Great Adventure Challenge {Race Recap, Part 2}

Catching up?

The Great Adventure Challenge – The Bike

After having a what felt like a pretty difficult kayak leg I was ready to hop on my bike and tackle the 16.5 mile bike portion of the Great Adventure Challenge.

biking

This is my favorite part of the race. It usually takes me about 2 hours to complete meaning its just two hours of me and my head songs (and head thoughts). The first 4ish miles of the course is on paved road. Easy peasy. After that my little feet didn’t see pavement again until I drove myself home!

During these pavement miles I contemplated whether or not I should clip my Nike Fuel Band to my shoe in order to better track my steps for the day. Normally, I like to make this race “unplugged” meaning no mile tracking, no worrying about splits, no checking the time every second. It was also at this point I remember I usually have to throw away the shoes I wear during the bike because they get so muddy and gross. Fuel band to stay on the wrist.

So many head thoughts before even making the turn into the woods!

After the first 4 glorious paved miles it was time for the real biking to start, into the woods I went!

mountain bike

Ok, so I didn’t hit the woods right away but this path gets sandy and riding in the sand is NOT easy! I was feeling very grateful at this point for the perfect race day weather. I continued to pedal along through woods, dirt paths, mud puddles and regular puddles. I kind of loved not know how long I had been out there and how long I had to go.

I think I sang Queen’s Bicycle Race in my head (and maybe out loud) for at least 90 minutes of this 120 minute ride.

bicyle race

(source)

I want to ride my bicycle
I want to ride my bike
I want to ride my bicycle
I want to ride it where I liiiiikkkeeee!

My aunt and uncle, who I originally heard about the race from, volunteer at a water/gatorade stop about half way through the bike course. Its so nice to see them out there, hydrate and know that I have made it this far and am (about) halfway done.

The downside to knowing I was halfway done…knowing the hardest part was ahead! Pratt’s Hill. This hill is no joke. Apparently, only one person has ever ridden up it (it wasn’t me).

Pratt's Hill

This picture does not do it justice. The incline is crazy and once you think you are almost done hiking up it while pushing your bike up the thing as well, it turns and you have to keep going…ugh. Silver lining – the end is near. Just a few short miles to go until the bike finish!

My bike time – 02:01:14

bike race results

What?!?! 1st place!!! In my age group albeit but still…1st place!!! I am still amazed at this and still very excited!

My past bike times:

  • 2010 – 01:55:49 (I think the course was shorter)
  • 2011 – 01:58:00
  • 2013 – 02:06:20

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s recap of the hike/run portion of the race. 

Have you ever place in your age group and gotten overly excited like I just did?

Great Adventure Challenge {Race Recap, Part 1}

This race is my Everest. I get nervous/excited before every race but I get NERVOUS NERVOUS/excited before this bad boy. It’s long and physically and mentally challenging. But, and there is always a but, I LOVE EVERY MINUTE OF THIS RACE!

Great Adventure Challenge

Let’s start at the beginning – I have done this race 4 times over the last 5 years. I missed the race in 2012 because one of my BFFs (and bridesmaids) got married. The race never gets easier but I fall more in love with it every year. I already can’t wait until next year’s race!

The Great Adventure Challenge consists of three legs:

  • 2.5 mile kayak
  • 16+ mile mountain bike
  • 2 mile hike up and down a ski mountain

Generally I do better on the bike than I do on the kayak and hike which is weird because I’ve only mountain biked four times in my life (the four times I’ve done this race).

This year, I woke up bright and early Saturday morning to perfect race weather, it was sunny, warm but not hot and not humid. I packed up my arsenal of race snacks and supplements the night before so I only had to worry about eating breakfast in the morning.

Race Snacks

In order to avoid committing the ultimate race day sin (trying something new) I tested the nuun the night before, liked it, and made a couple water bottles for race day. I packed up two packages of my favorite Black Cherry Shot Bloks in my bra and in my bike pouch. I saved the Quest bar for post-race and never ended up eating the Gu.

The Almond Pecan Crunch was delicious but I found it wasn’t great for race day, too dry. I was struggling to get in enough water as it was so these were mostly saved for post-race. So with my snacks packed up I was ready for the day.

The race starts down on the beach were tons and tons of volunteers help everyone get their kayak in the water. Once everyone is set at the start line, there is a cannon blast (sorry to all those trying to sleep on a Saturday morning) and we were all off!

Due to the whole water situation, I didn’t take any pictures but I did see a loon and a loon baby at the beginning! I also get hit by someone which knocked my kayak into a sideways position so I wasn’t off to a great start. The kayak portion is never my best so instead of get mad, I righted my boat and kept paddling.

It was pretty windy so I struggled a little staying on track but it didn’t really matter. The day was beautiful and I considered myself lucky just to be out there on the course.

My kayak time – 38:31

My past kayak times:

  • 2010 – 34:53
  • 2011 – 36:00
  • 2013 – 41:49

Stay tuned throughout the week for the bike and run recaps!

Have you ever done an adventure race? Do you want to try one?