We Eat Dust And Like It

May 20, 2011

Atomic AR Blowout

Tom, Kelly, and Justin traveled to the southeast U.S. via car to race back-to-back events in two weekends. The May 14-15 Atomic AR, which took place near Amicalola Falls State Park, was our first race of two, and we were excited to start off the trip in the big hills of northern Georgia. The race was definitely one that we won't forget, although not for the best of reasons. Here's a shot of us before the start, preparing for the hoopla.
This event had a few "glitches," most of which are outlined very well by Peter Jolles of Checkpoint Zero in his race report entitled "Atomic AR or Atomic Bomb." Misplaced CPs, a paddle section involving a packraft over rapids, and a few other logistical details led to a less than satisfactory experience.  After our boat hit a stick within 30 meters of entering the river, we took a spare from the TA and headed out on foot to cover the paddling leg.  To skip a thick section of woods and to give us a break, we blew up our second boat and drifted down stream.  The outer chamber held for a few sets of rapids, but the floor blew out and we had no way to get water out of the boat after going through rapids.  Needless to say, drifting along the river in chilly water was a recipe for hypothermia, and we got off the water to generate some heat.

A few of the CPs later on had a tough time staying on the trees!
Later that night, we started to hit the wall and get low on food.  The course had us on a gnarly bike-whack late in the course, and it was a tough moment for our crew.
After a final orienteering section of a few hours, we hopped on our bikes and coasted down hill to the bottom of Amicalola Falls where, as in previous years, the finish was at the top of the falls!
One more trek to the top and we were cooked.  It was a long race and one that we pushed hard throughout and battled some less than ideal conditions.  Checkpoint Zero came into the finish a few minutes after us, but had obtained one more CP than us earlier in the race, and so the win went to them.  Another close race for us in the hilly woods of Northern Georgia.