Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Port to Fort

I did this adventure race last year and said it would be on my to-do list for years to come--and I made good on that promise. I was on the Dream Team last year with Iron Horse and Mr. Rob Philip, and were it not for me being so pathetically slow thrashing through the water with an industrial ski vest, we might have snuck into the money. This year, there was a little jockeying for team members, and I wanted to ask my friend DJ to join my team, and it turned out that Channing was also looking for a team--so the team "Sexy and I Know It" was born.

There were more than twice as many participants in this years run, due to the fact that this is one of the coolest races in Oklahoma.

Our team--Channing, TZ, and DJ.

Our competition--Team RunnersWorld. Russell was oozing with confidence--learned from none other than TZ himself at last years race. Kathy viewed this as a chance to one-up me again, but I was not gonna let that happen. 
The race started on time, and the first portion included a run to the lagoon, and a short swim across. It was shorter than last year, and I gave thought to trying to swim without a flotation device, but wisely opted to swim safe. (I use the term swim loosely.) I had a boogie board, and I planned on putting it under my chest and paddle like a surfer fixing to be shark food. This was an epic fail, as my whale-like body barely stayed above water and I had to use one hand/arm to hold on tightly to the board and pitifully paddle with the other arm. I held on to the foot of some guy who thought I was weird, and made it to where I could stand up and walk out of the water.

See the rocks on the left/ We came out there, and ran up the hill, and then back down to the dock where we jumped into the water again for a 15 yard swim. If we had been allowed to dive, I might have made it across quickly, but we had to go feet first.

We had the option of going straight across and climbing up these nets, or going back across the slightly longer way. I had figured there would be a huge log jamb at the netting, so I had planned on going back the way we came in--but everyone must have had the same idea. The netting actually was hardly used, and I climbed right up like a wet monkey. DJ and Channing were ahead of me, and I managed to find them easily in the transition area.

Next was a five mile trail run. This trail is awesome--much of the way was in the shade on wide soft trailz, and I ate em up like good Halloween candy.

Possibly the only part of the route that was less fun--couple hundred yards of loose gravel.

Channing borrowed my camera and took a pick for me.

More trail--kind of a jeep road, through the jungle.

We caught quite a few runners who were faster than me in the swim, although I was not actually in super-competitive mode.

Like last year, the trailz were marked flawlessly with zero chances of getting lost.

I turned around to check on DJ, and an army or runners had caught me. Oh well.

DJ scrambles up a 30 foot climb with the help of ropes.

about a tenth of a mile later, we had a steep decent that had to be navigated with ropes. There was about a 10 minute wait while some people rappelled down quickly and others held on for dear life.

The triple threat girls had caught us--could we hold them off?

We swapped photo-shoots while waiting for the ropes

Channing makes the jump and skidded down like a pro. I was a bit to cocky though, and was descending quickly and got my foot hung in a root and spun around hard slamming my arm into the loose dirt wall--no harm done except I ground my camera into a bunch of dust and grit. The lens would not open and I thought my picture taking was through.

This was the next section, and this was one of my pics from last year. DJ was back behind taken by the triple threat girls no doubt, so Channing and I walked to let him catch up. I worked on trying to free up my lens, and finally got it open and just left it that way to I could get a few more pics.

This was a dicey section where you could run on a steep side slope or through shoe sucking mud.

Channing ducks through some ginormous roots.

DJ blinds us with his white legs.

On our way to the fort where we had to answer some trivia questions, someone gave us a tip. "The answer is Abraham Lincoln!" DJ took it seriously although I thought it was a trick. 

And a trick it was. DJ blurted out his answer before the question was finished, and was punished for his error.

Next--the canoeing. We had five miles to go across non-flowing water, and into a stiff wind. But it was a beautiful day.

It took us a few minutes to get our paddling figured out. I knew paddling on the left sends you to the right, but we seemed to over-correct a lot, and saw both banks for the first 1/4 mile, or so it seemed.

But we finally got a good system going and cut across the water in fairly straight lines. A large tugboat plowed right down the center of the channel at one point and sent a wave of water our was about eight inches higher than our canoe, and we hauled that water all the way to the finish. Rowing into the wind was a workout, and it seemed like we would never get there. I doubt a Garmin would even have registered movement as slow as we were.

We made it in, getting passed by probably everyone we managed to pass on the run. But we were not last in the men's division. And we beat a bunch of chick teams and coed teams. Best of all, we had FUN!

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