Once a source of "Not all you want to know about Texas Adventure Racing," but now just some "leisure" adventure through the eyes of "The K-SPoT"

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

AquaTerra EXPedition = AustinTown EXPosed, Day 2

360 bridgeThe next day started bright and early...a bit colder for some. Particularly, for Caroline, who had put on her rain jacket and cinched up her hood so tightly that I could only see her nose. I got up, tried to gently nudge her awake when Raymund marched over and commanded her, military-style, to get up. That worked. We quickly packed up our site and loaded up the Ruahine for our final day of racing. We had to get our boats over to the swimming area of Emma Long by 5:45 to be properly staged before the 6am start.

approaching 2222We eventually got there and dropped our boats in the water, trying to maneuver our boat so that we didn't cross the start line, unlike Raymund and Eric, who seemed to be trying to get an edge on us. Then Chad Holman cleverly told us that it was shallow enough to stick our paddles in the mud to stop us from drifting. Duh. With a few good morning words from our race directors, we were off again, in a sprinting frenzy. For some unexplainable reason, Raymund and Eric were taking a wide turn, taking many boats with them in the process. We were barely able to sneak underneath them and take a sharper route down Lake Austin. It was dark, so we couldn't really see where we were going--just the glowsticks in front of us bobbing up and down, side to side. We didn't get caught up in the sprint and just started out steadily, slowly picking off boats as we went. The first CP of the day was at the 360 bridge. It was such a large catch, we were on autopilot for most of this leg.

cooold water!As we made the bend and saw the bridge, it was hard to spot where exactly the boat landing was, until right as we hit the beach we saw Drost directing traffic. We got on shore and were handed our CPs for the final day. This time we decided to plot all points at once since we didn't know if we would have favorable conditions to plot in later on. As we plotted, the sun started to peek over the horizon and as we went on to take out CP23, it was clear enough to see it from the road. We continued on, making a loop, back to the 360 bridge and over it to get CP22, on a high ridge. No problems here, except for a short, steep climb. On the way back we saw Ray Ray, Emo, Nikki, Cynthia, and whole gaggle of other racers just behind us. We quickly transitioned back into our boat for a short paddle to our next boat landing.

going up!It would be a bit different here as we would have to portage a bit to the next TA after reaching the boat landing. First we had to negotiate a spillway underneath the 2222 bridge. Not too bad--we actually did pretty nicely here. Then as we came over to the other side of the bridge, we saw a bit of rocky formation that we were supposed to portage over to get to the road. Nice. For some reason, the boat felt a lot heavier than before. Thankfully, a male team came over to help us with our boat and we did the same for them. We put on the wheels and continued north along the road to TA3. From there we continued on foot without our boat to pick off 6 CPs in the Bull Creek Park area. CP24 was in a draw and I thought I would have a bit of trouble with this one, but somehow I hit the right one dead on. I was feeling confident...a bit too confident. I tried dead reckoning to CP25, and it seemed to be working as the trail system was taking us in the direction we wanted to go. But when we got close to the CP it went all to heck. We spent possibly an hour or two here looking for the point. Sneakily, the Holmanators were there too and had found the point and got away before I could notice--I was standing less than 5m away from it and couldn't see it! Again, hidden in brush. I was so pissed. Thankfully, Cynthia had caught up to us and ended up in the same vicinity but had better eyes than I did and we picked it off at the same time. I was fuming.

watch that step!...Although distraught, we continued on down Bull Creek, seeing Werewolves already on their return trip to their boat. Again, for some reason, I couldn't spot CP26, which should have been right off of the trail, so I decided not to waste any time again and suggested we just get it on the way back. We got a slight break with CP27 as Caroline knew exactly where to look to find it. But, what she didn't know is that as she went to stuff the passport in her pocket when she left the CP, it had fallen out. We didn't realize this until we arrived at CP28 and she went to punch the passport. She had lost it, literally and figuratively. She was so horrified that she shot out in a frenzy back to the bridge where CP27 was to go find it. I was a bit more calm because I knew we couldn't do much about it except retrace our steps. Thankfully, Cynthia and Nikki were there again to save our bacon and had picked up our passport. Crisis averted. More teams were already heading the other way as we went to get the furthermost point, CP29. This was not a problem at all, and in no time we were heading back to pick up CP26 then back to the boats. This section was just determined to give me fits as we still couldn't spot it. Finally, by grace from up high, Caroline found it and we could return. I had figured we had lost tons of spots, but was puzzled to hear we had picked one spot up...same as the Commons Ford Park debacle the day before. Oh well, at least we weren't the only ones.

going down!We headed back to the rocky launch point and this time decided to take all of our gear out of the boat before trying to lift it over. This was a very smart move, but I still managed to make it a difficult portage. As I was backing up into the creek, my heel caught a root and there I went. The whole time I was falling, I tried to keep the Ruahine from crashing into the rocks. Yes, I sacrificed my body and used it as a soft landing pad for the boat. Caroline thought I was dead as I didn't move for a few moments. I did a physical check and nothing was broke, on either of us. Thank goodness. I think it helped that I already had my PFD on. So we carefully portaged back over to the other side of 2222 and continued on paddling. The next boat landing was near Mt. Bonnel. Again, Oasis crushed along and eventually passed us on the way to the boat landing. The wind was picking up and stifling us both. In the distance we could see the sneaky Holmanators and we knew we were catching up. We took a left into a cove, shielded from the wind and beached at Mayfield Park.

retrieving gearAs we got out, there was Iron Will again--he was just at the portage at 2222 helping us out! Man, that is one fast dude! The other volunteers at the boat landing were nice too, giving us encouragement to catch up to the Holmanators and Oasis. So we tried just that. I had a little confusion with CP30 because I had unwittingly written over the road we would need to use to get to it, but we figured it out pretty quickly. On our way up to Mt. Bonnel and CP31, we saw the Holmanators on their way back, but never did see Oasis. That was a bit puzzling, but I didn't dwell too much on that. We got atop Mt. Bonnel pretty quickly and had to read off the date on the monument. The last number was weathered so we guessed "8" and went on our way. We jogged the whole way down back to the boat launch and were pleasantly suprised to hear that we indeed had made up some time on the two teams--we actually could see the Holmanators in the water closeup and Oasis wasn't that far ahead.

mash!We dug hard, trying to catch up to them, but I think they were also as determined to keep their leads. We were making headway, but not at the rate that I thought we should. Then Caroline commented that she was seeing rooster-tailing up in the front where we had smacked the boat into a rock--that could be the reason we were seemingly going slower. As we went to cross Lake Austin to an inlet to pick up the final boat CP, we saw Raymund and Eric on their way back to the final boat landing at Tom Walsh. Were they skipping that point? We later found out that Eric had to get back home for a prior engagement. So we continued on, and as we turned the final bend in the inlet heading for CP32, the Holmanators were still there--they had gotten caught up on a rock. So we kept on, especially since we knew we had a slight lead on Oasis coming into the day. We pushed hard and arrived at the final boat landing almost simultaneously with the Holmanators. When they docked, Ashley helped them drag their boat out of the water and onto the grass. Dejectedly, I was thinking, that would be nice! Right as I finished thinking that and had started to get out of the boat, Jason Mittman did the same for us! Nice! Any little help at that time would make a huge difference.

we're done!Oasis was already on foot, so we needed to limit our losses. Holmanators paused a bit, fumbling with gear while we kept on without changing a thing. We headed for the CPs at Red Bud Isles Park first. As we crossed the bridge to the island, I saw CP33 on its own lonely island. I wasn't quite sure how to get to it yet, so I decided we should get CP34 first. This one was a code affixed to one of the doggy bag dispensers at this dog park. It took us a short while, but we finally found it and headed back to CP33. I figured the water would be shallow enough to wade at some point, so we just dove in. We both sank a bit before figuring out where the water wasn't as deep. Done. Two more CPs in Reed park and we would be totally done! This leg seemed to take forever as we had to run/walk up and down hilly roads through a subdivision. As we were about to cross a bridge over a creek that went through Reed Park, I looked over to my right and there was CP36! Nice! From there, it was an easy trail jog to a monument at CP35 to read off the date. We were done! Now we just had to book it back as quickly as possible, hoping that our Day 1 lead was enough to keep us in 3rd. As we jogged into the finish, they were cheering us and Debbie congratulated us! We had did it--we only lost 4mins that day, keeping us in 3rd by 10mins!

Man, that was definitely too close. I was so happy to be done--it was a tough yet fun race! It definitely was a good primer for USARA Nationals, which was coming up in a few weeks...

thanks again to Bryan McKenney for these awesome pics!


Blogger randolph said...

kicka$$ race !
great reports, kenny.

you're tough just for listening to "little miss LSU" for two days... ;-)

what's that scuffed boat gonna cost ya ?

7:26 AM

Blogger K-SPoT said...

thanx, man!

she was great to race with--she was concentrating on keeping quiet for my sake, even though she didn't have to do that! :)

donno yet about the cost--still have to get an estimate. im just glad that its repairable!

7:43 AM


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