May 10, 2007

Big 4-0 Scramble!

So much fun in the Santa Monica sun ;-P

We were at my second of Katherine’s scrables and this was for her 40th birthday. The BIG 4 0 Scramble! Katherine puts in so much work for these and they are a blast because of the atmosphere, people and format for the day. The scramble opens up a lot of opportunity for choices. Unlike most adventure races the checkpoints can be visited in any order but are worth different points. There is also an “absolute” time limit where everyone must report back to before. In our case it was six hours. This makes for a unique challenge where each team must decide on what checkpoints to pickup and get the most use of time. Kat also added another twist where the first team to some of the checkpoints could pickup the checkpoint itself (more on that later) and score some bonus points. The only catch was that the team had to bring the checkpoint marker back to get the credit.

All teams started in the water although it was not mandatory. We quickly found our way to a few kayak checkpoints with Georgina back on the Nav mastering. The day could not have been better. Clear water, warm skies and a day of adventure with friends.

(making out way through the "K" checkpoints)

Soon we found ourselves out of the water and running through the neighborhoods. We found some trolls and other racers running by with all types of checkpoints that caught our eyes. Monique and Georgina were hot onto the checkpoints while Marius was chatting it up with the neighbors who were asking what the craze was all about. I was just trying to keep up at this point. Before long we were collected the trekking checkpoints we were out to get and on our way to our bikes. We were lucky to get some of the light weight checkpoints to carry back too. We saw one team with what must have been a 40lb gnome that they had to carry around with them to get the points for it.

(one team finds a 3 foot pink stuffed animal at the checkpoint)

The bike trails was my favorite part of this race. So many nice trails! Mandy also joined up with us to ride along and this was the first time Monique and I had met her. What a nice new girlfriend Marius has got himself. She is so easy to talk to and also so much like Marius. A great couple right from the start.

Together now Georgina, Monique, Mandy, Marius and I peddled away. We rode some of the backbone trail (walked a lot too) which extends some 70 miles along the Santa Monica Mountains. The trail is part of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area which has hosted numerous movie settings over the years with its diversity in terrain and plant life.

(a baby snake sighting)

Part of the reason the bike was so fun for me was because of the crunch time! We had our six hours dwindling away and we really started rushing to get the last few checkpoints before our time ran out. I had no idea where we where but good for us Georgina was on the map and spot on at that. We managed to pick up a few more checkpoints before out mad dash to the transition area.

Full steam ahead down a busy road and up a few long climbs our legs really started to feel it. That is again when Marius kicks it into overtime. If he couldnt be towing Monique he was going to carry her bike! Wow... What a man. I am glad that he was around. I think were were down to less than 10 minutes at this point.

(there is just no stopping "Marius the Mule")

The last climb was all out at we had less than two minutes and there was grunting all around... Mad dash. We make it just in time and hand over our captured checkpoint markers and passport (a camera in this case with pictures of us at each checkpoint). Amazing day and many thanks to the Kat and friends on the trail that day!

Mandy takes a picture of out team right after we finish off all of that pot luck food... Ahhggg.. Satisfaction ;-P

More pictures posted from the race over here


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