Monday, June 22, 2009

Old Dogs Still Have a Few Tricks

Shelley and I were in the Urban Adventure Race in Saskatoon this weekend. We entered for fun and to support the event. Neither of us had really been training much and we weren't particularly competitive or expecting to do that well.

Surprisingly, we ended up winning!

There were 21 teams with 2 or 3 people per team. Half the race (2 hours) was on bike, the other half was on foot. We were the oldest racers and I'm sure we weren't the fastest - there were triathlon people, and bike racers and marathon runners. That's the nice thing about adventure racing in general, and even more so, score competitions* like this one - it's not enough to be fast, you also have to make the right strategic and tactical decisions. I think our experience with score competitions like the Navigation Marathon helped. And we also know the city and river bank trails pretty well. And I've spent a lot of hours reading maps, especially from planning the Prairie Pitch races. (The maps were from Google Earth which added a good twist. Most of the streets weren't labeled, but you could identify other features which wouldn't have been on a street map.)

The start was amusing. They handed out the maps a few minutes before start time and while everyone was studying them the start time came and passed. Finally Shelley asked "can we start" and they said yes so we took off, leaving everyone still standing around. So we had everyone chasing us for the first few points. (Although, you have to be careful not to rush too much because not spending enough time planning your route can also cost you.) Of course, this didn't last very long - one of the nice things about a score competition is that people make different route choices and scatter, instead of all chasing each other around the same course. Even when you do see other teams you have no idea whether they have more or less points.

* A score competition is where you have a fixed amount of time to collect as many marked locations as possible. Some locations may be worth more points e.g. if they are further away or harder to find. If you exceed the time limit then you get points deducted from your score.

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