The Adventures of Chapstick and Hammer: The Saga Continues…
(Written by Tiffany with comments from John in parenthesis)
With 00:00:40 to spare, John hammered it to the finish line of the Outek Quest with me close behind. We really had to dig deep to finish our second and most challenging adventure race yet.
Buoyed by our gold medal win at the Eisenhower Challenge, it didn’t take much thought for us to sign up for the longer and more challenging Outek Quest in Louisville, Nebraska. Being the adventure junkies we are, we thought it didn’t sound too hard and it would be fun….Ah, the naivety of the ignorant! And so, the fun begins.
Our adventure began before we even arrived at the race. Heck, we hadn’t even made camp yet when we were disagreeing about which way to turn to find 1) Louisville, 2) the camp grounds, and finally 3) the state park. Yes folks, we really did do our navigating homework but something snaps when you put a man and a woman in a car and expect them to go find something! (She wanted to stop and ask directions, women!!)
After a restless night of camping near a busy railroad track (Yeah, like one per hour), and a hearty breakfast at the nearest Subway, we were at the race site and ready to go! Hmmm, no sleep the night before and a full stomach—Uh oh, Tiffany’s sleepy! No rest was to be had this day however; well, except for a certain checkpoint which we’ll discuss later.
At precisely 9:00 a.m. approximately 50 racers sprinted in two different directions to retrieve their half of the first three race instructions. John and I quickly plotted the three UTM coordinates and set off. We hit them right on the money and quickly. It was a good thing too, because upon reaching the third checkpoint, which was at the top of the 8-story observation tower, and after performing my Rocky Balboa dance, Clay [of Blue Hills Adventures> asked me, “Where’s your teammate?” My jaw dropped and I ran to the side of the tower and started yelling for my partner 80 feet below!!! (I really had no intentions of climbing the tower but they made me do it. I just ran two miles and needed to rest, but up to the top I went. I think the view may have been very nice, but I had so much sweat in my eyes already I could not see.)
One hour into the race, with maps in hand, we bushwhacked our way back to the TA to begin plotting our way back and forth across three maps and what appeared to be most of the state of Nebraska! After an hour of nerve wracking, but well-spent time plotting, we finally took off on our bikes. At last, we were moving [here’s a note to tuck under your hat for later—I don’t like idle time> o.k., back to our story.
(The plotting was interesting, having never done this before. Every point we plotted seemed to be about a quarter inch north of what we thought it should be. Like two check points on the canoe leg said they were on an island, well not on my map! Come to find out this was common for everyone so it was not JUST poor skills on my part.)
Feeling pretty psyched about his navigation prowess, John decided to throw me a curveball and bypass our first bike turnoff by about a mile! ( I liked to think of it as a little warm up time) I followed him completely oblivious because hey, he’s the map guy, not me. Can you see the big “L” on my forehead???? We asked some local bikers if they knew where the big railroad bridge was and they told us we passed it upon entering the park! How we missed that one remains a mystery to me. (It is hard to miss a railroad bridge that is about a half mile long when it is RIGHT in front of you but I did!) If you were to guess that I was a little “miffed” at that point you’d be right (A little?? She did not talk to me for twenty minutes and it was still early in the day!). I also don’t like being last if you remember from our last little AR escapade. We finally made it to TA2 and the sight of so many bikes parked there ahead of us did little to brighten my mood. This me