February 24, 2012

Medved Winter Adventure Challenge race report

A few weekends ago I had the privilege of racing alongside my good friend Tim Howland for the 4th annual Medved Winter Adventure Race Challenge.  We'd raced it together in 2010 and I have a race report up from that year HERE.  This year was going to be a little bit different as there was hardly any snow (just a light dusting) and there was the addition of a 5k "snowshoe" race before that was factoring into your final score and time from the adventure race. 

Our good friends Laura and Ian Webber were the brain children behind this race from day one and they've had the great fortune of working alongside the folks at Medved Running and Walking and Goose Adventure Racing in an effort to make sure things run smoothly. I've always enjoyed the Goose races and it helps when you're friends with the Race Directors.  The race is loads of fun and the twist of the 5k prior this year was fantastic as well as it drew some folks in that weren't doing the AR and you had to pace yourself accordingly. 

The morning of, I met Tim in Webster Park and we both suited up for the 5k which started 45 minutes prior to the official start of the AR.  We got the bikes situated and were ready to roll.  I was stoked to see if we could win ourselves some sweet swag as this race NEVER dissappoints.  This year would be no different, but I digress.  let's get back to the start.

The 5k went off and there were two high school kids that immediately took off like a shot.  I was leery of chasing them down as I've been neglecting my running lately, but I know I can thro down a fast 5k if needed.  About a half mile in, I was able to pass them both while going uphill and I took the lead.  I was a little scared and thought twice about slowing, letting them re-pass me and saving myself for the AR.  But, what was rolling around in the back of my head was the fact that we needed to put as much time into the following teams in the AR as there was a slight time bonus for our finish.

I took a nasty spill in Webster Park somewhere in the singletrack and came down on my left knee pretty good when my feet slid out from underneath me on some ice.  I bounced right back up, but I think I brused my bones pretty good on that fall as my knee is still tender to the touch at the spot I came down on.  No worries, the pain was totally worth it when I hit the line in first and realized we had a 90 second advantage on what we thought would be our biggest rivals in the AR.  The icing on the cake was that I won a free pair of shoes by winning the 5k and I was in dire need of some new training shoes (the ones I was running in had 550+miles on them!!! Results for the 5k are found HERE.

Regardless, I went back and cheered everyone on.   Tim trotted in and I was glad to see he was saving himself for the AR.  We got our bikes ready, heard the instructions for the mandatory meeting and were off to grab the maps.  Things were pretty quick and we made a good decision to get the team challenge out of the way in the adventure race early.  This year was a two part-er and the first was to erect a tent and get in it, out of two hiking poles, some ropes and a tarp and tent stakes.  Easy.  Here is a shot of my buddies Doug and Ricky in their tent (their first adventure race too)
The next part of the team challenge was to build a fire big enough to burn a rope in half.  My teammate Tim took the knife and flint and we quickly picked up some kindling and he got to work trying to get some sparks to fly.  After watching him try to succeed to no avail (it was like trying to watch a midget hump a door knob - Dodgeball reference) I grabbed the knife from him, flung it open and showered the kindling with sparks.  (I'm an Eagle Scout after all) Tim quickly remembered the cotton ball in the map and directions (after he tried to rip one of the maps and wad it up as ignition) and our rope was the first one off. 

We then headed out on the bikes and were blazing thru the course.  This year was a little more laid out than in years past and unfortunately we were back and forth on the same road a few times, but it's understood as some of the other roads in Webster might not have been the safest to travel on via bike. 

Long story short (too late) Tim and I trotted back in to the cabin for some eats with his 4th and my 2nd consecutive Winter Challenge Adventure Race titles under our belt.  The race was a blast and we had a little difficulty with some of the checkpoints, but ended up finding them no problems.  We waited for the awards and came away with some sweet North Face duffel bags that had the race logo on them and are freaking bomb proof. They are fantastic.  I actually used them at the Cast-a-shadow 6 hour relay the following weekend and it worked great.

All in all, a great race with great friends.  Thanks to Brian M. for letting me borrow a mountain bike named Hambone for the 2nd year now and allowing me to be able to hit up another W with Tim.  Good times.  Cheers.

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