We Eat Dust And Like It

June 25, 2009

Iowa Games Adventure Race Victory

Jason & Andrea, racing as SDK (the initials of their 3 children), traveled to Iowa State University in Ames, IA for the Iowa Games Adventure Race on June 14. With a few FEET of less rain for the 3rd annual AR (and one less broken toe), this year looked much better from the start.
In typical fashion, we showed up an hour before the race start and found out that the "surprise" pre-race task was plotting half of the 30 checkpoints, which made for good transition training. No fear though... Andrea and Jason made it to the start line with almost a whole minute to spare. No sense in standing around, right? So off to the races!
The first 13 checkpoints could be had in any order and it appeared that almost everyone figured that CP 2 was the way to go. With a 5-8 hour race forecast, it seemed like a lot of folks were ready for a sprint. We stuck with the man-teams for the first couple of CPs before heading north looking for CPs 3-7. Andrea loves the semi-urban aspect of this race (not so much), but whatever kept us out of the Ames area stinging nettles and poison ivy couldn’t be all bad (we still bear poison ivy scars from the 2007 race....).
Many teams ran into problems around the Ames Laboratory, which contained tricky terrain and a maze of chain link fences. Being a bit over-anxious ourselves, we ended up overshooting three CPs in a row before finally getting to the inner tube pickup and floating down the river.

At that point we were approximately ten minutes behind the leading 3-person man-team, floating down the river with Phil Nicolas and Adam Wheelock from Mantis. The water was quite chilly after the latest rains, but we were only on the water for 1.5 miles before getting out and doing the sprint to the climbing wall at the ISU recreation center.
This is where Andrea had made a great call.... We had decided to pack our own harnesses because the race directors stated that any team that did would have a dedicated rope once they got to this section. Arriving simultaneously with the 3-person team and Mantis, we slipped our harnesses on, climbed, and got out of there a good 2 minutes up.
After the ropes, we were on and off bikes for the remainder of the race - in and around the city of Ames and a stop at a shooting range for a little air gun target practice (which later proved to make the difference). Somewhere in there we met up with Bike Iowa and raced together pretty much for the last hour. However, one checkpoint before the finish we decided to split up, and it proved lucky for us, because we got to the last CP and Bike Iowa was nowhere to be seen.
We sprinted into the finish (well, Andrea sprinted and Jason did his best to keep up) and arrived approximately four minutes in front of Bike Iowa to finish first.
BUT, and it was a big "but," during this race, there was also a scavenger hunt to collect different items along the way. Collecting certain things gave you time bonuses and others merely kept you safe from time penalties. We collected about half of the items, so we knew our placing could go either way. The target from the shooting range was a time bonus for how close you got to the bulls eye and luckily Jason was inside the first ring from the center on the target. After everything was added and subtracted, we finished with a slim 5-minute advantage. Since Andrea had to sit out last year with the bum toe, this one made up for it!