|She melts my heart.|
While March weather is notoriously unreliable (as evidence, note the 5ish inches of snow we got yesterday), the Physically Strong Adventure Race otherwise fit the bill. It's an 8-hour, and it's less than three hours away.
Kristy and I committed, and we were all set to sign up as Moms Incredibly Lost in the Forest (Team MILF for short), when my husband raised an objection. He hated the name, totally not getting the joke or not thinking other people would get it. While I thought he was being silly, I also figured that if a guy who is cool with me going out of town on a regular basis with male teammates wants me to change a funny team name, I can respect his opinion. The later addition of Chuck and Patrick made the name obsolete, anyway: we were no longer all moms and no longer likely to be incredibly lost. Now we'll be racing as 100+ Project.
While we were technically limited to three hours, the course was open until 4:30. Interested more in practice than our score, we warned the meet director that we were going to try and clear the course, which would almost certainly mean we'd miss the three-hour cutoff. "Don't worry if we're back late. I promise we'll be in by 4:30."
Gary, who knows me pretty well, replied, "You do realize it's 4:30 PM, right?"
We jogged down the park road in search of our first control, and I promptly took us into the woods too early. Thankfully I caught my mistake pretty quickly and shifted us over to the correct reentrant. Seeing some of the BOR guys further up the hill from us made me question myself, but I stuck to my plan, staying low instead of following them, and we walked right to the first control.
|Kristy punching her first ever control. :)|
Once we got up to the ridge, it was a pretty smooth trip to our attack point. If we were a running team, it was a very runnable area. I bobbled our approach a little and we did a little back and forth in the creek bottom before settling on the correct way to go, but we found the control with little problem. Hurray! Other navigational triumphs were twice following a bearing (basically, connecting the dots and going as the crow flies) between points; I was a little nervous about this after my colossal failure at staying on a bearing at Perfect 10, but both times we went straight to our next point.
It wasn't all smooth sailing, though. While I'd managed to stick with my own plan despite BOR taking a slightly different route to the first control, I let other teams distract me on three other legs. Seeing someone come from a different direction or start their approach earlier than I had intended threw me off, making me question myself and end up off track when I'd been going the right way. My navigation has improved immensely; now I just need to work on confidence and focus.
Kristy mentioned later that she'd been surprised by how little we were actually on trails, but she did a great job. Even though this was her first time following along on a topo map, there were a couple times when she noticed things I didn't; by the end she had a pretty good feel for the map, and I don't think it would take her long to pass me up if she got some practice. Navigation definitely doesn't come easy to me, though I think I've reached the point where I can give good input if there's a question, which has been my goal all along.
We did, indeed, clear the course, and though it took us an extra 45 minutes to do it, Kristy got a good taste of what it's like to be racing for nearly 4 hours in hilly terrain. If I'd had any concerns about her ability to hang in there (I didn't), the Meramec o-meet would have dispelled them.
With trekking experience checked off, the next goal was to get her some time on the bike. Unlike for orienteering, however, the weather did not cooperate. The unseasonably reasonable temperatures this winter mostly left the singletrack unrideable muck, but (semi)thankfully winter decided to make an appearance just before spring hits, leaving us some solid(ly frozen) trails.
Our race is in just under two weeks, and I can't wait. I hope Kristy has as much fun as I think she will. With the team we have, it'll be hard not to. Chuck was my most regular race partner last year; Patrick is my oldest adventure friend, and though I don't think we've ever raced together we've done plenty of training together. I have full confidence that we're going to have a great time.