In case anyone actually looks at the “Races” links on the right-hand side of the blog, you may have noticed a 24-hour adventure race as the only race this year. Well, between a cross-country move, family stuff, and an unsuccessful second knee surgery – um, we were neither ready nor willing to subject ourselves to that kind of misery. We were, however, foolish enough to volunteer for the race – all 24 hours of it.
I was pumped about being a part of this race in some way because the base camp (start/finish) was at a Wilderness Camp where I worked one summer in college. I have lot of memories of all the crazy backwoodsy places in the area – some are really remote – a great place for an adventure race that covers over 100 miles. I haven’t been to camp in 10 years and a lot has changed – less kids coming through and more corporate groups, but still a beautiful spot.
Cooling off in the creek mid-day
The worst part of the weekend was the heat – 99 degrees with high humidity. Ronnie Angel, owner of Odyssey Adventure Racing, told the racers that “50% of you will actually finish this course” (the 24-hour). We knew at that point that we made a good choice in not competing.
There was a 6-hour race running concurrently the first day, so we helped with checkpoints for that first. After the sun went down, the real fun began. Several racers had heat exhaustion bad enough they had to be evacuated. Many teams had at least one heat-sick person. Wes had to run a shuttle involving a huge U-Haul and crazy back roads to get bikes from one checkpoint to another. Abi and I camped at one end of the shuttle route and I kept an eye out on the bikes (while trying to grab as much sleep as I could). Sleep for the grown-ups was in short supply.
Race Central at dusk
We never saw a single racer until 10am the next day – and the race ended at 12 noon. Not a SINGLE team made the 7:30 cutoff time to get on the river, so they were all shuttled to us. Of the 80+ teams and soloists that started, I believe 3 were official finishers and 2 were unofficial (meaning they got to the finish after 12 noon). No one else made it to the finish on their own power. NUTS!
We learned a lot and had a great time helping out, but we’re going to hold off on competing until we get some more volunteering under our belts. Both the race director and the racers were great. Most racers told us this course was ridiculously hard – even impossible. However, there’s a big difference between a 12-hour race and racing through the night. If we witness much more of what we saw last weekend, we might never toe the starting line….just kidding (kind of)…..