At about 2 am, seven hours into a 24 hour race, I nearly capsized our canoe. This was not a “Oops, we misjudged that” near miss. No, this was me laughing so hard, that the boat was unstable and nearly went over. The 2009 Bushwack 24 hour Adventure Race was one of the most fun races I have ever done. The course was great and the racers I shared the experience with put it over the top.
Several weeks ago, I received a phone call from Ronny of Odyssey Adventure Racing. He planned on racing in Bushwack Adventure’s 24 hour Bushwack race and was interested me joining Hollie and himself. Fast forward a few weeks later and I was knocking out a multi-event training weekend in Roanoke with both of them. The three of us meshed together as a team really well, the training was great (talk about living in a perfect place to train!) and we knew regardless of the official outcome, we were going to have a great race.
Ronnie reached out to through his vast network, and found us our support crew. Thanks again to David and James for all your hard work.
Some map recon, scheming and planning…We were ready.
Race day arrived, and we all made our drive down to Raleigh for the 7 pm start. We linked up, met the support crew and got checked in. This was a Rogaine style race, different CPs had different values. If you couldn’t clear the course, you really needed a good plan for which points you did and didn’t get. However, we only received the points for the first third of the course. We plotted out points, came up with our plan (and back-up plan) based on the information at hand, and were ready to go.
Here is the race:
Prologue, use ariel imagery maps to navigate to a set of nearby ponds. CPs will be in the vicinity of the pond.
Awesome singletrack – essentially a bike-o section on an intricate trail system.
Great lake paddle with a nuclear power plant nearby. The lighting from the facility, coupled with an overcast evening gave a surreal feel to this paddle leg. Lots of points stashed away in various coves. We were having a great time, when the conversation turned to race bibs. Apparently, they want those bibs back after the race. I was laughing as I described how I have accumulated a collection of them from his events. The more we talked the funnier it was. Hollie was laughing, I was howling and we nearly flipped the boat.
More biking followed by river canoeing. This quickly became shallow water canoe racing. For some unknown reason, there was a massive water release downstream just before the race. What should have been several feet of nicely moving water turned into one inch less water than the draft of our Old Town canoe. This was an exercise in getting in and out of the boat quickly and often. We also perfected a “paddle and scoot” drill to get off of the rocks we were just barely hung up on.
Great trek/Orienteering section. There was an O section during the later part of the paddle. Great points, and definitely forcing teams to make decisions. We had already missed one of the early paddle CPs and the ropes section (could be completed along the paddle or at the end). So, Ronny came up with a solid attack plan for the section. We moved quickly, adjusted the plan to grad a few more points and got back the our boats.
More shallow water canoe racing and back to the bikes. Some riding and we were on another trek/O course. Ronny crushed it once again, with Hollie and I as his wingmen working through the woods and picking off points.
The final bike leg to the finish area, a quick trip down to the ropes (crazy high points value) and we were done. Final standings – 3rd in the coed elite and more fun than anyone has a right to have racing.
Hollie and Ronny – thank you for inviting me to join you. We truly made some great memories. To the Bushwack AR crew, great event, epic sections, tons of variety and lots of swag. It was obvious that a lot of time and effort went into the course design and event execution.
To all our sponsors – wow. We couldn’t race at the level we do without your assistance. A special thanks to Spokes, Etc bike shop for getting my wheels essentially rebuilt in a few hours.
See you outside!