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, June 17, 2009

Mooshoo, err, Muleshoe is the Best I Ever Had

Huntsville State ParkSo after the good race we had up in Dallas, it was back to work because we knew the next sprint race over in Austin would be our toughest yet with the bike being almost all singletrack. All of the top competition had really good biking skills and the twistiness of the sweet trails would most likely negate our towing option, but we still pushed at training to give it our best. The week following the race was HART training on Monday and Tuesday, lunch swim on Tuesday, brick workout with Scottie on Thursday, and then we had weekend training up at Huntsville on Sunday.

adventure race training by Rick SandersTraining at Huntsville was a bit more relaxed than usual. We started off with a pseudo classroom session where Rick gave us advice for sprint racing, then he gave us a little time to set up TA before starting the sprint mock race. We started off with a 2+ mile run from the water to the nature center and back. We led the pack and transitioned pretty well to the bike. One problem--Scottie's front tire was flat! Was it because of her preride this morning? No, Rick decides to "randomly" let air out of tires as a special test. Hmm, funny he didnt let air out of either Ray-Ray or EMo's tires, who were the next to come in on the run. Regardless, we tried to pump the tire back up as fast as possible and hop back on the bikes.

mmm, post-training brats!We head up the main park road, which has a pretty nice climb to the trailhead. We grinded up to the top. Then it was into the singletrack. The weather has been so dry that the normally sandy trails were super sandy! We had to concentrate on being "light" on the bikes and surf through the stuff. We did really well through the trails and stayed with Ray-Ray and EMo. Once we got back to the pavement, we mashed back to TA where we proceeded to air up the boat. We quickly get in and start practicing our paddle strokes. Rick comes over to help and tells us to "reach out and grab us some!" We stay out there for about an hour just working on technique then mosey on back to TA for some picnicing fun. Another great day at Huntsville!

Mooshoo BendThe next week was pretty much the same, except a bit easier since it was race week. HART on Monday and Tuesday, spin class on Wednesday, swim on Thursday, and pre-ride on Friday. Scottie got to the race site way before me to help with the race, so she had already pre-ridden the bike course. I hit the trail as soon as Mo and I arrived. It has been so long since I've been to Muleshoe, probably 2 years, but now I remember why I love this trail so much! Plus, the area had a bit of rain the night before so the sand was knocked down a bit, making the turns a bit more sticky and fun! After I get back from my preride, we pack up and head over to Marble Falls for dinner and lodgings.

rubber duckiesSaturday morning, race day. The temps are already in the 80s at around 8am, but thankfully there is a bit of a hazy cloud cover to protect us...but not for long! We get set up pretty quickly, so Mo and I had a bit of dead time before race start. As soon as Scottie is done helping with registration, she gets the rest of her gear together and we listen to pre-race. Scott makes it sweet and simple and in no time we are at the line...we decide to go straight to the front to see what it feels like. We are in front of the iMOAT teams for a moment...it feels great! After a less than stellar Star Spangled Banner by the racers, we are off!

exposed to sun on the final leg of the runWe are busting our butt on the run as we know that the bike will give us trouble. With that in mind, we are staying with the lead pack, which is pretty big at the moment. But we know that some teams will blow out in a second...and they do. Slowly we pass team after team, but the strongest stay constant or even start pulling away. We catch up to this male team that is visibly having team bonding issues. One guy is berating his teammate, yelling at him, telling him to run faster, while at the same time not slowing down to offer a tow. Obviously his teammate did not appreciate this abuse. When the stronger runner did slow down and let him tow, he immediately speeds off in a fury and the towee has finally had enough and pushes his teammate. Hilarious! I'm so glad that we are A LOT better with our communication!

finishing up the paddleSo we finish the run, in front of the squabbling male team, and transition to boats. The AAR masters male team is so eager to smoke everyone on the bike that they forget that the paddle is next and are running their bikes out of TA...we nicely ask, "you guys arent done with the paddle already, are you?!?" They change course. We get in the paddle and are doing well. We round the first buoy neck and neck with a couple of teams. We slowly pass 2 or 3 and are now in the top 10 overall, 5th coed. We are paddling pretty well, but cannot gain much ground on the rest of the leaders. Still, we do as much as we can and finish the 2 mile paddle alongside a couple of male teams.

kickin it on the trailsHere comes the painful leg. We start off nicely with some flat trail, so we mash hard here. But as the singletrack comes, we slow down noticeably. Teams are now passing us, which is completely opposite from the Dallas race where we were passing teams violently! Thankfully the teams passing us were in other categories, but it was still a bit disheartening. Finally, as we crossed the main road into the park, we decide to tow. This actually works for the most part, but I am sure Scottie doesnt like it as much, not having full control on the technical singletrack. Still, she is a super-trooper and we get through the trail system and actually make time on the teams that had just passed us.

5thFinal leg is the special test, where we have to wade through the lake about waist high along a rope. Not too hard, but the muddy bottom definitely slows us down. Once we get out, we agree to sprint as hard as we can. In the process, we pass one team and almost pass another two. Done in just over 2 hours in the blazing heat! As we recoup under some other team's ez-up, we find out that we are 5th coed--not bad considering our not so stellar bike performance. I am happy because we kept pushing regardless. Plus, this put us in 2nd for the series in the coed div...I'll cherish it for these next couple of weeks! After awards, we head back into Austin and have lunch at El Arroyo and then back home to H-town. We have another 2-week break before the next race, so we have time to work on our strategy for Huntsville. So that's what we'll be doing. Until then, mash hard!


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