Castlewood Race Report
I will have to admit that when I committed to doing this race, I was very skeptical about how things would go. Orienteering….nay, paddling….I don’t think so, Mt. Biking…..HELLZ YES! So 1 out of 3…..not the best odds.
Lucky for me I had Bob Jenkins as my teammate! Bob’s navigational skills were outstanding and I am still here today to tell this epic tale.
The night before the team headed up to the Alpine Shop to check in and get our maps, instructions, and packets. Each racer received a certificate for 30% off 1 item in the store. Unfortunately my budget did not allow me to purchase a new Specialized Epic or Specialized Tarmac, so I settled for some nice wool socks.
The team then headed to The Pasta House for some pre-race carb loading. After a plateful of pasta and a salad we headed to the wonderful amenities at the local Super 8. For those who are looking for a nice hotel to stay at, this one is not the one. But the price was right and it served its purpose.
The night was spent getting the pack ready and double checking our lists. Decisions were made about what to wear, what to pack, what to eat, and were the checkpoints would be. Beers were consumed and stories were told. The night flew by and before we knew it, it was after midnight. We were looking at 3 hours of sleep before the race day was upon us.
Morning came way to early. We scurried to get our S**T packed and get the bikes to the bike drop. Surprisingly that went off without a hitch and we arrived at the race headquarters. Adam ran up and signed in since we was a late arrival Friday night (another reason why he is fired from the team). Everyone else made there way to the start finish line to get the passport and rethink their opening moves of the race.
Everyone sang the National Anthem and they said “GO”. Bob I am took a different route from the “Real” team virtus. We made our way up the ridge and followed it around. Bob had his thumb compass and map in hand and directed me where to go. We seemed to sail to the first checkpoint without a hitch. Bob planned our route to #2.
We seemed to sail through the first 3 checkpoints with no problems and Bob was spot on with his navigation and checkpoint plotting. The 4th checkpoint was the bike transition. We headed out on a sweet downhill and headed into some sweet ass trails! Binder has nothing on the trails we were on. We were cruzing through checkpoints right and left.
As we came to checkpoint 15 we were given the option of finding about 4-5 more checkpoints for bonus at the end or continue on with no bonus. Bob and looked at each other and said “We got this”
The awesome volunteers gave us the clues and maps and we sped off. Bob was instantly energized and I almost had to tell him to slow down. I was struggling to keep up with him on his bike. Bob and I totally dominated the bonus checkpoints. We found them in what seemed to be lightning speed. We stopped at our last bonus checkpoint and reminisced on how great our day was going. We grabbed a drink and ate some power bars.
Next was the feared paddle. I was especially concerned about this portion of the race. I hadn’t been in a canoe in years…let alone paddled down a river with our bikes in the middle. Bob and I found a great way to get the bikes in. Unfortunately I can not disclose our secrets. But our canoe was balanced and we felt strong as we paddled downstream.
Things were going smoothly till Bob said “Hey Robby….our map is floating about 10 yards behind us”. I think my response was…”Are you serious?” But level heads prevailed and we slowed our blistering pace down the river and manuvered the boat enough to get the map back inside the canoe. Lucky for us Bob Jenkins is the man and sealed the map case correctly. We paddled hard for the finish and made landfall at the last paddling checkpoint. I successfully pulled our canoe (with Bob in it) out of the river. We unloaded and passed the mandatory gear check (though Bob had trouble finding his light). Turns out that Bob had his light in his pocket….not his pack.
We saddled up headed to what we thought were the last checkpoints of the day. Bob looked at the map and said “You better eat now because we have a lot of climbing coming up”. I pounded down a powerbar as we headed for the hill. This so called hill had never met “Team Virtus” because Bob and I crushed this hill. Everyone else was walking their geared bikes and Bob and I crushed this on our single speeds!
We had a great day! No real problems and a lot of fun.
A huge thanks to Bob Jenkins and Luke Lamb for accepting me into the team and getting me out there.