Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The First DNF

So, something I had hoped wouldn't happen finally did. I don't want to spend much time dwelling on it or trying to over analyze it, but I also don't want it to be like it didn't happen.
It was the Lewis and Clark Ozark Adventure Race 2008 - an 18 hour, 3 person Adventure Race held November 15 in Northwest Arkansas.

The days leading up to the event were a little stressful - just knowing it was going to be the longest race we had done, new team, and the weather factor - which didn't seem too be moving in a favorable direction.

Turns out it didn't move favorably - it got cold - highs in the 40's and windy. We had lots of warm clothes though so we really thought we were prepared. We got to the Lewis and Clark shop around 5pm - got registered for the event then ate our complimentary pasta dinner. After that we retreated to our cars to repack our camelbaks then met back up at 7pm for the pre-race meeting where we were told we would be starting at 3am around 30 minutes from where we were. The team decided we should leave at 1:30am so we all went back to our hotels to finish up last minute items and try to get a little shut eye.

Ah, 1AM came early. I took a quick shower to warm up and wake up - got dressed and loaded up then went to Scott's hotel to meet him and Diego - we left from there to go to the start. The race started with a wheelbarrow race to get our maps - I was the wheelbarrow (maybe not the best idea!!). Anyway - got the maps - got back in the truck and plotted our points. First section was biking - in the dark and cold - whoohooo! ;-)
Biking went pretty good for us - we passed 5 teams I think in that section. The road riding was fine then we hit single track. In the dark it was quite a challenge for me - eventually I was able to tuck in behind Diego and could see better with his brighter bike light and made it ok. Not fast, but steady. The lighter it got the better I did so I felt pretty good about that. We hit the canoe section about 8:30am. We made attempts early on to keep ourselves dry - those didn't last long - the river was low and with 3 people we were heavy! We had to push, pull, tug to keep ourselves going - this was no float. About an hour into it we managed to flip our canoe over - nothing like being soaked when it's 40 degrees out. We kept up the pushing, pulling, walking for the next 4 hours.....5 hours in, we thought we should be too the end. When we realized we were still around 3 miles shy we decided to give in. It was 11-1/2 hours into the race - 8-1/2 miles into the canoe and we were 3 very cold individuals. We could have toughed it out, but knew we wouldn't meet the cutoff times to finish the race. It was depressing for all involved. We spent time questioning what we could have done differently and there were a few things, but it mostly boiled down to Mother Nature kicked our arses on this one!

So, the race may have beat us this time, but we will find a way to conquer.

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