On Saturday, I raced with my friend Tom at Too Cool's Ink Lake sprint race. And we won!
It was a cold morning, but by the time we were moving it was perfect racing weather - sunny, not too hot. Well, perfect except for the crazy wind. The race was to start with a paddle to three different check points on the lake. They told us at the start line to instead run to get the first CP. No one was complaining about this since the wind was going to make the paddle really tough. When we returned and headed to the boats, they said that we wouldn't be going to the furthest CP, which also sounded great. It drastically reduced the length of the paddle leg, but that was fine since we were in a rented aluminum canoe which was very hard to control in the high wind.
We were the first boat on the water, but because of our crappy (comparatively) boat, we were fifth getting off. The next leg was a bike leg on marked trails through the park. We had dropped our bikes off across the park road before the race started and we'd left our shoes and helmets with the bikes so that we wouldn't have to carry them (thinking that we might have a few trek points on the way there). Instead, we were heading straight to our bikes and onto the trails. Rather than taking our running shoes for entire bike leg, we ran (gingerly) to the bike drop in our socks. This also saved us the time of packing our shoes into our packs at the bikes. We passed one team during this transition, so I think we were in fourth entering the trails.
This was my favourite part of the race, since the trails were quite technical, which seldom happens in adventure races. But, although it was fun, it was pretty uneventful since there was no navigation required. We did pass one team, so we were now in 3rd.
The next leg was a ride and tie, where one teammate is on a bike and the other is on foot. You can switch back and forth if you want to, it's up to you. We decided that I would ride and tow Tom who would run. There wasn't much discussion, since he is a much faster runner than I am. We had to go out to the fishing pier which was at the other end of the park. When we arrived, we were directed down a path and up a steep rocky hill. At the top, our wrists were tied together and we were given two small plastic buckets and told that we had to run down the hill to the lake, fill the buckets and bring them back up to fill a 5 gallon bucket. We guessed it would take us three trips. We ran down the hill each time, walking as quickly as we could back up without spilling any water. I don't think we passed any teams on this leg, although we certainly closed the gap by quite a bit.
The last leg was a trek to five points scattered around the area where we had been biking. We did a super fast transition and headed out right behind the 1st place team with another team right behind us. We were all at the first CP at the same time and then Tom and I ran off to the next one. That's the last we saw any other teams. Tom did an amazing job of navigating and we ran the entire leg. We were pretty sure we were in first place as we ran back to TA, and Robyn confirmed it. The next team arrived four minutes later, and third place was two minutes behind them.
It was a really fun race, and the first sprint race I've done. It's a really nice length - it took us 3 hours. And I was home mid-afternoon. Very nice.