|View of the rappel wall from our sleeping spot.|
Mark, the race director, calls all prepared teams to the center of the campground for Day 2’s official start. Since everyone made it into camp at various times last night, we all sleepily look around to see who’s answered the call for Day 2. Not surprisingly, Tecnu and Columbia look fresh and ready to go. The Yogis are there too, along with our friends Journey Racing and Silent Chasers. Mark reads off his list of starters and Emily doesn't hear WABAR’s number called, so after he’s done she shouts out “AND THREE-OH-SEVEN TOO!”. It’s a very, very proud moment for her and the team - after going through all of the challenges of yesterday, we have recovered* and are ready to throw down again with the top teams of Cowboy Tough. Bring it on! In this case “recovered” is a relative term and likely meant different things for each of us. For me it merely meant that my legs were no longer cramping. They were however more than a little sore from all that extra work they did while seizing up on me the day before. All things considered though, I was feeling ready to go.
TREK 1, CPs 22-23, 2mi
|Start of Day 2. We slept at EOD01/SOD02. Then we ran to CP22 (The Sinks), then to an unmapped cave, then to CP23 (The Rise), then to ropes at CP24.|
We all take off packless to CP22 at “The Sinks”, a unique feature of the state park where the Popo Agie River disappears underground. Then we run to “The Cave” which just looks like a boulder field. But race staff direct Andrei to the tiny hole in the ground and he gets the privilege of spelunking the 500-600’ for the underground punch. The rest of us WABARians get to chat with the other teams who are waiting as well. We’re super proud to let everyone know that yes, we did indeed clear the course yesterday! Once Andrei emerges from the cave (“what was it like, Andrei?” “it was a hole in the ground with a man at the end of it” Andrei is nothing if not concise and to the point with his assessments) we run to “The Rise” where the Popo Agie river comes back above ground and we use the mandatory gear quarter to feed some really large fish. Then we check into the start of the rappel which is directly across the road from our campground.
ROPES 1, CP24
|Top of the rappel. Photo by Chris Radcliffe.|
At this point in the morning, we’re in 4th behind Tecnu, Columbia, and YogaSlackers. Since there are only three rappel lines set up, we take our time climbing the 200’ or so up to the top. Once we’re there, we only have to wait a few minutes for Tecnu to clear their line before we can start. Emily volunteers to go first and makes it to the bottom with no issues. Then Rachel, then Andrei, and pretty soon Mike’s flying down the rope and we’re all running back into TA.
|View of TA from the top of the rappel, taken by Tecnu. You can see our bins still laying out!|
BIKE 1, CPs 25-26, 25mi
|We rode from CP24 to CP25.|
With Emily’s crank re-attached to her bike, we fly out of Sinks Canyon on a very smooth paved descent. We’ve got a quick punch at CP25, and then it’s into Lander for CP26 at Wild Iris Sports. Yesterday, if we couldn’t get Emily’s crank fixed, we had planned to stop here for professional assistance, but that is no longer necessary which is great because the shop’s not even open yet! It’s probably a good thing the shop’s closed, since Mike would have probably gone shopping for a new, lighter bike, costing valuable race time. (Yup, I was totally ready to trade my 31lb beast in for whatever they had under 23lb.) We also get to say hi to one of our favorite volunteers, Emma from Orange Lederhosen!
|Emily took a quick break from the paceline to take pictures.|
|Ride from Lander to Riverton|
*Full disclosure, I totally thought I missed the turn and was improvising. I knew the road would take us to Riverton, which would take us where we needed to go. It wasn't until AFTER the turn that Andrei mentioned that he saw a sign for Rendezvous Rd. Had I played it a little cooler I probably could have done a more convincing job of selling the fact that I made no mistake.
We all regroup into our paceline after making the turn, but Emily can’t hang on, even with the draft. She yells again for a tow and Mike (or was it Andrei?) helps her out. “Are you okay?” Mike asks. “I’ll be fine in a bit, I just blew up a little,” Emily replies. She sits in the draft for the remaining miles into Riverton, where we have to piece together some sketchy map info with race instructions to “look for the Maverick’s gas station and turn right”. We tentatively ride through the town looking for the 1853 Historical Site. Just when we’re convinced we’re in the wrong spot, Andrei spots a faded sign and we ride into the CP.
TOMAHAWK 1, CP27
We are greeted by Zach from Rev3 who points us to a shady grove where the special challenge is set up. We’re met by a dude named “Numbers” dressed in what we assume to be historically accurate buckskin. He gives us a quick lesson on how to throw a tomahawk and says that we all have to stick a throw before we’re awarded the punch. And as a bonus, the CP staff have fun historical accessories for us to wear while throwing the ‘hawks. Let’s play dress-up!
|Numbers showing us how it's done. Photo by Chris Radcliffe.|
Mike cowboys up and sticks his throw on the FIRST TRY. There is a reason we call him “The Garrison”. Rachel and Emily are next after a few tosses, and Andrei gets his to stick as well. Sweet! The Rev3 staff also tell us that we’re in 4th overall so far behind Tecnu, Columbia, and YogaSlackers. Even sweeter! We hop back onto our bikes for more flat paved road riding.
BIKE 2, CP28, 20mi
|Ride from Riverton to Boysen Reservoir SP.|
We finally spot the Boysen Reservoir and, on the eastern bank, the Rev3 Mobile TA. We cruise right up to it and start transitioning to paddle mode. Out of pure luck, JR the medic is working at this TA so Emily asks him to borrow his 10mm hex wrench again. This time, he says, “Just keep it!” which is infinitely helpful since we have a huge bike ride tomorrow. We all change out of our bike shorts and into bottoms more comfortable for paddling and trekking. Then Emily invokes the spirit of her Alpine Shop teammates Jeff and David as she picks out 2 canoes for the team with working seat backs and minimal bottom warping. Then we assemble paddles and put in!
Day 2’s course continues to be tailored to “Things That Midwestern Adventure Racers Are Good At” since we have a 6mi lake paddle in canoes. And it’s HOT. We set up with Emily and Mike in one boat, Andrei and Rachel in another, and Emily navving. We’ve been warned about strong afternoon winds but for now the air above Boysen SP Reservoir is hot and still. The first 6 miles are rather uneventful and soon enough we are nearing our take-out spot for a 3-point optional trek.
|Andrei and Rachel's boat on the first paddle leg.|
|FEEL THE HEAT!|
|so hot right now.|
|Andrei takes a swim.|
PADDLE 2, CPs 34-36, 9mi
|More paddling! The map color mis-match was obvious and Rachel called it "the deep end"|
On one hand, we are thankful the winds have not picked up yet because it makes the paddling easy. But on the other hand, we are absolutely broiling in the still, hot air. We dodge tube-pulling-speedboats on the way to CP34 which is located very close to a popular beach/camping spot. Emily is tentative on the attack but as we get closer to the shore, Andrei and Rachel spot the flag and paddle in for the punch. The water levels are a few meters higher than shown on the map, which is a bit tricky, especially considering CP35 is hung on a very specific point of land amid several other points of land.
|Mike and Emily paddling.|
Adventure races always rely heavily on map-and-compass navigation, but within that skillset there is a range of technical proficiency. Navigationally, the easiest stuff is just like following a road map, and the hardest stuff uses no roads or trails at all, just identifying (sometimes very subtle) terrain features and moving between them, aka orienteering. In the Midwest, our 24hr adventure races tend to use more orienteering than most expedition races, and as a result our navigators are very good. We've had races where teams from outside the region compete and struggle with the orienteering, complaining that it’s “micro-nav”. We smile and say, “Aw, that’s cute!” and then run off to the next control.
We pull into a beautiful sheltered cove for the take-out and haul our boats uphill with plenty of daylight left for the trek. Our transition is relaxed and includes a few moments of chat with Tecnu and Columbia (who are already finished for the day), sharing intel that the nav shouldn't be too hard. Sweet! Let’s do this!
|Rachel in one of the reentrants.|
|Emily on her way across.|
|Andrei and Mike on the other side. Word is that Tecnu went across the TOP!|
We have a couple CPs on the far side of the river, then cross back over using the dam and have to run right back past TA to collect the final two CPs. They use a lot of road running as well and Mike is clearly hurting so Rachel takes his pack. We all are hurting, to be honest, but it is the kind of hurt that doesn't matter how fast you’re going, so we just keep jogging in order to be done more quickly.
|Second to last CP on the day. High point, natch.|
|TA does not suck.|
Rev3 Day 2 photos: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.745197552187984.1073741864.148981488476263&type=3