Friday, May 22, 2009

OGAR - year 3

Adventure racing - you have to love a team sport where you get to get down and dirty don't you??
May 16 was the 3rd year in a row I've done the Ozark Greenways Adventure Race with the Dirty Nelly's team - Don, John, & Jonas. This year it was held again at Gasconade Hills resort. Has anyone noticed how much rain we've gotten?? Yeah, so did race organizers - water levels were up, up, up. So much that they opted out of having us canoe so the race course literally changed the night before we started.
Luckily Brooke was on it this year and reserved our team a couple cabins so we weren't stuck in tents during the downpour that came on Friday night - complete with impressive lightning and wake you up out of a dead sleep thunder!!
So, team was up at 5am - Don (team leader) went and got our packet and we met at 5:30am to review the maps. We saw we started out biking on roads (combo of paved and dirt), followed that up with some running/trekking, then to single track biking, and finally back to roads to the finish. Sounds pretty easy! ;-)
Team meeting was a 6am where they reviewed rules and cut-offs and then they gave us some extra time to review the changes they had made before our official start at 7am.

7am came and we were off - it was pretty crowded at the beginning with everyone on bikes and heading in the same direction. Our team did pretty good (you're only as good as your weakest link) getting through the first bike segment - only a little waiting. We were about an hour in when we ditched our bikes to run the first run segment through about a 1-1/2 of single track. It went well until we hit the road again and accidentally went the wrong way - only about 1/2 mile before we realized we had done something wrong. So, we get back to where we started and head the other direction and it looks wrong too - we went a little further and got our footing again - I think with the rain they had rerouted the trail we were on so we didn't pop out where we thought we would. Oh well, all part of the adventure!!
Next was the real trekking segment - our first check point was terrible - no joking it took us 40 minutes to find it - talk about feeling like you are out in the woods and lost - we were!! Luckily the next 3 check points were much smoother - we found them without much issue. Had minor troubles (meaning we didn't go directly to them) on the next 3 then we headed back out to our last trekking checkpoint. Ran back to our bikes and hit the single track. I felt our team did really well here - we passed at least 3-4 teams. Talk about riding through mud - we sure did - those poor trails - I don't think they will ever be the same. Still surprised we were allowed do do it. I kept saying we don't have to canoe the river, but we are biking it. Water was literally running down most of the trails. We were filthy - it was hilarious. I fell at least 4 times and I know my teammates had their share of biting it as well. I wasn't too upset - it was my first year riding clipless in one of these races - so I was happy with no major falls and I didn't have to get off my bike for much.
Jonas broke a chain really close to finishing the single track, but he got it changed quickly and we headed out to our check point. All we had left was road biking back to the finish - a total of about 7 miles - I was so excited and ready to be done. Don't get my wrong - not an easy 7 - these were some seriously hilly roads - great on the downhill, but kick your butt on the uphill. We whipped through the first 5-1/2 then waited on our struggling teammate - 20 minutes - as we watched teams pass us - more teams than we passed in the technical. :( Once everyone got there we took off again - determined to make it the next 1-1/2 miles of mostly downhill to the finish. Not sure what happened, but we still lost one and had to wait at the entrance to the finish for another 5 minutes on our last teammate. But, like I said earlier - it's a team sport and you're only as good as your weakest member. That's why we do this - you can't do it alone. We ended up finishing in 10 hours and 30 minutes. Way ahead of the 14 hour cut-off. Overall it was a good day considering all the rain and the mud. The weather was great - stayed pretty cool all day.

We finished and then got to eat the customary burgers - they taste so good after that many hours living on gu's and blok's and peanut butter & honey sandwiches. And don't forget the Fat Tire beer - it wouldn't be OGAR without that. All we had to do then was relax and enjoy the rest of the day - knowing we had earned it.

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