Summer was a month old and Team Not Dead Yet was ready to feed their Adventure Racing addiction. This year we were going to try Grass Roots Racing’s, Moraine Adventure Dash or MAD for short. Little did we know that this race wasn’t just mad, but quite insane.
We arrived at the park after a restless night at the family cabin near Bruin. The ride over covered the really out of the way back roads of PA, but we pulled into a space at the TA with plenty of time to spare and started unloading our gear.
After checking in and setting up our TA, the wait started for the race meeting and the starting gun. That is usually when the nervous energy is the greatest and this was no exception. We were ready to go and chomping at the bit.
Before we knew it, the start had arrived and we were running down the road with our camel backs and a new addition; a personal floatation device. The lake was calling as we heated up in the morning air that promised to be near 90 before this race was done. We ran at an easy pace in the latter middle of the pack and quickly entered the water with no preparation as we were all ready to go. At first we moved out to deeper water and tried to swim, but it was really slow going. We came back into about chest deep water and made much better progress as we moved towards Trout Cove in a slow motion trot. Eventually we had to swim and we found that a long sweeping backstroke was the best method to move across the water. Before long we were coming to the water exit and we quickly hit the trail, once again not needing much transition to get going.
The trek started out good as we found our land legs again and headed up the trail. We made good progress and at first saw hardly anyone, but eventually we passed and were passed by a few teams. The trek was a steady up and down. We paced ourselves as best we could and were introduced to the park’s namesake moraine deposits. Those rocks were troublesome, but expected, so we just watched our footing and kept moving. After a few miles it was again time to enter the water. We quickly saw that coasteering was faster again and we kept to about thigh deep water as we passed the swimmers once more. This was a little harder as the soft bottom kept sucking at your feet as you took each step. We stopped for a quick picture during this wet trek, exited the water and jogged for the transition.
We spent about 5 minutes transitioning to the bike in the TA and were off. It was nice feeling a breeze as the heat had arrived as promised. We cleared the marina and entered the first single track. It wasn’t too bad yet as it rolled up and down towards the lake. We stopped to quickly help a team that had one of their seats come loose. I was glad I packed those tie raps as they made the repair a quick piece of work. Onwards we rumbled and little did we know that the insane part of the race was just ahead.
The route would take us from single track to snow mobile road to single track that had these crazy huge rocks and log piles that perfectly invoked the term “technical”. This was a great ride, but super hard. I didn’t feel bad at all jumping off and walking my bike over this insane track as I muttered to myself like a resident of an asylum.
The ride was taking forever, or so it seemed. We actually cursed the course designers when we could clearly see the lake again, thinking we were almost done, but then seeing the route headed back up hill. But persevere we did and soon we were dropping our bikes back at the TA and replenishing our energy with GU and HEED.
Next was the Navigation part of the race. We usually like this part as it, more often than not, helps us catch up to all those youngsters that just bust through a marked course. We drew the trek navigation first and we were quite glad as we were sick of the bikes for the time being. We plotted the CPs and each headed off to our assigned points. I found my two and headed back to the TA. Lisa hadn’t returned yet, so I picked up the bike punch card, left her a note and headed out. I saw Lisa down the road as she was just finishing up her points. It was time to head back up that killer single track. After struggling back up to the power line I found the three points in reverse order. I made a critical error by deciding to backtrack my way back to the TA and it cost me around 15 minutes, but I did get to ride that killer single track all alone with no one to see me fall. Lisa had better luck as she teamed up with some other racers, found their points and was waiting for me when I returned. We dropped off the punch card and jogged to the finish. Our time, according to my watch was 6 hours, 7 minutes and 47 seconds.
Not too bad for a couple of Masters who do these races for the thrill of the challenge with the goal of finishing. So far, we have finished them all (knock wood).
This was a nice challenging race that we had a blast running. My hat (boonie type) is off to Grass Roots Racing.
Team Not Dead Yet (NDY) is made up of Joe and Lisa Harold. NDY has been racing together since 2002, but have been “teammates” for over 23 years. They have participated together in adventure races, rogaines, orienteering events and duathalons in VA, MD, PA and NJ. Team Not Dead Yet currently lives in Pasadena, MD. Joe is from Pittsburgh and Lisa is from Philly. They are both avid Steeler fans!