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Race Report: Desert Rage Camp Verde Adventure Race March 30, 2009

Posted by Dave Of Prescott in Adventure Racing, Events, extreme sports.
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Jonea and I competed as Team GO-AR on  Saturday in the DR Camp Verde Adventure Race put on by Sierra Adventure Sports.  Though we are old enough to be master’s, there weren’t enough to make the division, so we raced in the Co-ed 2-person division.

The race started off in the Verde River with a 10 mile paddle.  The flow rate was well below average, and we were told to expect to have to portage a few times.  We got off to a good start and were in a group of about seven vessels that put a little separation on the pack early on.  When we hit the first rapid at tree-island we felt what it meant to have this low a flow as we literally bounced down it on the rocks.  Dave, Windy and Brigid of Team Big Fish Creative were right with us, then suddenly they weren’t…..we found out later that Dave’s kayak had taken on too much water and they had stopped for him to dump it out.  The YogaSlackers and a solo jumped out to a lead over the rest of us, leaving a canoe with a 2-Male team, a tandem kayak with a 2-Male team, and us in our tandem kayak.  The canoe slowly pulled away from us, and for a long way, it was just us and Team Equipe Tortue, neck and neck.

We were actually side by side as we approached a section of rapids that was probably plenty wide for both of us, but we decided to let them go ahead as a courtesy, just as they had done for us on one prior.  Well, on this particular rapid, they hit a couple of big rocks and it threw them sideways and stopped them in their tracks (wakes?).  As we maneuvered around them, we asked if they were okay and upon finding out things were fine, continued on our way.  A while later I thought I heard them catching up with us again, but it turned out to be Team Those Guys instead.  They made a pass on us when we over-steered on a bend, and they pulled up to the bank at the takeout spot about 5 seconds ahead of us.  We carried our kayak the 200 meters up the bank and to the TA faster than they did however, and were 4th place overall after the paddle leg.  We were very happy to be in that good a spot at that point in the race.

We took a while to transition to the bike leg, and at least 2 teams that came in after us left before us, including Big Fish and Equipe Tortue.  I plotted the 2 CP’s that weren’t already on our map, and off we went.  We had a very small downhill, then a 3.5 mile 1000′ climb to the CP2.  Jonea hadn’t been on her bike much at all lately, so we agreed that I would tow her when I could.  At the beginning of the hill, I hooked the tow rope up and downshifted………

After about 500′ of climbing, I heard someone coming up behind us and moved over just as Team FLG went by us with Scott towing Amber.  Shortly after that we met the solo racer returning from the out-and-back, then 2 minutes after him was Big Fish.  We kept climbing and met YogaSlackers, and a 2-Male team, then FLG, and then just before we got to the CP, we crossed paths with Equipe Tortue again.  On the way down, we saw many teams climbing, and as we passed the location where we had met Big Fish, I noticed we were 23 minutes behind them.  When we hit the main forest road again, we bombed the long straightaway, and then hooked up the tow again on the climb toward CP3.  Just before we got to the cattle guard, I was pointing out to Jonea the trail we would be taking later on when a team rode out off of it, and I said, “Are you guys short course?”  They said no they weren’t, and then they started to follow us….I said, “If you are long course, then you want to go that way to CP2!”  They asked if I was sure and I hollered back that I was and good luck.

We arrived at CP3 which was a bike drop and a trek to 4 and 5.  I had forgotten to put my shoes in my backpack, and was forced to do the trek in my mtb shoes. Good thing they are soft soled!  On the way in, we again crossed paths with Big Fish (time check). We made quick work of scaling along the rock wall above Chasm Creek to get to CP4, then made the steep climb up to CP5.  We passed Equipe Tortue at 5, and then headed back out the canyon. When we passed my time check point, we were now 25 minutes behind Big Fish. We went on out to CP3 to pick up our bikes and continue to the other point we had to plot, CP6.

On the out-and-back to CP6, we crossed paths with the 2-Male team again, and then as we were pushing our bikes up the very steep and loose rocked hill, Team FLG came down it, and I could smell hot brakes as they went by us.  We picked up 6, and headed back.  On the way down one of the hills, I crossed paths with a big green pickup, and then as Jonea came by it, a huge dog stuck its head out the back seat window and snapped a her, almost getting her on the arm, and scaring he be-geesus out of her!!  We turned off the forest road onto the trail (barely) by the cattle guard, and headed down the last 2.5 miles toward the TA.  About halfway down, another 2-Male team passed us, and I had lost track of where we stood in the rankings at that point.

We changed shoes, fueled ourselves and picked up the map and directions for the orienteering leg.  It was a map showing Point A, and then had bearing and distance measurements (based on true north) to the next point, and so on, to all the subsequent points.  Had I been thinking, and not in such a hurry, I would have gone ahead and drawn in all the lines and plotted the points, then figured the most efficient route…..but remember, I said had I been thinking!  We took off in a hurry toward where we thought A was.  On the way up, we saw Team FLG on their way toward the finish, and knew they would win the 2 Co-ed division that we were in. This new map was a different scale, and I took us about 4oo meters too far up the trail then off in the desert to look for it.  After wasting about 10 or 15 minutes, we discovered our mistake and then zoomed through the 5 points without any further difficulty.

It seemed that my error in navigation was enough for the Equipe Tortue team to pass us on the orienteering leg and finish a few minutes ahead of us.  We finished in 2nd place in our division, and (this is a guess until results are posted) about 8th overall.

It was a great day of racing and as always a ton of fun to hang out with fellow adventure racers!

Heading Down to the Sand Storm AR March 5, 2008

Posted by Dave Of Prescott in Adventure Racing.
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This weekend my two team mates and I will be driving the 265 miles down to Kentucky Camp to compete in the Sand Storm II Adventure Race.

We have done very well the last 12 months in the co-ed division on the short courses of the Desert Rage Series, so we are going to move up and try our luck on the long course this time.  They promise us 30+ miles to be comprised of mountain biking and overland trekking with some surprises thrown in to boot.  We (or should I say “I”) don’t run very well, so on the trekking legs we have to depend on good navigation and smart route choice.  We usually do fairly well on the mtb legs.

Our female team mate broke her foot not long ago, but swears she is ready to go.  I am sure she is because she is one tough cookie.  Our other male is strong on the bike and on the treks, but has had some problem keeping fueled well enough on longer outings, but he too swears he is ready to go.  After writing about my two team mates, it occurs to me that I am definitely the weakest link on our team.  The must just keep me around out of pity.

Good Lord willing and the creeks don’t rise, I will live to tell you all about how it went.