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"

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!


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