderstanding with the instructions and ended up getting somewhere about 2 minutes ahead of them. After we figured out why, I knew we would lose that point or at least get a penalty.

The first orienteering section started off terrible. We felt so defeated. About 6 other teams were trying to find CP 26 and 27 for about an hour. BE: Lesson #2 Do not follow others because you think they know exactly where they are going even if they are starting in the right direction. (often forgotten when in the heat of a race) After working with a number of other teams to find #27 we decided to work with them to find #26. Lesson #3 How do you find another point when you do not know exactly where you are. So we decided to find a known point and navigate by ourselves using basic navigation. This is run a bearing, follow the terrain, and pace distance. The next eight points were a breeze and we went almost directly to them!

We finally gave up and went to get the house ruins CP and found it right off. We were there at the same time as Natty Bros Mike and Jose and were all so defeated that we decided to team up. From that point on it became the Natty Dogs or Waterlogged Bros team. We ended up racing with them all the way to the last paddle. It made it really fun and was helpful for both teams (strategy is also choosing other people to work with!). At that point, we made the O-Course our b…h and found several CPs before calling it to move on to the bike. BE: We also decided to help some first time navigators showing them how to run a bearing and read the terrain. We had two other teams basically follow us to the points. Since they didn't really add anything to our group, Brent decided that he should eat half of one guy's stinger waffle. He took it right out of his hand.

The bike was fun at night and I drafted Jose for a good portion of it. I am usually anti-draft in training and racing (tri or mtb) but for AR it only makes sense if it works. We averaged about 17 miles per hour on our MTBs. Jose and Mike are super-strong bikers and Brent is a workhorse so if I wasn't drafting off of Jose, I was drafting off of Brent. And, I was STILL working.

The next O-course was a pirate's treasure map. A hand drawn map of a birding and wildlife area. It was a little frustrating because of it being hand drawn but everybody had the same advantage. At some point in the night, I had eaten several gels and didn't ration them appropriately and space out my caffeine. I think I had four 2x caffeine gels in about four hours. This was not a good decision. I had to use the weed facilities every hour, sometimes more. Thankfully I didn't hold us up and it was always when something else was going on but still, geez! I actually thought by later in the morning that I was getting a UTI from going too much + I was having other issues but both went away so I suspect it was just an overdose of caffeine. Ultimately, I came home with a butt eaten up with bug bites because it was the only place that didn't get sprayed with DEET. So, if you see me scratching my arse, you know why.

During this O course is when the sun came up and I gave Brent his gift for racing with me, a Wisp toothbrush. He agreed that I was the coolest teammate ever for carrying this for almost 24 hours so we could brush the grit off of our teeth. I was even more impressed that Jose brought an actual toothbrush and paste in his gear box and brushed his teeth at the TA before we took off!

The last bike section was fun but we struggled to stay up with Mike and Jose. I think they were either so psyched to paddle again or were so sick of us that they took off like lightening. We were actually averaging 17-19 miles per hour for the last bike section. I was drafting and hooked up the dog leash and both Brent and I were working hard to keep up with them. BE: I was amazed at how fast we biked. The 4 person pace line worked extremely well and all of us were flying on the road. I gained a lot of confidence when we went back to basics and I did not try to rush myself. Marcey was a great motivator and very patient which helped me to slow down and think. When we got to the paddle and found out it was 8 miles as opposed to the 4 we thought it was we again felt defeat. The first hour was pretty awful. At this point it was about 24.5 hours into the race and we were out of food and fluids. I shared my one bottle of coconut water with Brent and we paddled like zombies. Our arms were so fatigued and we wanted to set fire to that Beast. Once we reached the halfway point, I made a mental decision to kick it in to get the hell out of that boat. This encouraged Brent to also kick it in since he was actually having trouble even staying awake and was yawning every 5 minutes. When we finally reached the pier, we had to portage uphill about .5 miles. I was so happy to get rid of that boat!

We finished in around 26.5 hours and got all the mandatory checkpoints and a couple of bonus checkpoints. I told the RD about the wrong turn and he gave us a 30 minute penalty which was fair since we didn't gain even near that time. Maybe 7 minutes max. Thank you RD! I was very happy to see that they were grilling burgers and dogs and had VEGGIE burgers!!! No RD has ever had this. Note to RDs there were probably 4 of us, just while I was there, eating the veggie burgers so I am definitely not the only one

We took showers at the campground, during which I had to scrape/pick 20-30 things off of my left ankle. I have no idea what they were or if they were alive but my ankle now looks like someone hit it with a meat cleaver.

Adventure Race

Results of the black things embedded in me. I am covered with them!

We had some food, said goodbye to everyone and took off for the drive home. Fellow Adventure Racers, I unpacked my entire gear box, hosed stuff down, put everything away and started a load of laundry immediately when I got home! Even I am impressed with myself.

What I learned from this race: Do not ingest too much caffeine at one time. My body just CANNOT handle it.

Racing with Brent was GREAT! I learned a lot from him. We never stopped once, which is how I like to race. If we ate or drank we were moving. At the transitions, we did what we needed to do and left. He is really fast at transitions and I was not as fast so it was a good learning experience. We always rode fast on the bikes and even though we didn't run any of the O Courses, we kept moving. He is probably the funniest person I have raced with and the most intense. Before every TA there was a plan and he was always ready to hustle. I would race with him again in a heartbeat, but not in that Melon-Farming kayak.

Stopping to Smell the Roses

Stopping to Smell the Roses

The other day my husband and I went to the Rose Garden in town. It was the first time we had been there and had a nice picnic. We took some funny pictures of us smelling the roses and it made me think about the saying ‘take time to stop and smell the roses'.
roses
I'm one of those people who doesn't really stop to smell the roses, but rather smells them as I am walking, running or riding by. I will choose a trail over pavement any day but I am not the type of person to stop and look at a flower or poke a turtle with a stick. One thing about mountain biking is that you are not really able to enjoy the view so much while you are riding. If I looked out over a mountain, that is the direction that I would go and what is the point if I am dead or hospitalized!

For me, the biggest part about being on a trail is being away from traffic and other people. When I lived in Washington, DC it was par for the course for trails to be busy but here I can run for over an hour and sometimes only see 1-2 people. I can ride in a local park by myself and not see anyone else for an hour or more if I go at the right time.

My husband is more of a stop to smell the roses kind of guy. This helps to balance us out. If it weren't for me, we may never reach our destination or finish what we had started. If it weren't for him, I may not notice the spectacular view from Looking Glass Rock. When I told someone that my friend Kobza and I hiked rim to rim across the Grand Canyon in 11 hours their response was did you even enjoy it? Of course I did, but for someone else, they may not have. Kobza and I are very much alike and for us, it is more about the feeling of accomplishment. In addition, seeing canyon walls for that long starts to just look like canyon walls.

roses

K hiding in the roses

I think my attitude towards always moving forward comes from the way I was brought up too. I don't remember ever being focused on enjoying what we were doing at that particular time or looking at a view of something but more focused on the end result. If we were going on an 8-mile hike, we were focused on the end of that 8-mile hike. Not to get it over with necessarily but because that was the finish. Other family members may have felt like it was a different experience but that is how I remember it.

My husband refers to it as ‘on a mission'. He says my family is always on a mission and to me, his family his painfully slow. So slow in fact that one time I went out with them sightseeing and my back hurt from walking so slow! Probably a good balance is what we end up doing when it is just the two of us.

I've learned to slow my pace a bit and I've also learned to look at the scenery, which is much easier to do now that I am adventure racing. Sometimes there is a lot of standing involved when looking at maps, changing out gear etc. Plus, my teammate Bob is all about taking pictures which is a great reminder to me to actually look at what my surroundings are for their beauty (or unbeauty because you wouldn't believe how much trash is in the wilderness!).

All in all, I like how I am. I like that I am always moving forward and looking ahead. I don't want to ever stay stagnant for too long, physically or mentally. I want to get to the finish not to get it over with, but to feel the sense of accomplishment I get before immediately moving on to the next thing. Besides, I really don't even like the smell of roses.

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