Well, we survived! Actually we did better than that, we raced for 12 hours in near 100 degree temperatures and didn’t sustain as much as a blister or a flat tire! Success!
We are now suffering from some “saddle soreness” though…YOW!
We ended up only having to run about 3 miles, not the 17 miles we had prepared for. But I don’t think we were really sad about that. It was really hot.
Here is how the day went:
5:30am: Woke up and ate a breakfast of Ezekiel bread with almond butter and agave nectar (my standard pre-race meal) and a cup of coffee.
7am: Arrived at race check in, received our maps and check point coordinates. The boys plotted the course. More on that later. At this time we learned where the race would start, what order we would be running/biking/paddling/climbing and where we needed to drop our gear & boat off at.
8am: Dropped the boat off at the designated spot. Drove to the start.
8:30am: Arrived at the race start, determined what gear we needed to have on us and what could be left in the gear box and picked up later. We would only have one chance to get items out of the gear box. Snacked on Laura Balls. Made many jokes.
It was all laughs before the race start! My teammates kept me giggling from 7am-11pm! We were not the most serious racers but I am positive we had the most fun! Those guys are awesome!
10am: Race begins and it’s already about 80 degrees out! We started running, carrying our packs, life jackets and paddles. We had to run approximately a mile to our boat (a 2 person sea kayak that we smooshed 3 people in to). Began paddling.
I lose track of time here. We paddled down the Jordan River for about 5 miles. Our sea kayak was not the easiest to steer. The boys did all the paddling, I rode in the middle. I felt very useless in this section but there wasn’t enough room for all 3 of us to paddle at once without knocking paddles. Unfortunately, I do not have a picture of this, but I am positive we looked great. 🙂
Next, we got out of the river and put our running shoes back on. We got quite wet during the river portion but it felt good. From here we left our boat, water shoes, paddles and life jackets and ran to a climbing gym about a mile away via paved roads. This was more like an urban adventure race as we did zero trail running.
We arrived at the climbing gym and had to choose 1 of 5 routes to climb. We all had to climb the same route. We earned time deductions for how high we made it up the wall. I’m very happy to report that all 3 of us made it to the top! I knew the boys would make it but I didn’t think I would make it half way up since I had only practiced climbing 3 times and it’s definitely not my forte. That was my personal success of the day!
Then we ran back to the boat.
Here’s the fun part. Not. We had to “portage” (carry) the boat back to the start which was about a mile away. Other teams had wheels to put under their boat, but not us. We pretty much just carried it. If we ever do this again we will be using wheels!
1pm: Once back to the starting area we ditched the boat for good and prepared for the rest of the race. We changed into our biking gear and packed our bags with all the food & water we would need for the rest of the day! This would be our last chance to get anything we needed out of our gear box. We also fueled up on sandwiches and Gatorade.
Side note: this is the only race I’ve ever done where stopping and eating a sandwich isn’t frowned upon, it’s actually encouraged! That’s my kind of race!
1:30pm: We were now on our way to the mountains where the race would really start to feel like an adventure. Until this point it had all been urban. We started biking on a paved trail until we got to the trail head. At this point, it started getting extremely hot. I was so thankful to be on the bike and not running. Running in that heat would have been…nearly impossible.
Once we arrived at the trailhead we were supposed to hit a “check point” and write that number down. This is was our main frustration with the course. The check points were not where they were supposed to be. The boys are highly trained in land navigation and they are very precise. Unfortunately, the race organizers were not precise and didn’t put the check points where they were marked on the map. This was a huge source of frustration for us because we were doing everything right but ended up wasting a lot of time searching around for points that were more than 200 meters off!
Thats ok, we were in it for the experience of team racing and fun and nothing else.
Now it’s about 2pm and we started mountain biking up the mountain. It was HOT and our heads started pounding. We were drinking as much water as we could and spitting water on ourselves to cool down. With the dry heat it didn’t even feel like I was sweating. Things were rough for me at this point and I felt like I was hardly moving.
Then we came upon a runoff stream. It. Was. Glorious. We stopped and got our clothes wet with the cold water and cooled our bodies. We had a little blue lagoon moment at it was incredible. I believe it totally saved us. Our headaches went away and afterward we felt so invigorated.
We made it to the checkpoint at the top and had a choice to make. It was 3:30pm and we had until 8:30pm to either trail run or mountain bike. We chose to stay on the bike. Our task was to hit as many “check points” as we could and then be back to the top by 8:30pm to head back to the start/finish.
We did great during this part and racked up a bunch of points from hitting so many check points. It also meant we biked for 6.5 hours before biking back to the start.
We checked in at 8:30pm, exhausted from the climb back up the mountain. But then it was time to descend. We must have been ready to be done because we hauled major booty down that mountain. It was by far my favorite part of the race. Oh did it feel good!
Once we were down the mountain we had to bike back to the start the same way we came. I think at this point we really didn’t even care about being in a race. We were just chatting and having fun and enjoying the cooler temps and the darkness. We saw a skunk, some fox and 2 bucks on our ride back! At one point we were like, ‘oh yeah, this is a race, we should probably speed up!’
We made it across the finish line around 10:00pm I think. It was great to be greeted by Jeff’s family!
Since we weren’t allowed to use our phones during the race I had mine securely put away and didn’t take any pictures or track how far we went. I really have no idea how many miles we rode, but I know we rode for about 8 hours.
Then we packed up, went home, ate, showered and slept!
The next day the saddle soreness was unreal. The seams from my shorts had embedded into my tush and I had lovely sores. The boys had their own issues which I won’t elaborate on.
In the end, it was a great experience and I’m so glad we were able to race as a team and I am really proud of us. Thank you boys for racing with me!