Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Atomic AR - brief recap for now

We made it through a long weekend of not much sleep, lots of driving, dampness and dirt, navigation fun, and a challenging course at the Atomic adventure race. Dave, John, and I raced as a 3-person team in this 24-hour race, and we did great during stage 1 but had a few too many setbacks in day 2. I'll put together a more comprehensive report later this week, but I'm currently in the middle of cleaning gear, repacking, and catching up on reality TV...

Stage 1: Hiked up the trail/stairs to the top of Amicalola Falls. Biked up a mountain and down the other side. Singletrack/dirt road rogaine on bikes (enjoyed that loop). Biked roads and a confusing powerline to the canoe put-in at the Etowah River. Had great fun in class I-II whitewater, hit a few rocks but didn't break Dave's kevlar canoe. Got to float down a 1/4-mile long mining tunnel in the dark! Way, way cool. Dumped the canoe in the turbulence at the end of the tunnel, got back in the boat and continued on. Enjoyed the speed of our boat in the flatter sections. Finished 23 paddling miles in 4.5 hours (nice current). Ran another several kilometers to the end of stage one. Ended in 4th place about 45 minutes behind the leaders, felt good about that.

Intermission: Got there in time to plot points for the next stage, set up the tent, and crawl inside before it started pouring rain. Very lucky with our timing. Didn't sleep much but enjoyed the rest and didn't get cold. Rained stopped not long before we had to get up. Can't ask for better. Other teams were not so lucky.

Stage 2: Mass restart at midnight. Received instructions about a course re-route due to the Etowah River being too high to walk across. Shoal Creek "should be knee deep". We tried a direct route on trails/powerline instead of running around on roads, which was an error in judgment even before we hit Shoal Creek and found it raging and over our heads. John fell in while trying to cross, decided to swim to the other side. Long delay while we tried to find a better place to cross and I eventually decided I couldn't do it. John swam back over, we backtracked to a ford where everyone else had been a couple hours earlier. Still deep/strong current, but doable (walking, not swimming) with arms linked together. Good running speed to finish the trek. Biked a few miles north toward a rogaine section on foot. Toward the end of the bike, Dave towed me up a LONG hill to pass several teams so John could jump on the ascent/rappel section without waiting in line. Fast ropes section for John :) Fun trek except we had problems with a reentrant that we had to plot using the intersection of two bearings - not sure about that plot nor the point placement, but eventually we found the point in the creek at the bottom of a different reentrant. Finished the rogaine, biked to the finish line area, hiked up stairs past the Amicalola Falls again, finally done!

Aftermath: Scraped up legs from thorny vines, bruised hip from taking a spill on my bike, minor cuts and bruises. Cleared the course (one of 20 teams to do so, out of 50-something starters), finished 14th overall and 9th coed-elite (I think). Learned some things about Georgia terrain and the style of this race. Enjoyed spending the weekend with John and Dave and had a fun adventure!!

Next up: Jemez 50-mile/50k trail races in Los Alamos this Saturday...

(if anyone sees any photos posted on the Atomic race site, I'd love to see them so I can post a couple here with my longer race report - thanks!)
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