Up To Speed

We are in the midst of a massive winter storm that is pounding northern California which has put all training on hold.  Actually, training would be a generous term.  At the moment I feel as though I am still recovering from 2007!

For some reason, I let slip on a couple recaps so this will be somewhat abbreviated.

Two weeks following White River, Durdam, Mahir, Nick and I found ourselves outmatched in our first ever 24 Hour adventure race (Kit Carson).  Durdam and Nick had their visions of earnestly competing for a top spot quickly readjusted during a 3 hour kayak that took us all over and across Lake Tahoe.  Ultimately that turned out to be the "easy" portion of a course that in all honesty probably would have taken us 48 hours to actually complete.

All of us were taxed by previous events and that was evident 6 hours into the race as we set off on an brutal orienteering course.  As the difficulty started to set in we found ourselves a bit demoralized; our competitive streak was brutally humbled.  We cut short the orienteering because the penalty for missing check points was consistently less than the time it was taking us to find (not find) them!

We tried to muster renewed enthusiasm for the bike course until we got the maps which revealed an insane amount of technical riding all in the dark and included a little jaunt down to Carson City (obviously followed by a climb back) not to mention some points that were on hillsides 1000 feet up from the trail.  Yes, dismount your bike and start hiking in the forest with bears uphill in the dark (it was a NEW moon) looking for a flag in the middle of the night.

Armed with some super sweet new bike lights, we set out into the darkness with the modest goal of making at least one (of 13!) bike checkpoints.  It was rough going.  Nick had a serious electrolyte imbalance and was sick to his stomach.  Durdam was recovering from the demoralizing orienteering. The speed he envisioned on the bike when he pasted power bars on his frame (tri-style) I jokingly referred to now as "bear bait."

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After a few hours we found the first checkpoint and then with spirits a bit uplifted, we decided to set out for a second which involved riding the famous Flume trail.  Yes, miles of exposed Tahoe overlook in the dark.  Midway through this section we decided on a break and killed the lights to lie back and look at the heavens.  And then it happened.  Out in the middle of nowhere, 15 hours in, exhausted, giddy, and many miles from a point where we could end the madness, we looked up and saw the sky raining stars.

It turns out we managed to hit the peak of the Perseid meteor shower that night and that experience I am sure we’ll all remember much more than any part of the race.

We eventually found a second CP, and then opted to descend to the lake on a few miles of sandy wash — like skiing in the dark, before a contentious (if slightly dangerous), long, road ride back to Spooner Lake camp ground where after 17 hours we called it quits.

Only we still had to go pack up gear, drive miles back along the lake to pick up our kayaks and finally make it home.  Nick had a couple hours before having to drive back to Sacramento to catch a plane to Denver!

I think we were all spent for a couple months afterwards.

I relaxed during September doing organized Bay swims on the weekend including conquering the span of the Golden Gate Bridge which was an absolute thrill.

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I waited until November before testing the legs again.  Mahir, Durdam, and I did some light training and then took part in the Quad Dipsea which was very fun in spite of the joint pounding from 18,000 vertical feet.

Which brings us to 2008.

I am signed up for the West Highland Way Race but mentally not completely committed.  We hope to finish a 24 hour adventure race in Colorado.  And they’ll certainly be an odd ultra in the mix for fun and training.  This year’s motto — less is more!   Oh, the unintentional irony.

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