Monday, April 26, 2010

Glen Eagles Challenge Long version: part 1

My teammate requested that I do the long version, at first I was like, but he was there, shouldn't he know what happened? But then I remembered he is old and drinks bourbon so he may have already forgotten what happened, or that he was even there.

so for those masochists that want the really long version...

This is part 1

Race started at 10, so I planned to leave the house at 8 to get there at 8:45. Of course I woke up at 4:45 anyway, turned off the alarm that was set for 6 so it wouldn't wake up the wife and started to get ready. I checked the mandatory gear list one more time and found out we needed something to bail out the boat, just in case. So I cut an old gallon jug in half, as recommended on the race website, and added it to the list. Had everything else I needed so mixed up some gatorade and headed out the door. Arrived at the race site and called Tim to see where he was, due to no signal he couldn't hear me, but I could hear him fine. I yelled where are you? he said I can't hear you, I said Beam Me up scotty, he said "I can't here you all I heard was something like beam me up scotty, I said, see you can hear me, he said I can't hear you, talk to you when I get there. After unpacking a bit and checking on the bike I walked around soaking up the atmosphere and listening to some of the nervous conversations going on. Some notes for next time.
Bring an old card table to setup for map plotting and the canopy in case of rain. They said the race site opened at 8, get there at 8. They told us where the Transition area was going to be, get a map of the area and become familiar with it and look for any "paddle only areas" that might be included.
This race was on a peninsula that was about 4 miles long by 1 mile wide. That info was very important and overlooked by us. It's ok to soak up some atmosphere, but when there is 30 minutes before prerace brief, it's time to start concentrating on the race and what we are going to be doing. At 9:00 they did the prerace brief and we got the rules and what we could and could not do or go. Then we got the map with the first 11 points plotted and would get the rest at 9:55 with a start at 10.

Race Start:
We got the passport and started mapping coordinates. Should have brought the other tool to use as the one we got from the race was either not as good, or I just wasn't comfortable with it. I was making mistakes left and right, using the wrong lines, going the wrong direction, etc so I left it up to Tim and then I went back and double checked. Somehow we ended up with two different points for #17 but wouldn't realize it until much later. Looking back we got them all spot on, except of course for the 2nd #17.

The plan was to go to the furthest point, grab the high point value targets and work our way back. We have done that in the past, so it seemed logical to stick with this way. We never thought about carrying the canoe the 1 mile across the peninsula, at least not until the end when we saw other teams actually doing it. We ended up paddling close to 8 miles and we still didn't get all the paddle only targets. We were making really good time with the canoe, and we found all the targets we looked for in a reasonable amount of time so on that account we improved.
We had to carry the canoe about 100 yards or so done to the lake to put in and on the way one of the paddles fell out when it hit a tree. When we got there I told Tim, HIS paddle must of fallen out. He fell for it and went back to find it. Had some good shots of the nuclear plant on the way to our first 3 targets. Found them fairly quickly and were headed back. At this point we had paddled about 3+ miles and were 1:30 into the race, I was still having a hard time believing how far we had to go back to get to the TA. The next stop we were going to do some trekking. We parked at the very end of the peninsula and bushwhacked through some heavy stuff and our legs got nice and shredded here. ( once again looking at the map the next day we could have made a better decision as to where to dock, but such is life...) We met an older couple doing the race together who were either really confused, or trying to mess with us, they told us the target we were looking for was back 150 yards or so. They went on their way and we turned around and Tim spotted it about 20 yards the other way. We decided they were really confused. Next we split up a bit to look for the next target that should have been right around the corner. Ended up being a bit of a ways in. I spotted it and called for Tim. Not sure if I mentioned this yet, but Tim is old and can't hear very well, so I had to yell like 8 times at the top of my lungs before I finally heard him coming my way. Next time I should bring a bull horn ;-). Got the target, hit the trail and headed back to the boat. We had a bit of a cluster fuck here and we kept going out on the wrong mini peninsula, like 4 of them before we finally found our boat. We found a couple other racers canoes, resisted the urge to steal them, or push them out into the lake, and kept going. I broke out my PB&J sandwich, thanks dr. dre for the great idea, and ate it while paddling across the lake for the next two targets. The first one was right in the middle of some horrible smelling muck. There were plenty of frogs jumping around and I almost lost my shoe when it got stuck in a mud hole. The second one was easy as we saw a guy coming down from where it was, so Tim jumped out while I stayed in the boat and picked it up in no time. Now we needed to traverse back across the lake to get to the take out spot. We had given up on the last paddle target as it was past our put in spot and we were going on 6 miles now and our shoulders were on fire. We made it out without dumping our stuff in the water and carried the canoe back to the TA for some food, change of shoes and shirt and water. I sprayed some sunblock on my legs and holy shit did that hurt. Sunblock not so good on open cuts, I also noticed a blister forming on my left heal from running in my boat shoes with no socks, but too late to fix that now.

Part two will be coming soon...

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