Saturday, June 29, 2019

Maine Summer Adventure Race- Round 3!

The paddle out to Fort Gorges, Casco Bay. Photo: Strong Machine racing.

Another 24-hour Maine Summer Adventure Race for team Scrambled Legs and Aching in the books. From the moment that I learned that this year’s race would start at Pineland Farm, I KNEW that Kate and Cliff of Strong Machine racing would not be able to resist routing at least some part of the course through Bradbury Mountain SP. For some perspective, the last time I rode my bike at Bradbury, it didn’t end well. Dave and I had gone for an anniversary weekend to camp and ride mountain bikes sans kid about 10 years ago. After several crashes and frustrating hours of sliding on wet, slimy roots in the pouring rain, I wound up hurling my bike into the woods (and likely screeching at Dave about our weekend destination). Needless to say, the remainder of the weekend was spent in downtown Portland…
So flash forward a decade and we are back on the trails of Bradbury SP (and mostly wet and slippery as I remembered). Here are some of the highlights of our 24 hours of racing:

Gathering maps at the start. Photo Strong Machine racing.
    1) The race started with a fun little twist: teams had to split up and each teammate needed to acquire the first three checkpoints individually. In several races, I have actually gone the wrong way FROM THE STARTING LINE- and this was with a navigator! I have never navigated myself, so this was a pretty tall ask of my skills. Needless to say, all three of us returned with our respective checkpoints completed right on schedule. Crisis averted.
Sam's wardrobe malfunction. Photo Strong Machine.

2) In the first 10 minutes of the race, Sam managed to tear a giant hole in his bike shorts in some venomous pruckerbrush. He returned from the orienteering leg with said wardrobe malfunction in progress. I found his solution of wrapping his 28” quads in medical tape to avoid indecent exposure particularly amusing. I think the creative tape solution lasted a full 20 minutes.
Coming into transition after a long time on the bike.
 Photo Strong Machine.




3) Despite my irrational hatred of Bradbury Mountain, we acquired every one of the mountain bike checkpoints set in the race, including the Bradbury Mountain bike orienteering section. I only had one epic over-the-handlebars crash that resulted in a face full of soft forest duff. Rumor has it that this was around 80 miles of mountain biking in total. For someone who isn’t particularly fond of mountain biking, I am pretty happy with this accomplishment.

    4)  A license to eat Nutterbutters and Fig Newtons for 24-hours straight is never a bad thing if you ask me.

Scrambled Legs and Aching making a plan. Photo Strong Machine racing

    5) The paddling leg included a stretch down the Presumpscot river and into Casco Bay for a few checkpoints. While we strategically chose to skip some of the paddling checkpoints in order to save time, we did visit Fort Gorges on Hog Island. Exploring the fort, including climbing the stairwells in complete darkness and the spectacular ocean views from the top, was pretty cool.

Beautiful Casco Bay. Photo Strong Machine racing.
6) OK, I’m not gonna lie. When one of your teammates is a professional athlete who can squat a small school bus (and your 44-year-old husband wants to pretend he can keep up), there are perks. While I entertained the idea of letting the men portage the boats while I carried just the paddles, in the end, I couldn’t let them do it. Thanks for the chivalry though, fellas (we did manage to carry both the tandem and single sea kayaks with all of the gear in one swoop). Let’s just say that I did enjoy a rare opportunity to lily dip, sightsee, snack, and relax while Sam powered our little boat through the choppy ocean waves though. It is a nice way to travel; I highly recommend it.

Oh my gawd! Are you, like, doing the Amazing Race?
7) Urban orienteering in downtown Portland on a Saturday night was super fun (still looking like we just finished a game of mud football from Bradbury Mtn). Turns out, we must have been a bit of a spectacle here. I wonder how many other teams were also asked repeatedly if they were doing the Amazing Race? 

8) It has been a year in the making, but Dave and Sam finally got their well-deserved mid-race pizza. In last year’s race, we were not able to come to a team consensus about stopping for pizza (despite carrying 10,000 calories of food in each of our packs, the boys both seemed to think we were on the brink of starvation without it). Our failure to agree was followed by 20 minutes of team silence and then a 2.5 hour shenanigan searching for an elusive checkpoint. I will continue to hold my ground that correlation does not equal causation, but it seems to fall on deaf ears. Anyway, thank you Circle K for ready-made pizza this year. I’m not going to lie; it was delicious. Oddly, the only time we found ourselves “lost” this year was immediately after the pizza. Coincidence?
photo Strong Machine racing
9) Sunset on the Western Prom… how cool was that? Fireworks and all!

North Franklin 12U All Stars. Who said I can't be in two places at once?
Play ball kids!
10) A race director who is happy to text your 13-year-old daughter to keep you updated about her all-star baseball tournament that you are missing  while playing in the woods. Thank you Cliff for minimizing the parent-guilt that goes along with these endeavors!

11) I think my favorite part of racing is always the hours after darkness when the world grows quiet (assuming it isn’t pouring rain, that is). This year was no exception. This year brought us a perfect Maine night with a great mix of mountain biking and on-foot orienteering during the hours between sunset and sunrise. I am grateful for the laughs, the stories, the tired feet, and the memories. This only happens when you have awesome teammates!

Meet Mega John. This is a drawing my 13-year-old doodled at
dinner last night. Clearly, I am not the only
one with issues with these monsters.

  12) No ticks. Did I mention that? This wet spring has been terrible for ticks up here, and yet, I saw none during the entire race. Dave found two after the race looking for a home, but no bites. For anyone who shares my hatred of these nasty little pests, I highly recommend spraying your gear with Permethrin. It really seems to work! I wonder if other teams had issues with them?

13) Our final result: 3rd place finish! Woohoo! Not too shabby of an effort, I might say (a legitimate qualification for Nationals this year!). Can't wait for the next one!