As is typical, getting there was the first (minor) challenge. Pat was about 15 minutes late picking Tammy and I up but Jim was ready to go as we drove down university Avenue (he's a law professor and had to teach an 8 am class that morning) and had had time to change out of his suit. Stopped for coffee and gas in East Grand Forks and were on our way by 9:30, with the check-in cutoff at 2 pm and the race start at 4 pm. We'd forgotten the directions and had a bad map of duluth, so we had our first navigational challenge as we approached the race HQ and had to ask for directions several different times (some people pointing us, with complete confidence, in the entirely wrong direction). But we made it by 2:15, and still beat the other GF team ('Young Guns' Erik Sanders and Logan Evans) who had driven to Duluth thursday afternoon but spent the morning in a desperate search for ascenders and throw bags.....
It was a whirlwind for the next hour or so, then the pre-race meeting where we learned we'd be climbing, not ascending. Goody! there were three climbs (easy - 4th class, medium - 5.3, and 'hard' - 5.6). the climbs would be right away in the race.
|After the successful climb, in first place (:|
Tammy made it look easy. Pat made it look very hard. I thought it was a sandbag for 5.6 but not too bad - polished and slick and somewhat technical. Jim had opted to go last so that if he needed to ascend, there'd be no one left that had to go to the back of the line..... as it turns out he cruised it, and there was no line. we were the only team to complete the hard climb and so for a little while in first place (it counted as 3 CP's). Back at the bikes we had to carry the climbing gear with us to the paddling section - which ended up sucking because 1) our packs were too small and we had to rig stuff hanging all over and 2)it was a 30-40 mile ride all on pavement. At this point though, all were in good spirits and we were having fun.
|getting ready to paddle|
While beaching jim had the wobblies and fell into the lake. We were told that we were the only team that hadn't portaged..... bummer. The race director gave us 30 minutes of time credit (better than nothing! although disqualifying all the other teams would have been ok too (; ) and we got set to go. Except jim was turning blue and shivering uncontrollably. The volunteer did not like the look of things and said we couldn't continue unless things got better for him quickly.
Jim: "i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i a-a-a-am-m-m-m-m o-o-o-o---k-k-k-k-k"
hmmm... what could we do?