Monday, March 30, 2009

YogaSlackers take Silver in the AZ state games!

The day looked to be a fun fast race, with 27 teams coming to test themselves in the only "state" sponsored Adventure Race in the US. Not only were we racing for points in the Sierra Adventure Sports series (we were 3rd last year with only one race!) but the race was a stand alone event in the Grand Canyon State Games.

We woke super early to drive and drop the boat before heading to the TA area to stage our bikes. It was so cold that our chains were iced up (as well as our bike water bottles!) when we arrived. We then jammed into a bus and were taken back to the river put in for the start.

About 50 boats floated at the start line (the shadow line of the bridge overhead) and then at exactly 9AM we were off....

It was a BYOB race (bring your own boat) and we'd chosen to all try to fit in a 15' canoe and use kayak paddles. We knew it would be key to get out fast and hard, so we had Chelsey in the middle kneeling, and at the start her paddle was still in two pieces on the boat floor. She stayed low as Sam and I paddled like mad (short fast strokes just like Jim Grijalva taught us). It was a bit of of mayhem, but soon we pulled ahead, just in time for the first bottleneck in the river, a little rapid called Dos Channels - a little split where only one boat could pass on either side of an island. We were first through on the right, and soon pulled away from the crowd with a solo kayaker in a nice downriver boat.

Pretty soon we were paddling next to the solo guy (Mark) and our big canoe was barely keeping pace with his slim boat. He pulled ahead. After a few more rapids, we struggled and caught back up to him for a moment. Chelsey proceeded to pull out her paddle, put it together, and fall into sync with our rhythm. I felt a little like Inigo Montoya in The Princess Bride during the duel when he announces that he is not left handed.

We were first out of the water.

We continued to race strong, leading the field, until nearly the end of the race. We were only a few minutes ahead of Big Fish Creative (formerly Team Monster Energy), a well known team that won the series last year. In my haste to get the team back to the Transition and into the final orienteering leg, I put the map away thinking I knew exactly how to get back. We put our heads down and hammered on the pedals....pretty soon we couldn't see Big Fish behind us even on the 1.5 mile long uphill. I figured we'd pushed ahead, or they'd had some trouble. We did not look back.

Turns out, they'd looked at the map (as had most other teams!) and noticed a trail that avoided the uphill, and all the turns and went strait downhill at a gentle grade - RIGHT INTO THE TRANSITION!

Luckily we had no idea of any of this, and still figured that Big Fish was chasing us (they were now 30 minutes ahead!) and we charged through the rest of the course, managing second place.

Chelsey and Sam both raced amazing, and over all it was a great team race.

Love the Ibex gear more and more every time. Arm warmers and Leg warmers make it so versatile! 40 degrees when we started, 80 when we finished, we never changed! We drank U-hydration, Nuun, and FRS, ate Raw REV bars and GU chomps, and of course ran and carried INOV-8.

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