The buses rolled out
of the Wildman Whitewater Ranch at 4:45am. Clear skies,
and northwoods summer temperatures greeted us as we
drove to the race start. Forty teams started the 2000
Mid-America Extreme Adventure Race, amid hoots, cheers
and howling hunting dogs (for real). The race began
with a 1.7 mile run to the start of the orienteering
Different from most races, the orienteering section
consisted of a 10 mike trek through 7 unmanned orienteering
checkpoints. We navigated to each point, punching our
passports with a special stamp signifying our arrival
at each site. Team Orange Triangle, relying on John
McInnes solid map and terrain reading skills,
moved swiftly through this section with little trouble.
Finding the locations did not prove too difficult, getting
to each location was another story. Points ranged from
deep in the woods, close to the road, high on Baker
Rock, to the middle of a swamp. The cedar swamp trek
for two hours slowed us down a bit and almost caused
Tracy to lose a shoe, but we held on. Following the
swamp crossing, we found ourselves at the rappel site
in 13th place. Five hours into the event, we were ready
to change the activity. A brief 40 foot rappel was just
what we needed.
Another hour and several water and mud crossings
brought us to the first transition area. New socks,
water, food, and bike shoes, and we were off again,
this time in 12th place. The bike leg was to be difficult
and we werent disappointed. We began with a quick
2 mile warm-up, followed by one of the race highlights,
if orienteering through the swamp without a bike wasnt
enough, the race organizers thought we might like to
try them both together. It was only a ¼ mile
section, but the occasional waist deep mud bog made
it seem more intense. The bike leg consisted of a combination
of 26 miles of two track roads, snowmobile trails, and
gravel roads. The rugged snowmobile trails, littered
with television-sized boulders, made for slow movement
on the flats and uphills and great excitement and airtime
on the downhills. This section brought many teams to
a stop. Ever confident we kept chugging along, remaining
steady in our standings. The heat took its toll and
2 teams got past us bringing us into the second transition
area in 14th place at 3:15pm.
The entire day was free of rain with exception of the
10 minutes we spent in this transition at McCaslin Mountain.
We dropped the bikes, switched gear, and shoes, grabbed
the climbing gear and headed off at 3:25pm.
Facing our team was a three hour uphill hike over
and back down McCaslin Mountain, two more checkpoints,
an ascent up fixed ropes, and whitewater rafting on
the Peshtigo River.
One hour after leaving the transition area, as
we neared the top of McCaslin Mountain, the race organizers
showed up on an ATV
we have a problem! The local
4WD club has decided to join us in the woods and has
moved all our course makers, weve been hiking
the wrong trail for nearly and hour
are re-routing the course and were going to skip
the ascent (and we bought those ascenders just for this
race too)! Back to the transition area and a 4 mile
hike down the road from there led us to the start of
the whitewater section.
Three hours after first leaving (and returning to) the
second transition area, we arrived at the boats. We
were pretty excited about this leg of the race, despite
our all-around lack of experience on whitewater. The
boats were inflatable Thrill-Cats. Its
a cross between a mini catamaran and a kayak. Very maneuverable
and quite fun. with names like Widowmaker, Five Foot
Falls, and Horserace was a ride we'll not soon forget.
We all came through the water section well, and completely
soaked. Well worth the trip down the river!
Team Orange Triangle completed the race in 8th place
in the mixed team rankings, and 12th place overall out
of 40 teams. Our finishing place continues to improve,
our experience continues to grow, and were having
a great time.