Thursday, May 10, 2012

Bushwhacker-IRVOC race report

Posted by Leisha and Dave
Weather!!  The week of the race it rained nearly everyday.  Some of the storms dropped huge amounts of rain so we were nervous about the amount of mud we were going to encounter, especially on the single track.  But by Friday, they had taken it out of the forecast.  The weather was perfect.  We got a little warm but I'll take that over rain. 

As I mentioned in a earlier post, my sister joined us for her first race ever.  She came over from Iowa City the night before to bring her bike and discuss last minute strategy and packing ideas.  Race day we picked her up at 5 in the morning from my mom's house, then to Lori's house to pick her up.  We got all four bikes on the bike rack (barely) and then we were off!  I will be getting a new bike rack very soon.  Don't have the extra money laying around but I hate cramming our pretty nice bikes on that POS bike rack.  Looking to get the Kuat NV, with the add-on. 


We were all a little nervous at the start.  Tracy's first AR.  Lori's first race in two years.  Dave having to race with 3 girls:)  Didn't know what to expect here!  And me because I always get nervous at the start.  Mostly because I fear the unknown and if I'll be able to handle what is required.

So just prior to the start, they walked us to the start line.

I thought it was strange that we didn't just start at HQ but whatever.  So the first thing we did was trek. We had to get 4 CPs in order, then the next 11 could be in any order. 

All 5 of my team mates...sorry it's blurry I was walking backward
 As the navigator I love it when we do a race with the orienteering type maps.  The detail is incredible and makes my job almost...shall I say...easy?!?  We were flying by our standards.  We had the first four CPs in about 20 minutes.  From the beginning and through these four points it was pretty obvious that we were about the same speed and on the same strategies as team C2.  Chad and I decided that we should just team up and work together.  Chad and Cortny were great!  It made it so much fun hanging with them and I think that I said about 20 times that day that it is nice having another navigator to bounce ideas off of.  All 15 points went pretty smooth and quick.  Split time 1:14 in 8th place at 10:14am

Then we transitioned to the bike. I was extremely nervous because we all assumed this would be single track and I hate single track.  Actually, that is putting it mildly.  I am terrified, horrified and really wimpy about single track.  So we start going on the bike and I insist on being in the back.  But what it turned out to be was a wide grassy trail.  I was totally fine with it.  In fact, I was feeling a little silly about making such a big deal because it was fine.  I kept saying to my sister, "By the way, this isn't single track. I'll let you know if it turns into it, but this isn't it."  I'm sure she wondering what the heck my obsession was with it because she had never done it, but I really hate it.

Courtny and Lori waiting while we punch
 No problems with this section, we had some slow going in a couple spots just because it was wet soggy grass due to all the rain but we just kept chugging along.  At the end of this section we would find a TA and get another map and clue sheet.  We had no idea what to expect.  At the TA with clue: "end of road" it is at a rather swollen river/creek.  The volunteer said take everything off you don't want to get wet, put on a PFD, and grab a caribeaner.  We had to hold onto the short webbing attached to the caribeaner that is clipped to the rope and wade/swim down the river about 30 meters to punch our e-punch before we could get out map and clue sheet.  At one part I couldn't touch the bottom so I was floating in my PFD.  It was SO cold that it took my breath away...literally.  I was breathing very short, very quick breaths, the only thing I can compare it to is the way they teach women to breath through labor.  It was fun though!!  Split time: 1:26 at 11:41 am we had lost a ton of time here 10 of 18 teams already through that put us 11th and 12th. 

We don't know these guys but this is what we did!  About 3 steps further for the front guy and it drops off, I couldn't touch the bottom!
We got our maps and clue sheet and found that we had a huge section of trekking/biking. We could get the CPs in any order and could decide which parts we wanted to bike and trek

Obviously route choice and travel method was a huge key in the next section.  We had a few minutes of confusion about what to do next.  The team didn't know whether to put trekking clothes back on or wear biking gear...I said yes.  I didn't know what to tell them we would be doing both.  Chad and I finally formed a plan and said we would be doing a short bike, short trek, short bike, short trek, short bike then a longer trek.  So we kept with the bike gear until the longer trek section.  In hind site I think we lost some time here and I take the blame for that one and not pulling the trigger faster.  

The short bikes and treks were pretty easy and quick.  The longer trek section went well but our moving speed was slowing just slightly as some.  The only other issue that I can think of is when we were about half way through the long trek I was running down a steep hill after punching the cp when I heard a very loud bang and a sharp pain in my ear.  I went down and was feeling a little light headed.  I quickly realized that somehow a stick made it right into my ear and hit my ear drum.  (I am pretty sure that it ruptured my ear drum.  When at home, Leisha checked it out with her otoscope(the ear thingy doctors use) and said she saw some bleeding but didn't notice anything major.  Maybe because as soon as she got into my ear far enough I screamed like a girl and pulled away and said that is enough looking.  Today is Thursday, 5 days later, and the pain is getting better except when I burp, cough, sneeze, blow my nose or anything else that puts pressure on it.) 

At the top of a huge hill.  Click on the picture and check out the little dude on the sign. 

The trek ended up with us on the same grassy path we biked before but we had to work our way back to where we left our bikes.  We attempted to do some jogging and towing but we soon realized that too many of us were out of, or very low on water, and beginning to hurt a bit.  It was way hotter than I had anticipated.  We still kept a quick hike going and made it back to our bikes.  Once there we had 4 quick cps to get on our way back to the TA for some kayaking.  Only 7 teams now ahead of us!! Trek/bike split 2:39 done at 2:32 pm.

I know that some of us were a little nervous about the kayak section, myself included.  I don't think any of the four of us from Tardy Rooster have kayaked before, only canoe...I don't know about C2??  We had to stick to our teams of 2 and do this like a relay.  One kayak, the other run to a relay point, then the second one kayak while the other runs back to the take out.  While kayaking, we had to go to the cps and look at the letters on the cp and report back what the word was when we get back.  I was really confused when the letters I got were  C, then VO...what the heck?  

Leisha was going to go first in kayak and said she wanted me to boat at the same time, and Chad also decided to boat first, so that put Lori, Tracy, and Cortny together on the run. Actually, Tracy, wasn't into running in her bike shoes. I also heard that the first leg of the kayak was longer. So I figured I should go first and do the longer section and then run in my bike shoes. Didn't much matter to me at that point so I did it for my sister:) I helped Leisha get into a kayak and sent her while Chad got in his.  I turned to the "safety boat" and asked which one is fast?  He pointed to one and I took it.  Stupid me didn't realize that meant it would be longer and narrower...more easily tipped.  It was very wobbly (no I didn't tip...unlike "the six pound burrito brothers" and "team parking lot" in previous races) I figured it out and started digging a little bit, he was right by the way, that boat sailed like crazy, although my wife will point out that she beat me because she was the first out of the boat (only because I helped her and by the time I found a boat and paddle and got in she was literally out of site...then at the take out I let her get out first...but she won!). 

At the end I was helping Lori get out, Courtny in background
The first leg of kayak only took about 12 minutes then we portaged and partner two took over and the first group ran back.  The other three girls did a great job and I heard that Lori found the letters I, and R...DUH the "word" is IRVOC.  I thought that this was a excellent way to do this section great job IRVOC it was fun!  Kayak split was :28 it was now 3:07 only 1:53 til cut off.  Side note:  The safety boat guy followed me the whole time on the kayak and Chad and I got to talking with him and somewhere in there I ask if he follows every group and why he followed us.  And he said something along the lines of he heard me talking about it being tippy and saw me almost loose it, so he wanted to be close...NICE!

Chad and Cortny had to leave after the kayak.  Childcare issues, I think.  We were really bummed because we had a ton of fun with them. We've already connected with them on facebook and hope to race with them in the future.  Loved racing with you guys, thanks!!

We got our third map and clue sheet only to find out it is a single track section with 10 cps none of them marked on the map.  We were to just follow the route marked on the map and you will come to them on the track and must collect in order.  I asked Rachel from Bushwhacker how long it has been taking teams and she said about an hour.  Crap!  I mentioned that we are very slow especially on single track and she said you can come back any time to make the cut off.  No way!  We have to finish...lets GO girls!

To get to the trail head we had about .5 miles in an open field and I didn't know what to expect.  I had one girl excited to do single track (Lori), one who is dreading it because she knows she HATES it (Leisha), and one who has not been on a mountain bike much let alone ever been on single track (Tracy).  For me I couldn't form a opinion, I was focused on trying not to mess up the nav and push the pace so we don't miss the cut off.

Within the first 100 feet of single track we had stopping and looking to see what was ahead.  I was trying to keep my cool and make it very clear that I don't care how you do it, but the bike must keep moving.  Walk or ride but don't stop!  I hope my team mates didn't think I was too hard on them I was trying to be patient yet motivate at the same time...(not always a strong skill for me).  I think that we were all getting nervous because it took a very long time (I would guess 20 minutes) to find the first cp.  We had nine more to go and we would not make it at this rate.  I was struggling to keep track of our position on the map so I couldn't tell how far we had come and how far we had to go, but I was hoping the later cps were closer together.  I think that all of the walking made it much, much slower.  About a third to half way through I noticed that we were riding much more and picking up cps a little quicker.  At one point we had about one hour left and 4 cp and I realized that the 4th cp was at the trail head at the finish...ONLY 3 LEFT!!  I mentioned it to the girls as we crossed a open field and picked up the pace to the last loop.  We took a right and started the loop and had to walk a pretty good hill.  At the top we met another team.  I don't know who they were but I am greatful we met and thankful for the help.  After looking over maps together he said that we had made a wrong turn that was obvious when pointed out and I also realized that I missed a small section all together. 

Turn around girls we are goin back!  I don't think that I had too many fans at that point but I knew it didn't cost us too much time.  We went back and picked up the small section missed got a cp then headed to the point where we took the wrong turn.  It was tough becase the path had 4 or 5 turn offs.  We hit the right one and rode really well.  Found a cp and now we were down to 2 left (one at finish).  We made our turn at the back of the loop and were heading back hopeing to see the last cp.  We made it back to where we started and it was obvious we miss something.  Another wrong turn at the back of the loop.  To fix it though we could ride the correct path backward to find the last cp.  When I figured it out I took the lead and was going to hammer ahead.  I got around the bend about 100 feet and slammed on the brakes with everyone coming up behind...FOUND IT!  Turn around and get us home!

I figure it was only about  a mile or so of double track, pretty flat and easy to ride.  I mentioned to Leisha at one point that we had better get going because Lori took the lead and in past races she has almost dropped me at the end when she knew we were done.  We managed to make it back punch the last cp and get to the finish line.  Finish time 4:33...we had :27 to spare. YES!  That put us in 6th and 7th place of the 18 teams.  I am extremely proud of my team.  The teams that were ahead of us were very good teams.  We had a great race and great time doing it.  The single track that seemed to take for ever took us 1:26 and was actually about :07 faster than the two teams in front of us 4th and 5th.  Great job ladies!!

A huge thank you to all of the volunteers and IRVOC/Bushwhaker folks.  This was a great race, very well organized with incredible route.  I will be keeping this one on my calendar!



  1. Great job! That's crazy about your ear! And Leisha, I totally feel your singletrack pain.

  2. We had a great time. Next time I'll be sure to schedule a babysitter for the entire goof.

    We really hope to race with you guys again...and soon!