NYARA is National: Race Reports from Across the Country (part 2)

Today we are excited to share two race reports: one from the east coast and one from the mountains in the west. The first is a report from Austin Planz and Chris Obara who raced in GOALS Cradle of Liberty and the second is from Chris Edmundson who raced the Ultra O-gaine in Colorado.

Ultra O-Gaine – NYARA takes 2nd place.

Checkpoint Adventures resurrected their 24-hour rogaine race “Ultra O-Gaine” after a six year hiatus.This year the race was held in the Buffalo Creek area of Colorado. Team NYARA was represented at this great event by Chris Edmundson.


Pre-Race, overlooking the terrain.

Much like Checkpoint Adventures, I have also been on a six year hiatus and this was my first time behind a map in a substantive race since 2008. Overall, the race was a blast! However, more than once I was thankful that Olof Hedberg is the primary navigator for Team NYARA. As it turns out, racing solo in a self-supported event is hard!


1:24,000 map of the Buffalo Creek Recreation Area in Pike National Forest

We received the maps at 7:30 PM on July 3rd. Race began at 8:00 PM and in my disorder, I didn’t leave the start until 8:10. The task at hand was to obtain as many as 41 checkpoints (CP’s), for a total point value of 2201. The map looked pretty straight forward and I would have an opportunity to return to the start/finish area to resupply after about 20km. This allowed me to travel very light for this section. Things went quite smoothly with just a few minor map reading errors that I was able to quickly recover from. During this leg, I was fortunate to meet my personal hero Danelle Ballengee and even help her find one of the CP’s! What an honor!

Sometime before midnight I was back at the start/finish to resupply. From here, my plan was to not return again until the finish. Therefore, I had to carry a lot of supplies. Well… My paranoia required that I carry way more than I needed. I left with a lot of confidence that I could clear the entire course. I was running well and without any major navigational errors, obtaining every checkpoint seemed quite feasible. As it would turn out, before the night was up I would spend about 3 hours searching for 2 CP’s that I would never find. Despite trying several different attack points, these checkpoints were elusive and really shook my confidence. Missing these 2 CP’s, I was leaving behind only 91 points but with a major loss of time. As daylight arrived, I continued to make numerous minor navigational errors and I can’t begin to explain how I repeatedly walked by CP’s without seeing them. It was as if they were cleverly hidden to evade detection.


Sun up! Maybe I will stop missing checkpoints now…

Somewhere along the way, I ran into Team Lupine and it was nice to see some familiar faces. They told me about a nice horse trail along the creek to the next CP that would save me some heartache. At this point, I was running low on water at which point I discovered that I must have left the iodine behind the last time that I refilled. Ohh well, only another 9 km to some known clean water. Thinking about water, running hard, 15 hours in, I reached my high point. I was running up a switchback trail to a CP on a spur. This was clearly a popular mountain biking destination and I was a bit jealous of the riders that were passing me on their descent. The one rider going up this hill gave me a boost of confidence. Despite starting at the same time, my legs felt strong and I continued to put distance into him. He only caught me when I wandered off trail to go punch the CP. I then got back on trail and proceeded to run him down and would have caught him if it wasn’t for the next CP. Shortly after, I refilled water and set out for what turned into the most time consuming CP of the event. I spent 2 hours searching for this thing! It was worth a lot of points and I was not going to give up. My final attack point yielded success despite running over and over the same ground. This CP was just hidden!

These old burn areas are hot!

These old burn areas are hot!

Now came a big decision point. Do I run an extra 12 km to obtain an extra 243 points? I was beginning to feel weary and any physical dysfunction or navigational errors would mean missing the 24 hour time cutoff. In the end, it was clear that I made the right decision. The combination of limited physical conditioning and poor attention to nutrition led me to a physical and mental meltdown around hour 20. I am not sure what was worse, my cognition or my physical function. I was now barely running even on the flats and downhills. As I approached the finish, in my malaise, I could not wrap my head around how to obtain the next 2 CP’s (77 points). I became completely disoriented and was forced to bail out on a northerly bearing to find a known trail. After 95 km, I stumbled into the finish 40 minutes early having left a total of 445 points on the table. I finished with around 100 points less than the winning team of Mark Lattanzi and his partner from Team Odyssey.

Thanks to Patrick and his wife for a wonderful event! NYARA will certainly be back again next year. Hopefully with Olof at the helm…

10 Questions with Alan Young – Race Director for Fools Rogaine

fools_banner  On Saturday, April 5th NYARA is putting on the Fool’s Rogaine in Wawayanda State Park.   It’s not the biggest or most serious race of the year, but instead a race where both beginners    and experts will be challenged. Race director Alan Young is known to always add special  elements (or tricks) that will surprise even the most experienced adventure racers while the  course by itself is easy enough that you can still enjoy it even if it is your first adventure race.  We sat down with Alan and asked him a couple of questions about this years race.

1) How many tricks are you planning into this years course ?

TRICKS! How dare you insinuate that I deploy tricks into my race, I prefer to call them the will of the FOOL. There will be at least one or maybe two or three…….

2) Do you have any specific gear suggestions for this years race ?

Besides good footwear, compass, whistle, map bag and a pack to carry food and water for 6 hours a large bribe for the officials will secure your first place finish!!

If the weather is to be wet, then bring some rain gear.

3) Do I really need a MTB, or can I do the whole thing on foot ?

Nope. Bikes are an option and are not required.

Due to the elevation and amount of snow we have had, this years race MAYBE a foot race only. We will make a call the week of the race to see if the trail conditions have improved for the use of bikes.

4) How strong navigation skills do I need to finish this race ?

I think it is more will power and determination that gets people to the finish line. But navigation is always a part of this race. There are always at least two routes to each control point: the easy, less technical route and the riskier, cross country route. I design the course so that there are a mixture of easy and hard controls for every level of experience. You must decide your own course.

5) Is this a solo event or should I bring a team mate ?

Solo and teams are all welcome. Solo is great fun till you get completely lost and then you’d wish you had brought a friend so you can blame them on that stupid route choice….. Teams are great because you can always blame someone else and laugh about it afterwards, if your still talking to each other…..of course.

6) Do I need to carry my own food and water – and if so – how much should I bring ?

Enough for 6 hours and don’t feed the bears!!

7) What scale are the maps the racers will have ?

Ohh your really digging for beta here….. let’s just say the main map is 1:25,000 and there could be 1:50, 1:250, 1:500…….

8) Can I sign up on race morning ?

We strongly discourage this practice. Please sign up on the website so that we know how much prep we have to do before the event. We can always try to accommodate when we can though.

9) When I’m finished with the race and being fooled – will there be something edible at the end ?

Most clothing items will be inedible after the race and if not then you really need to try harder. We’ll have the usual spread of health conscious items: brownies, Twizzlers, M&Ms and then for the weird people maybe some fruit and granola bars. But yes, there will be food and drinks at the finish.

10) Do you have any last minute suggestions to all the racers to make this extra awesome ?

Bring your swimming gear (and an pickax) and go for a dip in the lake after the race, very refreshing …….burr!!