Sunday, September 14, 2008

Flying Frog Adventure Race - Race Report

This may get long as the race took almost 7 hours and it contains explicit material that may not be suitable for young children.

This race was billed as follows ( taken from website )
The 2008 Flying Frog Adventure Race includes a 5-10 mile Mountain Bike course, 5-10 mile Trail Run and a 2-5 mile Paddling course.

It was supposed to be a 3 - 6 hour race and looking at results from previous years, the winners were right around 3 hours. I was expecting about 4 - 5 hours. when they announced the course at 9:30, it was to be 28 miles, 4.2 mile canoe, close to 15 mile single track mtn bike, and almost 9 miles trail running. I looked at Tim and Eric and they had that deer in the headlights look about them. I think it was 9 miles of trail running that did it. I was most concerned with the technical single track mountain biking as I have done 1 session of mtn bike on single track in the last 4 years, but more on that later.

part 1: 1:06:01 - The race started with a challenge. We had to pick a canoe, turn it over and untie all the knots in a rope that was tied to the canoe. For some reason we were like the last team to get the knots undone. We started out in the canoe with Tim in front and me in the back. after a couple minutes and near collisions with a couple teams that were literally paddling in circles, we got free and into a good rhythm. We came around a bend and there were four canoes a head of us but I saw up ahead a group headed to the left and one group way to the right. Most of the boats were following the left but I was a little concerned so I had Eric consult the map and he determined that the right was the correct way so we headed towards the lead kayak on the right. The teams were in canoes and the solo's were in kayaks. We made the right decision and passed two more canoe teams on the way to the turn around. At the turn around Eric wanted to paddle but Tim didn't want to give up his spot so I took the easy way back. I was a little concerned at first with Eric's steering ability, but he caught on and other than a couple minor issues did a great job on the way back. I think we came in 2nd or 3rd team for the canoe.

part 2: mtn bike - 3:00:40 - Without a doubt this course killed half the field. It was extremely muddy and technical. We started out and within half a mile I went over the handle bars and scratched up my leg. This was to set the tone for the team for the rest of the 3 hours. We came up to a bridge and Eric was standing on the other side telling us to walk across, it was too slippery and he just fell of it. I took up the rear since I was being chicken and Eric and Tim were going real well. I hit a tree, then one more, it was great. Finally we got past the mud, but the roots, rocks and trees never ended. It took about an hour for the first trail and we headed down the greenway to the 2nd trail that was billed as the most technical trail in Greensboro by some of the other teams we talked to. I think we had been passed by 3 or 4 teams at this point and thought we were in 5th place. I don't think we ever really concerned ourselves with finishing place, we just wanted to finish. The second trail was not nearly as bad as the first. It was dryer, but still tough as hell. I think this trail is where Tim went over his handle bars. later we thought it probably would have been a good idea to bring more fluid and food on the bike as the 2 hours we thought it would take to do this was going to be three since the 2nd trail took an hour and the we still had to do the first trail again to get back. So back to the first trail. It started off OK, I was in front and keeping a nice slow pace. After picking up a little speed I slammed into my 3rd tree. This was the hardest one and stopped me dead in my tracks. Tim commented, through uncontrollable laughter, that he was impressed that I stayed on and said it probably hurt the tree more than me. I don't think so, and today I know the tree feels better than my shoulder. After a couple more rough patches including one where I had to get off my bike and push Tim up a hill so he didn't slide back down onto the rocks, we finally got to the end. Right at the end there was a tree across the path and I started to go over it when my peddle got caught on one of the knots that were sticking up. Bike stopped I kept going. Didn't go over the handle bars so I was all happy, but when I went to get back on the seat I racked my testicles extremely hard. That was it, no more bike for me. I limped back the 100 yards to where Tim and Eric were waiting barely able to stay on foot and using the bike as a crutch. Tim asked if I broke something, but luckily my balls were still intact. It was downhill to transition and we rode in to a thundering round of applause. Didn't look at the leader board at this time, we didn't even think we were close. I knew on the last section we had passed two teams and that one of them was going to drop out due to injury.

bike to run transition: 15:10 At this point looking at Tim and Eric I didn't think we were going to continue on, so I suggested that we start walking the trail, get to the first navigation challenge and see how it goes. This seemed to work, we took our time, 15 minutes worth, got food and drinks and a quick dip in the lake for me and Eric. I changed my socks and shirt and put on my ankle brace for the trails ahead. I really didn't expect to finish the race at this point, but really wanted to get to the orienteering challenge. Before we started the winner of the race came in, probably about 4:15. Considering last years winner was just under 3 hours I would say this year was much more difficult.

part 3: 2:35:27 - We started off walking and after a short 2 or three minutes we were at the challenge. I was surprised to see so many teams were still there. The two guys monitoring told us not to follow the teams out there as they were seriously lost. After a shaky start we figured out the paces that we were given needed to be doubled, and we made it through the course finding the flags fairly quick. We all seemed to be feeling better after the long transition and the break at the challenge so we kept going. I was concerned that I didn't have enough fluid for a 3 hour hike with just 20 oz of gatorade and 12 oz of water and was trying to save some for later, but my quads were cramping going up some of the tough hills. We tried to run down and jog some flats, but my legs were not agreeing. At the one hour mark of the run I said if we didn't get to the half way point by 1:30 we should just turn back. I said if there was a water fountain or something to refill our water bottles with I would go on, but without water we needed to go back. About 5 minutes later we got to the end of the first trail and my saving grace was that there was a big water cooler there. I downed about 20 oz of water and then refilled my water bottle with cold water. About 2 minutes later I started to feel good again. This next trail was not as long and it was more flat. We had a couple good runs on the first half and made some good time. We got to the next challenge and there was once again water for us to refill with. Tim volunteered to do this one. He had to wear a tied thera band around both his ankles and waddle to the next check point about 500 yards away. This was also a good chance for us to rest and get some more fluids in. The second half of this trail was still not bad so we had a couple more runs until we got to the greenway. Once on the greenway I started running and was so freakin happy that I could run without looking down and to lengthen my stride and actually feel good. I think we ran about a quarter mile and Eric looked like he was ready to stop. I said you can make it to bridge? he said sure, once we got there I said let's goto that shade. Tim then says "You're trying to pull that psychological shit you always use on Cindy". Yes you caught me, but it worked and stopping in the sun was not what I wanted to do. Once in the shade my plan was to say we can make it to the next challenge which was really just 200 yards away, but Tim foiled my plan. So we walked it. I was able to get a little more water at this stop, but not a complete refill as they were running low. This next challenge was a bow and arrow. Eric took this one and after three shots hit the target and we were off. I found out that we were not in last, and had about 2.3 miles to get back to the finish. This pepped us up and we started with some good runs. We were still walking the uphills and this section had some nasty ones. About a half mile to a mile from the end Eric started getting chills. That is usually a sign of severe dehydration so I said we needed to walk it in. He finished his water and had some of Tim's. I could tell he was hurting as he went to the back after staying out in front for most of the trail. After about 10 minutes we were getting close and Tim and I gave him one more swig of our remaining water and he seemed to pick back up, or just wanted to get it over with as he moved back to the front and was setting a good walking pace. I'm not much of a fast walker so I was drifting off the back. When we finally got to the orienteering section I had to jog to catch up and it felt so good to jog again that I just kept going. The thrill of the finish rubbed off and we all jogged into the finish area. I was looking around when Tim yells from up ahead, what are you waiting for. I was like I didn't know you were going to sprint, relative term ;-), and caught up so we could all cross the line at the same time.

overall 6:57:20 - 3rd place all male team - amazing...


butcept said...

so amazing indeed! and what an amazing end to your first adventure race. it sounds hellacious but I can't even begin to express how tickled pink and proud i am of 'you boys'. Great, great job.

Deb said...

Congratulations! This was my first AR and you described the bike trails perfectly. Thanks for sharing. At least I wasn't the only one hitting trees, falling down, falling over, falling up...I feel your pain on hitting the bike seat...boy am I glad that I'm not a guy, ouch. Great job and congratulations to your team!

Deer Diary said...

My friends and I are looking at doing this race later this year.

I am curious as to what kind of milage (running and biking) you were doing prior to the race.

Thanks for your help!

$Bill said...

that was so long ago I wish i could remember, but I was training more for an international distance tri than for this race, so I guess I would have been doing about 25 miles of running and 70 miles of biking. But this race was more about single track mtn bike which i wasn't really doing much of. If you plan to do this race I would focus on those skills, I think it was about 15 miles of single track, hard on the ass and legs