Central Coast Adventure Race 2011 Win!

By Caileen  |  Monday, May 23, 2011  |  ,  |  Leave comment

centralcoastwin2011We got to the race site early on Friday so we could practice paddling our super expensive rented 3-person kayak and get ready for the clinics we would do later in the evening. We put the boat in the lake and took a quick spin around the lake. We were very happy with our set up and headed back to shore. After we were back on shore we got our equipment ready for the race, staged our bikes and prepared for our clinics.

Tecnu is a major sponsor of the race and our team agreed to give clinics to a bunch of adventure racers on how to plan for a 12 hour race including topics of navigation, nutrition, pace and communication. Kyle was also in charge of doing a clinic for Adventure Medical Kits.

After the clinics, we made last minute changes to our staged kayaks and bikes, and headed back to the our camp site for some much needed rest. It is always great when you don't have to spend time plotting the points the night before the race. We were told we would get the race map and points in the morning.

The morning of the race, we were all up and ready to roll early. The maps were handed out for the race and we jumped in the cars to look over the points and keep warm. All the points we needed for the first part of the race were already plotted so we didn't have much more to do that morning. The start of the race was about 4 miles away.

The racers were all bused to the start except us and a few other teams that could not fit. We ended up driving Brian's truck to the start and a found a friend to return it to the campground.  After a short race meeting, the race started with a blazing fast run straight up the mountain. We came to our first decision within minutes. The trail split and Nuun went to the right and we picked to the left. That was the start of many more times we would see Nuun come and go. At the top of the hill, Nuun decided to try a more direct route to the point while Kyle kept us on the trail and jeep road right to the point. We hit it right on and sprinted off before we saw any other teams.

As we were sprinting down the road to the next point we spotted Nuun coming out of the woods and up the road towards us. They over shot and would now have to run up the road to get the point. We ran on trying to distance ourselves from the other teams. When we reached the end of the road, the direction of the trail ahead didn't seem right to Kyle. We went back to the end of the road to look for a different trail but found very dense bushes. We made our way back to the trail, just as Nuun and a few others arrived there as well. We exchanged our hellos to Nuun once again and knew they would most likely be our toughest competition along with Sole, RWG, and Yoga Slackers.

We headed down the trail and again came to a split. Nuun to the left again, Tecnu Extreme to the right. Our trail petered out and we found ourselves bushwhacking to the ridge. We reached the ridge and noticed Nuun just ahead. They had won that decision and were now 300 meters ahead. We played chase, hot on their trail and caught up to them just as we crested a hill. It was also the same time Nuun slowed as they spotted a bear coming out of the brush. The race came to a halt as we all shared in the joy of seeing a bear. Lucky for us it looked more worried than we were, and so it rambled off. We continued on the trek only to find the trail deteriorate more and more. We eventually ended up bushwhacking significant sections of the trail. We so nicely let Nuun take the lead for this section and followed closely behind. We knew there would be no point in trying to get through the thick brush any faster. It was so dense you had to crawl over and under the trees to get through. There were also two solo racers that tackled this section with us. Unfortunately for them, they did not have on sleeves or pant legs. The trees, thorns and massive poison oak were taking a beating on their bodies. When we finally reached the road and had to make a decision on how to attack CP#3, the solos both choose the longer and safer road around. Nuun and our team picked the shortest route with more bushwhacking. We were all happy to hear we were the first two teams to arrive after feeling like we spent so long getting there. Later we heard that this is the section from CP2 to CP3 that several teams got lost in for hours and had to be rescued.

We kept the pace high on the way to CP4. The last bit was on a road and we again choose to go right and Nuun to the left. We arrived at the TA (transition area) with no sight of Nuun. It seemed strange since they seem to have just disappeared after being right there so close on our tale. Kyle and Brian plotted the bike points while Marcao and I filled water-bladders up and got the bikes ready. We would have check points 5-10 in any order. We got our first point and made our way to our second zipline point just as Nuun was arriving.

We played leap frog again on the bikes until our usual break up. Tecnu right, Nuun to the left. We had chose to get the points 8,7,6,5 and Nuun chose to do in reverse. We rode most of the way to CP8 and decided to bushwhack up the hill the last 400 meters. The first 300 meters was smooth sailing but the last 100 meters was BRUTAL! The Manzanita seemed impossible to penetrate. Once we managed to work our way around and through to the top and were overjoyed to find the point and make a fast downhill return to the bikes. The last couple points should be fairly straight forward to the Transition area.

On the way back, we passed Nuun on the way to 8. We knew that meant we had at least a 30 minute lead on them if we didn't mess up the last few points. We arrived at the TA in 1st place. We didn't stop for long passing through as quickly as we could. The last part of the bike would take us back towards the paddle and finish area. We only had one point left just off the lake road. On the road to the lake we kept a fast pace-line with Kyle in the front. Well that was until Kyle spotted a giant snake in the road and he jumped his bike far to the right, a little too close for comfort.

The last point on the bike was just up the hill from the paddling TA area. The map showed a trail that appeared to go to the top of the hill. After a couple frustrating attempts to find the trail, we decided to just blaze straight up the hill. Now it was time to get to the lake and paddle.

Brian and Kyle plotted the points as Marcao and I got the paddles and boats ready. We were just about ready to leave when Kyle noticed there was not a CP15 on the map. The TA person had apparently forgotten to tell us we needed to plot that point ourselves. We got that settled and make a quick exit in the boats. Out first paddling CP would be the zipline. We wanted to get this one first just in case other teams came later and would create a backup. When we got the zipline Brian could not find the passport. He and Kyle ran back to the boats to look while Marcao and I waited with our fingers crossed that we would not have to go back to TA to find our passport. We had run an almost perfect race so far so it would be a real bummer to have it go south at this point.

As Marcao and I waited just above the hill we heard a loud scream. It sounded like a terror scream! My heart sank at the thought of having to return to TA with the HOPE that we find our lost passport. However, as I was turned back to the boat, to my surprise, Kyle and Brian were running to us. The scream was Brian letting out the frustration and joy! The passport had managed to slip out of Brian's jersey pocket and was hidden behind the jacket. It wasn't until Brian took off the jacket to double check the pocket did he find it. Whoo hoo! Race on!

Now we move on to what I thought would be the fun part, the zipline. Since we were the first team to arrive, the staff gave us very little instruction. Just clamp on and enjoy the ride. I was the first to fly down the zip line. I flew across the water tucking my legs up so I made sure I would make it across. I had more than enough speed to cross. At the other side of the zipline I was met by a young kid holding up a football tackle bag. He braced himself as I barreled right in to the bag. I bounced off him and crashed into the tire hung in front of the tree.  That was crazy! I asked the kid how he planned to stop the guys on my team that were all bigger than me and all the other racers throughout the day. I yelled to my team-mates coming next to drag their feet in the water to slow themselves down.

Once Marcao was across, we ran to the kayak and we were able to use it to cross back over the water. We paddled ourselves across and Kyle pulled the boat back to the other side in order for him and Brian to use. Once we were all across we headed back to the boats. Our next point was in a small cove and easy to spot. CP 13 was further down the lake and proved to be much more difficult. I timed the distance we traveled in our rented boat so I could help confirm we had gone far enough, and it didn't seem like we had but the lake got very dense with brush just like on the map by the point. We pulled in but did not find the point. Since I felt we had not gone far enough, we quickly decided to explore the other side of the trees, but the lake continued but got very narrow at this point. The map showed the point as a wider section of the lake before the narrow section so I now thought we had gone too far. We turned around again and went back to the first section where we had stopped. We tried to make our way through the trees in the water but it was too shallow and too thick. Our last option was to get out and run the trail next to the lake, so we parked the boats and ran up the trail about 500 meters before we spotted the checkpoint. It was over hanging the water and Kyle so nicely climbed in and took one for the team. It was a quick run back to the boats and we started the paddle back to the last point. We didn't see any other teams on the water at this time so we were pretty sure we would hold onto our lead. However, you always have to worry some other team managed to sneak past you.

Our last CP would take us past the TA/finish area which was easy to find and we made our way to the finish happy to know we crossed in 1st place. It was a great win for Tecnu Extreme. The chemistry with the team was all there, and we were all clicking on all cylinders. Kyle did an excellent job with the navigation and we all communicated and worked extremely well together. We hope this to be the start of many more good races together. I am sure all our hard will pay off the remainder of the season.

Thank you to our families and sponsors for all your support. The Tecnu shower after the race was perfect for all the racers for washing the poison oak oils away, as poison oak was prevalent over much of the race, and was VERY popular after this race course. Our Rudy Project helmets and glasses stopped the Manzanita brush from tearing us up. Our Leki trekking poles provided great support through the underbrush, and our KEEN footwear kept our feet under us. Kinesys kept the sun from frying us out on the course. Our Epic paddles paddled us to victory, and we are proud and so thankful of all of you who support our endeavors as we are out here testing the boundaries of human endurance. Next up for us is the Endorphin Fix in Virginia in June. Stay tuned for all the fun!

Kyle, Marcao, Brian, Leslie, and Earring Doug…Tecnu Extreme adventure racing

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