We Eat Dust And Like It

June 10, 2009

Planet Adventure "Old School" AR

Erl, Scooter, Mo, and Biz represented WEDALI at the Planet Adventure "Old School" adventure race near Rusk, Indiana on June 6, 2009. The race directors warned racers that the course was a bit longer than they had expected (originally billed as a 24-hour), and everyone went into the event planning for 30+ hours of AR fun - and this race delivered!
After picking up Scoot at the Indianapolis airport Friday afternoon, we drove the rest of the way down to Rusk, checked in, did a short ropes skills check, and futzed with gear until the 9pm pre-race meeting where we would be given maps and instructions. We soon found out that the race would start at midnight, giving teams a little over two hours to plot points, choose a route, and finalize gear. Biz and Scooter focused on maps, while Erl and Mo worked hard to prepare food and mandatory gear for the team. Mo was able to catch a short 1-hour nap, Erl "rested" for 20 minutes, and Scooter and Biz would work on maps until ~15 minutes before the start.

The race started off at 12:07am with a short road trek to the bikes and a short ride (including a bike-whack) to a river crossing on foot for CP1. The water was pretty chilly and was an "adventurous" way to get things going before 1am on Saturday.
Another decent bike leg was followed by a tough night score-O section. With only a few minor mistakes, we made our way to the front of the pack and were the first to emerge at the swim section, which entailed another cold effort half a mile downstream. We trekked back to the bikes and then hopped on our steeds for a ride through Shirley Creek Nature Area and on to CP8. A trek to CPs 9-14 yielded an awesome ropes section: a zipline across a 100' deep sinkhole.
After the trek, we hit the paddle just before dark and hopped in for a ride downstream. The team was able to break up in 2s to obtain 2 additional CPs, so Scooter and Biz trekked while Erl and Mo paddled the canoes the long way around on the river. Before the end of the paddle, a 100-foot rappel awaited, just off the north side of the river. We finished the paddle (just after the 24-hour mark) and the race directors were nice enough to serve up a bit of warm soup.
Back on the bikes, we made our way into Martin County State Forest. A maze of trails greeted us, but we gradually made our way through to the TA, where we transitioned to another trek. After bobbling one of the CPs for over an hour during the witching hour before sunrise (and after two sleepless nights), we made our way to the TA with haste, not knowing where the other teams were at (since a supported 24-hour AR was being run concurrently). We arrived with news that all of the other Old School teams had been short-coursed around the trek that we had just finished - fantastic! As long as we would be able to make it to the finish before the cutoff, we would be the only team to complete the entire course. On the bike ride home, Molly rallied the troops as Scooter, Biz, and Erl struggled with sleep depravation and stomach issues. We made one stop on the way to the finish for an ascent up a 60-foot overhanging rock face, which was frosting on the cake.
We crossed the finish line at 10:32am on Sunday, 34 hours and 25 minutes after the start. It was a tough race, not only due to the course length, challenging terrain, and competitive teams, but also from the lack of sleep two nights in a row. We were all happy to pull off a 1st place finish.