A big thanks to the race directors for all the careful planning and hard work that went into the 2014 Jersey Inferno! The course was tough, but extremely fun and enjoyable.
For this race, Team NYARA consisted of two NYARA newbs, Cara Guilfoyle and Mikal Davis, plus a NYARA vet and expert-navigator Brice Wilson. The three of us didn’t know each other going into the race, but immediately meshed well and were able to leverage each person’s strengths; Cara was the mountain bike ace, Brice kept us from getting lost and Mikal got to share his twisted love of running up hill!
We started off with the KOM and set up a great towing system that we would use on all the foot sections. We kept a conservative pace, knowing it would be a long and hilly day and made it to the paddle in the upper half of the pack. The paddle was short and sweet and soon enough we were back on foot, headed to the rappel. We managed to not get help up for too long, and after some more uphill towing and spot-on navigation from Brice, we hit the transition on were on our bikes. In our excitement, we forgot about some of the OP’s, but fortunately were able to get them all without losing much time. We finished the bike section with the blazing saddles DH course, during which the “Mikal Davis curse” struck again! Last year, Mikal’s teammate had a rough crash and had to pull out of the race to get 10 stitches in his forearm. This year, sure enough, another one of his teammates took a tumble in almost the exact same spot! Luckily, Brice walked away with some minor scratches, and we were able to finish the course with big smiles and only a small amount of blood.
The last foot section was fantastic. Lots of hills and interesting CP placement to say the least! We were on the heels of team S.W.I.F.T. throughout the entire race and caught up to them on many CP’s in the last trek, but they managed to sneak away from us at the end! Not to worry, we still we able to bag 3rd place in the Coed Elite Division. Nationals here we come!
Since we had two fresh faces on the NYARA team, we also wanted to add a bit on their impressions of racing with NYARA for the first time:
Cara: The Jersey Inferno was my first AR racing with team NYARA. As race day approached, I found myself getting pretty nervous about racing with a new team, especially one I have never met before!! After a hellish 4 hour drive from Allentown PA to Vernon NJ in pouring rain (was supposed to take only 2 hours) I met my new team for dinner. My worries quickly dissipated as we started to get to know each other and started making plans for the race. We all had our own strengths and weaknesses and quickly devised strategies to move faster as a team. The race itself was challenging with unrelenting elevation changes. The bushwhacking was thick and just about every checkpoint was off trail. There were also several checkpoints requiring swimming . The good thing is, we are all triathletes so we had no problems swimming, however one was in the middle of a SWAMP! It was the most unpleasant checkpoint I ever had the pleasure of finding! True teamwork kicked in when Brice, our navigator and team leader, helped distract me when I kept bumping into “things under the water”. After trying to stand on it and failing miserably, he also showed me the proper technique for crossing thick boggy moss in a military crawl J Works like a charm! Overall we had a great race. Mikal is one of the strongest runners I know and Brice’s leadership, navigation and strategy was spot on. I had an amazing time in the Inferno with these guys and we finished strong taking 3rd place. The race was very well organized and the Mountain Creek Resort is a great venue. Thank so much to Olof, Whitney, and Eric for putting together a great race!
Mikal: Following in my big sisters footsteps, this was my first race with NYARA and definitely not my last. Olof, Whitney and Eric managed to improve upon an already hellish course and made it even more interesting than last year. I loved swimming in the swamps and am always happy to ride some fun, flowy DH (even if it is on a HT.) A big thanks to the race directors and my teammates for making it a great race!