So I have started out the FART season with a bang for us, and the bar is set! I represented the FARTs as a solo racer this past weekend in the Adventure Xstream 12hour race in Moab, UT. Packing and arranging for a fly-in race is quite an undertaking, now I know what Andy goes through! Of course the airlines lost the ‘transition box’ that I meticulously packed and taped and labeled, but fortunately it showed up late the next day, and well before race day. Snow began to fall 2 days before the race, so off I went to buy more gear… I have enough to outfit a platoon now it seems! Race day dawned gorgeous and crisp, around 33 deg. There were over 260 (!) racers! The field seemed highly competitive and highly motivated and I was so excited to be among them.
My two primary goals were to 1) remain healthy/injury-free and 2) finish the course.. the Third goal was to place… Happily I achieved all three of my goals.
I was able to wear my Garmin, so got all the data on distances, times, and heart rate (for late-night fun with statistics). The first split consisted of a 20 mile mt bike climb, up Long canyon and along Gemini bridges trail. At mile 5 began the 2000 foot climb (in approx 2 miles!). Every competitor I saw had to walk their bike at some point, it was that steep! At Gemini bridges we did a quick transition to climbing harnesses (carried in our packs) and then off the edge we went, about 300 ft down!! What a rush, but no time to enjoy it, had to quickly punch the CP and get to running back up the sandy trail, 6 miles. Had a little hip flexor issue, probably due to the unfamiliar rental bike configuration, and the fact that this was the first time I had ever used my clipless pedals and shoes! So the last 3 miles of the run was not to my expectations, but as I said, primary goal was my health. Then back onto the bikes for a screaming 15 mile downhill and flat. The sand traps were the trickiest part, as they would come up in the trail suddenly and literally stop you in your tracks. I had heard that one gentleman had a nasty fall and had to be carried out. Next I reached to river, for the final transition to kayaking. Here is definitely where I had the greatest advantage, primarily technical, in that all the pairs and 4-somes had to use the mandatory inflatables, and i got to use a hardshell which made my glide down the water lickity-split. I was able to pass 12 (!) boats over the 10-ish miles. It was a beautiful ride, and I got to enjoy some sun and scenery as the other competitors begged to trade boats with me. I made some good tactical choices that helped as well, as I was able to glide over the sand bars that trapped other folks. I think I finished the race in 7hrs 20 min, although that conflicts slightly with their numbers. Either way, I ended up with a giganormous super-c00l medal (nice logo!) to add to the collection, and some really great memories. I did an excellent job with clothing, but still made errors in food choices and placement, so I’ll have to keep working on that for Grizzlyman.
Hopefully the pics I attach come through! Happy Training Everyone, see you in Montana!!!