Okay, so we started the day out about 3am meeting at Mike's house. Finally got all the gear loaded and off to Apache Lake around 3:45am or so. Showed up at the Start/Finish line around 6am. Note that I said Start/Finish line and not the transition area. The transition area today would be our floating kayaks.
So 6:30am comes and goes and the Pre-race meeting started about 7:05am. Ran through the basic stuff and laid out the race a little more for us. We got a little more information about how we should be packing our gear. Then we hit 7:25am. Time to start the race.
So we start out paddling about 2.5 miles to the area where we would do the orienteering course. Unfortunately Ryan's kayak was the same quality as the other 3 that we were using. We learned very fast that we need to be towing Ryan to help balance out the kayaking. Around 8:30am we got to the orienteering course. Took about 5 minutes and switched out of paddling gear and grabbed our gear for some trekking.
We headed out to the 11 orienteering points. The first 5 or so came fairly easy to find. Then we got to point 9 and wouldn't be a true adventure race if the point wasn't at the top of the hill. So we trekked up it. Took a good 20 minutes of vertical climbing. From that point we could actually see the next point and then we wrapped up point 11 and headed back to the kayaks. This section was about 5 to 6 miles of orienteering.
Sterling and Ryan immediately start transitioning back into paddling gear. Mike and I started laying out the next points. Sterling quickly came over and helped plot the points as soon as he was ready to allow me to start getting ready to paddle. 5 more paddling points. Out we headed.
Paddling was very slow. We had about 8 miles of paddling before we finished up that leg of the paddling section. Finally got to the next transition point. Here we knew we would be leaving our kayaks and floating transition area for a long time. We knew we needed to pack as much fuel, water, extra clothes and our climbing gear. As we got to this transition point we got a new map that we had to plot 4 more new points.
We headed out on foot to trek. The first point from our transition area was about 6 miles away. We hit that point finally. Lots of trekking and very little jogging, but we made it. Luckily at this point there was water as we were able to top off again. About the time we left this checkpoint was when we hell started.
Trekking up and down through creek beds. Then we finally got to the next checkpoint, which was the turning point in the canyon. We were pushing the time cut off for the canyoneering section of the race at this point. We had about 1 1/2 hours to make it to the canyoneering section and about 3 miles to go. I would say all but about 1/2 mile was all up hill.
We finally made it to the top. Reading the map and a description of the canyon that we were heading to we took a wrong turn. This is the second part of hell kicking in. We were rapidly approaching sunset and the time cut off for the canyoneering section. Well the description was completely wrong and we never made it to the next check point.
About 6:45pm we started heading back to the last manned checkpoint. We got there about an hour or so later. The downhill was just as tough as the uphill.
Upon getting to the manned checkpoint we were done. 14 plus hours later and we did not finish. This was tough. Tougher than the last 12 hour was. If we would have made the canyoneering section cut off we would have finished I think around 6am Sunday morning. Many many lessons learned.
For more pictures click here.