It was all on the line this weekend. We went down to Oakridge, OR for what turned out to be a wicked race and a good time. Cyril, Aaron and I carpooled together from Seattle and Jen Ratay headed up with her husband and Rich Brazeau who were racing on another coed 4 person team. JVG and Glenn were racing on another four person coed as well with Julie and Rick Baraff (Silly Rabbits). The race was filled with fun sections from start to finish and was no walk in the park.
The race started at 10:00 AM Saturday with a quick run followed by a short bike to spread teams out. No maps were handed out until just prior to the start. While Aaron ran for the first CP, all teams could only send one team mate, Cyril and I did map work and and Jen helped prep team gear etc. The short bike ended at the Kayak put in, which was a REAL kayak leg that we loved. I believe it was 16-18 miles (which put a hurt on teams that do not train on the water) and serpentined in and out of a series of dog leg turns on a beautiful reservoir just out of town.
We came out of the water just after Nike/Beaver Creek in 2nd as they hauled ass on the paddle and acted as our chase rabbit. We pushed out of the TA on our bikes towards 2 monster climbs with lots of single track and chased down Nike/Beaver Creek just before CP8 (Monster hill climb to Tire Mountain) . We moved through more single track and into TA3 where we transitioned onto our feet. Soon enough Kent, who became our fifth team mate for the remainder of the race cruised in and left beside us. Kent turned out to be a fun dude who had done a lot of racing and adventuring and was fun to have along for the ride. He was also a solo racer so he did not pose much of a threat to our bid for the Wicked and Northwest championship.
The first trek was fun and had about 1/3 bushwhacking and 2/3 trail running and was non stop up and down. I got stung by 4-5 yellow jackets climbing up to CP10 and that really got this section kick started. Almost better than a double short latte if I don't say so myself. This section is where the sun began to set and we were treated with views in all directions for miles. You can see Jen on tow with her never ending smile, treking up to CP 12.
Lights out and we were back on our bikes bombing the other side of the hills we just climbed. Unbelievable downhill...Magic carpet ride, thanks to our trusty Light & Motion Ultra Arc Ion's we had the entire valey we were in lit up. We hit a staged bin and restocked our packs with food before we would hit up our final big climb on the bikes. There was not a lot of flat on this course, did anyone see the elevation profile?
There was a lot of navigational choices in this race that allowed for some good decision making. The last big climb had an option to ride more miles but stay and gamble on some old roads still being there and punching through to the top of the hill we were supposed to climb. We went for it and it paid off big time, after bagging cp15 we bombed some more single track, hit a technical section along the river and rolled into the transition at around 2am for the final trek.
The final trek was a very tough push with some gratuitous bushwhacking up to a big rock and a fun rappel. One more big bushwhack and a trail run lead us to the river float section. Small blow up boats that we used to float 5 minutes down the river to the finish line and a monster breakfast burrito at 6:57 AM. Click here for preliminary results.
As far as I can tell our victory here should wrap up the Pacific Northwest Championship for us and potentially the Wicked series as well. More on this later when the final results are posted by Shane and the wicked crew.