Three Cheers for Olof, Whitney & Eric for a great time in the woods this Saturday! From the organization of the race to the beer at the finish, it couldn’t have gone down smoother!
Chris and I (Team NYARA Men) had a great day in the woods, that began with a lung busting run from the base lodge to the top of the Bear Peak Lift. Of course the second point was way down hill only to complete the “King of the Mountain” with a run/walk (mostly walking) to the top of the South Peak. We were close to the top 25% of the pack at this point when we headed out to the paddle put in on the back side of the South Peak. We paddled to a couple points around the lake and gained some time on a few teams. Most of the paddle points were near the water but a couple required some off trail navigation.
After the paddle section we dropped the boats and headed in the woods to find a 50 foot cliff rappel! It was a tricky and slippery descent, but a whole lot of fun! It was a great addition to this years race. We made the rappel just prior to a big rush of teams and had no delay in getting on the ropes. I suspect others may have waited a bit there! After the ropes section we bagged a couple points and found ourselves at the top of Vernon Peak where our bikes were waiting! We quickly got on course and navigated well through the maze of winding single and double track trails. There were required points and optional points in this section with twist on the layout. Most of the points were not listed on the map! There was a Norwegian section where a map was hanging at each point to tell you where the next point was located. With a good memory, Chris and I were able to move quickly through this section without having to pull out the maps and write down points. That was a big help! After we got back to the TA at the top of the downhill bike (my favorite section), we found ourselves in first place in the two person male category. Kudos’ to Goals (the overall race winners) with a 30 minute lead on us at that point!
We punched at the top of the trail and ripped down the mountain at times going uncomfortably fast! It was worth it, as we smoked the competition and I got to repeat a win on the “Blazing Saddles” section. Thanks for much better flagging this year Olof! At the bottom TA we changed into our running gear for the last section of the race. Just as we were packing up to leave our competition was arriving. These guys were lightning fast on foot and were pretty good on the “nav” as well! During our run back to the top of the mountain, it didn’t take them long to pass us! We eventually made our way to the top for a very memorable foot section. If you were hot at all that day, the course designers gave you plenty of time to cool off in the lakes and swamps of Vernon Valley! One of the more memorable ones was a 100 yard push through a chest deep swamp with several peat bogs to army crawl over. The best part was the impenetrable laurel and pricker’s surrounding the edge of the lake. It did not lend well to a good attack approach! After a long run to the bottom and about 8 hours or so of racing we finished in 2nd place in our division! Despite being quite out of shape (me especially), we were very pleased with our finish!
Overall the race was another raging success for NYARA with an impressive sold out field of teams! I can’t wait to see what’s in store next year for the Inferno!
Also…Good luck to both NYARA teams and all the other local racers who are taking on “Untamed New England” a 4-day expedition race, this week. Follow them at http://www.untamedne.com/ExpeditionRace.aspx.