Saturday, February 6, 2010

Race Report: UCF Adventure Race 2010

Duck Duck Goose is ready to go!
"Duck Duck Goose" before the race

Adventure Racing 101
Adventure Racing 101

high ropes course
high ropes course

Kitzzy about to zip line at end of ropes course
zip line at end of ropes course

getting our barings
getting our barings

check point
check point

carrying the canoe
carrying the canoe

our egg survived the race!
our egg survived the race!

Duck Duck Goose is done!
Duck Duck Goose is done!
This was certainly an adventure! =) It forced me to go outside my comfort zone a bit, but I got through it in one piece. I'm very proud that we finished the entire course with all check points before the cut-off. There was a 4 hour time limit, after which you'd start losing check points. After 4 1/2 hours, you were disqualified. We finished in under 4 hours, and were not last! Yay! :)  (I'll update when official results are posted later next week.)

Pre Race
We had nice weather, cool and no rain, but the wind was fierce. This made everything far more difficult. Many teams were running late, so we got a late start, but that was fine because the sun was out by then. They had a little Adventure Racing 101 session to teach newbies (us) the basics. There are 2 rules in adventure racing: (1) race your own race, aka don't follow other teams who are probably going the wrong way; (2) if you don't have it, you don't need it -- we were required to have a helmet while on the bike, and a life vest while on the canoe. The rest of the gear (map, compas, water) was helpful, but you could still race without them.

Race Details
The race had 4 legs that each of the 40 teams completed in different order to spread out the field: trekking, cycling, challenge course, canoeing. Each leg began at the Reflection Pond, where you got instructions and the team passport for that leg. Following the instructions given, we made our way through the course to various checkpoints where we punched our passport. After we finished each leg, we returned to the Reflection Pond for the next passport. The first leg was assigned at random, then you got to choose the order in which to do the rest. We also had to carry a raw egg (some teams had to carry a water balloon) through the entire race with us, and got 2 minutes deducted off our final time if it was still intact when we finished.

Leg 1 - Trekking
We rode our bikes to the Observatory, dropped them off, and followed some trails to find 5 check points. As soon as we got there, we had to go off-road a bit to the check point station and show them our egg before beginning the trek. I fell off my bike and got all muddy right away, but was able to go on. Doug was not so lucky---a stick got tangled in his bike and broke his derailleur hanger, so he walked the bike back to the car and met us at Leg 2.

This leg was a bit frustrating for me because I can't run as fast as Jason for as long, so I was always trailing behind and he found most of the check points on his own. But I didn't give up and tried to run as much as I could.

Leg 2 - Challenge Ropes Course
After biking back to the Reflection Pond and getting our 2nd passport, we made our way to the ropes course and met up with Doug. This leg consisted of 5 check points, a "gear challenge," and the high ropes course.  We had to complete the "gear challenge" before gaining access to the ropes course.

The gear challenge consisted of our entire team making it across the "water" (marked area on the ground) by only stepping on 5 discs and carrying the egg, which could not come in direct contact with any of us so we had to hold it between 2 pieces of foam. The 5 discs had to always be in contact with one of us, or we'd lose it. We got into the groove quickly and made it through in no time.

We then had to put on a helmet and figure out, without any help from the staff, how to get the harness on and tie the ropes with hooks to it (I don't know all the technical terms). Once we did that, they checked it was done properly and let us onto the ropes course. The first part of the course was a huge cargo net. I started off well, but the higher I went the more anxious I got.

Once I made it to the top of the net, I fell apart. My brain could not comprehend how I could possibly not fall while standing on tiny cables. I froze and had to pull myself together before going on. With the help of my team mates, and hanging onto the ropes for dear life, I made it through the first section.

I was still a bit apprehensive as we moved along to the other 3 sections. However, since I had conquered the first one without dying, I felt more comfortable and confident I could do this. I got through the others 3 sections a bit quicker, mainly because I wanted to get it over with, but not without ample screaming =P Oh yeah, did I mention the ridiculous cross winds that made this even more terrifying? 

The last section was a zip line to lower us to the ground. That was fun and not as scary as it looked. (See video.) We forgot we were in a race for a moment, but quickly got back into it and found the 5 check points with little trouble.

Leg 3 - Biking
Jason and I rode back the Reflection pond and completed this leg without Doug, who walked backed to Lake Claire to wait for us to return to complete the last leg with us. This leg was not very challenging, except that biking into the wind sucked. It seemed that no matter which direction were rode, we had a headwind. After we found the 4 check points, I rode back to Lake Claire to wait with Doug while Jason rode back to the Reflection Pond to retrieve our last passport.

Leg 4 - Canoeing
When Jason got back, we grabbed life vests and 2 paddles, then walked over a bit to pick up the canoe, and the boys carried it to the dock. There was a check point along the trail way, then we had to canoe around Lake Claire for the other 4 check points. The wind was insane, making it very difficult to paddle. The boys paddled, and I manned the map/passport and prayed we wouldn't tip over. After getting all the punches, we had to return the canoe and tie it back up before getting the final punch. Jason returned to the Reflection Pond to drop off our last passport, then return to "cross the finish line" at 12:34 p.m.

After we checked in and showed that our egg was intact, they recorded our finish time, we filled out some feedback forms, got a raffle ticket and a t-shirt, then ate some yummy Qdoba (chicken, beans, salad and chips). We hung around after lunch for the awards and raffle, then headed home.

I had a lot of fun and would consider doing this race again next year, but maybe I'll put together an all girl team. I felt a little bad because I know I was holding Jason back during the race, and he had to work a lot harder than us, but we made it through without killing each other; I call that progress :) So what's next? Stay tuned to find out =P

View more race photos and videos on Flickr.


MarathonChris said...

Sounds like you guys had a pretty good time. I might consider doing that next year :-)

Anonymous said...

This sounds pretty neat! I'd do something like this if I had a team to do it with. Glad you had a good time.

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