Checkpoint Zero/Inov-8 Team Blog
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Getting our Endorphin Fix
posted Monday, April 27, 2009 by Team Checkpoint Zero @ 8:18 PM - 0 comments

Two of the southeast's most competitive adventure racing teams, Checkpoint Zero/Inov-8 and ROAM/Inov-8, teamed up this past weekend to take on the Odyssey Adventure Racing Endorphin Fix.

After three hundred miles of mountain biking, trekking, paddling and orienteering we came away with sore feet, swollen ankles, bruised muscles as well as 2nd and 3rd place overall, along with second place in the co-ed elite category and first in the two person male category.

About a week before the race, both Inov-8 teams were left with only 3 team members each due to last minute injuries. Seizing the opportunity to race together, we joined forces and decided that racing as a 6 person group was worth the risk.

Known for their brutally difficult courses, Odyssey once again lived up to their reputation and gave us over 300 miles of torturous terrain. We went up mountains, down mountains, across the tops of mountains, and through the valleys and rivers. Typical fare for adventure racing, spread over 80 hours.

Unlike most races that put a ropes section far enough into a race to spread teams apart, this years E-Fix had a relatively short 35 mile bike ride before the rappel. Our starting strategy was to be one of the first teams there so as not to get held up by any bottle necks. As it turned out, we hammered the first bike ride and wound up at the ropes first. We managed to get 4 of our 6 people down before ATP / Salomon showed up at the top.

Knowing they were right on our tails, and only able to send one person down at a time, our two person team of Bo and Charlie got down first and quickly set out for the paddle. There they started getting both teams bikes situated in the boats, in anticipation of the longest paddling leg.

Paddling with a bike in the boat is not high on the list of things that I want to do on a regular basis, but as it turned out that the paddle wasn't too difficult. We took on some water dropping through a series of rapids, but fared much better than the pack that was spread out for miles behind us.

As the race progressed through paddling, biking, and trekking sections, our lead over ATP/Salomon stretched and contracted depending on mode of travel. We were slower on foot, while they were slower on bike. By the middle of the second day, we had come into CP 23 together. As we took a moment to rest our feet, we watched as ATP passed us. I had a feeling we wouldn't be seeing them again.

Because of course cutoffs in place, we were fairly sure that no other teams were going to make it to the point we were at. All we had to do was make it to the finish to secure second place. It is hard to let someone pass you by, but when running around for days, even feet shod in our fantastic Inov-8 shoes needed a break. The hard part of just making it to the finish, was that it was still at least 18 hours away.

As we completed the last major trek section, we found out that one other team, Untamed New England, had made an all out effort and made the trek cutoff. Now they had a chance to catch us. Instantly, our strategy instantly switched from just getting to the finish, back into race mode. The six of us debated on the gap we had, and decided we had to go for several orienteering points at the finish, just to provide a little extra insurance.

We ended up nabbing 2 optional orienteering points, figuring that was enough of a cushion, and started the last haul up to the finish. To our amazement, Untamed New England caught and passed us about 6 miles to the finish! We panicked. Did they have more points than us? Why would they be moving faster than us? Certainly the person at the last TA would have told them how many points we had, and how far ahead we were. Not taking any chances, we pushed the pace to catch up with Untamed.

As we asked them how many points they got, we new that we couldn't trust what they said if we really wanted to keep 2nd place. What if they were tricking us?

Realizing we had no choice, we upped our pace and assaulted the last climb to the finish as best we could. After 77 hours of racing, an hour of sleep, and two hours of rest, we crossed the finish line.

Having left almost three hours on the clock, we knew that we left points out on the course, but sometimes pointless suffering must be cut short, no matter how much fun you think you might be having.

In the end, Untamed New England obtained 3 CPs less than we did, and we kept 2nd place overall.

As we all sit and nurse our feet back in the land of the living, we can only thank Inov-8 for making such wonderful shoes. It's rare for me to be able to race for 3 days and come away blister free. Now if only I had some Swiftwick compression socks like Julia has, my feet wouldn't look like overstuffed sausages right now.



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