Great Adventure Challenge {Race Recap, Part 3}

Catching up?

Great Adventure Challenge – The “Run”

I use the term run loosely here my friends. By run I mean slow hike (walk) up the mountain then run down. No part of me had the energy to run up a ski mountain after biking for 16.5 miles. I did, however, finally pack a fresh pair of sneakers to change into post-bike. In years past I have just worn my soaking wet, muddy bike shoes to hike. What is a rookie mistake called when you make it over and over again? Oh well, I finally learned.

fresh sneaks

(please excuse my muddy, bloody legs and the weird looking angle)

I rocked my new-ish Mizuno Wave Hayates and loved them! These sneakers were made for trail running so were perfect for hiking up the grassy and rocky terrain of this course. They are also super lightweight (only 7.2 oz) which was nice for my tired legs. I couldn’t image lacing up heavy hiking boots at this part of the race.

One thing I tend to always do during this leg is to spend some time climbing up the mountain backwards. Not only does it help my tired legs but I can take in some stunning views.

Pleasant Mountain

Nothing beats it! Also, that lake below is where the kayak leg of the race takes place.

Pleasant Mountain

This picture doesn’t do the view justice at all but if you look closely you can see the mountains in the background. So beautiful. During most of this hike I think in my head how lucky I am to be a part of this race. It is physically and mentally pretty grueling at times but all worth it when taking the time to take it all in.

At this point I was about halfway to the top and knew the hardest part was behind me!

Competitors who I knew were only a little bit ahead of me were starting to head down the mountain so I knew I was really close to the top. And then I saw him…the guy who punches the lanyard signifying that I made it to the top and didn’t go halfway up then come down. I’m no cheater!

Top of the mountain

With my lanyard punched and my water bottle refilled with Gatorade, I was ready to dash down the mountain to the finish line!

All I was thinking as I was heading down was “Stay in control…no need to break your face or you limbs on the mountain.”

My legs were completely gassed and falling was a major concern but I wasn’t going to embarrass myself and my family by being the only competitor to tumble across the finish line.

GAC Finish Line

(Thanks to my aunt for this awesome pic)

Ran in like a champ!

Run/Hike time – 54:08

Past hike times:

  • 2010 – 54:16
  • 2011 – 1:00:00
  • 2013 – 58:31

Another awesome race in the books. Oh, and I came in 2nd place in my age group…NBD.

2nd Place Age Group

JUST KIDDING!! HUGE DEAL!! Pretty sure I embarrassed SL at breakfast the next morning when the results were posted online. I am so bummed I left before the awards ceremony but I never in a million years thought I would place in the race. Its such a challenge and draws an amazing group of everyday athletes.

Needless to say I am already looking forward to next year’s race. Until then…trying to get more kayaking, mountain biking and hiking in to routine! (I say this every year…)

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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?