Thursday, July 11, 2019

Quarry Mountain Quest 6HR AR, Steamboat, Colorado by Athena Adventures/361 Adventures

1st Quarry MTN Quest 6HR Adventure Race
Steamboat Colorado
June 2019
by Athena Adventures/361 Adventures

Team Lupine Racing 
2P Coed
Jason Zorilla and Paula Pearson

Very excited to be a part of one of our old AR friends athena and 361 races to grace the Rocky Mountains. We took on the Quarry HR AR as a good "getting" back into it. June in the Mountains can bring any type of weather and it did, hot temps, rain, hail, lighting and more hot sun. This race was a fundraiser to support the Routt County Search and Rescue.  

Normally this race would have taken on a very different face. Due to weather in Colorado.  This year we were met with Epic high snow pack run off which Nix'ed the tube/paddle section which was very understandable.  We scouted out the section of water the night before and was like "wow".   Athena was on top of communication on this and said they would let all teams know options the morning of.  We brought our gear just in case.  

The race started at 10 with prerace at 930.  What we get to sleep in?  This felt odd, but great!  Arriving at 8:15 we staged our bikes at the central TA, gear bin and went to find bathrooms.  Seemed pretty calm compared to other races.  The park was full of softball games going on and all kinds of activity as well in the heart of Steamboat along the river.  

We received our maps at 8:30 and the planning began.  Rules of Travel, Clue Sheet, Passport, Emerald Mt Trail Network and Local Topo Trail Map at 1:16,000.  See maps below.  Navigating between each map made it challenging as well as they were not oriented to each other.  (see North Arrows drawn in by JZ)  The Paddle section was now a trek.   

There were 3 legs to the race.   Best part you could do them in ANY ORDER.  You had to get the points with in each leg only when you were on that leg.  Returning to TA after each section.  Once done with section you could not return.  
Pwild suggested and we agreed as a team to go on foot Leg 1(6 points): as we notice the bike leg was in the same section.  Getting to know the trails first may help us on the bike section later.   The Trek section took a little longer as we planned due to missing some early short cuts by going back and forth between maps.  Lots of trails, switchbacks and elevation.  It was a ski place after all.   We made some new trail buddies, 16 years old and just getting started in AR.  They were fun and said "we just want some new friends".    We said that's awesome!  See photo below of them on the course with us.  Great guys!  Hope to see them again in the future.

It was very hot and we went thru way more water than we thought we would.  In all our years in CO we have never seen Mosquitos like this year, not as bad as Wisconsin but bad.   Getting all CP's, 6 total and back to the TA.  On the way back we talked about doing the bike leg and then the trek(was paddle) but we notice we were doing well on foot and leg 5 had 5 points plus a bonus.  Bonus was the farthest point and a volunteer gave you a mental of physical challenge.  

Leg 3 (7+1 points): Trek in town we are doing!  In and out of the TA in 3 minutes just time to check in and get some water in packs.  This section started straight back up the Olympic ski Jump Mountain to the top of the main ski jump.  JZ helped PWILD climb by allowing her to hang on to his shorts from behind. We were just hoping they didnt fall down.  :)  This is were PWilds hot spot on her right foot came on.  Dealing with this for months now.  So it was jog and fast walk the rest of the race.  ARriving at the farthest point JZ took on the physical challenge, he had to stack 7 rocks straight up as fast as he could.  Bam!  Done, he was so fast even the volunteer was shocked. Side note: He like to do this as a hobby.  Off we went.  Getting all the points, the last point a storm started rolling in on our way back to the TA.  Like monsoon raining, JZ said you want to take cover?  PWild said "%$^#" it lets go we are already wet.  
Back in the TA most racers were under the pavilion.  We check in and JZ brought our bin to the shelter so we could get our bike gear on.  NO time to waste.  We thought we had the wrong tires to start but now we REALLY knew we had the wrong ones.  This was going to be a mud fest.  :)
Leg 2(5 points): We went for 2 points, maybe 3 if we had time of the bike section.  The storms were still raining hard on us and we headed out anyway.  Because that just what you do!  Got the first point then turned to climb higher and the black cloud above was loud with lighting and thunder.  Jay stopped on the trail and said we cant go out in the open prairie or we could be in danger of this lightening.....lets hunker down for a minute and see if it passes soon.....we waited.....waited, under a small bush like tree cover but not really, getting more wet.  We waited I bet 10 minutes and then took off, just in time to grab point number 2 & 3 and take the fire road STRAIGHT down behind the TA.  Slip and Slide the whole way!  DONE!

Came into the finish it stopped raining and we hugged and smiled it was over.  Great race for beginners and seasoned racers.  Well done, creative, positive atmosphere and still challenging all around.  We recommend this race to everyone!

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

CHASIN' the Bone AR in WI by Rick Schnell

May 4, 2019 was just too nice a day for an Adventure Race.  Light winds, cool temps, no bugs, no rain, and clear skies.  Team Lupine meet  at the  St. Cloud recreation center in Wisconsin, just North of the Northern unit of the kettle Moraine State Forest. The race was the Chasin the Bone 9 hour Adventure race.  This was the 2nd race of the 2019 Wisconsin Adventure racing series, and Race directors Anthony Leiton and Mike Prucha were getting to be old hands at directing this race.  The race started at 9:00AM, with a short Mountain Bike ride to the paddle put-in on the Sheboygan river.  Located on the river, both upstream and down, were  checkpoints of varying values.  (two check points downstream were worth 1 and 2 points, and another, located upstream was worth 3 points)  Team Lupine members Dan Ziegler, Michele Ericsson,  myself, along with fill-in team member Andy Starsky loaded into canoes, and set off on a 8 mile paddle to collect the  3 checkpoints .  We also hooked up with Solo racer Jeff Everson, whom will be racing with us in a couple weeks (Rib Mountain Adventure Race).  Jeff stayed with us the remainder of the race.  Always nice to have another set of eyes on the map. After the paddle leg, which took us 1 hour 49 minutes,  we transitioned to Mountain bikes for a 7 mile road ride to TA2 at the Red Oaks Orienteering section in the North Kettle Moraine state Forest.  The woods are very topographically challenging, but we found the 11 controls with little difficulty, returning to the TA2 and setting off on a 5 mile road ride to the Greenbush area of the Northern Kettles.  At the TA3 we hit the Mountain bike trails for 9 miles on the Greenbush Mountain bike trails.  We completed this section exhausted, but with the 2nd fastest time.  Again now at TA3 we transitioned to the last orienteering section on the Greenbush maps. The maps and area that we were orienteering in are some of the best that Wisconsin has to offer.  If you ever get the opportunity to do an orienteering event here (Usually hosted by the Badger Orienteering club) I highly recommend it.  This area was sculptured by a glacier hundreds of thousands of years ago, and the woods are very clean and run-able.    We managed to locate 18 of the 24 controls (2hrs 24 minutes), before our self imposed time limit of 5PM made it necessary to return to the TA3.  We then quickly transitioned back to Mt.Bikes for the last 10 mile bike leg back to the finish in St.Cloud.  The team  finished at 5:41PM, with a total of 40 out of a possible 46 controls. 
So, when all was said and done, we finished in 2nd place in the Coed Elite division, 3rd overall.  We managed a qualifying spot in the USARA Nationals race in September down in North Carolina., Due to the fact the 1st place team racing the Chasin the Bone adventure race (Rib Mountain Racing team ) had already received the $400.00 sponsorship towards Nationals in an earlier race this year, that sponsorship rolled down to us.  That, and $100.00 cash for 2nd place finish in our division made a nice day even better. 

Thank you to Lupine Lights, Hammer Nutrition, Suunto, Zeal and Salomon!

Next up will be Rib Mountains 8 hour Adventure Challenge, the next race in the Wisconsin Adventure racing series.  Come out and Play with us!

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Grand Canyon Rim-to-Rim-to-Rim R2R2R by Eric Olsen

This is a recap of my Grand Canyon Rim-to-Rim-to-Rim (R2R2R) run on April 28th 2017. If you are not familiar with R2R2R, it is traversing from one rim of the canyon over to the other side and back, and in my case I would be doing this in one day. In total it is 40+ plus miles and gains 11,000 ft in vertical distance. There are a few different route choices, but mine was to start at the South Rim on the South Kaibab trail, to the North Rim on the North Kaibab and back up the South Kaibab (SK-NK-SK). This was the shorter of the route choices at 42 miles, but was steeper than going back up Bright Angel, which would have added 2.5 additional miles. There is also no water on the SK, which I will explain later.
Preparing for this run was no easy task and it was something I did not take lightly. This would be my longest pure run that did not involve a checkpoint. Prior to this, my longest run was only 20 miles, and I was looking to more than double that with a significant amount of vertical gain. The one thing I had on my side was my experience with long endurance events. I have done many multi-day adventure races and ROGAINE style orienteering events. However, despite that, I was still a little apprehensive on how well I would be able to handle this run. Mentally I knew I could do it, but I was more concerned about my physical ability. I did not want to be that guy being evacuated by helicopter, because in the canyon there are not a lot of options should something go wrong.
A great resource that I utilized for preparation was the ‘Grand Canyon R2R2R Run!’ group on FB. There was plenty of information from other people sharing their experiences. You can also find out about trail conditions, water availability, etc. I checked this page frequently, because there were trail closures on the North Kaibab due to a rock slide that occurred earlier in year. Trail repairs were being done which meant that the trail was closed from 8AM to 4:30PM daily. This posed quite the dilemma on a start time, in order to avoid being turnaround by the trail closure. Option B was to start at midnight to make it past the construction. This would mean running half of the run in darkness, which was not very appealing. Part of the experience of the R2R2R is the amazing scenery. But as luck would have it, the construction band was lifted just 2 days prior to the run. This meant sticking with plan A - a 4:30AM start time.
Sara and I arrived at the Grand Canyon on Thursday and completed all preparations for an early morning start. I laid out all of my gear and made some final decisions on whether or not the items were really necessary to carry. I wore a Salomon AdvSkin5 running vest, so space was at a premium. I counted up my calories to ensure I had enough for the run. I carried 3,200 calories in food. The remaining 1,000 calories would come from my Hammer Perpetuem. My vest holds a maximum of 2.5L of fluid. I opted to only fill the main 1.5L reservoir and only one of my .5L soft flasks in order to save some weight for my decent into the canyon, with plans to fill up the other .5L soft flask later in the run. I alternated between Hammer Heed and Fizz in order to change up my electrolyte intake. After packing up the vest and laying out my clothes, the only thing left to do was get some sleep.

The alarm went off at 3:00AM, leaving time to eat a decent sized breakfast and drive over to the nearest picnic area to the trail head. The picnic area was a ½ mile away, so it was a good warm-up for the legs before the leg-hammerfest began. We arrived at the trail head at about 4:30AM as planned. However, after a bathroom stop and few photo opportunities, the official start time was 4:42AM. This is coincidentally the same time I was born, but was completely unrelated.

The conditions could not have been any more perfect. It was never too cold nor too hot, and it never rained. The temperature at the rim was in the low 40’s at the start, so I wore a thin jacket, but it quickly came off just a few miles in. I never wore it again. The temperatures continued to remain cool for most of the ascent up the North Kaibab. It only ever really got warm on the way back when I was in the lower part of the canyon, but even still there was a nice breeze that kept me cool.
My approach was to break up the run into 7 mile segments. This is basically the distance between available water stops - Phantom Ranch and Cottonwood Campground. The first 7 miles is pretty much all downhill until you reach Phantom Ranch and then it is an uphill for the remaining 14 miles until you top out at the North Rim. Granted the climb between Phantom Ranch and Cottonwood is gradual, but it gets much steeper after Cottonwood.

By the time we reached Phantom Ranch, I had not had much to drink. I checked my bladder and knew I had enough to make it to Cottonwood. I snapped a couple pics and we ran on. This is when Sara took off. This was always expected as she is the stronger runner. We were together but on our own journeys. When I made it Cottonwood I was just about out of water. I refilled my bladder and soft flask and kept moving. There would be one more water stop before the North Rim at Manzanita. The water at the North Rim was still off for the season, so this meant I would have to make it up to the North Rim and back to Manzanita before I could get more water (10.8 miles). Topping off was imperative as the steepest climb was yet to come. I did opt not to fill my second soft flask, which turnout to be ok.

One of the amazing things about the GC is that there is no shortage of awesome scenery. It really keeps your mind occupied and makes the suffering a little more enjoyable. The ascent up the North Kaibab is no exception. Once past Manzanita you get a view to Roaring Springs, a gorgeous, raging waterfall. There are also some towering rock formations that seem as tall as skyscrapers. Running on a Friday in early spring, trail traffic was light, so I got to enjoy most of these views alone. Personally I take more pleasure in viewing nature alone rather than with groups of people.

It took me 2 hours to get from Manzanita (Pump House Residence) to reach the North Rim. I arrived in just over 6 hours. I was stunned that I had made it there as fast as I did. It was such a confidence boost and my energy level shot up. I thought to myself that I might be able to actually do this in 12 hours, which is a lot shorter than I had originally planned. However, in order to do it, I knew I had to hustle. Sparing little time, I turned around and started to head back. The upside was it was going to be downhill for the next 14 miles. Going uphill and downhill uses totally different muscles, so it was a nice reprieve to be going downhill again after a long uphill.

I started thinking about the upcoming milestones. By the time I would make it back to Manzanita I would have my first marathon, and midway between Cottonwood and Phantom Ranch I would have my first 50K. This only brought me more energy, so I just kept running. I stopped at Manzanita to fill up on some water, ate some food and I was back on the trail. I sailed right thru Cottonwood since I did not need any water. My next and last stop would be Phantom Ranch before my final ascent. The 7 miles between Cottonwood and Phantom felt long. I attribute this to the time crunch I put myself on. I wanted to give myself as much time to ascend back up South Kaibab as I could.
At Phantom Ranch I topped off my reservoir and both soft flasks. I saw a bathroom and went inside leaving the door open. This provided me with some shade as I situated my vest. Shortly after a woman arrived and waited in the doorway. I went about my business repacking my vest and chatted briefly with her not realizing I was in the women’s bathroom the whole time. Oops! I thought it was a little strange she was just standing there, but I thought she was just curious about what I was doing. This would be the first time carrying a full load of water, but I knew there was no more water stops until I reached the South Rim, and I knew it was going to be a long grind to the finish and the temperature was rising. It was a good thing that I did, because I did not have much left when I finished.
The start of my ascent up South Kaibab was strong. I was tired but felt good knowing I was close to finishing. However, the more I ascended, the more tired I became. I started eating and drinking just to keep my energy level up. I was starting to feel a little nauseous but I kept moving forward. I started sucking on a Gin-Gin (ginger candy). It seemed to help settle things. I was moving slow, but was making progress forward. I knew I could not stop if I wanted to have a chance to finish in 12 hours, and I never did stop. But I was just not moving fast enough to make it. I watched the time tick away on my watch as the 12 hour mark came and went. I knew I was close. I just had to keep going. I was a couple switchbacks away when I saw the top. At that point my adrenaline took over and literally sprinted up the remainder of the trail. I’m sure it wasn’t much of a sprint but it felt a lot faster than I was moving prior to that. I reached the South Rim in 12hr and 12mins. Although I missed the 12 hour mark, I was elated to be done and to have completed the run.

Overall, the R2R2R was an unforgettable experience. I was super pleased with how the day went. My body held up just fine. My Salomon Ultras and Hammer Swiftwick compression socks were a great combination. They kept my feet happy the whole time. I end up eating only half of my food for a total caloric intake of about 2,500 calories. It was tough but doable run. I thought the R2R2R might be a one-and-done type run, but I have a pretty good feeling I will be back for more.


Thursday, October 27, 2016

Grandpa made me a do it....100 Half Marathons

100 Half Marathons (5 Years), Half Marathon Club
Paula Elaine Pearson

Back in 2005 I decided to run a full marathon in honor of my grandpa Daasch that passed away suddenly and unexpected.  I decided I want to do “something BIG, and outdoorsy, for him” to celebrate his life and what he taught me growing up.  I was never a “active” person or even an athlete, my brother took care of that part.  I was a artist and band geek.  So researching things on line about how to train for a marathon and “how to even run” was way out of my comfort zone.  I remember not being able to even jog even down the block with out feeling like I was going to pass out and parts of my body rubbing raw against each other.  I thought several times to my self, this is awful, why would anyone run anywhere.  Let alone 26.2 miles straight!  

So I started looking at what marathon I wanted to do as this was going to be a ONE and DONE.  (so I thought at the time)  I wanted to do a marathon in a warm place and also give me time to train.  I pick Walt Disney Marathon Weekend in Jan 2006.  I did my run/walk/jogs.  I also thought it be a good idea to do a half to see how training was going but the Indy 500 had already sold out so I just said well…..thats OK, i just go straight to the Marathon. OUCH!

I picked a marathon because I wanted to do something physical and mental that my grandfather would think was cool.  You see, hes the one that introduced us kids to the outdoors.  He taught us to enjoy nature, how to skip rocks across the pond, catch frogs, catch lightening bugs, feed the ducks, ride horse back, pick and tend to the garden, ice skate and sledding, and riding bikes.  He did it all, even took all of us camping.  So an outdoors event that challenged the mind and body was a perfect way to celebrate him.  

The Disney Marathon….well I finished.  It was not easy, nor was I even trained and ready for it.  I learned a lot about running and for some reason did many more marathons after that.  

When we moved to colorado back in 2013 I decided I wanted to continue to honor him.  I set my goal out to run 100 half marathons in 3 years, well that was way too many in that time frame.   After I did 26 in one year, I decided I needed to cut back a little.  In Colorado you can do a half marathon every sat and sun pretty much all year, except Nov, Dec and Jan.  

So when I run, and not every run is a good one.  I talk to grandpa in my head A LOT.  You can see in photos that I carry a picture of him with me.  

Sometimes I think he talks back when the sun comes thru the trees and lands on my face, or when a few snow flakes land on my nose, or when I feel a gust of wind at my back pushing me up the hill.  All signs I know hes with me and saying “Good Job Punkin’”!   

So here’s to you grandpa, see you on the trails!  I love you and miss you every day.

Paula Elaine

*Some random photos, too many to post with 56/100 so far! :)

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

12HR PYTHON Orienteering Rogaine, Ohio, Solo 2nd Place Overall

The Python ROGAINE, put on by the North East Ohio Orienteering Club (NEOOC) took place in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. They offered up 3 different race options: 3, 6, or 12 hours. I opted for the 12 hr version, which ran from 8 am until 8 pm.  At 7 am racers received 3 overlapping maps of the course and a small map of a corn maze. This left only an hour to survey the maps and plan a route. 

The course consisted of 68 regular controls with 1 additional mystery control. The mystery control was found by using a clue that was on one of the regular controls, but it was unknown which control that would be. You would only know it once you arrived at that control. 

All the controls were weighted, so the winner would be determined by the racer who collected the most points (not the number of controls) in the least amount of time. 

Looking at the maps, with so many controls to visit. I was unsure if the course was clearable, but my course of action was to try to clear; leaving no control unvisited. 

The race started promptly at 8 am, and racers scattered in all direction towards their first control. Interestingly enough, no one opted to go to same first control as me. 

My initial goal was to head towards the corn maze control, and pick up all the controls in that direction along the way. I wanted to get to the corn maze early before it got too crowded with the general public.

I made it to the corn maze by about 9 am. I was the first one there. I made several attempts to locate the control but struggled to find it. After about 20 mins I realized my mistake. Thereafter, I promptly found the control and exited the maze.

I knew I had lost some time, so I picked up the pass trying to gain back some of the time I had lost. I continued collecting controls in a clockwise manner around the map. 

I made a minor navigational error on control 21. I attempted to reshoot the control a couple times but came up empty. I thought it might have been stolen, because i knew I was in the right area. I decided to come back for the control and attack it from another direction. After collecting 5 other controls, I made another attempt at control 21 and found it. I think I just hadn't gone far enough earlier on. 

I continued on collecting control after control, making small mistakes here and there but nothing too costly. My goal was to walk the up hills and run everything else, and I came close to accomplishing that. From a performance standpoint I was pretty solid throughout. Staying fueled and hydrated with HAMMER performance supplements was key. 

About 3 checkpoints from the finish, I looked over my passport and noticed I had 4 un punched squares. I missed checkpoint 3 at some point during the race. It was not on my immediate map, so I finished collecting the last few points before figuring out what I done wrong. I opened up my map case and found control 3 about 5 miles out and back from where I was at. I realized I had folded the map where the control was out of view. It should have been an easy point less than 500m from a control I picked up early on. Dang it! 

I made it to the finish line at 6:30 pm and was faced with a decision, finish and leave 1 control on the course or run the 5 miles and collect the point. With an hour and a half left I knew I only had one choice- go get the point.  

I took off in the same direction as I did when I started the race. The plan was to bushwhack between roads to get to a more direct route. However, I got on a trail that never connected to another trail running parallel to it, which is the one I needed to be on. At the time I hadn't realized what I had done. All I knew is that I needed to get to the road. I finally bushwhacked my way to a road, only to realize I was on the wrong road. I was back on the road I previously crossed. I lost valuable time. I started to wonder if I should have just finished instead of attempting to clear. I still had time so I continued on. I gave myself a cut off time of 7:15. I made it to the area of control 3 a little after 7. I oriented my map wrong and made a navigation error. Time was just about out and it was getting dark. Realizing my mistake, I blazed on my LUPINE headlamp and found CP 3 right away, but past my cutoff time. It was 7:20. I took off running back towards the finish, keeping my time in check. I made it to the entrance of the camp and I knew I was going to make it. I walked up the steep road and ran to the finish once it leveled off.   My finish time was 7:47 pm. I came in second overall, just 5 mins behind the winner. Only 2 people cleared the course, I being one of them. Had I not collected the last control I would have still had second, but I would have fell short of my own goal of clearing the course.

It was an absolutely beautiful fall day to be in the woods. Despite some of my blunders, I was happy to clear the course. The distance traveled was close to 40 miles. Thanks to HAMMER for keeping me fueled throughout the race. 
Every race you learn something. My 2 big takeaways were never to fold my maps to precise to an overlapping map, leave extra showing, especially if there is room in your map case. The second was to verify that I had all the controls numbers accounted for in my intended route.   Get out and play!

Friday, September 9, 2016

THUNDER ROLLS 24HR Adventure Race by Eric Olsen

Once again the Thunder Roll Adventure Race would be taking place at Camp Benson in Mount Carroll, IL. I had originally planned to race as a 2-person open team, but due to an injury to my teammate, that left me to either find another team or race solo. Having never raced a 24 hr adventure race as a solo competitor, I thought it would be a good test for me to go it alone.

The race started promptly at midnight with a 4 mile run carrying PFD and paddle on road to TA 1. I kept a steady pace throughout the run, not trying to overdo it. I arrived at the TA a little over 40 mins, right on pace with some of the lead teams. Racing solo meant I would be paddling in one of the provided kayaks. It quickly became apparent that the yellow banana canoes that I loathe proved to be a much faster option as several teams sailed right past me. It was a little demoralizing, but I kept reminding myself that this is a 24 hour race.

The paddle covered 12 miles on the Plum River. Along the way I would collect CP’s 1-3. The Race Director (RD) dubbed this “an adventure paddle” due to the number of log jams we’d encounter along the way. I had paddled on this river a few years back, so I knew what was in store. Most of the log jams were pretty easy to navigate. However, there was one massive log jam about midway thru that proved to be the most challenging. When I arrived at this particular log jam, my Lupine headlamp kicked butt. Call Grena Bikes and tell them Team Lupine sent ya!  I pushed forward.  The last section of the paddle was an out-and-back to CP 3. The RD set it up this way so that the teams heading down river would know who was in front. Once I started seeing teams paddling up river, I started calculating times to determine my standings. I was already a good bit behind the lead teams, and there were 7 teams in front of me, so at this point I was in 8th place. I knew I had some work to do, but had plenty of time in which to do it.

The threat of rain had finally become a realization. It rained steady for the last couple miles of the paddle before arriving at the TA2 (CP 4) to transition to bike. I quickly pulled my kayak ashore and made my way over to my bike where I had staged dry bike gear. The transition went quick in part to the swarms of blood-sucking mosquitoes that were thirsty for my blood. It was maddening, but I tried to stay focused. I packed up my paddle gear and placed it on the truck. I then finished transitioning to my bike gear and I was off.  With only a short while before sunrise, I opted once again to push forward.

I continued on bike collecting CP’s 5 and 6 and arrived at TA3 (CP 7) at a shelter in the Mississippi Palisades in the same standings – 8th place. There I would receive my first of 2 maps for this foot orienteering section of the course. Unlike in years past where we received pre-plotted maps, I had to copy the CP locations using a master map. Since the maps were not waterproof, I transitioned to my foot appropriate gear, along with climbing gear, and made any other final preparations before handling the maps to ensure my hands were dry. I copied the CPs and I was off.
In this section, leg coverings are imperative due to the amount of stinging needles I warned I would encounter. I brought with me a new pair of Trimtex orienteering pants to wear and test out. They proved to provide very good protection. I barely noticed the needles, and I was able to push thru a lot of underbrush with minimal abrasions. This was mainly due to the nylon material on the front panels of the pants. However, the back panels are made of Lycra, which allow for good ventilation, but they also collect briers very easily. There were easily a few hundred briars I needed to pick off post race. Unfortunately, my arms did not fare as well as my legs. I neglected to wear the arm sleeves I brought, so my arms got pretty scratched from bushwhacking.

I decided to go in a counter-clockwise direction because I wanted to get to the rappel early. I feared if I had waited to the end, that the 12 hour teams maybe arriving and I would have to wait. When I got to the rappel, I only had to wait but a minute before it was my turn. There was a second rope section for an ascent, but that would not be until I was on the 2nd orienteering map. This meant that I had to make the decision to take off my climbing gear only to have to put it back on again or keep it on. In the interest of time, I left it on. I started knocking the CP’s off one by one. I did have an issue with CP 15. I took a bearing on the CP but came up short. I end up coming full circle and ended back where I had started, so I tried again. This time I was dead on. I picked up the remaining CP’s and headed back to the TA to get map 2.
When I came back, I had found that I had made up some time. I was now in 5th place. I copied my CP’s and I was off again in a counter-clockwise direction. I meet up with team Thunder Dragons and we headed over to the ascent together. Again, the wait time was minimal. I made my way up the cliff-face and I was off to collect the remaining CP’s. With the rope section of the course over, there was no longer a need for my climbing harness, but I left it on anyways to save time. Continuing on collecting CP’s I did run into another navigation error shooting for CP 22. After looking for a bit, I determined what I had done wrong and re-positioned myself and collected it promptly. The rest of this section went smoothly and I made it back to the TA in 3rd place.
Before heading out on the bike, I was given another map and 5 UTM coordinates that I would have to plot. I plotted my CP’s, transitioned to bike gear and I was on my way. I collected CP 28 on my way to the next foot orienteering course. When I arrived at CP 29, I ran into Thunder Dragons again and we started this section together going counter-clockwise. We climbed up a spur and made our way down into a re-entrant towards CP 30. Unsure if we had gone too far or not far enough, we went separate directions. I ended up right on the CP, and I had thought they would have turned around to start heading my direction but there was no sign of them. I called out to them a few times, but nothing. I continued on alone. I picked up CP 31 and attempted to find CP 32 which was on a spur. I took a bearing and headed down the spur. This is where the wheels started to come off. I had missed it on my first attempt. I decided to go back up the spur and re-shoot. I came up empty again. I did it a third time and still nothing. At this point I was starting to worry about time. Clearing the course was fading away fast. I decided to skip it. I went back up to the ridge towards the next CP. Not entirely happy with my decision, I tried to attack CP 32 from a westerly direction. Along the way I ran into Alpine Shop. They were also headed to same CP. Shortly thereafter we found it. I must have just missed it as it was hung on the west-side of the tree. I collected the last couple CP’s and I made it back to the bike for the final push to Camp Benson.
There were a few CP to collect along the way. One of which was CP 35. The clue for this CP was shoreline. I had searched around where I had it plotted but was unable to find it. I looked for a good amount of time and other teams started arriving and were having trouble as well. I decided to re-plot the UTM coordinates, only to plot it in the same location. Thankfully, someone had found the CP on the other side of the road quite a ways away from where it was plotted. I punched it and moved on. I know I easily lost about 45 mins searching for such an easy CP. It was a mandatory CP, so it had to be punched or else the efforts of the day would have been for nothing. I made my way back to Camp Benson just before sundown. There I received my final map for the course, where I copied the remaining 11 CP’s. Before heading out, I took any extra non-mandatory gear of out my pack. In doing so, I found my bag of Spicy Nacho Doritos. A guilty pleasure I really only allow myself to have during racing.

I had heard that this section was taking teams about 2 hours to clear. However, I would be doing this section in the dark, so I knew it would probably take me longer. I had 4 hrs left, so I felt pretty good that I had enough time. Most of the CP’s were pretty straight forward. I did have a slight issue locating CP 46. The clue was “on an outcropping.” I thought this meant that the CP would be high, so that is where I looked, but was unable to find it. Feeling a tad frustrated, I decided to come back for it. I proceeded to collect the other CP’s, which I did not have too much trouble locating. It was just a little slow going coasteering. I made my way back to CP 46 and eventually found it. It was low, on top of a rock. I knew I had just missed it earlier because I recall being in that area but not looking in that particular spot.
After that, it was time to make the final push to the finish line. I crossed the creek one final time, scurried up a hill side and ran to the finish line. I crossed the finish line at exactly 23:00 hrs, completing the full course in the allotted time. This would be my first 24 hr race having cleared all of the CP’s. I finished 1st in the solo division and end up with a 5th overall placing. Overall, I was very pleased with my performance and the mental fortitude I showed racing alone.
           Thank you to Lupine Lighting, Gretna Bikes, Suunto, Salomon, Zeal, and OutThere USA!