Sunday, May 06, 2012
Missing River Adventure Race
3 years ago I went on a camping trip an ended up at O'Leno State Park. I went for a run in the trails around the park and had the first idea of the Missing River Adventure Race. What really intrigued me about the place was the river sections that simply disappeared into the group, just to appear later at the "rise". A river that alternated between above and below ground seemed like a great idea for an adventure race. After talking to the park rangers who enthusiastically embraced the idea of an adventure race - the Missing River AR was born. The first 2 times the race was offered I had other commitments, but this time I was able to make it.
Team Florida Xtreme 2 was Ron Eaglin, Erik Wise, Jeanette Ciesla, and Junos Reed. This was going to be an interesting race as we would also have Florida Xtreme 1 and 3 racing along with a lot of other great teams. A cool part of the race was that we would start with the sport course trek and the sport course bike legs.
We started with the run and blew through the run leg in 32 minutes coming in just behind FLX3 and Paw Pawz. We lost the lead at CP5 where we overshot by about 200 meters, but quickly came back around. The mapped "wetland" was actually a series of connected sinks - and it took us a while to figure this out. Once we did we quickly moved to the most southeast of the sinks and found the flag.
We transitioned very quickly to bikes an the bike course was essentially uneventful, though we did have a lot of chunking through sand. We biked well, but still were 6 minutes behind Florida Xtreme 1 when we got to the boats. We proved to be a strong paddling team - and finished the paddle in 1:43 and made it back to the TA feeling strong.
This is the map as I marked it before the race. Note that I measured and marked the locations of CP24 and CP23 given the bearing and distance information from CP22. The route choice was tricky, had it not been for CP21, we would have gone from CP25 along the faint trail and done them 23 - 22 - 24. Instead we went north from CP25 to CP24 - CP22 - CP23.
We elected to do the elite trek first, except for the one long course bearing bushwack section the trek was pretty straightforward. This sections was not. I had preplotted the 2 points on my map - and we used all available clues to find these. The spur was very subtle and the bushwhack forced us off our bearing. In this section we saw one rattlesnake, and entire family of turkey, a sleeping baby deer - it was wildlife central. To fin CP25 we followed the trail north and just followed the ridge (contours) to the control. We knew we had overshot the CP22 - but had to get to the wetland boundary on the south side of the spur to retrace our steps back to it. That worked and we found it. We did a reverse bearing to CP23 - just missing it and also missing the faint trail. We bailed out to the road, and went to the waypoint WP1 where we were able to follow the faint (nonexistent except for ribbons) to the control. We lost a little time, but not as much as most teams.
The last bike ride was punishing with lots of sand. Erik alternated towing Jeanette and Junos. Junos was suffering from some severe heat issues, but when we got to CP28 we were able to immerse him in the river which helped a lot. We had a small issue with a flat tire about 3 miles from the finish - we were able to change it in about 5 minutes (usually takes us 3) In the end we came in 2nd in a great race
Results are at http://pangeaadventureracing.com/event-details/events/2012-missing-river-ar