August 30th 2003
We formed team “Triangle -ART” this summer, and this was our first chance to race together. The team is a group of 5 guys that team up as possible in various races. Charlie and I raced the FL coast to coast with two Floridians this year, and Bruce and I raced the Triangle AR in the spring. But neither of those were under the new moniker. The other members are Brian and Ernie. All 5 of us helped put on a joint AR clinic with RAD for new racers a few weeks before this race. We had over 40 racers turn out, and we covered AR gear, very basic 1st aid with help from another Brian, paddling instruction, orienteering, etc. We also gave away lots of free samples of Hammer Gel, Sustained Energy, and Endurolytes — thanks to Hammer Nutrition!!
On race day, Brian raced solo and Bruce, Ernie and myself formed a 3 person male team. I was coming off a nasty summer cold, so I wasn’t really sure how well I could do. Ernie was leaving two days later for the expedition length Subaru Primal Quest with some Canadian teammates, which was his big race for the year.
The race started around 11 a.m., and it was EXTREMELY hot. We had a bit of a special test — to blow up a kayak seat, at a mass start, then had to run into the transition area (TA), put our bike seats and front tires on, and headed out on the 1st mountain bike leg. We were one of the 1st 10 teams or so out, and we took off. Bruce and Ernie are strong bikers, and with me still suffering from a cold, it was very hard for me to keep up with them, so they had to slow down for me. We held our own though, and passed a few teams as well as got passed by a few.
We got back to the TA which was mostly empty of bikes (which meant we were doing well), and headed out for a long run and orienteering section. There was some confusion as to whether we’d be coming back to the TA before the paddle so we grabbed our life jackets and started running. This turned out to be unnecessary as we did return to the TA. On the run, I really started having trouble to breathe due to my still congested lungs, and it was very hot. I walked most of the up hill sections, and we did get passed by a few teams. We ended up not doing too well on the orienteering controls. We had picked one up on the 1st bike section and did get two on the run (after a bit of confusion), but we ended up leaving one. We decided to get it on the 2nd mountain bike leg later rather than back track very far on foot to find it.
We got back to the TA and headed out on the water. The 1st two soloists were just coming in off the very short paddle, and we looked out on the water to see perhaps 10 to 12 boats (just a small number of soloists and teams), so we were still doing ok. However, it was not clear how many of these teams had all of the orienteering controls and how many would have to go back out like us!
We quickly paddled the out and back course and headed towards the special tests. At this point we realized the top 3 all male teams (including us) were within 1 minute of each other, but as Bruce got out of the boat, his leg cramped. We got through the two tests (Ernie had to carry me on his back for 1/4 mile or so while Bruce carried a pole, and then we had to get a center block across a gap without touching anything in the gap using a pole), and headed toward the TA for the last mountain bike section.
We were still within a minute or so of the other 2 male teams, but at this point, Bruce’s cramps took on epic proportions. I was amazed he could continue, but we struggled through the this section as best we could. At one point, we were going to go for the last control, which was much further away than we had anticipated, but I got a flat tire and Bruce was still hurting, so we decided to call it a day. I ran/walked my bike in the last 1/2 mile or so.
We ended up 5th out of 15 male teams despite all the issues we had. I quickly packed up my gear and head out to Fayetteville, where I was meeting Kelly. We were heading to the beach for our 1st weekend away without Riley, as my sister Donna was going to watch her.