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"

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!


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