Thursday, May 1, 2008
Yogis pay a Karmic Debt at Endorphin Fix
Controversy abound after the Endorphin Fix
Adventure racing is all about adventure, and the unknown, and sometimes even about getting lost. The Endorphin Fix (a 3-day non-stop race in West Virginia) had all that and a little more...
It had two misplaced checkpoints - one of them was nearly a mile from the coordinates given to the racers. Now a mile might not seem like a huge distance during a trail ultra, but when teams are hacking through dense Rododendrum thickets in the middle of the night - with their bikes....a mile is an eternity.
In the end the yogis found it, but only after spending over 8 hours looking.
Delighted and confused (we didn't know it was so far wrong yet!) we pressed on to the next transition area to find ourselves in 2nd to last place.
YogaSlackers charged ahead from 2nd to last after their "delay" and soon found themselves in the top 3. Mere minutes from the end of the race however they came misplaced 38th CP. So sure were they that it was not in the right area, that they swam the river without the safety rope, climbed a ridiculously steep hill and finished. They made their case about the missing CP and although the race organization admitted the mistake, the Yogis were also DQ'ed.
At first there was anger, and disbelief (in almost every other instance, if the CP is misplaced by race staff, the racers don't get disqualified for it...seems reasonable huh?!?) but then after a bit of breathing, we realized that racing is a great opportunity to work on releasing expectations.
We had a great race, even if it isn't reflected in the leader board....probably stronger than any other team there.
Feed the Machine fared better. Coming in shortly after the YogaSlackers, the Machine had managed to aquire both the misplaced CP's and was eventually declared the official winner.
Congrats to all the racers, it was great to race together in such a strong field.
In case anyone is interested, below is the RD's explanation of the ruling:
As you all know there was some controversy about two checkpoints on the race course. The points were placed in the correct physical location, but in copying the UTMs into the Rules of Travel, the wrong UTMs were given. We sincerely apologize for the human error we made. We strive to make every detail as accurate as possible. It is our intent to design the most challenging, doable, exciting, and beautiful race course possible, allowing you to experience adventure to the fullest. As stated, we are looking at our rules and rulings on misplaced or incorrect UTMs for the future. I have thought long and hard and deliberated for many hours with the Odyssey Jury, about the implications of removing a checkpoint and/or awarding time credits. There simply is no entirely fair and equal way to mitigate our mistake. The controversial checkpoints will remain a part of the official race course and therefore part of the official ranking. The race has been run with the incorrect UTMs; changing the rules now and applying them to the race after it is over is not fair.