Race Report: The Spring Fling Training Event, March 23, 2013
Above: At the starting-line with some good people.
Above: Leading the pack up at the start.
Biking up in the snow. (Photo taken by Chrissy).
Above: Once I realized I was in the wrong spot, but still in a beautiful spot.
Above: Taking a pic over my shoulder as I ran by CP4A since I thought I just needed to get back ASAP.
Last Saturday was the Spring Fling - a non-race adventure race in the Front Range.
James and I woke up at 4.15am to 1 inch of snow at our house in the Springs. On the way, we encountered more and more snow until it reached 8" in Lyons. We were afraid we'd be the only crazies to show up, but nope. We're not the only crazies in Colorado :) 9 others showed up for some fun in the cold.
The race started, and I bolted off the starting line....and quickly realized I was alone. I think the cold sapped some of the typical start-line exhilaration from some folks. So, I eased back on the throttle a little to ensure that I wasn't just over-eager.
I led the pack to the trail head and we started a slippery ascent up some trails to the transition area. Tires with knobbier tread did better, but we soon all realized that it was more efficient and faster to simply walk our bikes than to ride, slip off, ride, slip off, etc. Nord Vrai, a newbie, and I swapped lead "biker" on the ascent in order to share snow breaking.
At the top of the plateau, the location of the bike drop, the snow was up to 1 foot. I transitioned quicker than everyone else, so decided I'd go ahead and take off for the next CP, thinking it was likely that they'd all soon be close behind. Breaking trail was difficult, and the trail was often indiscernible. But I was still able to run, which was fun. There were deer everywhere! And at one point, I was running with a group of them surrounding me......I felt like I was a part of the wild!
I ran to the first running CP without an issue, so began to depend even less on my compass (not a good idea...ever). I ran back, passing the other 4 for the last time I'd see racers until the finish.
Then. My big mistake. I jumped on the next trail (remember it's all snow covered, so which snow rut is the trail and which rut is not is hard to discern). I chose the smaller rut because it looked more like a trail rut, and we had been advised to stay off of fire roads. I took off without double checking my bearing because visibility for referencing was low (and I simply got sloppy). I followed the trail that was in front of me. I checked the compass later, and the trail's directions seemed to add up. However, I was on a parallel ridge at that point.
Eventually I realized what I'd done, but getting to my CP from this point looked dangerously steep. I had to find a safer route to the river, so I back-tracked to another trail, and ended up making it work for me. Ah-ha! I was finally in the right spot.
I was pretty sure I was the only one who had pursued any of these CPs because I thought the mandatory transition back to bike cutoff was still at 3pm (I didn't realize this had been lifted). So, I knew I had to head back home. But, wanted to go by way of another CP if possible. I pushed up the headwall, and broke more snow trails....There were trail divots everywhere, and the trail I trying to follow disappeared. I was in the middle of nowhere which was now covered with 1.5'-2' of snow now. I lost my bearings for a moment, and had to come up with a new game plan to get where I wanted to go. Luckily, the snow had slowed enough finally to see some land features around me (the wind and snow had limited visibility for double checking in my previous mis-navigation). I saw the lake's edge, and a mountain and triangulated my position. Then, I was able to navigate back.
Because I thought I was the only one out there, and that 3pm was the cutoff to return via bike. I feared my husband was worried sick since it was now 3.10. So, I ran by CP4A without stopping for it in attempts to get back as soon as possible. I got to the TA as quickly as possible and found 5 bikes....this gave a little relief that James was probably not too worried, since I wasn't the only one still out, after all.
I started to change back into my biking shoes, but when I realized my sock was totally frozen to the inside of my shoe, I decided changing shoes was pointless....especially if I'll be walking much again.
I biked back down the super slick trails back to the finish; my legs frozen from the knees down.
I finished and was greeted by folks peeling my frozen layers off, handing me cocoa, wrapping me in warm garments, and warming my frosty feet.
The good news: I came in first and survived! The bad news: It wasn't a race; and it doesn't count for anything :) It was sure a fun and crazy adventure, though!