Here's Team Engine's 2006 BAAR Brawl Race Report.
http://www.teamengine.org/html/showpage ... -post.html
BAAR Brawl 2006 Post Event Notes
Feb 4-5, 2006
Ross Capdeville, Captain, Team Engine
As is the case in all adventure races, the hardest part of the BAAR brawl is getting to the starting line.
Friday night I arrive home late from work, after a taxing week. The last thing I want to think about is preparing for an adventure race. All the checklists, packing, planning, food preperation, and logistics. As I start, the phone rings. It's my teammate Kylee from Los Angeles. She's made it to her friend's place in SF, a few blocks from my house. She's ready to race and can't wait. I tell her I'l pick her up tommorow at 3:05 PM.
I continue packing food in zip lock bags in 700 calorie increments. Weighing what to bring and not what to bring - on a scale. With my running shoes taking up 20% of my pack, it is a challenge getting everything in my 30 L salmon raid backpack. But I get it all in.
Items that make the cut include 9,100 calories weighing 6.4 lbs, 70 oz water, clothes and gear. (see Appendix 1) If I was wearing my base layer, it would all fit in my back. To my dismay, the weight is 23 pounds! Remembering how cold I was last year, I didn't want to be missing anything.
The phone rings again. It's my other teammate Matt, stressing out over how we would bail if necessary. Last year's Brawl was very committing, a long, hilly bike ride put us 20 miles from our car - where alot of the race occured. Bailing ment riding those 20 miles back. There was no other way out. Matt's favorite part of the race last year was that 20 mile ride back.
We hatched a plan to leave a car somewhere between Fairfax and Mill Valley. Matt's a planning person, much like me, and likes to know exactly how things will be carried out. One of the reasons I like adventure racing is because you don't know hardly anything. So there's only so much you can plan. Or, you can do like we do and try to plan for every contingency. After a few phone calls back and forth, we decide to shuttle a car to Corte Madera before going to Sports basement.
Starting Line. The time we've all been waiting for. Everyone's here, packed, and ready to go. We chat with some other racers we've seen at races last year. One asks my predictions. I say a short run in the presidio followed by a bike to Sea Trek. Then, a long paddle across racoon straits to angel island, possibly lasting well into morning. A road biking section until we could access the trails at sunrise. Those things I knew almost for certain.
As they hand out the waivers for Sea Trek, I learn I am at least somewhat correct, and then they hand out photocopied maps of Angel Island - both Matt and I look at each other with big grins.
About a year ago, teetering on the eddy line of Peninsula Point on Belvedere Island, Matt and I sat in our kayas looking across the channel. The river of water speeding by at 15 knots was churning through the 300 foot deep Racoon Straits. I'd just learned to kayak a few weeks ago, and Matt - being an ACA Level 3 instructor - wanted to take me on the crossing. It looked too dangerous, and I didn't want to go. Now I'd have to do that same crossing - at night.
Excited, we plot our maps and take off with a group of 10 other racers towards salsalito. While road riding on a flat sidewalk at about 10 mph, I say, "This doesn't feel like a race.". Someone says back, "this isn't a race". Thus begins the BAAR Brawl 2006.
Team Engine arrives at Sea Trek to see teams shoving off into glassy richardson bay. The night is clear, with low winds, and a slight ebb tide. Almost perfect conditions for a crossing. The team wisley chooses to use Sea Trek's paddling gear, wetsuits, jackets, booties; so that our own gear will stay dry. We tuck it neatly into our race bags to fend off the due that is sure to accumulate over night.
I don't even look at the course. After a butter filled dinner at Outback earlier this evening, I feel stuffed. I take a cliff bar and 3/4 liter water for the 15 mile paddle. As we shove off, I realize that may not be enough, but how bad can it get. There's a support boat.
With the first stroke I realize I am in for a very painful paddle. Having bruised a rib at wrestling practice last week, every other stroke is painful. I compensate by not doing the stroke correctly, putting increased pressure on my shoulder - agrivating another injury. Now, every stroke is painful. So, I'm reduced to half strokes and torso rotation. That's fine, I'm slow but we'l get there. Matt asks what's wrong, because I'm usually a fast paddler, but I just say we'l get there.
Sitting at Peninsula point again, we could still see the river that is Racoon Straits. Kylee and Matt are in a double with me in a single. My heart starts beating. I'm definately a good enough paddler to make the crossing in probably any weather condition. We ease into the current and start ferrying. There are standing waves in spots. Some times we catch a ride. Kylee is taken aback when a swell catches the stern of her boat. I steady my boat in a whirlpool and imagine the spray skirt popping when I flip. Of course, I remain upright. The crossing was uneventful.
We find the checkpoint on the island and rendezvous with a number of other teams. The crossing upstream back to Tibiron is not nearly as technical. The paddling along tibiron was slow, with the current and wind working against us. After what seems to be along time, we find the checkpoint, and a number of other teams. At this point, I've had enough kayaking and am ready to get out of the boat.
Matt's giddy with excitement looking at the sweeping views of the San Francisco skyline and half moon towering above us. It set the stage for a great event ahead. We make it back to shore around 11 PM.
Kayak topo map:
After the kayak we quickly take off our wetsuits and are delighted to put on our dry clothes. Many other teams are standing by the heaters drying their clothes. WE didn't know why they wore them during the kayaking section? Maybe they thought the spray skirts would keep out water, or that the dew would not be as heavy. In any event, we were glad we had taken the time to change into paddling gear from Sea Trek.
We head out on the bikes after about a 45 minute TA. This is not a race, remember. There are a few bikes still left at Sea Trek when we leave, but not many.
The next CP is on Kirby beach. Matt and I had ridden this area many times before, and did not know there was a dirt road down to kirby beach. First, we take the paved road below golden gate bridge. After poking around and loosing alot of elevation we decide there is no way to the CP from here, so we climb back up. After a short distance on cozelman road, we see what we are looking for - bike lights coming from down below! It's the road to kirby beach. We carefully ride down almost to the bottom of the road. Kylee stops and looks around. Matt continues down further to find steps. I stand in the mud, useless. Kylee finds the steps and Matt comes back up while she is counting them. We got the CP, and we continue back up.
On the way back, Matt bursts ahead so he can have some food at the top. I stay with Kylee, who is traveling slowly on an unfamiliar bike. After a short break at the road we continue up Cozelman Road to the lighthouse.
Lighthouse Bike Ride:
After about a mile we come to a gate on Cozelman road that states access is for day use only. After relating my story of a $250 ticket for biking after dark, we decide to take an alternate route to the next checkpoint at the lighthouse. It would be a little longer, but we didn't want to take any risks.
We get into downhill mode and travel down what we now call Popcicle road, a winding paved road to Bunker Rd. At the bottom we come along another team looking for the dirt trails to TN Valley. We advise them that those trails are illegal at night, and we plan to go all the way around Salsalito after we tag the lighthouse. They still want to go on the Bobcat trail so we show them the way (or so we thought).
As we road down Bunker Rd, we realiz we showed them the wrong way. Sorry, we didn't do it on purpose. After tagging the lighthouse, we did take the long way back around Salsalito. We poke around in Mill Valley for awhile, but can't figure out how to get to Hwy 1 without going on the interstate.
Coming back on the east side of the overpass, Matt sees a Marin County Police officer who had just booked someone for DUI. At 4 am, he has the bright idea to ask her how to get to Hwy 1 on bikes. She is not amused and immediately defensive. "What's going on", she asks, suspisous of three people biking around at 4 am. We admit we are training for a race, but nothing else. Apparently she had gotten word of the mass riding of illegal trails! She showed us the way, and we continued knowing that we'd been completely legal!
It is a long way around to the CP at TN valley road. We think it would still be faster than riding 1/2 the distance on muddy trails at night. After CP 7, we try to find a legal way to CP 8 - at the intersection of Deer Park Fire Road and Coastal View trail about 2 miles southwest of CP 9 , the TA. There are no public roads leading to CP 8 so there was no legal way to get it. We decide to skip it for a long ride up panaromic hwy.
While grinding up possibly the most popular road ride in Marin County, I comment to Matt how pleasent it is to ride at night. Not once does a car pass us - an advantage to riding at 5 am. We stumble across an all night 7-11. Matt asks if I want to go in, and I say we should continue. When we see another team taking refuge in the 7-11, we decide to stop. All I want is a hot dog.
Unfortunately the hot dogs havn't been put out yet, but there's warm gatorade, and bananas are also popular. We meet another team from Sacramento. We talk, warm up, and replenish. I talk briefly with Bob who has mud up to his thighs. We conclude that we made the right choices. My team doesn't even have mud on the bottom of our shoes.
The grind continues to about 1400', where we drop into the TA about 5:45 am. Quite a few other teams are there and we take turns around the fire. This is the time to consider our goals for the "not a race" realistically. At the beginning of the race, Matt was upset when Kylee and I overruled him on riding the illegal trails. Now, he was more amicable to accomplishing our personal goals.
Last year, we did 20 hours of the race - including a 3 hour bike ride to bail. This year, I wanted to do at least 20 hours. I knew it would be harder because of the 6:30 pm start. Matt knew it would be harder because he hadn't trained. Kylee, well she'd have gone another few days and not complained. I set my goal wanting at least 18 hours, and if we could finish in 24 I'd do it. Matt set his goal wanting at least 12 hours, and he'd do up to 18. We check our watches and Matt's goal has been met. Now, we've got to meet mine. Matt's in for doing it as a team, so that gives me motivation.
Everyone's still feeling good and having a blast, so we decide on a hike that we estimate will take us 6-8 hours and give us 3 more CP's. We start off, walking up the road like the teams we saw before us.
I'm slow on the hike. I don't know why. I'm eating, drinking as I know I should. I'm not feeling bad, but I'm not feeling great. Matt's trucking up a 20% grade at 2 MPH. I'm keeping up for the most part, but am lagging. I chew on dried mango. I take a gu.
At the top, everyone's feeling better. We share a picnic table with the team we saw in 7-11 from sacramento. It's always nice to have others out there sharing in the pain. They state they will get one more CP (11) and bail. We tell them our plan is to bail after CP 12.
From the top we start running. I don't like it at first but once we get on trails I feel great for the first time in the race and am loving it. We run down to a creek where we see 7-11 team coming back up, and get to the CP at a trail intersection. The next CP is committing in that it involves a good amount of descent, only to come right back up. I don't know this because I'm not navigating, but we were all feeling great so we tag it. At the CP we come across another team who offers us gummy bears! Yummy!
Hiking up hill, some members of Team Engine are not that happy any more. We have to gain 1000' of elevation and there is no way around it. Since we are now on the "bail" option, it didn't get us any further into the race, and it doesn't really feel fun anymore. Until Ross brings out the Time Tested and Proven adventure race games to play while hiking up hill!
The team is reluctant to play games, stating that it is not going to make things any better. I start playing them anyway. We start with the story game. With every letter you have to give a story about a topic for 100 feet of elevation. I get A (since at this point I'm the only one playing) so I tell a story about Adventure Racing. Once my 100 feet is up, Kylee get's B, and she reluctantly tells a story about her sister Brittnay with some coaxing. This continues for 2 rounds until we have miraculously gained 500 feet!
Matt has the next game. He tries to explain it and I understand, though Kylee is confused. The first person would think of a letter. The next person would have to add a letter - which eventually can spell a word but that letter cannot end the word. This continues until someone ends the word or someone challenges you to produce a word from your last letter. It was a great game but Kylee does not want to play. Matt and I decide to play and the winner would be decided by who had the most points after 200 feet of elevation. (Of course Matt wins).
After that, Kylee has a game. Someone will give 2 letters and we go through everyone making words that start with those 2 letters until someone cannot think of another word. We play that with "KN" and it's pretty fun for about 100 feet.
We try the 20 questions game, but the team can not deduce that I'm thinking of "New York". Then we play the Ross asks 20 questions to Kylee and Ross asks 20 questions to Matt, and we're at the top! Of course, I cannot share the questions or the answers!
At the top we study the map (well, Matt and Kylee do), and decide we'l run trails most of the way down. We pick out some trails that look fun and take off. We run for an hour, maybe more. It was the best part of the race for me. I was usually last, but easiely keeping up and feeling good. There's nothing like running flat or downhill trails. We even run some uphill - Kylee said why not. This is where Kylee shines - she is now warmed up after 15+ hours and is a speed daemon. Matt and I keep up.
As we come off the trail, running toward the campground, a ray of sun shines as I look at Kylee next to me, effortlessly striding towards our bikes after a long night of exertion. Matt's right behind and I'm proud of the team for coming this far, and doing so well. We all feel great and are excited and happy. We've worked well as a team, and in this last section the team was definately more productive than the individual. Moments like this happen in every race. That's what keeps me coming back.
Here's the map of the hike:
After an enjoyable ride to Corte Madera where we stashed our bail car, we were off the course in 20 hours. Everyone agreed 4 hours more would have been no problem. We're excited about the season to come.
Bike : 50 miles, 4800 ft
Kayak: 15 miles
Run : 15 miles, 5800 ft
Total: 80 miles, 10600 ft
Appendix 1: Ross' pack
Clothes: Fleece tights, ex officio amphi shorts, leg warmers, under
armor muscle shirt, 2 capalene shirts, a short sleeve shirt, a
softshell fleece, bike gloves, full finger gloves, a headband, and 3
pairs of smartwool socks
Gear: Bike pump, derailler cable, tool, 2 tubes, tire levers, 2 AA
batteries, medical tape, pain pills, water purification, knife,
sunscreen, 2 headlamps, pillow case, dry bag, lock, thin cable
Food: Cliff Bars, Luna bars, Pralene Pecans, Carrot-Raisin bread,
Spicy naan bread, peanut butter with honey, Gu, Peanut butter
pretzels, candy bars, cookies, dried mango, dried bananas
Appendix 1a: Matt's pack
clothes: capilene pants, mt. bike shorts, capilene top, soccer jersey,
windproof fleece, marmot precip jacket, beanie, bike gloves, glove
liners, 2 pairs of liner socks, 2 pairs smartwool socks, waterproof
gear: bike pump, extra tube, patch kit, helmet, 2 cat-eye bike
lights, 100 oz. camelback, headlamp, sunglasses (with clear lenses),
whistle, watch, bodyglide, sharpie, dry bag, first aid (ibuprofen,
gauze, ace bandage, space blanket, waterproof matches, moleskin,
iodine, 3 spare AAA batteries, toilet paper, chapstick, duct tape)
food (brought 6000 calories, consumed 3250): clif bar, gu, candy bars,
PB&J, donuts, cashews, PIZZA!
Appendix 2: Next time
Things to remember next time:
More spicy food
Gummy worms, jolly ranchers, tart foods
marin bike map
don't bring 2 headlamps
ride a road bike next time