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.


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