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The Golden Girls Take on the Adventure Max 8 Hour Adventure Race

(Editor’s Note: The following race report was written by our friend, Susy, from The Golden Girls.  She originally posted it as a comment on another post, but we wanted to publish it as a stand-alone post to inspire and entertain others.  These ladies rocked this race.  Great job, girls!  And thanks for sharing this with all of us.)

We survived our race but I was beginning to wonder in the last few hours! We came in just about where we usually do…close to the bottom, but we were not last! When it started with about a mile and a half run to the first checkpoint, we should have known what we were in for.

The topography was quite steep, long long climbs and descents, which was actually worse on the bikes. It wasn’t smooth enough to ride down and too steep to ride up. Fortunately the long part of the bike was out of the Resort and relatively flat. Unfortunately it consisted of sand, mud, and thick chunky gravel on a lot of it. Combine that with several low water bridges and a few just plain water crossings. We waded through or attempted to ride through more creeks than I can count on the orienteering and the biking.

The Golden Girls Adventure Racing Team

Although the weather was beautiful, the Golden Girls had to canoe through large sheets of ice to get to one control.

After our initial run, then orienteering, then canoeing, then almost to finish the first bike section we encountered a monster hill that really kicked my butt. I struggled in to the next transition area, where we dropped the bikes to orienteer again. It felt better to walk for awhile, let me tell you!

We knocked out the first 3 controls pretty handily, then headed into the next one there were a lot of people running around asking if we had found it. They said they had been down the first ridge I headed us to and didn’t find it. Well, I was a little foggy brained by that time, and with only two more controls to find had visions of a sweep dancing in my mind. Big mistake…I lost focus and went down the wrong ridge.

In looking at the land across a huge, huge re-entrant I realized my mistake. So we climbed back up a ways then descended and ascended just below where I thought it should be. Well, it wasn’t there either! Oh…demoralizing. So with the Cut-off drawing near, we decided to go on to the last check-point. In hind sight I picked a poor route and ended up going up the wrong re-entrant to find the last control. I screwed that one.

Then we headed back to our bikes to ride quite some distance to the finish. I was shot…I mean my muscles were screamin’, Connie splattered in the mud, I missed a turn and couldn’t figure out where the hell we were. She is thinking they are going to have to come find us. We retrace our path and find the turn and head on in.

We round a corner for a steep descent and are looking at this huge MONSTOR hill on the other side of it. Talk about having the wind kicked out of you. About that time someone appears behind us and I ask them if they knew where we were. They were kind of enough to say, “go to the bottom and turn left” not up that horrible hill. But as they passed us we realized it was the only other all female team that we had been leading by about 6 miles when we were on the bike. They had not even tried to find the last marker and headed in because of the cut-off.

So Connie starts stoking her pedals, not wanting to be left in the mud by them. As we came down the last hill, there were a couple men down there watching and Connie over heard the women say to them, “At least we are not last!” Of course she is speeding ahead of me at that point, trying to catch the thirty year olds. Mercy. (Editor’s Note: The Golden Girls are in their 50’s, although they don’t look it, and they kick ass at these races!)

So then we come staggering (pedaling) in at the end and they say we have a challenge to do. Some misguided race director thought everyone should carry 30 pound sand bags under several series of ropes and up and over a stage, then on to the finish line. Connie lifted the ropes for me, so I could crawl my way to the finish…but … FINISH WE DID! One other team came in later so we knew we were not last.

But, that is not the end of the story. After a miserable night of recuperating and pain after getting up every time this morning we took another look at the map to reassess where we went wrong. Lots of people towards the end got our competitive juices flowing causing a lack of focus, so we went down the wrong ridge on the second to last control. After retracing and moving over to the next ridge, I kept saying I think it should be right here. But it wasn’t. I did figure out what I had done wrong on the last control, but told Connie I would swear we were in the right place for #18, the second to last. When we got home this afternoon the results were posted and sure enough they admitted #18 was in the wrong place. Vindication!

But, that is not the end of the story. Another team came in after us so we were pretty sure we were not last. As it turns out we were third from the bottom…and who was the one at the bottom…the very last place??? The other female team! First in our category!!! They had refused to do the last challenge. Hey, we take them anyway we can get them. Only in an adventure race could third from the bottom feel like a victory.

(One Last Editor’s Note: The Golden Girls actually took 29th out of 35 teams, beating a coed team, an all-female team, and 3 all-male teams.  So they were actually 6th from the bottom.)

The Golden Girls First Place finish at the Adventure Max 8 Hour

Here we see the Golden Girls at the finish line after winning their division.

Many folks would just laugh if I said we were third from the bottom, but they have not experienced the going to your limit (you think) and then going further. Sometimes you think you have just done your last adventure race, there is no way you can do another one. Then as you look back, reflect, take your bubble bath, share with your friends, then you realize just how much of a victory it really was…and you are figuring out how to do better the next time. Yes, The Golden Girls will be back.

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About Lukas Lamb

Husband to a wonderful wife, father to 4 incredible kids (3 daughters and 1 son), adventure racer, mountain biker, runner, lifter of weights, reader of books, and lover of life. He can be found on Google+

Posted on March 12, 2010, in Race Reports and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. You ladies are simply amazing! Great work!

    I can completely relate to this report – the highs, the lows, looking at a monster hill and hoping/praying that you don’t have to go up it, feeling like you can’t go on and then doing so. It is truly amazing how you can smash through perceived “limits” when you are determined to do so, and you two keep proving that.

    The last paragraph of the race report pretty much sums up how I feel about Adventure Racing. I’m glad you’ll be back, and I can’t wait to get out there and compete with you gals again.

  2. Holy crap, look at that pile of sandbags!

    Nice work, ladies:)

  3. Thanks for posting this Luke. You are very kind with all your comments. They have been re-evaluating the results through the week. Ultramax Nation directed a very nice race for a first time adventure race, but is still getting a grip on how to do the results. Obviously it is more complex than the triathlon event results he does so well.

    Yes, Bob…those were the sand bags! Ugh!

  4. I’m sure the results are more difficult to process than a triathlon where you just need to write down who crossed the line at what time. In an AR, there are always things like skipped CP’s, time penalties, mis-punched CP’s and all that. I checked the results again, and it still looks like you took 29th out of 34 teams. Great job!

    Those sandbags look brutal! But in a way, that might be a mystery event that team virtus could actually excel at for once since we are all kind of “husky” boys. Than again, maybe not. It looks painful.

    So, Susy… What’s the next race you’ll be doing? Or are you still getting the last race out of your system before you commit to another one?

  5. Sandbags and big strong guys might work, but crawling under ropes, might take the advantage away.

    We are headed to Milford, KS on Mar. 28 for the Extreme Break-up. http://adventureracekansas.com/ The race director was competing at the Inaugural Truman Lake Race with her son and a couple, Team LA. If you haven’t checked out her races you really should. She usually throws a ropes challenge in, but had to cancel it on this race because of a land dispute. The surprise challenge at the last race we did with her was Karaoke in one of the two bars in Milford. That was a lot more fun than the sandbags! In April we are planning on Kelly’s shorter race.

    Will we see you at either of those?Where are you headed? You have to break-in the new bike in a race. Keep up the great attitude and spirit.

  6. Yeah, I’m sure the mystery event would have killed us. I just like to think I might be good at something.

    The Extreme Break-Up race is the same weekend that we’ll be going to the High Profile Adventure Camp and doing the Lightning Strikes Adventure Race, so we can’t make that one.

    We want to do Kelly’s Truman Lake Adventure Race. We’re just trying to figure out who is going to do it and whether or not my brother from NY is going to make again this year. Hopefully, we’ll see you there.

  7. I’m really looking forward to a report about this camp and adventure race. I know you will have a blast and those around you will too! The paddling instruction sounds good to me since I have never had anyone tell me how it is supposed to be done. Take care!

  8. You guys are my heroes.

    That race directing stuff is harder than it looks. Making sure the maps are correct, bags are correctly place and a thousand other details that make a race go smoothly. The first race for a race director is always a huge learning experience. Glad to see you all took it in stride.

    Hope to see you all at a race soon.

    • They’re my heroes too!

      And although we haven’t put on an adventure race yet, just putting on an adventure non-race was stressful enough!

      There are so many things that can go wrong, and so many things to worry about. I have a lot more respect for race directors now.

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