Checkpoint Zero/Inov-8 Team Blog
presented by Inov-8

Sailing? In an adventure race?
posted Tuesday, May 19, 2009 by Team Checkpoint Zero @ 5:22 PM - 3 comments

As you may recall, two years ago in the top secret R&D lab of Team Checkpoint Zero we developed a sailing apparatus for the last edition of the MIX. Unfortunately, that race didn't have us on any open water with any wind, so the sails sat unused in our gear boxes for the entire race, and the next two years.

This year, with the MIX back on the schedule, the prospect of sailing once again became a possibility. The first leg of the race this year was a long lake section which would provide ample opportunity to test out our unproven equipment.

I am happy to report that the sails worked very well, once we figured them out. When deployed in a stiff down wind breeze, one sail easily provided more power to one boat than Bo and I could provide via paddle. We easily reached the max hull speed of the plastic yellow tubs we were using. In that first paddle leg Michele got about 45 minutes of rest, all she had to do was keep the sail up.

The unfortunate part of the story was that we broke one of the sails early on in the paddle leg and had to make due with only one. It's back to the drawing board to reinforce the defective parts and next time we'll carry a spare.

Watch for the tri-color Checkpoint Zero sails at the next race that allows them.

So what was the deal with the mushroom hunter?
posted by Team Checkpoint Zero @ 4:40 PM - 1 comments

If you kept up with the team at the recent Michigan Expedition race, you'd have noticed a somewhat cryptic reference to an encounter we had with a mushroom hunter. Well, now that we are back safe and sound in the south, we can speak up without fear of reprisal.

As we were trekking along in the middle of the night, a speeding truck came up to us and stopped abruptly. In the dim light we could make out a young shirtless driver who had a somewhat strange look in his eyes.
"You all looking for mushrooms?" he asks?

"Nope" we answer.

"Well, you better be careful of the brown ones, you have to boil them a while before you eat them."

At this point we were somewhat confused, as we weren't experience mushroom hunters, but further research has show that some poisonous species may be rendered safe by parboiling. But that's another story.

After this short encounter, the fellow drives off down the road and we continue on our way. Not 20 seconds later a gunshot rings out! Bo, having the greatest sense of self preservation, makes a beeline for the closest ditch and throws himself in it. Meanwhile, Paul, Michele and I look around and start to ask each other if that was a gunshot, and was he really shooting at us?

My own 2 days with no sleep middle of the night race rationalization was that any person in a vehicle moving away from a target at 400 yards had pretty much no chance of hitting it. What was there to fear? As I thought this, we heard about 6 more shots, although these were farther away, and of even less concern to my tired and confused mind.

We just hoped there wasn't a team that close behind us. Luckily, there wasn't. One thing I can tell you, we certainly got a little quickness back in our step and we weren't sleepy for several more hours.

The most amazing thing we saw on our drive ...
posted Tuesday, May 12, 2009 by Team Checkpoint Zero @ 4:40 PM - 0 comments

It's 62' high, weighs 16,000 pounds, took 8,000 man hours to design and install. What is it .... You'll have to click the link.

Maps, maps, maps ...
posted by Team Checkpoint Zero @ 4:33 PM - 0 comments

The pre-race meeting is over, now we're pouring over the maps. Peter and I did most of the plotting last night, so now we're working on routes.

Michele and Bo made it in to Traverse City alright, though poor Michele had to take THREE flights to get here.

The course looks to be true to the race name, with a real mix of trekking, paddling and biking, which the race directors says includes the best single track in Michigan.

Less than 16 hours before the race starts!

- Paul

Got the MIX maps
posted by Team Checkpoint Zero @ 12:01 AM - 0 comments

We've plotted the 40+ points we've been given so far, but we don't have the directions yet. We'll get those at the pre-race meeting tomorrow at 1 p.m.

Until then, we'll just be taking some good guesses at how the race will flow. But ... it does look like we'll be paddling right past my brother-in-law's cabin on beautiful Lake Bellaire, through Clam Lake and to the small town of Alden on Torch Lake. I've paddled that portion before and it's very picturesque.

More tomorrow ... Peter and I are going to get some sleep and we'll pick up Michele and Bo at the airport tomorrow.

- Paul

On the road again
posted Monday, May 11, 2009 by Team Checkpoint Zero @ 5:09 PM - 0 comments

Paul and I are well on our way to Traverse City, location of the 2009 MIX adventure race. Apparently our 2007 experiences with mosquitoes, rocky streams, and sandy roads weren't enough to keep us away. What do they say? Time heals all wounds? If it does, we're about to spend a lot of time and effort reopening some of those painful memories.

Along the way we've been suffering a distinct lack of quality radio. We especially feel for the citizens of Lexington KY. There are about 4 stations, and the one we caught blasted us with the following lineup:

Some american idol alumni
George Michael (a bit redundant eh?)
Elton John
Ricky Martin

The obvious question is why did we keep listening. Well, we are dumb enough to be headed back to Michigan again aren't we?

Be sure to stop by Checkpoint Tracker starting on Wednesday and give us a shout out.