The 2009 Wild and Wonderful race was another excellent Odyssey event. We fielded 2 and 1/2 teams: Teamhalfwaythere.com, Teamhalfwaythere/RottenCheeseburgers and a combination of myself and Yoga Slackers creating Halfway Yoga. The short version of the race: We prepped, slept, paddled, trekked, biked, orienteered, biked, made a critical cutoff, trekked and finished 3rd.
The long version is a bit more entertaining…
I had been looking forward to this race for over six months. Way back in December, Jeremy signed us up and we put together a 4 person team. Unfortunately, life gets in the way and I did not think I be able to race. So, Nate stepped in and all was well. Just weeks before the race, my wife surprised me and I was back in the game – but without a team! I few phone calls and emails to Mark and Sara of Yoga Slackers, an addition of Luther Papenfus and bingo, we have a rock solid team.
The night before the race we all arrive, check in and plot all 8 points. 8 points? Huh? Yep, there is an orienteering course in the middle. We’ll receive and plot those 15 points at CP3. Additionally, the key time hack for the race is 7:00 am at CP 6. Some backwards planning, and we estimate it will take us 5 1/2 hours to get from CP4 to CP6. So, we plan on leaving CP4 at 1:30 am. We finish packing our stuff, attend the race brief, stage our bikes and packs next to the Odyssey vehicles and rack out. Unfortunately, some racers didn’t have their kit ready so they had to come back before 5 am to drop off their packs. Apparently, they thought since they were awake, we all should be. Lesson learned – camp farther away from the hub of activity! Grrrrr….
Race day. Eat, grab sunglasses, and get on a bus. Knock out a run/swim prologue and start paddling. The water was high and our guide wanted to do well (financial incentive and bragging rights involved), great combo – we hit those rapids head on! A little over an hour later and we were in TA and prepping for our trek. Foot movement for about another hour to CP1 and our bikes. Quick TA and we are gone. Excellent double track and single track. Couple of short climbs, overall great ride. Show up and CP3 in 4th just behind TeamHalfwaythere.com. Top off on water, plot points, quick plan and we are out of there.
Orienteering in and around strip mines is difficult. Huge kudos to Luther and Mark for some great nav. Like everyone else, the movement consisted of a lot of elevation change, scaling and descending small cliffs, and navigating in terrain not always accurately depicted on the maps. After over 12 hours, we ended up with 11 points and came into CP4 almost an hour late.
Very quick TA and we left at 2:31 am. We had 4 1/2 hours to get to CP6. We figured it would be close and if we pulled it off, we were in the top three. Essentially our race was against the clock for the next several hours, with little margin for navigational errors. Thanks again to Mark and Luther, we made it error free seemingly biking uphill the majority of the time. There was a short hike a bike a bit before CP5 just to change things up. We hit our critical intersections, always chose the correct route and and pulled into CP6 at 6:31 am – exactly 4 hours after leaving CP4.
From there some easy trekking to CP7 and then the finish. Through this section the views were incredible, sun was up and we were all in great spirits coming into the finish.
As always, a special thanks to all our sponsors for their assistance. We really couldn’t all compete at this level without your help.
Final results for all of us were: Halfway Yoga 3rd, Halfway Rotten Cheeseburger 5th and Halfwaythere.com 7th in coed elite.
Lastly, thank you to Mark, Sara and Luther. It was great racing together – I look forward to the next time we combine efforts.