Category Archives: Adventure Race

Dover Raid Adventure Race Report

Saturday, December 8th  2012 in Dover, NH

Racers:  Michael, Rick, and Jill

Michael found the website for the Dover Raid and quickly recruited Rick and I as teammates.  It was billed as a 6 hour adventure race with orienteering, trail running, and urban shenanigans.  We were sold!  However reality hit as the forecast began looking ominous leading up to the race and we met up at the commuter lot in Killingly to a steady rain.  After about a 2 hour drive to Dover, NH we drove around the city a bit to get our bearings then parked at the train station and walked over to the pizza joint/start location to register for the race.  No information or maps are provided until 15 minutes before the race starts so after registering we headed back to the car to try to figure out how to dress for a chilly and rainy race day.  On our way back to the car we were excited to run into Ben and Kerry and caught up with them a bit before seeking shelter in the car to get dressed.  After donning our rain gear and making some last minute decisions regarding what to carry and what not to carry in our packs we grabbed our map cases and compasses and headed back to the restaurant to await instructions for the 11am start.

After a slight delay we were told that we would be bused to the start location which was about 20 minutes away.  The race finish was at 5pm and teams would be penalized 1 point for every minute they returned after 5pm.  There were 62 checkpoints and the team with the most checkpoints wins however they cautioned that they did not expect that anyone would return with all 62 checkpoints.  Four maps, a control description guide also known as the clue sheet, and a blank control card were distributed on the bus and all was quiet as each team poured over the maps.   We hurriedly split the maps up between our 3 mapcases, Michael taking the maps we would use first, Rick taking the checkpoint guide, and I took the map we would use later in the race and the control card.

The rain starting pelting down as we hopped off the bus, listened to the last few announcements, then we were off.  Immediately there was confusion at the first checkpoint as Michael told us where to look however I went down to get the checkpoint punched as is the norm but there was no control flag or punch.  Chaos!  Rick then read the clue from the guidesheet and we realized it was a visual clue and we had to write down the number.  Oops, rough start but after that we fell into a rhythm.  Michael would read the map and get us close to the checkpoint, Rick would read the clue, then I would be off and running to find the checkpoint and punch the control card.  Michael and Rick are both excellent at navigating which is great because I am a hopeless navigator.  My strength is finding the checkpoint or control flag once they get us close to it and while I’m locating the checkpoint and punching the control card Michael and Rick are plotting how to get to the next location, this strategy seems to work well for us.

The next few checkpoints went smoothly then the real adventure began.  We decided to cut across a field to get to one of the checkpoints and ended up in a swampy stretch of muck.  Michael was running in front, then Rick, then me.  All of a sudden Rick stopped short and I looked down to see a shoe with a gaiter still attached stuck in the mud in front of me.   The mud sucked Rick’s entire shoe and gaiter right off his foot!  Rick then had to struggle to pull the shoe and gaiter back out of the muck, it did not want to let go.  He ran with only one shoe for a bit until he found a dry-ish spot to put it back on then we all chuckled, what a classic race moment.  I’m laughing again remembering it…  We pushed on navigating down river banks, through the woods, and across a fast running river while my legs were shaking as I hopped from rock to rock hoping I wouldn’t fall in.  Unfortunately today I had what I call my Pinocchio legs, very stiff and heavy legs preventing me from really getting into a running rhythm so at times Rick and Michael had to slow up a bit while I caught up.  We had to stay within 100 meters of each other at all times so it was important that we stay together.

We ended up with 46 checkpoints so I won’t go tediously through each one but I’ll hit a few memorable ones.  The first sketchy one was hanging from a branch of a tree that had fallen and settled about 3 or 4 feet over a river.  I had to shimmy out on all fours and punch the card with my hands shaking, not only from fear of falling but my hands were also wet, cold, and fairly numb as well.  One of my favorite and I’m guessing it might have been high on the list for Michael and Rick too was in a mill building in downtown Dover.  We had to run up 3 flights of stairs and set up a Nemo tent at their headquarters on the 3rd floor.  This was heavenly for a number of reasons.  We got to take our wet rain gear off, we were warm, there was a “real” bathroom, they had a friendly doggy, and the tent was pretty cool.  If you haven’t heard of Nemo tents, they have an inventive system that uses air instead of poles to hold up the tent.  I’m pretty sure this is the one we set up if you are interested in checking it out:  http://www.nemoequipment.com/nemo2012-morpho1p-tent.  We were sad to leave this venue and especially sad to have to navigate down three flights of stairs.

My least favorite checkpoints were on both sides of the Cocheco river.  The first one I had to navigate through some nasty mudsucking swampy-ness to get to it then had to go back the same way to get back to Rick and Michael.  The tantalizing part was that directly across the river you could see another checkpoint flag which we wouldn’t get to for more than an hour or so.  Later we learned that one of the newbie teams actually swam across the river to get to the checkpoint.  Swimming across was something none of us considered as it was a considerable distance across the murky river and it was 40 degrees and raining.  Once we finally got to the checkpoint on the other side I had to slide down the loose dirt of the riverbank on my butt to get to the checkpoint then crawl back up.  There was some heated debate as to whether the seat of my rain pants ripped here or when I got stuck on top of a spiky fence that separated us from our checkpoint…L.  Another checkpoint was at the top of Garrison Hill Tower which had 9 flights of stairs and that was after climbing an almost vertical jeep road to get to the tower.  At this point Michael took pity on me and hoofed it up to the tower to get the card punched.  Rick and I were starting to grumble a bit at this point.  Michael had a second wind and took off running after every checkpoint and Rick and I ran raggedly behind him wishing he would slow down a bit.  Or stop!  After 3 hours of running it was getting kind of rough, after 4 hours we slowed down considerably (except for Michael), and after 5 hours we were all numb and just ran because that’s what we had to do to finish.

Our rough estimate as far as mileage covered during the race was somewhere around 18 miles.  We’ve all been doing 5k’s and a 5 mile race here and there over the past couple months so to say we were under-prepared might be an understatement…  Regardless it was still pretty exciting despite the rough spots.  The dinner and award ceremony after the race were excellent, all you can eat pizza and drinks and a free pitcher of beer.  The winners were 2 men that actually got all 62 checkpoints and clocked 27 miles on their Garmin Forerunner.   The three of us had fun (mostly…) and are considering signing up for their summer adventure race however we decided that a 6 hour race that includes running, biking, and kayaking would be preferable to 6 hours of straight out running.  Thanks for reading! – Jill

 

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Genesis Adventure Race at Harriman State Park in NY

2 Teams:
Are we there yet: Rick Friedrich, Kyle Stockford (4th in Male Advanced Course at 5:30)
Nerac Earth: Mike Nugent, Jill Nugent (2nd in Coed Advanced Course at 5:10)
Race Results

This time we all signed up for the advanced course and nobody changed their mind. This was the last race of the series and they certainly made it challenging. Douglas was a stroll in the park compared to this race. This was also a continuous race which means you had to haul all your gear with you because you never went back to the transition area so we wore our packs and life jackets and carried our running shoes with us on the first leg which was a 6 mile mountain biking leg that followed the only bike trail in the park. One wrong turn put us a few minutes behind the pack and we lost sight of the leaders. The next section was on a mandatory hike a bike section where you had to run with your bike for about 2 miles on a totally rideable trail. This was painful! It popped out onto a paved road and this led to the first trekking section. We were allowed to leave bike related equipment at this stop so we shed our bike shoes, helmets and bikes and put on our trail shoes and headed up the steep slope to our next checkpoint. This was our first experience trekking with a lot of elevation, it was really tough. About 20 minutes in I threw my trail pants on, any available trails started disappearing and we pretty much trekked through brush and prickers in most of the trekking section. After about an hour we found all our checkpoints and headed toward the kayaking leg. I don’t think any of us were feeling too peppy at this point and I was looking forward to getting off my feet and into the kayak. No problems with the kayak section – it was pretty straightforward except you had to actually get off the boat twice to find the checkpoints, one of them was on the top of a steep hillside, the other hidden in an inlet on a little island. The last one was visible from the water but that side of the lake was pretty windy and it was a bit tricky trying to line the boat up. The wind was against us on the way back but we just paddled steadily and thought about what was next. Kyle and Rick were only a couple hundred yards behind us when we got out of the water and started running toward the next checkpoint which was at the top of a small mountain. We ran into another team who were heading up the road to find the trail but we decided to just bushwack straight up the mountain to save time. Rick and Kyle said they saw us heading up the mountain but we didn’t see them again until the finish line. We headed down the side of the mountain, mostly on our feet but the leaves were still pretty slick from the previous day’s rain so it was super sketchy on the way down. The Open teams were allowed to run on the road in this section but the Advanced teams had to be 50 feet from the road at all times. What do you think was 50 feet off the road??? Dense brush and pricker bushes. At first we tried to go around them but just gave up and ran right through them. There were several strategically placed checkpoints on this leg, one at a junction of 2 rivers which Michael found easily, then another that was more difficult to find near a lake. After this we headed back toward the bikes to finish up. Back on the road, then the hike a bike, then the 6 mile bike loop. Oh my God that last bike leg was painful, every pedal stroke was agony. Michael and Rick did a great job navigating and Kyle and I did a great job not complaining! -Jill

Adventure Race at Douglas State Forest

September 22, 2007
Adventure Race at Douglas State Forest
1st place all male team: Kyle and Rick
1st place coed team: Mike and Jill

Ok, this time I wanted to sign up for the advanced course and Michael wanted to do the open course. So we chose advanced and yet again switched back to open at the last minute. The Pachaug course was pretty tough and Michael was thinking about that long kayaking stretch from the last race and the fact that we could also team up with Rick and Kyle and work together which is allowed and encouraged. We went to the 8am meeting and found out this time we would be mountain biking first then the running/trekking and kayaking last. So we reviewed the map and planned our route. The 4 of us had done reconnaissance about 3 weeks ago at Douglas on bike and we had a pretty strong grasp of the trail system and we were feeling confident. Again the teams scattered at the start and the 4 of us ended up riding with about 3 other all male elite teams and this group was the first to get to cp1 and this group stayed together through checkpoint 4 when the elite teams broke off to get their advanced checkpoint. The four of us screamed back to the transition area and got our 5th cp. Kyle and Rick were quicker out of the transition area for the trek, Michael and I were about 30 yards behind them. Again we hooked up with the same guys from before because they got their advanced bike cp and caught up with us toward the end of the bike segment. Kyle and I ran up to the first trek cp – forgot to put on trail pants (should have reread my previous story before this race!) and just ignored all the branches that were scraping all the skin off my legs. Kyle and Rick were about 50 yards ahead for the first mile and I didn’t think we would catch them but we slowly closed the gap and arrived at cp3 at the same time. Back to the transition area was on the paved forest entrance so all that running around my neighborhood and on the treadmill over the past month kicked in and we started cruising and put about a 30 second gap between us and Kyle and Rick. Michael kept reminding me that we weren’t racing against Kyle and Rick but that competitive spirit grabbed me like it usually does during a race and I kept pushing. We got to the kayaks with Kyle and Rick right behind us. The cp was in a cool little cove, we punched the card and headed back toward the kayak start point, dropped off the kayak and hoofed it back to the transition area to be the first competitors to cross the finish line in 2 hours 10 minutes. 3 minutes later Kyle and Rick followed us in, they were the first to finish in the all male category. I’d have to say that everything went right for us in this race, no cramping, no missed cp’s, and we had Kyle and Rick to motivate us. I was really impressed with Kyle and Rick, especially on the trekking section because they ran the whole way. It was great to work with another team because if they didn’t stop, you didn’t stop. All in all a pretty successful day for Nerac Earth and I think Kyle and Rick are hooked and we’ll all be heading to New York in October for the next race. To do the advanced course! -Jill

Pachaug Adventure Race

When: Saturday, August 25th
Who: Mike and Jill Nugent

Ok, I arrived at the race venue at 6am to get ready for the 6:45am registration time and there was not a car or soul in sight so I settled in for a nice 30 minute catnap until my team-mate showed up. We guessed we made the newbie mistake of showing up too early as the race promoter’s were sleepily setting up registration around 7am. There were 2 options of racing open which is the shorter, easier course with the points already plotted or racing the elite course which is the harder, advanced course that you have to plot and find 3 additional points. So we signed up for the open course and waited for the kickoff meeting at 8am. At adventure races they do not give you any information about the course or order of events until the race meeting on the day of the event. After attending the meeting and getting the details we now knew that the mountain biking section was first (yes!!!!), then the kayaking, then the trekking/running section. As I got our gear together Michael feverishly tried plotting the 3 extra points for the advanced course and felt confident enough to switch our race status to elite 5 minutes before the start of the race. My stomach was in knots at this point but we figured what the heck… So we lined up in the start shoot behind the EMS team (series leaders) and waited for the horn to signal the start. Immediately everyone started heading in different direction which caused me moments of panic but I continued in the direction we had discussed and hoped for the best. We ended up intersecting with the rest of the group at an fire road intersection and hopped in behind the EMS crew again. They were riding with a tow rope between them, the guy in the front and the gal in the back. The first punch was easy (you are given a punch card and have to navigate to each spot and punch your card) as there was a crowd but we decided to go for the advanced CP (checkpoint) next so we had to figure it out on our own. And we were able to figure out who else was racing elite. Found the next spot easily under a bridge and headed to the next one. At some point the EMS crew made a wrong turn because they disappeared. Michael was dead on with our navigation so we got all our check points (CP’s) and headed back to the transition area or HQ with only one wrong turn. There were only a few bikes in the transition area so I figured we were doing pretty well and I allowed myself to think wow, we might win!!! So back to the transition area and traded my bike shoes for water shoes and buckled the life jacket on, threw my camelback over it and we were off. It was about a mile run to route 49 and we were not allowed on the road so had to pass underneath. We downed some food on the way and got to the crossing in about 15 minutes and realized that we had to swim across the river to get to the kayaks. Nice, cloudy, smelly, nasty water. There was nothing else to do but jump in and swim to get across. I thought about all the tools, food, dry socks etc. that were in my camelback…not dry anymore! The kayaks were a 2 person sit on top style. We got in and decided to get the advanced CP first. The navigation was pretty easy because you could see everyone else in front and behind so we just paddled in between 2 other teams to the CP. The paddling seemed to last forever though and I paddled until I thought my arms would fall off and it seemed like anytime Michael stopped paddling we went nowhere when it was just me paddling so I had to wonder how much I was actually contributing. We didn’t lose much time during the paddling section and got all 3 CP’s but Michael’s legs started cramping while we were still in the boat. I didn’t realize how bad until he tried to get out and his legs seized up. One of the race attendants kindly gave him a icy cold Gatorade and he downed some Gu and after about 15 minutes he was able to walk again. One of the lessons learned was that plain water just is not enough and next time electrolytes will be mandatory. So we walked back to the transition area to try to give his legs a chance to recover and got ready for the trek by switching to running shoes, getting rid of all the bike gear in Michael’s camelbak and dumping 3 packets of Gatorade in it. I got rid of my pack altogether and just kept a water bottle, the mandatory whistle, my compass and the punch card. Michael navigated during the trek and I filled up the punch card. We missed the first advanced CP and ended up finding the first open course CP which we needed anyway but then had to backtrack to find the CP that we missed. After finding that one (did you know a double yellow line around a tree was a boundary corner????) we headed toward the next CP where we learned yet another valuable lesson. You should wear long pants when trekking or your legs will be scratched up and bloody. We had to walk across a log over a swampy river, saw a 5 foot black snake, and realized we were going the wrong way. Heard a yell and headed in that direction and saw the CP on the other side of the river. I was hoping my sneakers would stay dry but again, just had to jump in and wade through the muck to get to the other side all the time thinking about where that snake was. Getting out of this area was tricky and had to squeeze through all the brush but taking the less traveled way seem to pay off because it got us to the fire road a lot quicker than backtracking. Michael’s legs had recovered by then and we started running (smartwool is the bomb because running in wet shoes and socks did not result in any blisters!). Did I mention it was 93 degrees and super humid? There was one more checkpoint on the top of Mount Misery which we had a good idea how to get to because we had passed the trailhead on the mountain bike section. Found a water spigot and refilled, consulted with a local and headed toward the trailhead. They picked a tough CP to end with as it was all uphill and we ran up most of it until it got so steep you felt like puking. Great feeling when you got to the top but no time to enjoy the view. Passed a lot of people who looked a little worse for the wear on the way down but we got a second wind and booked it back and finished up strong with a sprint at the end. Wow, what an experience. It took just over 6 hours. The first place team finished in just over 3 hours so we need to whittle about 2 hours and 40 minutes off our time for the next race. No problem, right? – Jill

Link to Genesis Adventures: http://www.genesisadventures.com/v3/main.php?left=advracingnav&head=advracing&center=race_07AR5%20Pachaug&flash=advracing

Link to Pictures:
http://www.capstonephotostore.com/lostfound.php?p=1