Axis Gear Mini #1 – San Diego
March 15, 2008
Some 40 racers showed up for the first Equinox Mini Adventure Race for 2008. They made up 22 teams, which raced a long or short course. The short course was about 33 miles with the long course about 5 miles longer, but it included hike-a-bike, riding up a canyon with no trail, scaling a large hill on the trek section and running to an out-of-the way checkpoint on the trek.
This race was sponsored by Axis Gear
), who donated a couple of Nav 360 map boards as prizes. As we boast no entry fee and no prizes for our races, we did not want to give the awards to the first place teams (they get bragging rights). When a first place prize is at stake we notice racers do silly things to win, and those silly things lead to accidents. So one award was designated for the team who finished in the middle of the pack, and the second award was going to the team showing the spirit of adventure racing. Team Daybreak
was the 11 th team to finish the O course, which had them win the Middle of the pack award and Andrew Radin
won the Spirit of Adventure because he had problems from the start with a wheel which kept falling off and he ran the race with the spindle duct taped to the fork. When told it would not hold up, his comment was something to the effect of “Well I’ll go till it breaks and consider my options then, even if I have to walk back
”. We thought this showed spirit.
Before the race we had a 1 hour navigation class to teach people about UTM’s and how to plot them. The class discussed reading a map and recognizing flat meadows, steep hills and discerning ridges from gullies. These were all things the racers would be faced with during the 10 hours they would compete.
Steve Moore (who scouted and wrote this event) gave a talk about what racers could expect and the format of the race. Before the start nobody knew where it was going to be held as we told everyone it was at a different location than where we all met. That location was just 1 mile away from Mission Trails Park (where we met), in the Sycamore Canyon area. The O course was on a block of land known as Fanita Ranch, which will soon become developed housing.
Steve gives instructions
Racers had to plot during the race, though the first map they were given had 2 checkpoints plotted for them. At CP2 they had to plot the next 2 checkpoints to get them to the north side of Martha’s Grove, where they plotted the remaining bike checkpoints before looping to TA1 where they changed to running.
The run section involved gathering 5 checkpoints for the short course or 7 checkpoints for the long course before returning to the TA and biking back to the CP2 location for the O course. The O course was quite big for a “mini” race, taking the lead teams 3-4 hours to complete.
Teams got instructions about 9:20 AM and had to drive to the start location, load water into a vehicle going to the first TA, get their bikes together and with all running gear packed they had to be ready for a 10 AM start. We wanted to get the urgency level up at the beginning, and it stayed that way till they finished.
There was a short run to their bikes, then they rode on multiple single-track trails to CP1 and CP2. There are many trails and all head in the north direction so for those not knowing the area it did not matter which trail they took. Those who knew the area had a small advantage of knowing which were better creek crossings.
As they came into CP2 the lead teams of Todd Webb, Josh Williams, Dave Krosch, Derrick Watkins, Ian MacDiarmid, Ann Hall and the Naval Geezers had opened a 5 minute gap on the second wave of racers.
The lead teams were close all through the bike section, with the long course being slowed by a diversion to checkpoint 2A and the lack of trails to that CP, plus a hike-a-bike. There were battles going between Jake Bencke (a veteran at AR) and Jake Rankinen and Pete Salon (two newbie’s to AR and mountain biking – they being road bikers), and the team of Ann Hall and Ian MacDiarmid. These 3 teams fought all day on the long course. Meanwhile, on the short course Todd and Josh worked together (though they were running as two solos) and were dueling it out with Dave and Derrick who were running as a team.
As can be seen by the map, the long course had to climb a hill to 10A and they had to go out and back to get 11A. This however did not slow them down too much and they crept up on the short course racers during the day.
After completing the difficult single track loop known as Martha’s Grove, and riding a fast downhill to Goodan Windmill, racers went back past CP4 (manned by Kristine Gillis) and rode toward TA1. On this section we had the first casualty of the race with young Tim Kinsey taking a spill on a fast downhill. After some bandages on the knees team Endeavour called it a day. They raced hard for 4 hours and I trust they will be back for more races in the future.
Meanwhile over on the long course the Sun Dawgs took a wrong canyon and got caught in the unrideable weeds of the creeks in the back country. This caused the derailleur to “act independently
” as Bill described it, so they exited the race with mechanical problems.
Team Kabuz (who are new to AR and had an identity crisis – changing their team name at each checkpoint and finally selecting “Caboose” which they decided to spell as Kabuz) had fun with a snake along the way and were a very high consideration for the Spirit of Adventure, since the snake was removed from harms way.
Teams began arriving at the final orienteering section of the race mid afternoon (though the last team to get there was some 3 hours after the eventual winner). For a 20 minute period we had all teams out on the O course together. One team skipped the O course as they had gotten their 6+ hours of exercise for the day. One team went for the first checkpoint, got phone reception and called home to say what a great time he was having and then exited the course as he was reminded he was running late for a dinner appointment.
Todd Webb was first back on the O but had missed checkpoint 1 so went back out to locate it. Most other contestants were pressed to complete the orienteering by the 8 PM cut-off. The cut-off required teams to be selective in which checkpoints they attempted, though four of them were placed so they were the easier ones to locate. However, when it got dark even they were very difficult to locate.
But by 8 PM the last team finished, and those remaining out on the course (half of the racers) rode the 4 miles from the end of the race back to their cars.
For full results please go to http://www.baAdventures.com/eventM1.html
The weather cooperated, with cloudy skies keeping the temperature down, but a cold wind made it chilly when you stopped, and the rain and hail was sporadic and mostly after the race.
Congratulations to all who raced what was a long “mini”. Our next event (Peaks and Valleys
) is a smaller race with the course being given out beforehand so you can go pre-run it if you wish. We do not have plans for other races this year (though we have many ideas). Steve and Jake Bencke have designed the Sierra Adventure Sports
Laguna race, in May, and Barrie is working on their October race at Otay Lakes. http://www.SierraAdventureSports.com