So we hadn't exactly gotten off to a smooth start, and I was blaming myself a little. I mean, what was different about this race? Having a girl along. Even though I knew it was silly and didn't really (entirely) think the guys would see it this way, part of me feared they were all thinking this coed experiment was clearly a bad idea. They're never going to want to race with me again...
Despite the negative self-talk, which I kept working to push down (and the numerous grandma jokes that are an inevitable part of being the oldest on the team), I was having a blast. Physically I felt great, and we had all been looking forward to the race for so long that we were determined to savor it.
"Hey Kage, you know where we are?" Luke would ask. "We're racing at LBL."
One of the cool things about an adventure race is that often, no matter how much you may dislike the next mode of transportation (I'm talking to you, paddling), you're ready for the change by the time you get there. LBL was different. Gary, the race director, did a great job of breaking up the different legs. I was never desperate to move on to the next thing. Even so, by the time we rolled into the canoe transition, I was almost glad to be paddling.
It wasn't a particularly quick transition. We all grabbed a little food and changed out of bike shoes. While the guys were assembling their kayak paddles (you were allowed to bring your own paddles but had to carry them throughout the race), I took the opportunity to use the bathroom. I climbed up a hill so I'd be out of sight, but when I got to the top I realized I'd basically just given most of the canoe beach a better view of me...but you know, everyone is busy doing their own thing, so it wasn't a big concern.
I did spend much of the race envious of the guys' ability to pee right off the side of the road (or while walking). Though Bob was kind enough to pick me up my very own Go Girl at Gander Mountain, I wasn't really interested in field testing it in a situation where a misfire would leave me stewing in my own pee for the next 20 hours. I'll make sure and try it out, since I know you're all dying to find out how it works.
|Securing my pack in case we tip|
|Note the cloudy sky|
I think it was on the way to CP11 when I almost flipped the canoe. I had turned to reach into my pack behind me for a drink, and I don't know if a wave hit us or I leaned too far or what, but the canoe tipped so far that the side was at water level. Somehow we managed not to go in. "WHAT was that?!?" Luke asked, clearly wondering how the hell he let himself get stuck in a canoe with someone who can't even sit right.
|Sit still, will ya??|
|Verrrry cautiously turning around for the picture|
We had a short bike ride to the next trekking section, a 13-point rogaine that looked difficult to say the least. The suspicion was confirmed when, despite our very slow start, we saw four of the top 5 teams either while we were at transition or in the woods. "How was it?" one of the guys asked Wedali (eventual 3rd place finishers) as they came in from the trek.
We all got something to eat and drink and took the opportunity to refill water bottles and packs. I changed from my bike shorts into trekking shorts in the hopes of avoiding chafing, using Casey as my wall to change behind.
At this point, it was around 4:30-5. There was a 9:00 cut-off for this section of the race. Given the difficulty the elite teams were having, not to mention our own struggles, we discussed going out for three CPs and then re-evaluating. The general feeling was that we might be better banking time for later legs rather than taking every possible minute on the rogaine.
We had a terrible time finding the first CP we went after. Luke was really struggling with the map, and we ended up in the wrong area. Watching as the guys checked the directions of reentrants and spurs to help confirm we weren't where we thought we were was a great learning experience for me. At the same time, I felt a little bad because I was absolutely no help. I'd like to be able to offer more than a sunny disposition.
|This is what we think of CPs that play hard to get.|
|Making our own trail, which was fun until about 3/4 of the way through when I started wondering about snakes.|
But night was falling, I was closing in on my longest race time to date, and we still had a long way to go.
To be continued...(part 3)