Tecnu Extreme LBL Challenge Race Report

By Caileen  |  Wednesday, April 6, 2011  |   |  Leave comment

Kyle_LBLChallenge20112011's LBL Challenge (set in Kentucky's beautiful Land Between the Lakes rec area) started out with a short navigation section with three checkpoints. The team (Leslie Reuter, Kyle Peter, Marco Rossini, Brian Schmitz) were off to a very fast start and nailed our first CP. The second and third took a little bit more time but we were still trying to get a feel for the terrain. Coming in to the TA we were in 4th or 5th place. We were OK with that since it was so early in the race.

The next leg was a bike on some of the sweet Kentucky single track. I felt like a kid in a candy store. After spending three months on the trainer, it felt good to fly through the woods again. Most of the points were on trails and easy to spot. Unlike last year when it took us a while to figure out that the punchers were only a punch with chain and no obvious flags. We made up some time on the bike and came into the next TA only 6 minutes behind the leaders.

The next orienteering section was one of the most brutal I've had in racing. The thorns were everywhere and constantly biting into our legs. We had chosen not to wear trekking pants at the beginning of the section since the thorns were not that bad last year. That was a mistake as the thorns slowed our speed. At least we were all wearing Zensa compression sleeves to keep the thorns off the lower part of the legs. We eventually stopped to put on pants but that only added to the heat of the day. We soon ran out of water and stopped to fill up bottles in some very clear but algae filled water. I could see our new Brazilian teammate hesitantly filling his bladder and trying to keep the algae from going in. Between the thorns and dirty water I could only imagine how different this race must be from one in his home country. We teased him and welcomed him to the Kentucky jungle.


As we were heading to our last couple of checkpoints, we saw Team WEDALI race past us on their bikes. No one had to say a thing, we knew that meant we they had a least 45 minutes on our team. WEDALI has been racing so well over the last few years and it would be extremely difficult to make up that kind of time. We had 7 hours to complete this section and we came into the TA in 6 hours and 30 minutes. Only 7 teams were able to get all points in the 7 hours.

It was time to get back on the bikes but Marco was starting to cramp.  We gave him a few minutes to rest as we filled our water bottles again in the lake. The water was a little muddy looking but at least there was no algae.

Back on the bikes, we started off a little slow as we need to still get more fluids and food in Marco.  We  got the pace going and made it through this section with Brian and Kyle helping tow and push Marco up the rolling hills until he could get back his strength. When we arrived back to the first TA we learned we were now in 4th place with Checkpoint Tracker still in the TA. We made a quick transition grabbing our paddles and running to the boats. As we got to the boats, we learned that Alpine Shop was only minutes ahead. We hit all the points perfectly including the one hidden far back in the bay. As were paddling to this point we had seen Alpine Shop searching around for that point up ahead but then turn around and leave to a different cover. I was pretty sure the first cove Alpine was looking in was the right spot and  guessed the puncher was probably further back than they had looked. I got out of the boat and trekked through the mud to find the checkpoint hanging from a tree way back in the cove.  As we were leaving the cove, CP tracker was now coming in and Alpine was heading back was again.

It was now a short paddle to the get out of the boats. We knew when we once we would stopped paddling and get out of the boats at the transition area we would be really cold. The temps had dropped and we were soaking wet.  As much as we wanted to take the time to put on warm dry clothes, we had to do a mandatory gear check and get out of the TA before CP and Alpine arrived. We quickly showed all the required safety gear and then took off running fast and hard in order to warm up our bodies.

The last trek would pose a problem for the team. The clue for the checkpoint was hill top but could not find it at first. We spent several minutes searching the area we were sure the point was located. Twice we had to find known points and restart our search. We FINALLY found it on the smallest hill top in Kentucky and started racing to our bikes. We arrived at our bikes to find Alpine shop had passed us in the woods. We only had a short ride back to the finish line. Arriving at the finish line we learned we finished 4th behind WEDALI, Bushwaker, and Alpine Shop. Congratulations to all of the other teams who also finished this very tough race. LBL is always a challenge and this year was by far the toughest.

We're now looking forward to our next race, the Central Coast Adventure Challenge in May in our backyard of central California!

And as always, this race would not be possible without the support from the team's title sponsor, Tecnu Extreme. Their support has been tremendous! And their product kicks butt too! Plus, support from Rudy Project and Leki have been very very helpful. Rudy's helmet's and glasses are super stylin' and Leki's poles are bomber! Also, Light & Motion has been especially helpful. Their Stella and Seca lights light up the trails like nobody's business!

Above all else, the team also wouldn't be able to do what we do without the love and support from our family and friends. Thank you, all!!

Leslie Reuter, Team Tecnu Extreme



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