Hans, Ben, and I raced the Atlanta Hi-Tec for the 3rd year in a row. This time, we really wanted a top 5 finish to make it to the podium. But going in, we knew that would be tough. All of us had been sick leading up to the race. Hans was still on antibiotics, and I was just a day or two into a flu recovery. So we really didn’t know what to expect.
On Saturday, Kelly and I drove down from NC, while Ben, Hans, and Allison drove in from Augusta. Ben had done the Toyota Tundra Adventure race that morning, where he placed 2nd in the solo division! We arrived and checked-in, went for a quick paddle, and then attended the mandatory pre-race briefing.
We were told the course events, order, and distances, and headed out for dinner and then back to the hotel. The next morning we got up and raced. We made it through, though we all think it was one of the toughest sprints we’ve ever done. The course was very sloppy from all the rain, so the biking was tough. I was still feeling the effects of the flu, too. But we made it through and did quite well — 4th out of 100 male teams and 18th out of 330 total teams! We were quite pleased with that result.
We again had a great support crowd — thanks everyone! Here are some of the pictures Kelly took of us.
The night before the race, they told us it would start with a mountain bike leg. We knew they had to do something to spread out all the teams — otherwise the mountain bike course would be a nightmare of bottlenecks. So they started us with a small orienteering course. There were probably 6 or 8 different courses and there was no prescribed order, so teams were all over the place. There was probably about 1 or 1.5 miles of running between the orienteering flags.
The first bike leg was 6 miles. The course was very wet from all the rain, and I had only brought semi-slicks. (Last year, a fair amount of the biking was on paved roads and the single track was easy. Plus my mind was in a funk from the flu!) This picture shows Ben pushing my bike. When we first got off our bikes, I felt pretty rough so I asked him to help me out.
This is one of the special tests, in which we had to get all three bikes under a wall, then over a wall, then under another wall. The 2 “unders” were so low that we had to take off the front wheels. The “over” had a cargo net on it so everything kept getting caught. Hans picked up the net to make it easier for me and Ben.
After the 6 mile bike and the special test, we had a 1.5 mile kayak leg. Luckily this is my strong point, so it gave me a good rest while Hans and Ben paddled a boat that was taking in water. The extra water slowed them down, but it gave me a chance to rest!
This is the very start of the kayak leg, so you can’t tell their boat is having problems yet. Towards the end, they were in an inverted V position — not very hydrodynamic!
We then had a very dirty special test — a mud pit! We had to crawl backwards through the mud!!! YUCK!
Here are all 3 of us in the pit.
Here I am getting out. I had splashed a bunch of mud onto my face.
And Hans getting out, readjusting his pack.
After the kayak and mud pit test, we had a 6 mile run. I don’t have any pictures from that, though. We were all covered in mud from head to toe. I chose to jump into the water to rinse off, while Hans and Ben ran on. I quickly realized I had about a pound of mud in each shoe, so at the next chance Ben and I cleaned out our shoes. Hans kept running, and it took us a while to catch him. We also had a special test about 1/2 way through the run. I had to hang on to a 4″ X 4″ board, while Hans and Ben carried me up and back down a steep, slippery hill. That took a lot out of both of them! At the end of the run, we had a Rubik’s cube challenge! Luckily, I used to be quite good with a normal 3×3 cube, and this one was quite easy because it was just 2×2.
Ben fixes his chain right at the start of the 2nd bike leg. The clay/mud was so bad, that many folks had problems with their cleats, breaks, chains, etc. At every paved road crossing, I would bunny hop once or twice to knock out some of the grime.
After the 2nd bike leg, we had two more special tests. In this one, one teammate has to climb over a couple of 4″ X 4″s while the other two are holding, all while not touching the ropes.
I typically get nominated for these kinds of things due to my low weight and my good balance.
Here I am at the very top. Look at all the spotters in case I fall.
And the last test — the 12 foot wall. This year we had to get 1 teammate up and over before we could use rope, and we couldn’t come around to help the 3rd up like in years past!
What was I just saying about good balance??? Here I am, falling off the wall. I could not quite reach the top, and was too close to keep any balance, so down I came on top of Ben. I have some bruised ribs to show for it — still hurting now 10 days after the race. I’ve read 4-6 weeks for recovery. 😦
Here I am on the 2nd try — this time I make it without any problems.
After I got up, Hans and Ben threw me the rope which I wrapped around my waist. Then Hans climbed up with Ben’s help. This is Ben climbing up by himself!
4/100 male, 18/330 overall