July 21, 2001 - The race
started at 2 am with a tubing trip down the Peshtigo
River. One-hundred seventy-six racers floating, yelling
each other's names, smashing rocks with butts, it was
a wild ride. As the race started, we all
instantly lost each other, as did nearly every other
team. The frantic search brought most of us back together
quickly for a group float, still searching for Cindy!
Especially unnerving for Cindy, she hopped in her tube
at the beginning and instantly had her shoe ripped off
(accidentally) by another competitor. In the search
for the shoe, her helmet and headlamp also fell off
and it was decision time...find the shoe or the helmet
and headlamp. She went for the helmet and headlamp and
finished the tubing section with one shoe. Thanks to
Now and Zen for your help on the tubing section!!
A 3 1/2 mile hike followed
the tubing over mostly flat and sandy terrain where
we met Jerry, our Support Crew. We arrived in
37th place out of 44 starting teams. Having completed
the hike with only one shoe, Cindy focused on picking
up her bike shoes, we picked up some food and backpacks,
and off we went for another 17 1/2 mile hike. Throughout
the night, the temperature stayed steadily in the 80s
and climbed brutally high during the day. The long hike,
combined with a tough land nav section and intense heat,
brought the team to a crawl. John was getting anxious
as the day wore on, prodding the team to pick off a
few more competitors. (We're going to have to add some
weight to his pack for the hiking sections). We began
running out of water, with dehydration hitting Ray hard
with over 4 hours left to hike before the next transition
area. (Stupid us, we walked through a stream and forgot
to fill Ray's water bladder). Mixed in with the land
nav we had a rappel, ascent, and a Tyrolean traverse.
We were steadily moving through the ranks, arriving
at the rappel in 28th place, and up to 18th by the end
of the hike. Smart decision making and constant movement
At about 3:30 pm, we picked up bikes for a 23 mile
ride over rolling roads and two track trails. It felt
good to get off our feet and onto the bikes. Ray was
feeling better and we were moving at a blistering pace.
Each time we'd see a team, we decided that there was
another one we had to obliterate. Five miles remain
on the bike and Randy's bike starting making horrible
noises and he's skidding all over the road. Our first
thought: a flat. Reality: his chain jumped the rear
cog and ate up a few spokes,
stopping him in his tracks. Randy yanked the chain out
of the rear wheel, winds the broken spokes around the
good ones, opens up the brakes, and we're off again.
Riding what appeared to be the shape of a potato chip,
Randy led the charge for the next 5 miles to the boats.
We arrived at the boats with another team breathing
down our necks. We jumped in the boats or the wild ride
down the Peshtigo. The rapids were crazy, the rocks
hard, the water the perfect temperature for a hot day.
John couldn't seem to figure out how to stay in the
boat, flying out at two sets of rapids with Ray joining
him for a swim in the last whitewater section. We pulled
up to shore with the 13th place team right on us. A
dash to the finish and a signed passport later, we were
the official 12th place finishers!