Thursday, July 24, 2008

Gorge Games 2008

The Gorge Games have come and gone and they lived up to the hype and expectations. DART-nuun took home the victory in a well fought battle between Mergeo, Yoga Slackers and Wedali was up there too. The race was in a rogaine fashion and yielded a spider web of of racers heading in all directions at all times.

The first leg of the race was the paddle section, which was canceled due to high winds and 6 foot standing waves out in the mighty columbia river. Thankfully the race director, Shane Gibson, had a back up plan. We were able to paddle ~2.5K loops near the shore to an Island and back. Though this was not very scenic, after the first 4 loops, it was still exciting in that you got to see your competition and gage your pace against others. We were able to lap the field and put in 12 laps, each worth 200 points.

The next leg started at 9pm and was a 3 hour leg on our bikes. We would climb nearly 4000 feet up to the next TA and we decided to try and clean the course. We knew this would be tough but wanted to go for it. After cleaning the course we ended up in the TA with 30 seconds before penalties would be assessed. Oddly enough we were the second team in the TA behind Mergeo, who had mis-interpreted the rules and thought they had to be in by 11:30. We all remember Shane specifically stating that the end for each section was the beginning of the next. This seemed to be a point of contention for Mergeo as it affected their decisions on course as to what CPs they could get. It seemed like ever team but DART-nuun and Mergeo would have penalties, not sure it played out that way. Oh well, on to the trek and 10 hours of foot travel.

Glenn navigated while on foot, Mari navigated the paddling and I navigated the biking sections, and after warming up on CP 181 Glenn was dead on. We crossed paths with Mergeo shortly after we headed out, doing the same clockwise loop that we had designed, and got spun around at 1:30am looking for CP181. We abandoned ship and moved on deciding we had wasted an hour looking for and not finding 181. As the trek moved on we made good time and ran all downhills and flats and moved briskly on the uphills. We had a decision to make with 4 CP's left and 1.5 hours until the cut off. Do we go back to 181 (worth 181 points) or get 3 closer and easier checkpoints whose value add up to less than 181. We went for the big one and Glenn nailed it with enough time for us to round up the remaining CP's, clear the course and get back in time to prepare for the final bike.

The final bike course had us heading up Mt. Defiance (again, we did it in the trek too) and working hard until the end. There were far too many CP's to clear this course but we biked and got check points until 4:55pm and we able to best the field.

Overall we loved the terrain and good use of it. I've spent some good time in Post Canyon where the race was but had not seen a lot of where we raced. We spent a lot of time travelling near or on trails we had been on for different sections, but were still kept on our toes (and tows) by having to constantly navigate and pay attention. Nice race everyone!

Here's my favorite part of the race...the finish line and party! Thanks for the picture Colin Ness of Peak Physique.

Results top 5 points for Co-Ed Teams of 4:

DART-nuun: 12,452
Mergeo: 11,324
Yoga Slackers: 10,963
WEDALI: 9286
Our Angel Nicole: 7,693


Lots going on right now with the Mountain X Race in France and a Trioba news release out, more on this later.

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