I am an adventure seeking wife and mother first! Travel, and endorphins are my best friends. I will try anything once, unless I know
I would be in danger. I have a crazy love of God, running, triathlon, the outdoors, dirt, wine, friends, good Vegan food, Yoga,
animals, happiness, and life! I truly believe the only limits in life are the ones set by ourselves. So get out there and expand the limits!!
~~Only she who attempts the absurd can achieve the impossible.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Grizzlyman!! What an Adventure! ~~Part One

 Many of you know that alongside training for Ironman, I have been training for my first adventure race.  Trying to wrap my mind around two very different types of training has been interesting to say the least.  Going from long miles on the road bike, to short but intense mountain bike climbs and single track.  Long runs, to shorter, steep, rocky, trail runs.  Not to mention all of the other training involved in two different kinds of racing.  So the day finally arrived.  Here’s how it went down.  My first adventure race.

We packed up Wednesday and Thursday night.  Going over and over the contents of our packs.  We were going to use a 3-pack system, dropping off backpacks as the race progressed. First run pack, kayak pack, and bike pack.  So I was packing 3 packs and a duffle of clothes for post race.  I think I may have gone over the packs 50 times.  Concentrating on what I would need for each leg.  Plus getting together my “Race Essential” bag, which are a few small items that are required to be on you at all times. 
Race Map/Passport (provided – one per racer), Compass, Headlamp with EXTRA batteries, Water carrying capacity of at least 64 oz. (can be combined between containers) Emergency Space Blanket, Fire starter (i.e. magnesium block w/striking flint; chemically-treated fire sticks, etc. Matches in waterproof container, Whistle (emergency type: pealess Oar/paddle/flipper powered watercraft Wetsuit or Drysuit, Type I, II, or III PFD, Bicycling helmet, Mountain Bike, Bicycling helmet.>  

We drove over to Missoula, MT and checked in for the race.  We then received our maps showing us how the race was going to run.  Up until this time, we had no idea what our race was going to look like.  We knew we would be running, white water kayaking on the Blackfoot River, mountain biking and doing orienteering and navigation, but didn’t know how long, how far, and in what type of order. Our boundaries were 50 thousand acres of Montana wilderness.  (Not a typo, 50 thousand acres) Can you imagine?  This was a hard pill for this Type-A gal to swallow.  NOT KNOWING!!! We took the kayaks over, blew them up, and staged our dry bags/and one pack. This pack was different from the first packs we would have.  Having things we would want coming from the run to the boat, and eventually onto the bike.  Wet/dry suits, paddle jackets, seal skin socks, helmets, and paddles.  We then took the bikes, dropped them at transition, which was a few miles from the kayaks, along with our transition tub with another pack, clothes, and towels, anything we would need for getting out of the water and onto the bike.   Also, once we dropped the kayaks…they were moved to an undisclosed location.  Another gulp!

 Later that night, we had a race meeting and they gave everyone their passports.  These are the cards that you have to stamp at every checkpoint.  We had 13 checkpoints and 2 bonus checkpoints.  (Checkpoints are spread out all over and miles apart.  They are not always visible from the roads, trails etc, and you have to navigate your way to them with compasses.)  We THEN could plot our courses.  We knew we were going to run 1st and then white water kayak, after that the teams would spread out for the biking portion in any direction they saw fit.  We had a great dinner that night, plotted our courses and headed to bed to TRY and sleep.  HA!
Map after we plotted out course in the Lubrecht 
Coming from the Triathlon world this was so foreign to me.  Usually having ONE transition area, you know where you are coming and where you are going.  Not really the case here.  I lay in bed wondering how this was all going to work out.  Feeling kind of out of control, and nervous, about what the day was going to bring.  But trying to embrace the new challenge, the amazing experience, and allow myself to be ok, with that feeling of not being in control.
6am the next morning we were up and at’em.  Grabbing gear, getting ankles taped up, ATTEMPTING to eat some breakfast.  We headed to the START with our main pack full of our essentials and enough food, hydration, supplements etc. for the WHOLE day.  We could not leave food in the transition areas overnight, due to the bears wandering though who would find all these treats very satisfying. Gulp.  Also in the packs, extra jackets, gloves, socks, anything you “think” may come in handy for any weather.  Because we were climbing some pretty good-sized mountain peaks, you never know what you will encounter.  Luckily our weather was gorgeous, but there was also a lot of snow, ice, and mud on several of the trails, roads, etc. Also along for the ride, Yaktrax, trail gators, trekking poles which we would use on the first leg, 70 oz of H2O, and anything else we could think of, but not too much to make our packs overly heavy. 
When we lined up, and that shot gun blasted (yes, we were in Montana) I had no idea, the day I would be in for.  The amazing adventure I would have, the panic I would face, and the pain, agony, sweat, tears, joy, and accomplishment I would obtain during these next 10 hours of racing.


  1. continued???!!! wuh??!! don't leave us hangin'!

    and i think this whole thing is your primer to sign up for The Amazing Race!

  2. Ok, chapter one has me sucked in...can't wait to read more about the ADVENTURE!
    Also, I didn't hear the Chamois Butt'r converstaion during the ride...do tell...minus any gory details ;)...I am having "issues" with long distances...I am going to try the Hammer Seat too...these names they come up with! :)

  3. FINISH THIS!!! i'm hanging on!

    wow, this sounds so very, very amazing!

  4. Wow I have heard of these adventure races. Crazy to agree to do something like this then you have to be kept in the dark about it somewhat too. Maybe its better that way. Kinda like when I bungee jumped...dont look down. Adventure races seem like when your done you are always in awe of how much you didn't know you could accomplish. Great cliffhanger. Waiting for the ending.