June 28, 2000
I spent the weekend "crewing" for Team SynTerra, an adventure racing
team from Chicago that is going to participate in the Eco-Challenge
in Borneo this August on behalf of Team in Training.
For those of you who are not familiar with adventure racing, these
are team events--usually 4 person--and can be one to MULTI day events
that include activities like trekking, orienteering, mountain bike
riding, climbing, rappelling, and some kind of paddling.
This particular race had a 36-hour cutoff. It began with a 5 mile
"coasteering" leg along Lake Michigan, followed by a 25 mile mountain
bike, an 11 mile trek with a HORSE, a 22 mile "land navigation"
section (which included a river swim AND a 550 foot zip line where
you hook up a harness and FLY from one side of the river to the
other), another 20 mile technical mountain bike leg, and THEN a
45 mile canoe!!
Tired yet? I was!
There were three "supported transition areas" where the team came
in, changed equipment, maybe ate something, redid their packs, then
headed back out. My job was to make sure that everything they needed
was there--ready to go--and to help them get back on the course
as fast as possible.
It worked! Team SynTerra placed 3rd overall and was
the first US team to finish-- in a time of 29 hours, 54 minutes.
You read that right. Almost 30 hours, 11 of which were spent paddling
Have no fear, I'm not ready to hang up my running shoes and take
up adventure racing. But I will tell you this
it IS a sport
that rewards tenacity and solid thinking. Our team chose to take
longer but better maintained paths on the bike and trekking legs,
and it worked. They also just kept "moving forward," which is about
the way I approach marathons anyway!!
So, Im back. I'm fatigued from my own lack of sleep. (I got
a couple of short naps over the 60-hour period.) But Im buoyed
by feeling that I contributed to a solid race for a very good team.
Off to Calgary on Friday. More on that later.
Takin' it to the streets...