Saturday, July 12, 2008

1st Place at Scout 12 Hour Adventure Race

Team along with support crew and Christian's daughter.

We (Team overcame some nav miscues and a broken wheel skewer to cross the finish line in 1st place. Our winning time was approximately 5hrs30 minutes.

The race headquarters was the historic Camp Josepho Boy Scout in the Topanga State Park. We started at 4am on Saturday with a tricky 4-checkpoint orienteering course, then launched into a bike ride up the backbone trail to the "Hub".

From the Hub we put on our running shoes and hit CPs at Trippett, Musch, Eagle Rock, and other Backbone trail spots, taking a few navigation risks. Race organizer Jared did a great job of incorporating some route choices into the course. Go the long way with less climbing? Go the short way up a long, steep hill? It wasn't always obvious.

During this time we traded the lead with friends Team Aetna, as well as a Boy Scout team (apparently very fit!) who live nearby and train exclusively on the course. All three of our teams took different routes to reach CP 5, near Trippet. Interestingly, we all arrived at CP 5 at exactly the same time! The race for 1st was on...

Back to the bikes we left at the Hub, it was a fast and furious ride back to the Finish line, riding in 1st place. We were actually riding sections of the Backbone we had ridden once or twice per week all winter long. It was a nice reward for those cold, often wet Thursday night rides!

With just 2 miles before the finish line, our teammate Jeff Vicario's front skewer snapped, forcing him to carry his bike or run next to it all the way to the finish. Unfortunately, a good portion of the last two miles were some technical and narrow singletrack on tight, rutted switchbacks, which made that difficult. Jeff sucked it up and we were able to reach the finish with some good separation over 2nd place, who we could have sworn was right behind us! Apparently our knowledge of the trail paid off as a few of the turns and CPs were not so obvious.

This race was extremely well designed and thoughtfully organized by a highly motivated all-volunteer staff. The purpose of the Scout Adventure Race is to allow Boy Scouts, under the age of 18, to participate in a logistically and economically feasible real adventure race, mixing it up with adult teams. Some teams compete against the course, just to finish a new type of endurance and navigational challenge. Others have the goal of winning the overall title, beating all the adult teams.

Something as simple as a 12 hour adventure race can be a life-changing experience for many teenagers. When I was growing up, that might have been doing my first triathlon at age 15, running cross country and getting my ass kicked, or maybe getting lost on long bike rides, 2 or 3 hours away from home, without any food or water. Those "oh reallly" moments.

One of my favorite quotes by Mark Allen, the greatest triathlete of all time, is

"We are enriched by life's tough moments. Especially those of our own choosing".


That makes it 5 wins in a row in adventure races for me (knocking on wood), hopefully I can keep that streak going with my teammates at Gorge Games 24hr in Hood River, Oregon next weekend! We'll need a flawless race and some good luck to make that happen. With Mari recovering from Primal Quest and Glenn recovering from a falling rock injury to his quadriceps, we are going to need some serious luck!

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