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…)

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?