Desert Winds race was off the hook... I was soooo looking forward to this race and it was as expected as far as support and the course setup. Beautiful views, encouraging staff and very challenging for a 24 hour Adventure Race. In fact, it was called a mini-expedition race due to the format and time it would take for teams to finish all the check points. The top finishing team (Team Sole) finished in just over 26 hours and they are faaaaasssttttt.
I was racing with Team SCRAT and try as we may, we just couldnt keep it together after that 11 hour bike ride through the sand. We made it though some good navigation gotchas, heat, sand, heat, sand, heat, sand... you get the idea... but in the end the sun was just going to set on us that day and that is the way it is.
I actually took the experience as a very positive one even if it was the first race that I would not complete. DNF can be a good thing...Sometimes finishing is not everything and you need to know when to wait for your race day when it all hooks up. Learning and a new experience is always welcomed by me.
After we ran out of water and spent more time in the heat, sand, heat, sand, etc. we were almost out of this long canyon that would dump us into the Colorado river. I could taste the water miles away - no map needed. I was carrying over 96 oz. of water and it was all gone at this point. Sucking down a gu was a BAD idea ;-0 I learned first hand how efficiency plays such a big role in saving energy and the reserves you have with you.
I also fell in love with my wingnut after this race. After a small collection of about 15 Golite and Solomon bags I have finally met a bag that can do it all and you dont need to take it off for any of it. I'm set.
By the time we reached the water and dumped our bikes we had a few hours of sunlight left so we were off to swim and row through the welcomed cold waters to a few more checkpoints. Ahhh The water felt so good. We were drinking our share right from the river.
Funny how I remember some areas in detail and other moments are already a blur... At one point I was getting out of the water and put my hand on a rock. As I was looking down I noticed that something was wrapped around the rock and moving...?? Huh. Agghh.. A BiG OL snake! That will wake you up!
As the sun set we had a few more adventures including trying to get our gear, kayaks and cars all sorted out. We didn't expect to end up stopping at this checkpoint so it just added to our continued adventure. So did the dead car battery... For me this race was an adventure just like our race director Robert Finlay had promised.
I would highly recommend any race that Kayak Lake Mead puts on. We are looking forward to the night adventure race later in the year.
More pictures posted over here too http://slater.smugmug.com/gallery/2896438#173744459