18 June 2013

Race Report: 2013 Goomna 8hr AR

The Goomna 8hr Adventure Race is put on by the City of Highland Parks & Rec Department. It is actually one of the longest running adventure races in the state - I believe 2013 was its 12th or 13th year - and it's still pretty old-school: paper entries, no real website, and very basic gear list. Alpine Shop has raced in several previous editions of the Goomna and they all have a unique flavor. Over the years, the race has tried to keep all participants on an extremely level playing field, mandating tire dimensions/tread, bike frame type, and banning personal paddles. While that caused some pre-race frustrations for our team, I think overall these rules are a great idea for such a short race because it keeps less-experienced teams from being overwhelmed with gear choices. And as long as the rules are enforced, everyone is dealing with the same equipment, so it's no big deal.

Jeff and I arrive at the Korte Rec Center about 7:30am to set up and get maps. David is just behind us and we receive 1 1:24k USGS map and instructions for the first 8 CPs. There are a few roads marked off-limits and 8 CPs to plot. Normally, we get CP locations with UTM coordinates, but today we get them with distance/bearing information (sorta like plotting Cartesian vs. polar coordinates) ((nerd alert)). It takes a little bit getting used to, but the goal is still the same - plot all 8 CPs as quickly and accurately as possible, and then plan our route. We do this inside the Rec Center and then go back outside to finish setting up our bikes and TA. Our favorite teammate and fan, Carrie, has also arrived and is ready to cheer us on! The bike route is easy enough to plan, but we are really confused about the run section. Mark, the race director, has warned against trespassing on private property, and has said that there is "lots" of private subdivision land around the Rec Center, but none of that is shown on the map. Since most of the teams live in Highland, they all know where the private land is, but we do not, so we bring our map to Mark for clarification. He shows us where the private property is, and also tells about a major unmapped road (again, local teams know this road but we are clueless) that will lead directly into our CP1. And just a few minutes later, the race starts!
Getting crucial information just seconds before the race starts!
RUN 1 (CPs 1-4)
Still a little flustered from the last-minute barrage of information, we take off towards CP1 (one other funny thing, none of the CPs were numbered, so we just assigned our own on the map). The day is going to be hot and windy, but for now all we have to contend with is the wind. As we approach the park-n-ride lot, there is lots of speculation about where exactly the punch is, but pretty soon we see 2 green-shirted volunteers waving at us. It is not often that CPs wave so we run over there and the volunteers punch our passport. Then it's on to CP2, located in a cemetery. There is one team (we start calling them "The Neons") hot on our heels so we make a beeline straight through the gravestones to the back of the cemetery. The clue is "Block 15", and there are numbered signs, but they aren't exactly in order so we run around a little bit before spotting the flag. Once we do, however, Jeff sprints over to punch and we are back on our way, trying to throw The Neons off our tail by asking each other loudly if we've found it. Ha! The Neons are not deterred so we run out of the cemetery to CP3. Our route involves crossing a big highway with a traffic light, but we sprint through the intersection just in time before it turns red. Then we follow the map to a school and the confusing clue "east of hill". Well, there aren't really any hills around here, but there is a dude sitting on some bleachers, with a greenish-looking shirt flapping on the fence behind him, so we run over there to check it out. Turns out, he's CP3! Now we just have one more CP to collect before going back to the Rec Center. This one is "east of creek" so we run south along a wooded creek and through a kid's baseball games. The spectators tell us that other teams have been through this way so we think we're on the right track. After running a little farther than the map shows, we finally spot the CP and I get the honors of punching this one. Then it's a sprint back to the Rec Center and our bikes!
Back at TA after RUN 1.
BIKE 1 (CPs 5-8 with special challenges)
We ride out of TA without catching sight of The Neons. This is good news! One of the biking CPs has a cutoff of 2pm so we decide to go there first. The location turns out to be a building for Core Elite Tumble & Cheer. We go inside and learn there are is a series of challenges that we must complete before getting the punch. First, we have to complete 30 pullups as a team. I am kind of afraid of this since I'm horrible at pullups, but David jumps on the bar and knocks out 14 super fast. Jeff is next to him and knocks out 10. I jump up and barely manage 1 before falling off. Thankfully, David jumps back in and does 5 more. BOOM. Next up, we are instructed to go to a carpeted gym floor. The volunteer there tells us to get into pushup/plank position, and put our toes inside an upside-down frisbee. Then, we have to move across the room on our hands, staying in plank position and dragging our feel behind us (which slide across the carpet thanks to the frisbee). This is hard to explain, and I've looked for a video, but can't find anything. We all have various techniques for accomplishing this, but we get it done quickly. Then, we follow the next volunteer outside to a huge tractor tire. As a team we have to flip it to the edge of the parking lot, and then carry it back. We get this done quickly too and then we are rewarded with the punch! Throughout this challenge, I tried to channel some Border Collie attitude...super excited, super focused, and super positive. It's really fun and we're jazzed as we get back on our bikes.

The route to CP6 is the longest one we've had all day, and it's straight into a strong headwind. Fortunately, after Dirty Kanza, it's going to take an oncoming tornado to dampen my spirits, I shout encouragement as the boys do the majority of the pulling in front. I get super excited to take my turn and accidentally shoot off the front as we are climbing a short hill. They rein me in and we get the paceline rolling again. Pretty soon we're riding into CP6 which the clue is "lake". A volunteer stops us and says we have to swim across the pond and run back in order to get the punch. I am so excited...SWIMMING!!! I love swimming in adventure races. We knew we were going to have a swim challenge so I even brought my swim cap and goggles with me (nerd alert). The volunteer tells us that everyone has to complete the challenge so we all splash into the water and start swimming. Jeff and David each have their own.....special style...but I keep tabs on them and make sure we're all making progress in the right direction. A few minutes later we pop out of the water and run in our socks back to the volunteer. She punches our passport and we get on our bikes to head back north.

The ride north is now aided by a nice tailwind so we take time to stuff our faces with delicious calories. We almost overshoot CP7 because we plotted it about 1/4 mile off the main road, but there are volunteers who flag us down and punch our passport. We keep riding north, back through Highland, and into Silver Lake Park. There are some confusing trails/roads here and we end up taking a sorta long way into CP8. On the way we ride right through CP9, but the race staff won't let us punch until we've visited CP8. Whoops! CP8 is only a few hundred meters down the trail so we ride there and check in properly. The volunteers give us 2 more points to plot (still with distance/bearing information) so we do that hurriedly and then take off running the trails back to CP9.

TRIAD 1 (CPs 9-11 with special challenge)
It's kinda hard to fit this next leg into a single discipline category so I'll just call it a "triad" like in the old-old-school Wild Onion races (when 1 teammate scootered, 1 teammate rode a bike, and 1 teammate used rollerblades). We arrive at CP9 and the race staff tell us to put on PFDs and proceed across the cove on a metal cable "slackline". It's a fun challenge and we find that it works best to put my short self in the middle of Jeff and David as we sidestep our way across. Once on the other side of the inlet, another volunteer tells us that 2 teammates will paddle to CP10 while the third teammates runs the trail to the same location. There, we will switch out the runner with a paddler, and return back to CP9.
Start of the "slackline".

Almost there!
We decide Jeff will run first so David and I hop into an aluminum canoe and start paddling. I discover that the race paddle is complete crap - the blade has a huge crack in it and the T-shaped top of the handle is loose. But, it's such a short distance, that I just make it work. We find CP10 without any issue, and then decide David will run back so he and Jeff switch spots. Then we paddle back which is a little bit more difficult with the headwind, but we get it done and meet David back at CP9. Then we all run over to the volunteer for the punch, and decide on a route to CP11. Have I mentioned we're doing all of this in bike shoes? We didn't bother bringing running shoes with us so it's a clomp-fest to CP11 which is maybe 1km away. We've been instructed to memorize the insect featured on the poster at CP11, which we do, and then run/clomp back to our bikes at CP8 to report it to the volunteers. As we arrive at CP8, there is another team present so I whisper the password (Emerald Ash Borer) to the volunteer and he clears us to leave.

We haven't got any information about additional checkpoints, so we are pretty sure that once we return to Korte Rec Center the race will be over. We push the pace back through town and end up taking a sorta convoluted way back to the start/finish line. But it's no big deal since we roll into the finish line to claps and cheers from the race staff. We win!

David, me, and Jeff! Winner winner chicken wing dinner!
Our final time is 3:15ish which we are super happy with! We stick around for 2nd place (Off The Front) and 3rd place (Team X-treme) to finish and congratulate them on a great race. Then there are showers inside Korte Rec Center, and a terrific post-race meal! INCLUDING CHICKEN WINGS!!! It's turned out to be a pretty hot day so we are glad to be done before the sun gets too intense. We spend the rest of the afternoon just lounging on the lawn, chatting with other teams and telling Carrie all the stories from the race. Despite Goomna being a low-key, fun race atmosphere, the prizes are no joke and we each get a check for our winning effort! Thanks, City of Highland! And thanks to Alpine Shop for being such a terrific sponsor for the team and for the sport of adventure racing, we couldn't do it without you! Pin It


  1. Another awesome job! Congratulations!

  2. Congrats on the win! Awesome race report too.

  3. Sounds like the exercise with the Frisbee is the "Alligator Crawl"...