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, May 26, 2009

Combat Triathlon Suunto T6 Log

* Pods not used due to race rigors
** Altitude readings about 400ft above actual
*** Erratic signal due to swim

Friday, May 22, 2009

XTERRA: The Transformation

XTERRA: Get Dirty!Sweet--looks like I'm finally going to be caught up to realtime after this blog! So now starting with the week of May 11th. I had one final ows training session with Ray-Ray and Warship on Monday at Twin Lakes. This time we did 3 loops continuous to simulate race distance. I felt just fine and now felt pretty confident for XTERRA. Only thing missing was the chaos of 100 other racers splashing around in the water. Oh well--would just have to deal with that on the fly.

not awake yetTuesday and Thursday was HART training and then one final lunch swim on Friday before the weekend. Since it was on Sunday, we didnt have to leave until Saturday, but I still wanted to leave relatively early that day to get packet pickup out of the way and not have to deal with that on race day. So we drove to Austin Saturday morning and the skies looked threatening. Just great--what we need for my first XTERRA--a downpour! Since reports from Raymund indicated that the Madrone Trail at Canyon Lake was pretty technical with rocks everywhere, I wanted to preride that day, but it wasnt looking very good once we got into Austin. The skies abruptly opened up and there was no visibility! We were driving through virtual rivers just to get Pure Fitness. We eventually got there, but it really was nasty out.

slowly setting up TAWe went in to get our packets, but neither Elena or Scottie were there, just random volunteers. Im sure they were busy with the course set up. So we quickly left and scavenged for lunch. We ended up at the Hula Hut. Not necessarily a good place for food...more of a place to drink, but we figured we would try their fish tacos. It was still pouring out and there was a huge crowd--apparently this is the place to go on the weekend for lunch! We didnt have to wait too long as there was a shorter demand for the outside deck seating, considering the gloomy conditions outside. Nothing spectacular happened until Mo noticed that someone at another table looked pretty familiar...it looked like Sheila. It definitely looked like her, but we never got a good glimpse of her face. So finally I just took a stalker-ish photo of her, sent it to Facebook and tagged her, asking "is this you, sheila?!" Just as I was joking it would be hilarious if she started looking up around, thinking, "WTF?!", there she was doing that exact thing! It was friggin hilarious! She saw us giggling like schoolgirls and walked over and said hello. We shortly parted ways and that is how my stalker career started...

K-SPoT and RayRay happy for nowAfter lunch, we decided to drive over to Canyon Lake just in case the rains subsided and we would be able to preride. No such luck--still pouring buckets. We got there and there were just two other cars, possibly contemplating the same thing. We bailed on the preride, but since we were already there I wanted to scout out the TA. I ran out in the rain and checked it out. Buoys werent out yet, but TA was set up already. With all this rain, I'm sure it was playing havoc on the race director! So, thwarted by mother nature, we tucked our tails between our legs and retreated back to San Marcos where we had booked a hotel. We then headed out to scavenge for more food, this time at Carinos. Food was so-so, but the bread pudding was amazing! Afterwards, we stocked up on some Starbucks coffee for the morning and headed back to the Super 8 and called it a night.

rogue buoy didnt want to stay putNext morning we got up bright and early for the drive back to Canyon Lake. We were one of the first ones to set up our TAs. As I figured, packet pickup that morning was ridiculous and it actually would have delayed start if it wasnt for other distractions delaying the start. Yes, the buoys. Elena, Scottie, and Bobby were out there frantically setting up the swim course and just when they thought it was set up, one buoy decided to make the course a bit longer for us. They spent over an hour trying to set that buoy, but it wouldnt cooperate. So finally, Elena decided to modify the course to a straightline out and back, one loop. Now, we all were thinking to ourselves, "that's way shorter than 1500m!" But we didnt complain too much. I think everyone was just very ready to get it started after waiting for an hour and cutting our feet on beer cans in the surf--seriously, you would not believe how many cans we dredged from the shore!

donning wetsuitsJust as we thought it was finally going to be a reality, Elena yells out that we now had to do two laps of the modified course. Okay, resetting brain...ready! You could tell now that everyone just wanted to start the swim and get it over with. Just a few moments later, the horn goes off! Raymund and I stay away from the initial chaos and slowly start our swim. Amazingly I was doing alright with the initial thrashing about by everyone around me...for a moment there was even a zen-like calmness to it. Then came the first turn--chaos! Everyone was pawing and kicking at each other and rather than getting scared, I was getting pissed! I kicked back--get off my feet! Thankfully that only lasted a moment, but still I wasted a lot of energy just trying to get away from that mess.

beautiful day about to get crazyWe finished the first loop and walked around the buoy to start the 2nd. I was feeling fine, but my goggles were all fogged up and mud was kicked up from the lake bottom, so visibility was a lot worse this time around. I am sure I zigzagged alot the 2nd time around. Nothing different this time, though--more relaxed as I knew what to expect and like that the swim was done. Exiting the water, I slowly peeled off my wetsuit. My legs were not tired, just felt weird. That was one of my longest transitions and I was barking to myself, "get out of there already!" Finally I get all my bike gear on and head out for the treacherous bike. Since I was a slow swimmer I got caught behind these not so seasoned mountain bikers. I knew I had to get in front or risk some kind of injury caused by them. Right off the bat, people were stopping abruptly and blocking the trail. I just was done with all that, so I just hopped off and started running around them. I didnt get back on until I had cleared most of the barney train.

chaos!Finally I got a little respite and my legs had warmed up properly--I was now cruising pretty well. I was still passing riders and never got passed up. We were about to finish up the first loop when disaster struck. I was riding up on this one guy and was about to pass when he just stopped and blocked any of the semi-good lines (I say semi because every line had a slippery boulder or two that you had to negotiate). So I took a terrible line and thats when it happened. I started rolling away from the chaos when I heard "hissssssss"! No! I got off to inspect the leak and I thought it was a slow one so I tried to keep going. No go. Tire was too flat to ride through that crap. So I tried for a quick tube change. No go either. Of course this is the one time the tire will not easily come off the rim. It was so caked with mud it was hard for me to get a good grip. Finally I get it off, switch the tube and start airing up with the CO2. Unfortunately, Ive been having problems with this particular CO2 gun and it would continue that day. Not all the CO2 was going in the tube for some reason and after two cartridges the tire was still barely inflated. Frick!

sketchy rocksFunny how the first several good riders who just passed me asked if I needed anything and at that time I didnt. Now I did and I was now asking the sprint coursers for CO2 (mind you, they were pretty much done with their bike) and amazingly none of them had anything to spare. Assholes. So I just ran the bike out there, hoping I would find something at the road. It was about another half mile until I got to the road and thankfully I was able to get some air. I was so pissed at this time that I went balls out on the 2nd lap. I knew Id be able to make up some time, but I would then suffer on the run. Didnt matter--had to try anyway. So I zoomed pass about 5 or 10 riders along the way. This time I was not so nice. I just took the track. Then, again, just as I was about to finish the bike leg, a girl just stops in the middle of the trail! WTF?! She admitted her fault, so it was okay, I guess. I tried to mash hard along the road back to TA, but my legs were now toast from the catching up.

agony!I transitioned quickly and actually I think I was 2nd fastest in my age group for T2. I was running pretty well at first--I think my legs were glad to be off those rocks. But I started to tighten up a bit. That girl who just stopped in front of me just breezed by--obviously she was a runner! I slowed down a little to get my legs back. The first part of the trail was flat, but once we got to the hills my legs were screaming for mercy. I gave them none--I knew I couldnt stop now. I was getting passed by two or so runners, but I knew if I could just keep a steady pace I would still have a good time. My second run lap was definitely slower than the first, but I kept moving, never stopping once. Then I could hear the finish coming up, so I put out whatever I had left, which wasnt much. It was a sufferfest the last 10th of a mile, but I knew I would be happy that I did push it. Up the hill and there was the finishing straight! I was so relieved that I put my hands up and actually smiled for once. Done.

DONE!I think I wasted a whole 10mins with the tire incident and probably wouldnt have slowed down so much on the run if I wasnt playing catchup, but still I felt good to finish my first open water swim tri! Woohoo! Me and my bike were battered and bruised, but I was so happy. Raymund had a little incident with some cacti on the bike, so that slowed him down quite a bit, but still he stuck with it too and finished what he started. Considering a month ago XTERRA was not even a smidgen of thought in my mind, to have now completed it has transformed my thought process. I'm about to do the Combat Triathlon this coming weekend and now I think a pool swim just wont cut it for me. Amazingly, now I'm seeking out open water swims...well, with wetsuits allowed, that is...for now.

XTERRA, bitches!We stayed a bit for the post-race festivities, but I was ready to go after I had finished my celebratory beer. We headed back to Houston through Luling, hoping to get some barbecue, but apparently all stores are closed on Sundays there--it was 3pm in the afternoon! So we settled on a DQ on the way, which was still good since we were able to have blizzards. Yum! So that was my XTERRA experience...so who's up for an Ironman?! ;)

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Going to Camp and Going Stag

TAAlright, now with the first Terra Firma sprint of the season. I headed out to Camp Longhorn that Friday right from work. I must have hit all possible tollways on the way there: BW8, Katy, 130, 45, 183...you're welcome, state of Texas. I shouldnt complain too much because I made great time and got to the camp at about 6pm and was able to catch Scottie and Bobby right before they were planning to preride the bike course. As soon as I got there, I changed into shorts and we were off.

setting upThe first section of trail wasnt too bad, pretty straight, just very gravelly. There were sharp corners that I knew we would need to be careful with during the race. Then came the enormous downhill on the way to Inks Lake! I got up to about 40 and could have gone even faster! Apparently the county sheriffs are generous with tickets down this hill, even for bikers, so we had to check our speed, even during the race! At the bottom of the hill came the technical part.

HART/Ikes VenganceIt really wasnt that technical, but I knew that once you added about 100 other racers, progress would slow to a crawl. Since it was a preride we took it easy and walked many of the sections. In reality, we would probably walk as much during the race because of traffic jams and just plain ol playing safe. We eventually made it down to the water where the sevys were already staged. After hanging for a few minutes, we headed back and humped it back up that monstrous hill. I knew this would be a good attack point during the race...

chomping at bitAfter changing back into civilian clothes, we had dinner with the race staff at the Maxican in Burnet. This was a nice, quaint restaurant inside an actual house. The staff was really nice, especially this one elderly lady that gave everyone backrubs! She was hilarious--I thought I was special when she gave me 2 backrubs...then she went over to Bobby too...grrr. JK. Anyway, the food was pretty good. We then headed back to the camp where we bunked up summer camp style and went to bed pretty early. Except my race partner had volunteer duties with TF, so she had to stay up a bit later. I didnt mind since I knew this was her commitment. I just tried to sleep, but as people may know, I rarely get good sleep the day before a race, especially in a bunkbed.

we're off!Alarm goes off at 5am. The race support staff tells us to go back to bed, but I like getting up early to get a head start since I always am rushing last minute...ok, I dont LIKE getting up early, I HAVE TO get up early. I have my quick breakfast, get dressed, and then head over to set up TA. It has been so long since I have set up a sprint TA. It was coming back to me slowly. We saw a lot of familiar faces and that made it a lot more fun and relaxing for me. Scottie, on the other hand, was still helping with registration and rushing all over the place, so I'm sure she was a bundle of nerves that morning. It would be my job to be the voice of reason and calm, which I tried to be. TA was set up in no time and from the recon the day before, I set up a bike tow last minute for the monster hill. Also, we were told that we would need to bike to the boat put in with our sevy seats, so I rigged up slings for those too. I was suprisingly ready ahead of time!

cleaning trailWe had the usual prerace meeting and then was told to be ready in 15min for the first run. It was supposed to be just a half mile run before hitting the bikes, but we still opted to use running shoes. Shaun Bain went for the super quick transition route and already had bike helmets and shoes on. I just didnt want to risk it. So we lined up near transition and after a few minutes of standing around, the cannon abruptly fires and we're off! Everyone was out of their minds--they were off to sub 6-minute miles! Okay, so they say its about a half of a mile, but I figure it will probably be a bit longer, so we stay at a slower pace (in fact it was about .7 miles). I could see that Scottie had done an energy dump by being so nervous at the start, so I gave her a tow just to keep us in the pack. We were doing fine as we started to pass all the teams that had already gone out too fast, in the first half mile of the race. In no time we were back to transition for the bikes.

paddling to our HART's contentThis is where it would have been good to be in our bike gear already--teams were flying out of there before us as we put on shoes, helmets, and backpacks. This got us caught behind the barneys and I knew we needed to get in front of them before the singletrack. We were doing alright, but we still needed to pass some of these yahoos washing out on the gravel on the staightaways--one girl bit it really hard and had bloody knees and had broken something...she was in real bad shape. So I decided to put on a tow just to move a bit faster. We of course unclipped as soon as we hit the downhill--only 37mph as I didnt want to get a ticket! We were now to the singletrack and it was a total clusterf*@$ of a bottleneck. We slowly worked our way past some teams. I was getting frustrated as people were going 3mph on easy track, so I started barking at them for encouragement. After this excruciating section, we finally make it to the water to transition to boats.

out of the waterWe quickly get in the sevy and start paddling. We were passing teams and keeping up with the strong male teams, so I felt confident. As we rounded a buoy and headed to the other side for the trail run, I saw Jason and Tara and knew then that we were indeed doing pretty well. Slow and steady. As we got close to beaching the boats, we caught up with the only other HART team at the race, Clark Ferley and Geoff. We started off the run with a mandatory walk across the boat docks and then off to singletrack. It was fine for the first half mile but then the trail pitched up. I had started towing at this point to keep Scottie fresh for the finish. We were still doing really well despite the towing--we were still passing up teams and even keeping up with Clark and Geoff!

sprint to the finish!More trails and more uphills, then the turnaround point where we had to pick up a poker chip to assure that we completed the full course. At this point, apparently other teams were shortcutting and taking the road instead of the marked trail--shame on them. Regardless, we chugged along to our first special test, identify what's in the cage. Mr. Ali Gator (get it--haha!) and we dropped our poker chip here. Next special test was an under and over bar obstacle. Third was a wheelbarrel through sand. Then the next was the test I was expecting from studying race reports--the rings above water. I knew not to waste energy trying to take all the rings to the other side, so I touched the mandatory 2 rings then dropped straight down into the water. I didnt think I was going to resurface--I went really deep! To make it worse, we were wearing those crappy life vests and my pack had filled with water, so swimming was a chore. We eventually made it to the other side and it was back to the sevys for the paddle back straight to the other side.

6th!The paddle back was uneventful as it was a straight shot back to our bikes. We beached, transitioned to bikes and mashed back through the technical trail. We were still having to work our way through teams even though we have been spread out by now. Scottie had a nasty crash along the way, so we had to play it safe until we got back to the straight section. Then came the monster hill climb. We latched up the tow and I mashed as hard as I could. We passed about 3 or 4 teams here which was critical! I was still feeling pretty good, so I didnt mind towing all the way back. But before we could head back to TA, there was a detour to yet another special test. We had to get off our bikes and do a short trail run to recover a poker chip. The downhill was fine, but hiking back up started to burn the hammies and calves! We made it back to the bikes and it was time to mash back to TA.

sweet lake house!We passed another 2 or 3 teams here and then hit TA. We were not done yet. We had to run to a little fun lap pool and wade our way around and then finish. Not bad--it actually felt really nice to take a dip in the cold water. We treaded through, climbed out and sprinted to the finish. Done! We were just 2 minutes behind Tara and Jason and missed the top 5 by that much as well. That was slightly disappointing, but still considering we had never raced together and didnt know how we would do and Scottie not feeling well due to her prior sickness, I think we did great! We stayed a little while for lunch and awards, but I had to leave quickly after to join the boys in Austin for Jonathan's stag party.

we couldn't afford a stripper...Jason wanted to tag along, but could only stay long enough to say hi and had to head back to Houston right after that. We drove down to Austin to the lake house they rented. It was a bit hard to find because the directions from Google sucked, but we eventually found it. The house was deserted as they were out on the boat and Eric, Tucker, and Tommy were at a lacrosse game. This house was amazing! It was huge and right off the water--it even had another separate boat house that was literally on the water. They had obviously partied it up the night before just from the random alcoholic paraphanalia strewn about. It would be a while before Jonathan and the rest of the crew would make it back off the water, so Jason had to leave.

rockin' out!They eventually made it back, so we caught up, got dressed and took a hired van back into town to spend the evening causing mayhem. It was a really fun time. There were whale tails, Jonathan's date with Leslie, the "champagne room", and the hiphophippopotamus...good times! We got back to the lake house at a reasonable time and most of us just crashed right away. I had to get back to Houston to get some chores finished up so I left early next morning. Still, good times, good times. Just remember not to "poke the sleeping bear" --Rex the Wonderhorse.

sleeping bear...So back to reality and Houston. I was pretty spent so I was glad to be back home to recoup. Heck, XTERRA was coming up the next weekend, so I had a short window of recovery. That report is next...until then, beer pong like a champion today!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Open Water Swim

im smiling, for now...So continuing on with the week of April 27th, it was HART training on Tuesday and Thursday, lunch swim on Friday, and biking the f-loop on Wednesday. I had planned to ride my tri bike that day, but some really horrible sound was coming from my front derailleur and I ended up riding back home and taking the Masi out. But that meant switching out pedals, seat packs, bottle cages, etc. Lets just say I really needed a bike ride after all that!

warship = safety boat While all this training was going on, in the background noise was a nagging voice called Ray-Ray. For the past couple of years now he has been hounding me about doing half irons and xterras. But I was so afraid of drowning that I always backed out of any flaky commitments I gave him. Finally, the biggest opening for me came that week, 2 weeks before XTERRA Dirty at Canyon Lake. Scottie has been volunteering for Elena (the race director) and had race credits piled up. So she agreed to give me her credit so I could race. No excuse now. So I told Raymund that I would race, but I would need to do an open water swim before I decided if I would do the half or full XTERRA. He agreed and we headed off to Twin Lakes that Sunday.

contemplating my first ows To make it a full outing, Scottie also came so that we could get some sevy training before Camp Longhorn next weekend. My other stipulation was that the Warship would need to be there too with his kayak to make sure I didn't drown. He actually brought a friend with him who was a strong swimmer too. I was very apprehensive at first and wanted to just swim to the first buoy and back (probably just 100m), but Raymund gave me that disappointed look that he’s good at and said we needed at least to do the whole loop (probably around 400m). Since Warship was there, I said what the heck. Raymund had already started and I finally took the plunge.

paddling with warship coaching The first 100m was fine and I felt like I was gliding like a fish! Then came the longer stretch to the next buoy and for some reason I lost my rhythm and started to breathe abnormally. I was panicking. I luckily regained composure and continued on. No other incidents occurred after that and I finished one lap. Raymund was still going as he was doing 2. I recapped the experience with the Warship and actually felt a rush! I was actually somewhat excited to take another loop, so I did. This time I followed right behind Raymund to try drafting. Obviously I wasn't comfortable with that yet, with all the bubbles in my face, so that lasted about 100m or so, then I just went off on my own.  2nd lap was a lot more relaxed and I felt really good! That’s when I decided that I would do the full. Yes, this was momentous!

bugs were harmed in this photo We followed the swim practice with some sevy time. Scottie and I headed out in the yellow rubber duckie and did a few laps while Warship was barking orders from the bank. Obviously we still needed to get used to each other in the boat, but I felt like we were doing alright—no spinning at all! So we did about 3 or 4 loops and then I had to call it because Mo and I were going to a crawfish boil at UH. This was my first crawfish boil in a LONG time…in fact, I think the last one I went to was actually at Notre Dame for the LSU game! It was a definite hoot watching everyone put down tons of mudbugs! We eventually found out that SES had a tent, so we went over and mingled for a bit and then called it a day. It was a very productive weekend…we even got some invite construction knocked out!

Mo doin' work! I wanted to get more practice in before XTERRA so we agreed to hit Twin Lakes a few more times. The next week was HART on Monday and Tuesday (no Thursday because of the sprint race on Saturday), lunch swim on Tuesday, and Twin Lakes swim on Wednesday. This time it was just Raymund, Warship, and me. Figuring I needed to get used to longer stretches of swimming, we decided to do two loops continuous this time. I also tried to track the distance of the loop using my GPS and tips from DC Rainmaker’s blog. Again, I felt relaxed and the two loops weren't that bad at all! Unfortunately, the GPS didn't pick up a signal while swimming, probably because I roll to breathe every cycle. I wanted to try one more time, this time putting the GPS underneath my swim cap, exactly how DC Rainmaker suggested. It read the first 100m, but then cut out again. I’ll just have to head out with the kayak next time and measure it for sure.

Alright, I will stop here and leave Camp Longhorn for the next blog. Until then, kick hard!

Monday, May 18, 2009

XTERRA Dirty Suunto T6 Log

* PODS not used due to race rigors
** Memory Belt data used due to water activities
*** Actual race start at around 2:13 in log
**** ~6-10min loss due to flat at end of first lap (dip in signal at about 3:20)

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Let the Races Begin

driving up to Lake GeorgetownSo continuing on with my recap, the week after the training camp was swims on Tuesday and Friday, HART on Tuesday and Thursday, a trail run on Saturday, and then a road bike on Sunday with the Warship and Frank the Tank. It was MS-150 weekend and with the torrential downpour on Friday and Saturday, they actually had to cancel day 1 of the event! I dont think they ever had to do that, but it was a wise decision. Before all the rain, I was planning to join Rick et al up at Rocky Hill Ranch for some trail running, but the place was so flooded that they had to cancel the race. So instead I just ran in town for 12 miles. The park was deserted and was actually enjoyable to run without having to dodge other runners.

resting up at the TuckersSunday we decided to ride the usual Terry Hershey route, maybe ending up with 50-60 miles. But the rains had even affected the paved route. I took my tri bike to get more saddle time in it, but it definitely was not the right weapon for this fight. Right from the start, we had to tread lightly through nasty mud on the pavement and this was pretty much the experience all through the ride over to the reservoir. Once we got to the reservoir, we were able to let loose a bit and mash around the levy. But once we were to the other side, we were hindered again, this time with actuall flooding. Its a reservoir...what was I expecting? So the two backed off and let me explore the deepening water (how do I always get volunteered?!) At first it was fine, but the water was getting up to our bottom brackets. I saw a few water moccasins, which made me extra careful not to fall of my bike! Finally, the water just was too deep, so we had to turn around. Nature wins again! No matter, we were still able to get 35 miles in despite the crappy conditions.

Rick gives the business at check inThe week after that was HART on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday, and swimming on Tuesday. We had lighter training this week because the Lake Georgetown Sprint was this weekend. I was racing with Caroline, but we were in essence racing as a 4 person team, staying with Rick and Eric during the race. We drove off west Friday afternoon and were very fortunate to be able to stay at the Tuckers house in Marble Falls. Still, it was a long drive, so we had to entertain ourselves somehow. This manifested itself as trying to figure out the right pronunciation of "Bealls". Ive never been to a Bealls or know what they sell, but I was pretty sure it was pronounced like Ally McBeal. While Caroline agreed, Eric was positive it was like "bells." We went back and forth until we just started calling all the Bealls stores across the country...yes, country. The funniest part was that since we were in the middle of nowhere cell reception was horrible and whenever the salesperson would pick up on the other side, right as they were saying Bealls, the voice would cut out, without fail! We called about 10 or so stores and finally we were getting mostly "bells" pronounciation. We did call Nevada and they pronounced it my way, so we started hypothesising a North vs. South pronunciation. Regardless, we gave it Eric.

blowin up the tubeLater that night we went to Bella Serra, a little authentic italian restaurant. As we were walking in, Eric looks at his phone to check messages and sees all these strange phone numbers...then he quickly remembers the Bealls incident. Caroline and I look at his phone and just crack up! Hilarious! So we sit down and eat and the service is really good and they were really friendly. We then head back to the Tucker house and get some shut eye.

fleet of boatsNext morning was the drive to Russell Park. Despite being tailed through Liberty Hill by a cop, we get to the park without incident. We quickly set up transition and start pumping up our inflatable tubes...for some special test to come. Raymund and Tommy and Monica and Vera were the only other HART teams there. After prerace briefing, we donned our inflatable tubes ready to run for the first leg. Our sealed instructions were handed to us and a few seconds later we started the race. The first leg was a series of special tests at 3 CPs. You could get them in any order, but pretty much everyone got them in numerical order. CP1 was a short jaunt down near the entrance of the bike trail. Here we had to balance a golf ball with a contraption made out of string and paper. Caroline busted this one out quickly, but we had to wait a bit for Rick and Eric.

pre-raceNext was a run down to the water where we were going to use our tubes. Basically, we had to swim out to a kayak and retrieve a poker chip in able to punch CP2. We basically just dragged the tube with us. Pretty uneventful, but the cold water was sure nice! Last CP of the leg was a easter egg hunt. After a short scurry we found a littered mess of eggs and quickly handed it in for the CP3 punch. We now just bushwhacked back to TA for our next set of instructions.

and were swimming!Next was the paddle, again in any order. We again went in order. CP4 was the furthest in a little cove. We were paddling fine despite a slight sidewind. As we were entering the cove, we saw the front teams Vignette et al coming back from the point. The clue was tree in water, so we scanned all the submerged trees. We saw nothing. After wasting precious minutes, we realize that the CP is also submerged, underwater! Uggh. WTF. I really hope this was an accidental break of the branch--how are you supposed to know that the CP is under water?!? Anyway, that royally pissed me off. After regaining my composure, we paddled back around to get the next batch of CPs. Earlier, we saw Tommy and Raymund portaging over a huge hill and thought that was kinda crazy. It didnt quite work out for them--as we got to the other side, we saw them putting back into the water and now they were behind us.

paddling to our HARTs contentWe speedily paddled to the next cover where CP5 was right on the water. Punched. CP6 was next to a pond up the hill. Punched. CP7 was on the other side of the hill, down a draw. This one was a bit farther than I thought and slowed us down a bit, but we eventually found it. I didnt realize it, but the trail right above us could take us pretty much straight back to the boats, but we instead bushwhacked back. Raymund and Tommy took the trail and made some time on us, but we were still relatively in a dead heat. Back at the put in, we had to drag our boats back up the hill--we had Weihan's tandem, so that was no easy feat. Somehow we got it back up the jagged hillside and were ready for the next leg.

prepping for the bike legThis would turn out to be our last leg. We had to bike to CP8 all the way to the western edge of the lake. The first part of this trail was a big jagged, so we took our time as not to lose any skin or break any bones. Not all of us were feeling strong on this leg, so despite the chance to mash it on the relatively flat jeep road on the way to CP8, we took an easier pace. Once we got to CP8, it was another special test. Here we had to fill a bucket of water with a pvc pipe with no caps on the end and two holes drilled in the side, so teamwork was important here. We did it in quick fashion and were handed another set of instructions and another map. We had a short trek to finish before biking back to TA. Unfortunately, despite Rick's recommendation of bringing shoes with, we had to run in our bike shoes. This was a bit uncomfortable, but I had done this a couple times before so it didnt bother me much.

doneCP9 was between two lakes, no prob. CP10 was down a draw a bit. Punched. The only thing about this leg was the scale of the map was different (1:10,000) and I didnt realize it until heading to CP10 and getting there a lot quicker than I thought. After readjusting to the new scale, we set off to the final CP11. I did a pace count and it seemed to match the terrain quite well, so we cut in to find a draw and fenceline. As I walked closer to the hillside I was quickly cut down by something. I swear I had no time to react--I was instantly on my face! I look back and it was barbed wire. Thankfully I wasnt hurt, just stunned. This must have knocked all the navigation sense out of me as we proceeded to scurry all over the place without a definite plan. Sadly, we were right there at the correct draw, but we drifted further east, too far. We had caught up to Tommy and Raymund here and while examining the maps, we realized we were too far. Thats when I knew where the CP was and that we had made a huge mistake. Sure enough, as we were heading back to where we started, we saw a bunch of teams flooding out of the draw. Ugh. We had wasted so much time now that I knew we were out of all contention. Oh well, thats what you get when you dont race for months.

Vicious Vera Destroys CompetitionWe ride back, pretty uneventfully. Caroline was feeling extra strong by the time we got back to Russell Park and while I was willing to wait for Rick and Eric, she said that they knew how to find their way back. So we mashed the final stretch of pavement back to the finish, going almost 30mph! It was a pretty anticlimactic finish as we knew we could have done a lot better. Still it was a great day for a race and I had a lot of fun hanging with the gang. Not racing since the Dave Boyd AR has definitely rejuvinated my excitement for racing. On a brighter note, Vera and Monica captured the womens division for the series! Woohoo!

post-race chillinSo we hung out a bit longer, went over to Dos Salsas (spanish for Two Salsas) for lunch and then sped back to Houston to enjoy the rest of the weekend weather. Alright, thats going to be it for now as I dont want to risk this entry to be of epic proportions. I promise, next blog will be about my first open water swim experience and my first true sprint race in about 2 years! Until then, mash it if you got it!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Camp Longhorn Sprint AR Suunto T6 Log

* events:
- 0.68mi run
- 5.05mi bike
- 0.88mi paddle
- 3.07mi run
- 0.38mi paddle
- 3.92mi bike
- 0.24mi run
- 1.59mi bike
- 0.22mi run

Total = 16.03mi

** Interestingly, did not hit TE of 4 in sprint conditions, despite towing duties

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Domers and HART Training Camp


So its been yet another while since I’ve posted a blog, so I thought I’d take this opportunity to catch up. Also, I’m trying to use Windows Live Writer to see if it makes blogging a bit more easier and fun.

the ladies shopping, of courseThe week after TdH was pretty pedestrian. HART training on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday, swimming on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday, trail run on Saturday, and mountain biking on Sunday. I had packed in a full week because Amy, fellow Domer, was coming into town next week and I would not get any exercise in. I was mostly right—I got to sneak a work out in here and there. That week I went to HART training on Tuesday, swam on Wednesday and Thursday, and rode my bike on Friday and Sunday.

warm upAmy came in that Thursday and it was  great seeing her. We quickly caught up and Mo couldn't wait to bounce wedding ideas off of her. She got into town late that evening, so we let he get to bed relatively early to rest up. Next day was a whirlwind of a time as I barely remember any of it. I remember Taco Milagro, margaritas, dancing the merengue and salsa, Whitney’s flurry of punches and me having to go home before another round of clubs. Needless to say, nothing got done on Saturday.

rope testThe next few days were similar, going out for drinks and entertaining, until she left on Tuesday. Thankfully we both survived the visit—it was certainly tame compared to our days at ND! So it  was back to business with HART training on Tuesday and Thursday, swimming on Monday and Wednesday, track intervals on Wednesday, biking on Friday and Sunday.

That Saturday was the HART Sprint AR training camp up at Lake Livingston SP. I had agreed to help Rick, so I headed up that morning and quickly he told me and Tommy to set up a Tyrolean traverse somewhere in the park. Uh, ok. I had no idea how to set one of those up, but I figured Tommy did and I would be able to help him out. After the camp had started and Rick led them off for a warm up run, we rolled out on our bikes to find a spot. It wasn't that hard as we already had a place in mind. When we arrived, there were kids trying to ride up the hill in they bmx bikes, but we didn't pay them much attention and went ahead with the setup.

bikingTommy had set up a great pulley system to get the  lines really taut. After about a half hour of set up, it was time to test the rig. I of course deferred to Tommy to have first crack at it since he set up the rope. There were no issues and I followed him down the rope—it was perfect. Eventually, after they paddled the sevys, Rick and the campers made it over to the set up and one by one they traverse the draw and it was a lot of fun.

out and in boatThey ran back to TA a for some navigation training which I was supposed to help out with, so I quickly helped out Tommy and then rode back. It was a pretty laid back nav session and we followed it up with a practical field exercise to find 3 or 4 checkpoints. I rode along on bike to make sure no one got too far off course.

getting bearings After that, they did a mock sprint race while the rest of us started cooking the hot dogs. It was certainly a great day to have a training camp—heck the usually choppy Lake Livingston was eerily calm for the whole session! After all teams finished up, we sat for lunch and then passed out certificates of completion—no one quit, which is great! It was a good experience to interact with the newbies and feel their fresh enthusiasm for AR.

Since I didnt get to train with the group that day, I went on a long bike ride the next day in town. With that, I’m gonna stop this blog and continue later with the next 3 or 4 weeks. I still have to recap Lake Georgetown, my first open water swim, and the first sprint race of the TerraFirma series coming up this weekend…and its Jonathan’s stag party weekend over in Austin too! Busy, busy! Until then, mash hard!