Knowledge is,….. Points

“Re-entrant” – A small valley appearing as a small U or V shape in the conture lines of an orienteering map.

A “road test” does not equal a “trail test”

Wormholes can randomly appear during Adventure Races

July 16 the Adrenaline Rush 6 hour in the beautiful James River State Park. Before I begin the race report I want to take a moment to give a shout out to the staff at both Bear Creek Lake State Park and James River State Park. They were very welcoming and friendly and couldn’t wait to share their wonderful park with us. I will be back.

This was my first 6 hour race. I have done 3 and 4 hour races, whats two more hours?? Well apparently A LOT, because despite what you learned in math class six is not twice as much as three when it comes to Adventure Racing. I was joined by, Kim whose three part answer to, “Do you want to do a 6 hour Adventure Race?”, was, “I have never done an Adventure Race before. I haven’t trained for that. Sure, I’ll do it!”

It was a beautiful day for Adventure Racing. The morning was off to a good start. The race briefing was the usual; with an added emphasis on briar vines, poison ivy and snakes. After a few minutes to get our gear finalized and develop our approach to the course it was time to get to the starting line. The navigation for the first leg (bike) was a little challenging at the beginning section close to the river. It was difficult to match the land features on the map with the terrain. We made do and only got lost once. Then we got turned around, I got utterly confused, we missed a turn, and then somehow, magically, we where teleported to a completely different area, not far from where we needed to be. Thank goodness for wormholes.

Luckily during all that bad navigation which also included a bike repair to fix a loose back tire that started rubbing we still managed to get all the checkpoints thus far.

The race took us away from the river and onto the trails through the woods. I was looking forward to this location being my first 6 hour race partially because of the terrain. I did some research on the area and discovered that most of the park was no higher than a 20 feet or so above the river, a good flat course, so I thought. I could not have been more wrong. Its 20 feet that you go up and down and up and down over and over, it’s quite steep too. So the remainder of the bike leg had a good number of dismounts to push the bikes up hill.

The kayak stage was next and the instructions where that checkpoints 10-12 must be done IN ORDER. Checkpoint 11 was out of the way and upstream, both ways but “IN ORDER” kinda reads that you wont get credit for checkpoint 12 if you don’t get checkpoint 11, right? Well that’s how we read it and spent a lot of time on the water getting to checkpoint 11. Yet because checkpoint 12 was a transition area we would have gotten credit without going to checkpoint 11. That’s a mistake you only make once, I hope.

After the paddle it was on to the hiking leg, time to use our excellent navigation skills to get a lot of checkpoints under our belt. We were doing well bushwhacking efficiently from checkpoint to checkpoint, up and down and up and down hill after steep hill until we got to checkpoint 18. “ Re-entrant” – is apparently an English (as in the country) term for what we in the states call a draw, a terrain feature formed by two parallel ridges or spurs with low ground in between them. You know you’re in the right spot when the terrain slopes upwards from you on three sides and downwards on the remaining one side. Which actually makes a checkpoint located at a re-entrant pretty easy to find, as long as you already know what you are looking for. Wish I would have known before unsuccessfully searching for 15 minutes. We did find this guy though:

An Eastern Hognose snake

Checkpoint 20 was also a re-entraint and another 10 minutes of futile effort. With our time running low we decided to skip the last four checkpoints and head back to the transition area for the last bike leg. With less than an hour to finish we had to skip the wide loop of the park where most of the last leg checkpoints where located and head to the finish while picking up just one more checkpoint. We had to arrive by 3:00 PM to not get a penalty. We arrived at 2:48 PM exhausted, accomplished and good enough for a third place finish.