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

The snag in the road
posted Thursday, September 24, 2009 by Team Checkpoint Zero @ 11:13 AM - 0 comments

Checkpoint Zero / Inov-8 recently headed out to Washington state to race in the Trioba Adventure race, put on by our good friends nuun / Feed The Machine. This would be the first 24 hour race put on by the new Trioba owners, and they had promised a beautiful and challenging course.

The race started with a a short running prologue, followed by about an hour and a half bike ride to separate the teams before we hit the water. There were lots of route choices available on the bike ride, we decided to play a little conservative off the start and choose a slightly longer, but better looking trail on the map. Since we had never raced out west, we didn't know if the conditions and ages of the various roads and trails shown on the map would be similar to those in Georgia. As it turns out, we could have taken a more aggressive route, as the teams that did, beat us to the paddle by several minutes.

We started the paddle in a distant 5th place, which for us was comfortable, but we'd have preferred to be right in the mix with the other teams. Shrouded in darkness, we couldn't see all the teams ahead of us, even though the lake was calm. We never really hit our stride on the paddle, which was unusual, but we couldn't quite put a finger on what was holding us back. We ended up coming out of the water in 7th.

We made a quick transition to bikes, and started a massive climb, several hours grinding slowly upward. As the morning broke we were treated to spectacular colored clouds and sky, what a way to wake up. Along the climb we caught and passed MerGeo, and caught glimpses of Verve, two of the teams that we knew to look out for. As we pulled into the next TA, we had moved up into 4th.

On the ensuing trek, it was a back and forth battle between several teams. We would each reach a checkpoint within sight of each other, take off in different directions only to see each other again at the next point. This lasted until the last point, where we decided we should go for broke and try and put some distance between us and the other teams on an 800 foot climb out of one of the valleys.

We kicked into overdrive and made plans for a fast transition. We changed as many of our clothes as we could while running down the trail, and only had to put on our biking shoes and helmets once we got in.We got in and out in what seemed an instant, and didn't see anyone behind us as we rode off on the last 35 mile leg of the course.

We had been promised a little bit of climbing, and a lot of downhill, and for the first part of the ride, it was indeed true. We had a screaming downhill on fantastic trails and I was desperately wishing that my rear brake was working and that I hadn't been racing for the last 18+ hours. Still, we managed to make our way through the most technical portions of the trail during daylight. The lower section of this last leg was a completely different beast. Since the single track was paralleled by a road, the race directors placed 10 points along this section to force us to ride it. In theory, this was great, but as darkness fell the points were somewhat difficult to find, and we crept along trying to make sure we didn't blow by a point without seeing it.

Our method served us well, until we came to CP 28. The clue for this was a "snag in a clearing". My first question, what is a snag. Of course this came way to late in the game as we should have asked before the race started. Seems like reading the instructions seems to be the hardest part of the race for us. The team debated on the definition of a snag, and figured it was something overhanging the trail that might snag a rider. We found a log that did that, and searched. And searched. And searched.

We never found it. Of course, had any of us known that a snag was a standing dead tree, we'd have been up the trail a couple hundred meters, and wouldn't have had any issues. But, at the time, we didn't know that. Convinced that the point was missing, we headed towards the finish.

When we rolled across the line, we found Glen and asked about a snag, and instantly knew we had hosed ourselves. The only thing we could do was wait for the other teams to come in and hope that they had issues as well.

As it turned out, we were the only team that didn't know what a snag was, but only one team managed to find all the points. All of the other teams had issues with at least one of the last 4 checkpoints, which put us in second place overall. Ordinarily, we would have been thrilled with a 2nd place finish, but with the opportunity to lock up the Checkpoint Tracker Series with a win, we knew we had only one more chance at the Bushwhack AR in North Carolina.

Overall, this was a fantastic race put on by the Trioba / nuun / Feed the Machine folks and we are very happy we made the long journey out to Washington to race. For any of the mid west or east coast teams looking for an epic race, look no further than the Trioba AR. We're already hoping that we can make it out next year.

Checkpoint Zero is Strong
posted Tuesday, September 01, 2009 by Team Checkpoint Zero @ 11:51 PM - 0 comments

Team Checkpoint Zero / Inov-8 members Jenn Rinderle, Jon Barker, and Peter Jolles, lined up against some of the strongest teams in the southeast at the recent YMCA Strong Adventure Race, pulled off a win and captured a berth at the 2009 USARA National Championship race.
The rogaine style race started with the option of paddling, cycling, or a trek/swim combination. With the weather looking to hot, we opted to start with the paddle section and get off the water before the sun became a factor. Having procured one of the faster boats around, we made short work of the paddle and got off the water several minutes before CLXI. They turned out to be one of the few teams chosing to do the legs in the same order we did.

After a short transition to the bikes, we set out on what was to be the hottest leg of the race. With the sun beating down on us, our pace slowed considerably, and CXLI came by us less than halfway through the bike leg. Fearing a foot race to the finish, we concentrated on keeping our navigation sharp, and our down time to a minimum. As luck would have it, near the end of the bike leg we popped out on the road back to the transition area just behind CXLI, and rode in together.

Not wanting to play follow the leader on the last 6 mile trek/swim, we again made a fast transition and jumped in the water with our fins on and proceeded across the lake. As we looked back, we saw other teams getting in and out of the water, but really couldn't tell who was on what leg, and where they were headed. We had asked about the other top teams, including ROAM Inov-8, but no one could give a definitive answer as teams were all over the place.

We made a few small navigational errors while trekking, but managed to make decent time collecting all the checkpoints on the course. At the last one, we knew we had the option of turning back and swimming/trekking the same way we had just come, or running the roads back. Three miles vs six. Decisions like that win or lose races. Not knowing where the competition was we decided to swim for it and hope for the best.

As we waded out of the water and up onto the beach for the last time we were greeted by a small crowd of race fans cheering us in. We learned that we weren't the first team to finish, but we were the first to clear the course. The victory for Checkpoint Zero / Inov-8 secured a spot for the team in the upcoming 2009 USARA National Championships where we will go head to head with the best teams in the country for the title of National Champion.