Sunday, August 19, 2007

Desert Heat #2 Adventure Race Report

Desert Heat AR #2 Nearing CP 4 (pic courtesy of Angel)

Team Desert Pirates (Sarah & Ryan) are not the new adventure racing gods... but neither are we.

Both teams finished in a very close battle where we believe that Tom and I achieved a one minute victory (unverified due to egg breakage penalties) but really it was like being the smartest kid on the short bus. (No offense meant, don't take it that way.)

In other words, we both sucked. Tom and I took the strategy of going out with the big dogs, and followed the race favorites out of the gate. They were sprinting and therefore so were we. The first two checkpoints were short runs to pick up different objects. The first object we were given was an egg which we then had to find a way to carry for the rest of the race without it breaking. The second was a ball of some sort which we then had to carry on a tee across a lot to our partners. We then jumped on our mountain bikes to compete the biking portion of four consecutive checkpoints. The first part was on a mountain path Tom and I have ridden on which is down hill and very fun. We were actually ahead of the big dogs but they soon passed us on the bikes. I took off after them however and stayed with them for the first checkpoint. My strategy at this point was to follow the leaders since I figured they knew what they were doing. Due to this, I did not take the time to pull out of maps and check exact instructions. This ended up backfiring for us since I didn't pull my instructions out to realize that CP 2 was actually just a word on the back of a stop sign. The team right ahead of us did it so quickly that we didn't notice it. Once we got to the third CP we realized our error but weren't sure what to do. Now we know we should have immediately turned around, but at the time we just kept going. The fourth checkpoint was up a steep little mountain where my friend Angel was manning the checkpoint. She seemed surprised to see us and told us we weren't that far behind a pack of the leaders. But we knew that we were screwed since we had missed CP 2 so we weren't that excited. Once we got back to the TA which was CP 5, the race officials told us that we had to go all the way back to CP 2 and then do 3, 4 and 5 again to officially continue the race. This was very disheartening, but we took off back down the same huge loop we had just completed. On our way back down from CP4 for the second time (Hi again Angel!), we ran into our friends the Desert Pirates and unfortunately Ryan was pushing his bike. He has gotten a flat and had no spare tube. Looks like they were having as good a race as us... :( The final two CPs were trekking up some small mountains and weren't that difficult but we were tired and hot and had completed more mileage than other teams. To make it worse, when we ended, we found our egg broken which tacked on a five minute penalty. We didn't get dead last, but we probably came pretty close.

Overall, not what we wanted, but I still had fun (Tom might feel differently). Our weak point is still our orienteering, but this time, it wasn't so much our path, just our following of directions. We actually navigated pretty dead on for all checkpoints. Oh well, I like to think we won the 11 checkpoint race. To bad the race was only 7. I think I am tired of sprint ARs and am ready for some real distance. The sprint races really favor experience since you will not win if you screw up at all. Plus, I always feel like I am just getting going when the race ends. I actually feel better as the race goes on, where Tom was killing me at the beginning and hating life at the end. He claims to have retired from the sport, but I am just going to give him a little break, Team Buck-I will be back. On tap next, is our ladies only team ODP (i could tell you what it stands for but then I would have to kill you) taking on the Desert Women's AR race schedule. This will be our time to shine people. Stay posted!

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