Sunday, October 21, 2007

We are special.

Hello blog friends! How was your weekend? Did you do anything fun? How was the weather?

Now that I have gotten the courtesy chit chat out of the way, we can get down to the valuable lesson that I learned this weekend:

Inflatable kayaks are the devil. If I was stranded on a desert island and was offered the choice between a cheeseburger and an inflatable kayak, I would take the cheeseburger and devour every delicious fatty morsel.

This weekend was the big debut of Team ODP, adventure racing dames out to destroy the competition in glorious fashion. Our delusions of grandeur lasted approximately 27 seconds when in the first event [which happened to be kayaking across a lake to get a checkpoint at the opposite side], we realized that our two person inflatable kayak filled with three people wasn't going to work. It went something like paddle left, paddle right, quick paddle right again, no now left, why do our paddles keep hitting each other, why are we going in circles, is there supposed to be a foot of water in the boat..ahhhh help. We were approximately .5 miles into the 1.5 mile kayak when boats started passing us going the other way. As each team would pass in their spiffy long plastic kayaks with actual rudders, they would exclaim something like "ahh, look at the poor girls in the pool float who are sinking and going in circles". And then they would cheer for us like we were in the Special Olympics. So. Very. Frustrating. Pretty soon we just started laughing because it was either that or cry and start swimming for shore. We finally made it off the water in dead last place by a mile and just memory dumped that last hour of our lives.

The next five checkpoints (3 -7) were biking legs and we were given UTM coordinates to plot on our topographical map to find them. We set about plotting and were onto our bikes pretty quickly. Finally, a part our team could rock on. We located the area of the map for the first check point and started looking for it. Hmm, it should be right here...where is it? We scoured the area, replotted, road back and forth along this path, certain that we were in the right place. Finally, we had to move on, afraid someone had removed the flag or something was dreadfully wrong and at this point, we were just wasting time. We biked about 15 miles to four more checkpoints and each time had no problem locating the little flags. We even caught a couple of slow teams in this time, mostly by cutting off large amounts of distance by going straight down the side of a the mountain on the way back. We finally realized after discussing with another team that we had plotted the first checkpoint as 7.9 rather than .79 [the coordinate is given as 4380079]. Total rookie mistake, but to be expected in your first AR with plotting and we eventually went to the right place and picked up the checkpoint.

Checkpoints 9 & 10 were kayaking legs once again and unfortunately CP9 might as well have been in Australia. It was about a 5 or 6 mile kayak away and with our "special boat" and a strong breeze blowing against the lake at that point, there was no way we would going to make it. The race director instructed us to skip it (and a few other teams towards the back) and just hit CP 10 which was a much more doable paddle. Unfortunately even a 2 mile paddle in our boat was going to be tough, so we decided to do a little trick called portaging. This is where you physically carry your boat on land rather than in the water to save time. The ended up being our saving grace as the lake was u shaped and we could just paddle across the two ends and carry our boat over the little mountain in the middle and voila, at the checkpoint. It ended up being a very quick maneuver and we even inspired another team to follow our lead. The best part about the whole kayaking debacle was the fact that we killed a fish. Yes, you heard me. When we got to our boats to begin the second part of the kayaking, there was a dead 4 inch long fish in our boat. I think it entered in the beginning of the race while we were half submerged and then commit suicide rather than stay one more minute in our crappy boat. I wish I had though to take a picture.

After finished the kayaking portion, the last five checkpoints were on foot. Yeah! Never thought I would be so happy to be running but who knew. They of course were on the top of several small and not so small mountains (think scrambing straight up a nearly vertical side of a mt) surrounding Lake Hodges. We plotted the points and had a nearly perfect navigation to all of the CPs. We even caught more teams during this time and finished in a large pack. It doesn't really count however since we didn't do CP 9, but overall, we felt like we learned a ton and were able to get from point A to point B quickly as long as it wasn't on water.

Funny thing is, physically, although I was tired at the end, I definitely could have kept going. The race was plotted at 30 miles (although we may have done more) and took us a little over 7 hours. We kept our humors up, learned to work as a team and really enjoyed the day and the absolutely gorgorous landscape.

Take a good look at this picture of Lake Hodges from Saturday, because I hear a lot of San Diego (including this area) is under attack from nine major wild fires and its all in danger of going up in smoke.

The next race is November 10th at Needle Rock just northeast of Phoenix. There is no kayaking part so we intend to be much more competitive this time. The moral of the story, spend the $ to rent a real kayak.

Oh and I forget to mention, we did win the all women's division this weekend at the race... course we were the only all women's team there, but that doesn't need to be mentioned.


megan said...


maybe next time you'll take me up on the offer of borrowing my boat :)

did you get any pinkberry yogurt/icecream? its to die for!

la chaser said...

i definitely should have lady! now i know :) btw, don't sell inflatables to unsuspecting fools.