Sunday, March 23, 2014

Physically Strong 8 Hour Adventure Race

 Physically Strong Adventure Race footer
The Quincy Physically Strong Adventure Race was held for it's 4th year on March 23rd. I don't know how I've missed this race in the past but, I was excited on it's location since I was born in Quincy, IL and my family still lives there. It was also a qualifier for USARA Nationals and a Regional Championship.

The start and finish of the race was actually situated outside of Quincy on the Saukenauk Boyscout Scout Reservation. The name of the race comes from the boyscout oath to pledge to be "physically strong." The 602 square feet wooded  reservation contained lots of hills,
a lake, mountain bike/horse trails, zip-line, and climbing walls with a rappel. We arrived at the boyscout dining hall to check-in and were given all our maps to plot.

When scouting out our competition, I knew of very few teams. But, my eye was on the team, Wollinators, who won it last year who are fast runners and triathletes and team Medicus WRX who were there from Wisconsin to qualify for Nationals. Zdenek, Adam, Dave, and I were eager to qualify for Nationals too. I asked the race director for his projected winning time and he thought 6 hours but, that would be hauling.

The race start was a little chilly with a temperature of 25 F and wind chill of 13. We gathered in the boy scout dining hall for a short pre-race briefing. They had a nice cozy fireplace going. The race director finished the talk inside while we kept warm and then, all the sudden the race director yells "GO!" We all looked at each other and realized the race just started! All the sudden it was like a fire drill with all the teams trying to calmly get out of the building.

After freeing ourselves from the building, our team quickly finds each other and takes off on foot with Zdenek's speady running pace. We quickly find ourselves ahead of all the teams on the run. We fall behind a couple of teams after the first checkpoint since they found a better route. Humm..maybe locals or previous racers knew the area a little better? But, we stuck to our plan which was to hit a road after the 1st CP which was a little longer than cutting through the wooded area and fields. We eased into a steady running pace once on the road and we see the other teams cutting across the land which we think will take them longer. The fields did not look easy to run on since most of the ground was still frozen. Finally, we gain some ground and running the gravel road at a steady pace paid off.

We were the 1st team to arrive at the lake and were instructed to look at a map the race volunteers held which had the next CPs. We took off paddling and quickly collected a series of checkpoints on both sides of the windy lake. We jumped out of the boats and headed back out on the run. We proceeded to a cool zip-line across a small valley. A quick "woohoooo" while zipping across and then, we ran back down the valley up to the other side to shed the climbing harness, helmet, and gear.

We took off running again but, shortly found ourselves with a 2 male "Tom and Huck" team. They were good runners.  We transitioned next to the bikes and found ourselves ahead of the other team with our quick transition. We bolted off onto mostly gravel roads to collect a series of checkpoints. The winds were pretty strong out on the open roads and my toes and fingers were starting to feel the cold wind. We were able to quickly nab the CPs and arrive to the climbing wall in 1st place again. There we were greeted by my parents..."hi mom and dad!" They don't get to see me race much so it made it even more fun to have them there supporting and cheering.

The climbing wall was a little tough and the biking gloves and somewhat muddy tennis shoes made it a little more challenging . After reaching the tougher middle section of the climbing wall, I had to throw down my gloves for a better feel for the hand holds. Once I scrambled up to the
top of the climbing tower, there was a fun rappel back down the other side.

While the rest of my team was completing the wall, the Tom and Huck team arrived to climb. We knew it wasn't going to take long for them to complete this section since there was only 2 of them and 4 of us. So, we started helping each other take off our climbing gear so we could really hustle back onto the bike.

We bolted out of there and back down to the lake where we again needed to look a pre-plotted map with CPs before we got in the canoe. We nabbed the 3 CPs around the lake and proceeded back to our bikes. We didn't see the Tom and Huck boys but, I knew they were close.

The last section of the race was all single track mountain biking around the lake with CPs along the way. I was worried the all male team might be faster on this section than me. The trails were difficult to ride at times due to leaf cover, standing water/mud, and some very steep grades which meant we had some hike-a-bike. We knew there were no orienteering flags on this section and just the punch clips. This meant we all really had to keep our eyes pealed and be spot on with the navigation. In fact, we had stopped the first time to check our maps since we knew we were close and one of the boys turned and said "oh, here it is!" 

We still aggressively raced to the finish and no other teams in sight still. We arrived at the finish line with my parents cheering and were awarded first place in a time of 5:04. The race director had nice medals and shirts for us which he made right there on site in the dining hall with his shirt press machine. We were awarded a spot for USARA Nationals to be held in Maryland this year and cool USARA wind jackets for winning a Regional Championship.
My team had a really great time at the race. The guys on my team are so awesome and fun to race with. Zdenek was really spot on with his navigation in the race too.

Thanks to the race director and friendly volunteers for putting on a fun and challenging adventure race. We will be sure to be back next year. A little birdie told me it might be a 6 and 12 hour event next year! Yeah!

Friday, October 4, 2013

USARA Nationals 2013

My team, Off the Front Racing, was invited to attend the USARA Nationals this year in Brown County, Indiana.  This is a 30 hour adventure race for teams who qualified across the United States. We received an invitation by placing 3rd at the Lightning Strikes adventure race earlier this year which was one of the qualifying races. This 30 hour adventure race consists of trekking/running, mountain biking, and paddling all
while acquiring up to 36 checkpoints using a map and compass. Zdenek Palecek, Dave Hagen, and I accepted the invitation and headed to Nashville, Indiana on Oct 3rd to compete in the biggest adventure race of the year in the U.S.  My husband, Todd, came along to take advantage of the fun mountain bike trails and cheer us on.

My husband and I used to do long adventure races years ago, to include going to USARA Nationals twice. It's been awhile for me since I did a long adventure race. It was also the first 30 hour for Zdenek and Dave and for us as a team. We were all pretty excited but, knew there would be some serious competition coming from all over the U.S.

There were a total of 3 teams and one individual from Missouri who were invited to compete in USARA Nationals this year too.  Essential Racing (Masters division), Alpine Shop, and Melissa Lemus were also there eager to battle it out. I thought it was pretty cool to have several teams representing our state at Nationals this year.  Go Missouri!

If anyone has been to Brown County, Indiana you know how sweet the single track is here for mountain biking. The terrain is also very beautiful and hilly. We stayed in the cool cozy cabins located within Brown County Park next to race headquarters which was located in the park lodge.

We arrived at race headquarters for the team check-in.  We received a bag with lots of really cool schwag and had a little fun at the team photo shoot. Then, we went to the cabin to prepare all of our gear, food, and bikes as much as we could without knowing the course and discipline order. This is hard because we didn't know how to divide up the food yet. I decided to make up 5 hour bags with 200-300 calories per hour.

After dinner, we ran into Carrie Sona who was unable to compete in this length of race yet due to coming back from an injury.  Carrie gave us words of encouragement and support. She is one of the coolest people I know and always supportive of other racers. She was also there to support her team, Alpine Shop. Carrie just started coming back to the racing scene recently and I have a hunch she will back full force in 2014.

A super fast chica, Melissa Lemus, was also there from St. Louis racing with a team from the East Coast. This team is known for their speed and experience. We exchanged words of encouragement at dinner and wished each other luck. I love that this sport, like mountain biking, has supportive and caring folks out there no matter how competitive we are.

Thursday night was the mandatory racer meeting with several
well-known speakers. The man with the masterplan and course designer was Brian Holzhausen who runs the current Dino Series in Indiana. He is a super nice guy and puts on quality races to include runs, mountain bike races, off-road triathlons, and adventure races. Patrick Harper, a former adventure racing pro from one of top 3 teams in the world, Team Montrail, who tested the course and Troy Farrar, president and founder of USARA, also discussed the rules and course. They were also not shy about sharing how wet we would be and the numerous thorns we would encounter out there bushwhacking.

We were instructed to plan on bringing food and water to last 30 hours since we would probably not be coming back to headquarters until the end of the race. I was thinking we were going to have some heavy packs and definitely, be looking for more water on the course.  We were able to bring our own paddles and life jackets as long as we put them in a large durable bag and placed the bag in the Dino truck to be transported to a drop point.  After the meeting, we headed back to the cabins to tweak our gear a little more and then, we went to bed to get a good nights sleep...yeah right!

Friday morning came quick and it already felt like we only got 3 hours of sleep. At 6:00 AM, we were given 2 massive topographical maps and race instructions with 36 coordinates to plot on them.
This means we had only 1hr 45 minutes to plot our maps for the race and had to be at the race start by 7:30 AM. Todd had the idea of grabbing us a table in the lodge while we went to get maps so we had a nice area to plot these ginormous maps. Once we got everything plotted and routes planned, we headed towards the start line. We were to start with a prologue run.

Prologue:  1.5 mile Trail Run

We gathered around the start to hear final announcements and the prologue run instructions.  We quickly crowded behind the start line banner and the gun went off. We started off with a 1.5 mile prologue trail run. We decided to wear our helmets and run with trail running shoes on.  We were allowed to leave our packs at the TA which was at the finish of the run. I was happy about that since our packs were heavy with full bladders and food along with mandatory gear. There were so many people on the single track so it was impossible to go fast since you couldn't pass due to the narrow trail. The strategy here would have been to go out super fast if you could but, there were folks way faster than me/us. However, we still had 29hrs 45 minutes to go. We completed the run and came into the TA where we would transition to the mountain bike. A quick change of shoes and put on a pack then, we were off.

Stage 1: Mountain Biking 

We hopped on the bikes with weighted packs and took off on hilly paved roads. We eventually hit the single track at the top of the park. Here we would ride 15 awesome single track miles collecting 3 poker chips along the way. There was no navigation needed on this section and the course was taped off.  However,  I was having a problem with my shifting engaging this whole section and having chain
Team #19 
sucks. I was panicking trying to adjust the cables with my hands while trying to keep up with the boys since we were trying to fly. Why don't these things happen at home before you race? Something must of happened when I was cleaning my bike the day before. I finally got the shifting figured out while riding. We didn't seem to get passed by teams except for one of the Wedali teams and Bushwacher since they seemed to be having mechanicals and trying to catch back up. However, we did get stuck behind slower teams causing a train on the trail. It was really difficult to pass but, we managed to squeeze by most. There were also at least 3-4 crashes that I saw. We approached our last manned point on the single track and happy to collect our 3rd poker chip by the awesome Mrs. Carrie Sona, who was volunteering during the race.

We arrived at Hesitation Point, which was an incredible view, with our 3 poker chips which we needed for exchange to punch CP 1. Todd thought we were top 20 coming off this section.  While Dave was getting
our passport punched, Zdenek and I studied the maps to check out a route selection for our next 6 checkpoints. We would need to get to those points as close as we could by bike. Then, we would have to drop the bikes and run deeper into the woods to find the checkpoints.

We could get checkpoints 2-6 in order so we decided to do 2, 3, 5, 4, and then 6. We were able to take roads to get to CP 2 and 3. We would quickly drop our bikes just off the road and ran into the woods in our bike shoes to get the checkpoints. Then, we went to find CP 5. We had to take several dirt roads, double track, and single track to reach it. However, we struggle with this one. The trails were splitting off each other. I remember hearing at the pre-race meeting that not all trails are on the map. After running around and accidently finding another trail, which didn't make sense to where we were, we decided to back track to a spot where we knew on the map. It was then where we found this "other" trail. We decided to take it since it seemed to be going the right direction. Then, it all fell into place and we punched CP 5 which could almost be seen from the trail. We were all a little frustrated at this point but, moved on.

We were then able to quickly get CP 4 and 6 which were pretty straight forward. Next, we rolled into TA 1 which would be our transition from bike to paddle. We had a quick gear check here. A boy no older than 12 asked us in his cute southern accent to see our whistles, emergency blanket, and strobe light. This made sense since we we going to have a long paddle potentially going into the dark. I was also quickly interviewed by the race staff on how we were doing so she could update the website on team stories. I knew we lost a lot of time on this last mountain biking/orienteering section especially, after we saw how many bikes were at the TA already. However, I told the lady we had a good start, lost some time on the orienteering section but, looking to make up a lot of time on the paddling which I think we are good at.

Section 2:  Paddling

We assembled our kayak paddles and carefully picked out a canoe that didn't have broken back rest straps. Our plan was to have Dave steering and me in front. Zdenek felt it would be better for him to be in the middle of the boat so he could look at the maps when needed while Dave and I could keep the boat moving by sitting at each end. 

We dropped the boat into the Beanblossom Creek. I was excited to just be able to drop my head and motor us down the creek to gain some time. However, this wasn't possible. We were greeted with very low water levels which required us to walk in the creek more than we could paddle it. We had our running tows around our waists so it helped to attach it to the boat at times to pull it. Just when the water would be deep enough to paddle, there were massive log jams which required us to launch the canoe through it or over it. We were completely soaked this entire leg and our shoes were constantly full of sand. We knew it was going to be a long 6-7 mile paddle at this pace. We picked up CP 7 which was along the creek by a bridge.

It was about 6 or so hours into the race and our water bladders were getting pretty low and we really didn't want to refill with creek water and iodine tablets. Zdenek spotted a summer home along the water which had an outside sink. We pulled over and filled up all our water bladders and bottles. It was hard to watch 4 boats paddle right by us but, everyone is going to need to fill up their water bladders at some point. But, we were able to catch right back up to them since the water was higher now as it started to flow into Lemon Lake. 

The next two CPs, 8 and 9, would require us to dock our canoe on the side of Lake Lemon and head into the woods again on foot. Unfortunately, we struggled with these CPs again and lost more time. We all put our head in the maps and we were able to work together to figure out our mistake. Again, we were all a little frustrated but, we motored on to CP 10. Here we were told that the team could split up in order to complete two sections-a short paddle with rafts across the lake and an orienteering section on foot for 2 checkpoints. 

Dave and I took the paddling while Zdenek ran to get the 2 checkpoints on foot. Dave and I had to get the canoe and a raft to one side of the lake, drop the canoe, and come back in the raft. Most folks towed the raft behind the canoe. However, we thought it would be faster to lay the raft across the canoeThis seemed to work really well and we grabbed CP 11 and headed back in the raft. We had to wait a little bit for Zdenek to get back but, according to other team times, he came back with a pretty fast time. Yep...we were still wet going into the dark. I also found out at that point we were now down in 40th position. I was so bummed we couldn't gain more time back on the paddle due to all the portaging. 

Stage 3:  Trekking

Here's where we started using a little strategy to  play the game and hopefully, gain some time. It was dark now, around 11pm, and we knew it wasn't possible to finish the whole course by 2pm the next day. We looked at the maps and the next 5 checkpoints were taking teams a long time (some 5-8hrs) to complete this 15 mile section. The CPs were really spread out and deep in the woods. We are allowed to skip any CPs without a penalty. We decide to head down the road bypassing 4 CPs  (12-15) which would of taken us hours and was very far away. Instead,
we figured it would be better to get more CPs towards the end which were much closer together and would take less time. We did decide to grab CP 16 on this section since it wasn't too far from the direction we were going. We came into a little town again where I spotted a vending machine at a small store earlier in the day.  A SODA! Yummm. We purposely brought a little money for situations like this. We each downed a soda and took off on foot again to get our bikes. 

Another racer with similar looking feet!
We were all still staying wet from sweat, humidity, and on/off rain showers. Our feet were looking pretty bad still with some sand in them and the stitching around the padding of our bike shorts were starting to wear off skin on our legs due to being so wet all day.  Dave and I each tried re-applying chamois butter on these areas with missing skin but, that was a really bad idea-PAINFUL! We were also running out of water again. We passed a house with a guy who was working on his car in the garage. This was probably around 1:00 AM. He was generous and allowed us to refill with his water hose. We arrived back to TA 1 which is where we left our bikes before the paddle. Here, we picked up our bikes and rode to TA3. 

Stage 4:  Orienteering

At TA3, we were given an orienteering map where the CPs were pre-plotted. There were 7 pairs of CPs. We had to get 4 sets of  them.  4 CPs from the North and 4 CPs from the South. Each CP had a letter (NPQRSTU) and these 4 pairs had to have a matching letter. We choose PUTN for our pairs. Zdenek was attacking all these with no difficulty. We quickly finished these up and headed back to TA3 to pick up our bikes.

Stage 5:  Mountain Biking
We headed off in the dark on our bikes and I believe it was around 5-6 AM since I was thinking the sun would be coming up soon. Our eyes were a little heavy and Dave broke out the "magic beans." We each had some of those and vroooommmm....we were off! Those coffee beans really work! CPs 17-20 were pretty straight forward for us.  Zdenek was able to nail each one without difficulty and we hammered out the last bike section which was all gravel and paved roads. We pulled in to TA4 which was the start of the race around 9ish AM. We had to be done with the race by 2 PM or we would start loosing 1 CP for every minute after 2:00 PM.  We were greeted by Todd with words of encouragement.

Stage 6:  Orienteering

The last and final stage of the race consisted of 6 CPs (AA-FF) which could be done in any order on foot.
We were really hoping to have time for at least 5 of these before we had to be back in. I left any extra gear that was not mandatory at the TA so my pack would be light. My feet had raw spots on them from having our feet wet the whole time and sand in our socks even though we changed socks earlier. My legs and butt had missing skin from the seam of the chamois being wet and rubbing. Dave seemed to have similar issues. Any running was truly painful. When I ran, I'm pretty sure I looked like a penguin with my feet moving lateral instead of forward. Of course, more rain had moved in for our last section.

We seemed to struggle with the first 2 CPs.  We could see other teams running around not finding some of the same two we were looking for too. This cost us a lot of time and mentally, after 28 hours of racing, navigating and having a difficult time with navigation was draining.  All three of us had our head in the maps again and eventually, we found them. We decided to go for a really easy CP next, the tower, and take a mental break. The only problem with this 3rd CP was it was a leg burner and of course, the flag with punch was at the top! We scurried down the stairs and it was time to check how much time we had left.
There were still 3 more CPs but, we only had 2 more hours.  

we decided we had time for one more 1 CP but, it wasn't close. After about an hour into it we decided to bail since this would only give us an hour to get back. We trekked, waddled, jogged back to the finish line. We had no idea how we finished and if our strategy, skipping the previous 15
mile trek, paid off. We were all a little quiet and heads were down figuring we probably didn't gain too much after we dropped down to 40th after the paddle. I was beat up a little more than I have been in past long races. Besides the missing skin on my legs and the wet feet with sand between my toes, my legs took a beating with the massive amount of thorn bushes we had to bushwhack through to get our CPs. PAINFUL!

After crossing the finish line, we headed back to the cabin to unload the gear and shower. Todd came up to us with some great news. He said "you guys ended up placing 24th in your division and 27th overall!"  Wooohooo!!! This means our strategy did pay off!  We were really hopping to be closer to top 15 though. However, with our mistakes and 1st time racing a loooong race together, it wasn't too bad. 

Usara put together a really nice awards ceremony and banquet. They gave away more schwag with random name draws and the prizes to the winners were awesome.  The best part of the banquet was the guest speaker, Tori McClure. Tori was the first woman to row across the Atlantic Ocean and 1st American and woman to ski to the South Pole. She shared her brutal experiences with rowing totally unsupported and alone across the ocean through hurricanes and skiing unsupported and alone in white out conditions in which she had to rely on a map and compass to guide her way.  Her reasoning for sharing her incredible journeys was to relate to our experiences racing for 30 hours through pain and with a compassHer points were that anyone can achieve a goal they set out to achieve. We can learn from our mistakes and can persevere through them. After hearing what she went through, I left dinner with my head now lifted and knew, with persistence, practice, and determination, we, as a team, can improve to achieve our own goals and achievements we set out for.
We still have much to learn and practice alone and as a team. This race helped us learn our weakness and strengths and we will gain from this knowledge We talked things out after the race so we will improve for 2014. I'm excited about our big plans for next year and I am confident we will only keep on improving and getting better as a team.

Up next, Castlewood 8 hour Adventure Race right in my back yard. I have a few other races I'm throwing in for my own training too-the Wild in the Woods trail running series (3 races), the Skippo 30K trail running race, and the Pere Marquette 7.5 mile trail running race. Check back here to see how the adventure race and my trail running races went.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Wakarusa Off-Road Challenge-Lawrence, Kansas

Jason and Laura Elsenraat put on an awesome event in Lawrence, Kansas called the Wakarusa Off-Road Challenge. This was a solo or 2-person team race which consists of approximately 6 miles of trail running, 17 miles of mountain biking, and 4 miles of paddling.  Zdenek Palecek and I decided this would be another good training race together as a team in preparation for USARA Nationals in October.

At the pre-race meeting we were told good news and bad news. The good news was we would no longer be paddling into Mud Creek since there is no water and full of mud! We would be doing an out and back on the Kansas River. The bad news was Jason prohibited the use of any running or bike tows. Jason!!!! How am I ever going to keep up with "Speedy Zee?" Anyone who knows Zdenek (Zee) knows he has some serious energy! I knew he was going to put us in the hurt locker for this race.

Zdenek and I were racing in the Co-ed division which consisted of 19 teams. Of course, I wanted to shoot for an overall team win which consisted of 18 male teams and 5 female teams. There were a total of 36 soloists. This was a total of 78 solo and team racers. There were many triathlete looking folks there. These trails are relatively flat and fast. I knew I was going to have to really push myself at this race if we wanted to try to win it.
 RUN #1 (2.2 miles)-0:18 min

We all lined up at the start line on the Levee Trail. The air was already muggy and a heat advisory was in effect for the day. I decided to not run with any water for the first run since it was short.  Jason yelled to start and everyone blasted off. We bolted down the gravel Levee Trail for approximately 1 mile before we took a right turn to head into the woods. Zdenek was setting a blistering pace and I was just trying to hang on. We ran another 1.2 miles of dirt single track which brought us back to the start.  Looked like we came in 1st so far in the Coed division with a few male teams and male soloists in front of us. However, there was a coed team only a few minutes behind us.

BIKE (17.2 miles)-1hr 12min

We arrived in the transition area and quickly changed our shoes. We hopped on our bikes and shot off down the gravel Levee Trail again. This time we went a little further down for approximately 4 miles. I was trying to down fluids and bring my heart rate back down a little on this part. However, Zee was pushing to go faster so it was time to tuck and go. We got to work with one of our Off the Front teammates, Fred Williams, which was fun. We found ourselves passing some of the men who were faster runners. We made a
sharp right into the woods into the dirt single track. I remember this trail from a previous adventure race Jason and Laura put on in years past. Fred, Zee, and I were hauling through this section where we rode around the outer loop first. I could see Fred was starting to pull away and I couldn't see any racers behind us. We made one large outer loop and then, came around again to do a shorter inner loop on the dirt trails. I have been experimenting with flat pedals in adventure racing lately.  I was thinking about them for this race with multiple transitions however, we opted on clip-less pedals for this race. These trails are super fast with very quick sharp turns and small uphill bumps. I think we made the right decision for faster cornering and more pull on the uphills. We hauled into the transition after passing a few folks and did not get passed by anyone.

  PADDLE (~2.95 miles)-0:43 min
 We quickly transitioned back into our running shoes. I was going so fast that I forgot to take my helmet off for the paddle. Oh well. The paddle section was shortened due to Mud Creek not having water and only mud which was too difficult to walk and drag canoes through. Instead, we had an out and back on the Kansas River. I was really wanting to gain a lot of time on this section since paddling is my strength. We found ourselves starting to pass a bunch of solo and male teams. However, my goal was to put some more time on the 2nd place coed team. The water was very shallow in sections and as we were heading downriver, we would find the current pulling us off to river right. The volunteer standing on the bank at the turn around was on the left. We quickly approached the turn around and headed back upriver. We crossed paths the 2nd place coed team already heading downriver. Dang it. I was hoping to have more of a gap before the last run. Again, they were only a couple minutes behind us.

 RUN #2 (4.3 miles)-0:45 min

We carried our canoes to the bank and quickly shed the life jackets and of course, my helmet. It was now really hot and we had our last 4.3 miles of the race to run.  I was really nervous on this part since I knew the triathlete team was only a couple of minutes behind, and who knows who else. I knew they could easily catch us on the last run. We had to run another inner loop of the twisty single track but, counterclockwise this time. As we started running, I realized I finally ran out of water. Zee had a little left but, it was a diluted Gatorade which seemed to make me even more thirsty. As soon as we made the left turn in the loop to head home, we saw the 2nd place team going the opposite direction. I thought..oh they come! I was really starting to suffer with the heat and no water. All I was hoping was everyone was feeling like we were. I started
feeling really bad and I couldn't explain to Zee what the problem was. All I could hear was "come on..we are almost there." Of course, he was saying this all along. But, there was no way I was going to give up with only a couple of miles left. I definitely entered the "dark side" at that point and just tried to focus on Zee's running stride to get me home. I kept looking over my shoulder thinking they were getting closer. Then, I could see it...the finish line! We cranked up the speed a little and crossed the finish line in 1st. I wanted to be so happy at that point but, I was so exhausted and overheated I just had to sit down and down a bunch of ice water. As I sat there recovering, almost everyone came across feeling the same way. The second place coed team came across 10 minutes after us. I think they were feeling it on the last run too.

After I felt like I could think again, it finally sunk in we got 1st out of 19 coed teams and 3rd out of 42 overall teams. We came out with some nice cash and a free entry into next years race. Big congrats goes out to friends Cynthia and John Bradley who took 1st in each solo division (John took overall win also) and Fred Williams who got 16th. Jason and Laura also had tons of awesome swag. Click here for results:

Casey, my daughter, and I also really enjoyed the cabins we stayed in at Clinton Lake the night before. We will definitely be back next year!