Dare Mighty Things

"Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those timid spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat." -Teddy Roosevelt

Thursday, September 17, 2009

NH-12 Adventure Race

Pawtuckaway State Park, Nottingham, NH--Last weekend Jay, Liz, and I raced the 12 Hour USARA Qualifier. It was Liz's first 12 hour adventure race and the first time Jay and I had raced co-ed together. We spent the first 6 hours on the mountain bikes riding some of the wettest, gnarliest, singletrack Pawtuck has to offer. Actually, "riding" is being a little generous. We spent a fair amount of time hike-a-biking. CP11, located on the Woronoco Trail, gave us fits and we ended up mispunching an O-course control. By the time we rode into the paddle TA the rain had been coming down for hours. Cold, wet, and tired we missed the cutoff for the full paddle course and instead were sent out to locate only CP's 11-16. This easy section took us roughly :45 to finish. After a quick change of clothes and a bite to eat we set out on the trek course and the final 5 hours of the race. I took over the nav for the first three orienteering controls and we essentially walked up to each of them. CP4 would be a challenge as we were forced to bushwack over 2 kms to Round Pond. With little trouble we located the control and headed to South Mountain for the special challenge at CP5. Upon arriving at the fire tower at South Mountain (CP5) we found there was at least one other co-ed team working to find the three special clues (A, B, & C) located in close proximity to the summit. A crude hand drawn map (with no features and not to scale) showed the approximate locations and clues to the three special controls at CP5. A was relatively easy to solve as it's answer was written on a trail sign within 25 meters of the tower. B, on the other hand, was turning into quite the riddle for us and the growing number of other teams who began to arrive at the CP. After 20 minutes of fruitless searching we were informed by the RDs (via the volunteer standing at the summit...in the rain) that we should probably proceed straight to CP10 and then the finish because it was likely the rain had "washed away the clues". Huh? By the time this turn of events was announced it was approximately 4:45ish and we had a little over an hour to cover 5 miles and make it to the finish before the 6:00 pm deadline. With maps that resembled oatmeal (from not protecting them well enough from the elements...NOTE: Mom, I need a new map case for Christmas) we hobbled down South Mountain in the general direction of the finish line. A combination of walking & running resulted in our 5:55 pm finish arrival. Although we finished off the podium we did manage a Top 10 finish (out of 17 teams) and I think we found a new female adventure racing teammate. Liz Hall showed why she is one of the top female triathletes in New England. Her physical strength was matched only by her mental toughness as she fought through a couple of hard falls on the mountain bike to essentially pace us on the way off South Mountain. She remained patient and supportive the entire day even when things weren't quite going our way. I was very proud of how the three of us competed. Full results can be viewed at http://www.racingahead.com/results.html.

NEXT UP: Reach The Beach Relay

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