Last fall our friend and HSEC client Morgan asked if Geoff and I would join her and her teammate, Zach, to form a 4 person team for the Rev3Endurance 50 Hour Challenge adventure race challenge in Woodstock, Virginia.
Despite living and training in flatter-than-a-pancake Myrtle Beach, and knowing this race was being held in the "you'll probably need to replace your brake pads after this" Shenandoah Valley, we enthusiastically accepted the invite.
Here's a fun Heather fact: what feels like a million years ago (but in fact, was 12 years in the past) I was a proud member of Revolution3 Triathlon team (which was at the time, transitioning away from Team Trakkers.) I was not, in fact, a triathlete at the time, but had some big dreams to become one.
I had written a pretty heated and heart felt blog post aimed at Ironman and the greed I saw in their corporation (I was feisty and opinionated in my 20's), that got the attention of the Trakkers/Rev3 den-mom Carole Sharpless. She/they invited me to join their team. And who can say no when a badass triathlete lady asks you to be a part of triathlon team, even though you aren't really a triathlete? Certainly not me.
Long story short, at the time both of my boys were still in diapers, I was in college full time and working most nights as a bartender, so I ultimately never actually got the opportunity to participate in a Rev3 event.
I also never actually became much of a triathlete (don't let that beautiful Kestrel that I got a sweet pro deal on but never really learned how ride fool you).
For a long time, I harbored a bit of guilt and disappointment that I was given such an amazing opportunity to be a part of a kickass team, but never managed to take advantage of it.
Little did I know that my true path into multi-sport would look significantly different than I anticipated, and that over a decade later, I'd show up to my first Rev3 event in a big way.
(Feeling like I've written a painfully long introduction that has very little to do with the race already? You haven't seen anything yet! If you prefer to take in random post-race-recaps via video content, watch this instead:)
Pre Race Check In
Thursday, May 11th Geoff and I loaded up our car here in Myrtle Beach and made the trip North, stopping halfway to drop $800 and three unplanned for hours at a small service center in Chatham, Virgina, on two new wheel bearings for my Subaru.
Might as well really make this a true adventure from the start.
We eventually make it to Seven Bends State Park in Woodstock, VA, the location of the race start and finish, just in time for the pre-race meeting. Our later than anticipated arrival means we scramble through the mandatory gear check, as well as team photos.
We'd be racing as Team "Nerdy by Nature" - an homage to our sciencey-nerdy selves (Zach and Morgan are both Physicians, I'm an exercise physiologist, and Geoff is a full time running coach) and the fact that we all simply love being outdoors in nature.
We make it back to our AirBnB by 8 pm, and get to work on the long, tedious task of plotting dozens of UTM coordinates across a handful of maps.
This would be my first ever adventure race where I was not acting as the navigator. It felt a little foreign at first to not be the one pouring over the maps, but the truth was after a long, stressful day of travel, I was exhausted, and more than happy to give up the reigns.
And by "more than happy" I actually mean "falling asleep at the table". Oops.
Race start wouldn't be until 9:00 am on Friday morning, which made for a significantly less stressful morning...especially considering we were up well past my old-lady-bed-time the night before, plotting CP's.
We arrive to the race start with plenty of time to drop our gear bins (2 per team) and empty paddle bag (1 per team), as well as set up our tents and stage our own TA area, as the park would be the location of our second transition area.
The prologue at the start of this race would be fairly simple: all teams would run to the very first CP, not a half a mile down a gravel road from the start. From there, only one teammate would continue on to grab CP2, maybe another half mile down the road. The other teammates could head back to the start and get their bikes and packs ready for the first stage.
I'm not sure how we nominated Zach to run those extra miles- it certainly wasn't with the "who draws the shortest piece of grass" method the team next to us utilized - but Zach took one for the team.
He was off and back in mere moments, and we were on our bikes, ready to really settle into this race.
Stage 1: Bike - 26 (ish) Miles
9:00 am to 2:00 pm (ish) Friday
Important note: I went ALL IN with the "handing over the navigating reigns" to the point that I honestly don't really know where we were, how far we went, or what CP's we were going after at any given time.
I was truly blissfully unaware.
Which was mostly great for my mid-race-morale (navigating can be mentally taxing), but pretty horrible for the purposes of writing a race recap. So, my apologies in advance.
But in short, we spent about 5 hours on the bike, endlessly climbing or descending.
But mostly climbing.
My sea level legs have approximately zero percent experience in such conditions, but I surprise myself in being able to spend the majority of time actually climbing my bike, rather than pushing it up these crazy climbs.
(At least, crazy to this flatlander.)
There are zero CP's on this section, other than a photo stop at the top of Kennedy’s Peak.
Highlights from this stage include:
- Reaching a beautiful vista, only to hear Geoff yell to me "HONEY, WE HAVE TO MOVE!" I retort back "we're doing the best we can, and we just got started, how are we behind already?", thinking he meant "move" as in "quit f*cking around with that GoPro and move faster". To which he explains he meant "move" as in pack up our household belongings, and relocate to a place with mountains. He's not wrong.
- A long team conversation about the various types of sodas and sparkling beverages that could be mixed with ice cream, and the fact that I have never once had a "float", root beer or otherwise.
- The view from the summit of Kennedy's peak (and getting to see Alana at Kennedy's peak!):
Possible mistakes from this stage include:
- Deciding to drop our bikes at the start of the single track trail climb up to Kennedy's peak. There's no doubt that we would have eventually had to drop them (see rocky photos below), but I think we probably could have gone at least halfway, which would have saved us significant time (especially on the descent).
- Not dropping our packs at the same time we dropped our bikes. Race director Mike had made it pretty clear that he was OK with us dropping our packs, and even teammates at times, to go grab CP's. But, we carried ours at least halfway down the trail before realizing we were wasting energy, and then dumped them on the side of the trail to pick up upon return.
Stage 2: Paddle -27 (ish) Miles
2:00 pm (ish) Friday to 1:20 am (ish) Saturday
We arrive at Bixler's Ferry Boat Launch, grab CP AA, and start breaking down our bikes in order to fit them into our canoes for the paddle. This is a task that we practiced multiple times before the race, but never had the opportunity to place the broken down bits into a canoe...until now.
It took a few tries, but eventually we get the bikes in place, and tie them down relentlessly with a long piece of paracord. We've been warned that it's not uncommon for canoes to swamp and/or flip in the upcoming Compton Rapids (a class I-II rapid, depending on the water flow), and no one wants to lose their bikes.
Especially the brand new bike my husband bought just a week before the race.
We're on the river in no time, and after a few minutes of fumbling around to try to get comfortable with this added load of bikes and gear, we settle into what will be the next 12 hours (spoiler alert) on the river.
"I've made a huge, tiny mistake" - Gob Bluth
I volunteer to take on the task of navigating the river portion, which would cost us our first, huge, loss in time.
We're navigating using a hand drawn map of the Shenandoah River provided by a local boat outfitter. And to be perfectly transparent, I have no idea if this is the map we were provided...as the aforementioned "two new wheel bearings" detour meant we arrived to the race well after packet pickup. Nevertheless, the map provides helpful tips that do come in handy later on.
In theory, this map should be sufficient, as the river is so blatantly obvious with its bends I should just count the number of right hand turns before we reach our CP.
In reality, though, this map provides zero topographical information that may have been useful in figuring out where we were at any given time (at least for me).
Instead, the map tells me that there is a campground and a rapid at the location of the CP. But, we never see a campground, and we never see any sort of rapid greater than the dozens and dozens of small ledgy rapids we've already passed over.
My gut instinct is screaming at me that we've gone too far, but the entire team agrees that we've not seen anything that we should yet - including the CP on the riverbank that we've all been looking closely for.
Eventually we round a corner and I see exactly what I was fearing all along - a mile marker nailed into a tree that reads "8". The CP should have been at about mile 6.5.
Geoff instinctively turns our canoe around and says something along the lines of "I guess we're going back". I have to remind him of the endless, shallow rapids we've paddled down, and going back over them would be nearly impossible.
So without giving it too much thought, he and Zach decide they are going to climb up the shoreline and run back - a feat that they would indeed accomplish, but it would take them about an hour and one near attack from a snapping turtle to complete.
I tie both of our team's canoes to a log in an eddy, and Morgan and I sit, eat, chat, and wait. Dozens and dozens of other teams pass us, each with the same reaction. They first call out "hey, are you guys OK/do you need help?". When we assure them we're fine, they immediately follow up with something like "are you with those two guys running up the river bank?" When we tell them we are, they almost all cringe and give us that look that says "WOW that really sucks for you guys, we're super sorry but also super glad it's not us".
We get it. We really do.
CP CC / Compton Rapids
Once the guys return, I immediately forfeit the map and navigational duties. While I certainly won't make that same navigational error again, my confidence is shot. Plus, Morgan and Zach know this river, having raced out here in other events numerous times before. I feel it's better for everyone if I leave them in charge.
And for what it's worth, they do a fantastic job navigating the river.
So we paddle another 9 miles or so, getting stuck endlessly in the shallow rapids. We see a bald eagle, I try to remember the lyrics to that Hulk Hogan song that Geoff taught us during the Palmetto Swamp Fox race, but fail.
I know we are eventually getting closer to Compton Rapids and I won't lie, I'm a wee bit nervous. The only whitewater experience I have is from that one time I was bamboozled into a whitewater rafting race at UNWC a few years back, and I'm pretty sure I haven't been able to fully relax ever since.
But on a serious note, there are a number of reasons why whitewater makes me nervous, very valid and real reasons that I won't bother delving into in this post. So when we approached a larger set of rapids, and I heard Morgan say something like "Compton Rapids is after this" I assumed that she meant after *this* set of rapids.
I assumed we still had a little ways to go.
Imagine my surprise when we successfully navigated this stretch of the river, only to see Morgan and Zach pulling their canoes over to grab CP CC.
Do you remember being a kid, and getting SUPER worked up for something like a vaccine, or pulling a loose tooth out, only to have it happen so quickly and painlessly that you didn't even realize it was happening? That was me and Compton Rapids.
Unfortunately, others were nots so lucky. When we got out of our boats at CP CC, race director Mike and a handful of race staff were there helping another team who not only sunk their boats, but didn't tie anything down.
Rumor is there is a pricey carbon fiber Look bicycle at the bottom of the Shenandoah River, if anyone feels like snorkeling...
There is access to potable water here, so we fill our bladders and bottles for the first time in over 10 hours. We also manage to snag another map, because ours has become completely unreadable (this seems to be a common occurrence for our team).
Race director Mike says to us, without skipping a beat, "Oh yeah, the maps are printed on waterproof paper but it's just regular inkjet printer ink, and that's not waterproof".
Listen, I'm still relatively new to this sport, I don't pretend to understand how any of this works. But I'm still baffled by the waterproof paper without waterproof ink combo.
Back in the boats we paddle just a short way down the river, taking a different approach to CP B than most other teams. I have no idea if our way was more efficient or theirs was correct, but we found the CP without too much bumbling through the forest, so I'm going to call that a win.
CP's C & DD
It's another 7+ mile paddle to CP C & DD. The sun has set at this point, and the bugs have come out to play...and fester. You know those bugs that like to hover right above the water? Fun fact - the height of your face while sitting in a canoe is the exact same height as that bug zone.
Even with zero lamps on, I struggle to keep my eyes or mouth open, because these bugs are everywhere. It's one of those situations where it's so miserable, I just have to laugh (internally, of course, because I don't want to open my mouth and swallow a ton of flies).
We can hear the various rapids as we're approaching, but we can't see them. In addition to the bugs, the fog has begun to roll in. Trying to use any sort of headlight reminds me of what it felt like trying to drive in a winter storm whiteout at night during my years in Vermont: the light only makes things worse.
We take turns getting stuck on rocks in the rapids, and there's one moment where Zach and Morgan nearly flip their boat. It's a scary few seconds - especially considering Zach dropped his paddle in the fast moving water - but fortunately everyone (and all of the gear) makes it through unscathed.
We turn into the wrong cove and spend way too much time looking for CP DD before deciding to try and find CP C, and using that CP to shoot a bearing towards DD.
We spend way too much time also looking for CP C, only to eventually decide that maybe we haven't gone far enough down the river yet.
Spoiler alert: we hadn't. In fact, we spent approximately 90 minutes paddling up and down this maybe quarter mile stretch of the river before we finally found CP C, and then shortly thereafter, the spot where at least a dozen other teams had beached their canoes do to go looking for CP DD. Then, we spent another hour finding CP DD.
Normally we wouldn't have spent this much time looking for CP's, but at this point in the race, we were still hell bent on clearing the course. Unfortunately, we were also hitting that first "shouldn't I be in bed now" phase of the race, which is always the hardest to get through.
Nevertheless, we got those damn check points.
Stage 3: Bike - 30 (ish) Miles
1:30 am (ish) to 8:45 am (ish) Saturday
While not the longest paddle I've ever been on, this was the most anxious I've ever been to get out of the boat. My inexperience with night paddling, combined with the anxiety of not being able to see the rapids (even though they were small) until we were on them, had my anxiety creeping to uncomfortable levels.
I absolutely need more time on the water in the dark to build up my confidence.
We finally reach the paddle take out at the Indian Hollow Bridge, after spending just shy of 12 hours on the river. This was significantly longer than we had anticipated, however, the shallow water level combined with our unwillingness to give up CP's kept us out there longer than most teams, I'm sure.
We assemble our bikes, and paddle just over the river the Shenandoah River State Park.
This was - hands down - my FAVORITE part of the race.
We spend about 15 miles or so flying up and down the incredibly fun mountain bike trails at the park. Morgan and Zach flawlessly navigate us to the 8 check points, which were all placed right on the side of the trails, making them pretty easy to spot.
At one point, out of the blue, I hit my first true "low". I voiced it to my team, asking if we could stop for just a few minutes. No one complained. It took about one SIS gel and 5 minutes of sitting on the ground before I was up and ready to go again.
We collected all of these CP's fairly quickly (or at least it felt that way at the time), and I was still feeling confident that our team was going to clear this course - especially as we were flying down a long descent, only to see a number of other teams just getting started on this section.
The sun began to rise as we were making our way out of the park. Once we hit the park entrance, exhaustion seemingly hit all four of us. We found ourselves in the parking lot of the Down River Canoe Company, and couldn't pass up the opportunity to take a short nap on their picnic tables. It was early enough that their business wasn't quite open yet, so we figured we wouldn't be bothering anyone.
And besides, Geoff assured me that if ANYONE understands the "dirtbag athlete" life, it's a paddle company. Chances were good they wouldn't mind.
I don't actually fall asleep, but instead spend about 15 minutes in that strange land that exists between sleep and awake. It was enough to reinvigorate me for what was to come..
...and what was to come would be about 12 more miles of biking (what felt like) straight uphill.
TA 1 & Challenges:
We finally reach the first transition area (TA1) at Elizabeth Furnace around 8:30 am, just shy of 24 hours into the race. This would be the first time we had access to our bins to restock our food, and we were all jonesing for our hot O-meals. Pasta for breakfast? YES PLEASE.
I'm kind of in my own world, taking care of my almost-but-not-quite-macerated feet that had been wet since 2:00 pm the day before, and enjoying the heck out of some Pasta Fagioli when I hear some concerned chatter coming from our team.
Keep in mind - this is the first race I haven't been the navigator, and as a result, I seemingly checked out of navigation as a whole. I have very little idea of where we are, or where we have to go. I'm just out there eating pasta in a dirt parking lot , airing out my wrinkled feet, feeling punch drunk and slap happy from exhaustion, and having a hell of a good time.
But apparently, one of the stronger teams returns to the TA from the trek (that we've yet to do) and reports that it took them 8 hours* to clear this 7 mile section. EIGHT. HOURS.
(At least, that's what our sleep deprived selves heard. I'm not sure how accurate that timeline is.)
Moments later, badass adventure racer Brenda Carlson returns from the trek and starts talking about how gnarly some of the terrain was. I believe there was mention of "an hour of climbing over boulders" and a comment along the lines of "I don't need that buckle anyway" (if you cleared the course, you earned a belt buckle instead of the regular finishers medal).
Our team has, what I'll call a "come to adventure racing Jesus" moment where we realize that we'd be moving much slower than the 12 hour team, which would put us back on the roads well after dark.
And if badass Brenda doesn't need a belt buckle...maybe we don't either.
This would be Morgan & Zach's first racing experience beyond the 24 hour mark
But before we head off to collect some of the CP's on this section, we've got to tackle the mental puzzle and the physical challenge first.
First up is one of those wooden puzzles consisting of various triangles and parallelograms*. I'm told by a staff member to use all seven pieces to form a square. "Easy enough" I think, as I sit down and get to work.
*three cheers for using the word parallelogram in a blog post for the first time in 15 years.
Except it's not easy, not at all, especially when I haven't slept in well over 24 hours. Fortunately, Morgan sits down next to me with a puzzle of her own, and eventually nails it. We're free.
Geoff tackles the physical challenge. He is given a 5 gallon bucket and told to fill it to the top with water from the nearby river. The catch is that he can only use his bailing device - mandatory gear from the paddle.
Quick thinking Geoff had not only brought down a small waterproof dry bag, but ALSO thought to place some massive rocks in the bucket as to take up space, requiring less water.
Two trips to the river and back, and we were cleared by the volunteers to begin our trek.
Stage 4: Trek - 5 (ish) Miles
10:00 am to 12:00 pm (noon) Saturday
We set out on foot to grab as many CP's as we could while avoiding the more strenuous treks. Our feet with fresh, dry socks don't stay dry for very long, as the second CP on this section requires crossing a river.
Highlights from this section include:
- a CP with a clue "near River" that was nowhere near the river, but rather, hanging on a tree next to a lost dog collar, with a tag that read "River". Ba-dum-tsss.
- Seeing Elizabeth Furnace (I had no idea such a thing existed) and learning about "Pig Iron".
- The first of many CP's on really cool bridge.
- The best snack-sized bag of cheese curls I've had in my entire life.
Stage 5: Bike - 20 (ish) Miles
12:00 pm (noon) to 5:30 pm (ish) Saturday
We leave the TA with what I assume is PLENTY of time to make it to TA2 before dark. I know we have a couple of CP's along the way (four, to be exact). But what I don't know (because I've managed to leave myself oblivious to any sort of navigating or route planning) is where those CP's are, and what we'll have to cover to get to them.
The first notable section is Mud Hole Gap Trail, a rocky, single track trail that crosses a creek a number of times.
It's absolutely gorgeous, and reminds me so much of the forests and trails of Vermont and New Hampshire, where I grew up.
Having recently just dried our feet off and put on new socks, we took our time navigating the rudimentary rock "bridges" to try and keep our feet dry. It was worth it.
We're on this section a while, but not long enough for me to begin wondering "how much further until we get a change of scenery?" We grab a second CP at the end of the trail, at what is supposedly a "ghost camp lodge" (I see no lodge, no camp, and no ghosts).
We're now on a smooth and fast fire road, with the destination of the Woodstock Fire Tower. We pass a woman on the side of the road, and Morgan asks her how far until the fire tower. She replies "about 5 miles" and I think "great! We'l be there in no time at all!"
In Morgan Freeman's voice: "But they would not arrive in no time at all. Rather, it would take a long, long time."
Let's go through the highlights:
- We climbed on our bikes. A lot.
- A woman in a mini van pulls up next to us and starts talking AT us (as in, she never stopped to let any of us in on the conversation). It sounds like she is both telling us where to go (assuming we are lost), but also might be lost herself, and is asking for directions? None of us can really tell. She drives off, turns around, stops again going in the opposite direction, then drives off again. I wonder if I sleep-hallucinate the whole scenario, it was that odd.
- I almost run over the cutest, largest groundhog I've ever seen. As I look up to yell to Geoff "Hey! Cute creature alert!" a deer sprints across the road in front of Zach. Now I'm wondering if anyone saw the deer, or if they were too busy looking back at me yelling about a groundhog.
- At some point, I crash (energy levels, not an actual bike crash) hard. I ask if we can take a break "once we reach the top" of the climb we're currently on. Morgan suggests that it might be more prudent to stop right then and there, and not just stop, but take a nap. I start crying, which is my clear sign that I need some calories in addition to a nap. We sleep on the side of the road for about 15 minutes.
- It starts raining. Then it starts pouring.
- We climb, forever. At some point, I kind man in a car yells out his window "you're almost there, only 3/4 of a mile to go!" and while he was correct, it was the longest 3/4 of a mile I've ever traversed in my life.
We finally reach the fire tower, where we are supposed to climb to the top and take a team selfie as proof or reaching the CP. It's still raining and incredibly foggy, so we make a bunch of sarcastic jokes about the amazing view.
From there it's about a less than an hour ride down some slippery, wet switchback roads to the start/finish line, which also served as TA2.
Once we arrive at TA2 we've got one more puzzle challenge (similar to the first one) to complete, and then it's time for a true nap.
We had the foresight to set up our tents before the race started, and now - cold, wet, and exhausted - I've never been happier to see a tent. Geoff fires up the jet boil, I change out of my wet clothes, and we settle in for some hot cup-o-noodles before trying to get some sleep.
Because we had already written off clearing the course long ago, we figure it would be worth taking about 90 minutes here before heading off on the last leg of the race. At this point, we had about 7 miles and 12 CP's on a foot O-course to cover, and over 17 hours left in the race. We had time to sleep.
I, of course, couldn't sleep (similar to my Sea to Sea experience).
Rather, I drifted in and out of that half awake, half asleep zone, all while listening to nearby teams who had already cleared - and finished - the entire race.
Oh elite teams, how I admire and envy you.
Stage 6: Trek / O-Course - 7 (ish) Miles
8:00 pm Saturday to just shy of 3:00 am (maybe?) Sunday
My alarm goes off, and we reluctantly climb out of the tent, sleep eyes and sore legs in full effect. Our team reconvenes and plans our attack for this last leg. We figure we've already given up on a handful of CP's, but we fully intend to clear this section.
Insert your favorite quote about "best intentions" here.
Let's break this one down in highlights, as I have now officially spent more time writing this race recap than actually racing. Ahem:
- There's a CP with the clue "pond" that isn't necessarily in a pond, so much as a huge, swampy, marshy, field. We wander around there for quite sometime, looking for an obvious "pond" only to come up shy. Fortunately Zach stumbles upon the CP anyway, not at all in a pond.
- We climb up and down some super steep reentrants, and I'm reminded of the joy that is a stinging nettle plant. We don't have these (to my knowledge) here in coastal South Carolina, and I'm instantly brought back to my childhood, sucking up the itching and pain of this plant in order to get to the GOOD wild blueberry plants behind our house in Vermont.
- Two CP's are on the opposite side of the river, and teams have an option of sending one person in a solo Kayak. Geoff volunteers and paddles away quickly...only to return a short time later to remind us he is practically blind, couldn't read the map, and therefore, only got one of the two CP's. Zach hops in the kayak and gets the missing CP.
- We cover not one, but two awesome suspension bridges. It's a wild experience to be on them at night, in the fog, with a central nervous system that hasn't slept in nearly 40 hours. The best part was once we hit solid ground again, it still felt like you were moving.
At some point, we start climbing a crazy steep (almost hands and knees steep) incline, looking for a CP we "should have" seen by now. About 200 yards up this climb, Zach and Morgan stop, say a few words to each other, then call a team huddle.
They are reaching their "done" point, and want to know how we felt as a team about continuing on.
Geoff and I had decided before the race that we were in this to help make up the rest of their team, and our ultimate goal was to do whatever we could to help them on their journey to bust into multi day/ expedition racing. Not that we are super experienced adventure racing veterans ourselves- we're not. But we've been around the ultrarunning scene for quite some time, and have participated in our fair share of multiple-days of-suffering-through-Type-2-fun to have enough applicable crossover experience.
Morgan and Zach had both done an INCREDIBLE job - physically and mentally - up until that point. And so if they felt they were done, then we were done as well.
And to be honest, I was quite ready for a hot shower and a warm bed myself.
We bail on the further out CP's that required more climbing, and instead grab about three more CP's that were on our way back to the start/finish. And at about 41 hours into the race we cross the finish line with absolutely zero fanfare - not that we excepted anyone to be out there cheering at nearly 3:00 in the morning.
But the two volunteers that were there congratulated us, welcomed us into the warm trailer, and fed us. Which is honestly the best kind of finish line experience we could have asked for.
No matter how much ending a race early was the right decision, there's always a moment (more like 10-15 minutes) the next day where I'm remorseful. I do think that we had adequate time to clear the entire course...or at least grab a few more of the CP's than we did.
But would we have had as good of an experience? Probably not.
(Would my punch-drunk bad jokes and running commentary have become even more obnoxious by the hour? Most likely.)
I am proud of our team, and I think we did a fantastic job working together despite the fact that this was the first time we had ever actually met Zach, and it was both Zach & Morgan's first multi-day race.
And - we managed to podium, earning third place coed team of 4 with 41/54 CP's (placing 18th out of 40 teams that started the race.)
Each race we do provides the opportunity to learn more and more lessons that can be applied to future adventure races, and the Rev3 50 hour challenge was no exception.
I learned that I seemingly thrive the longer a race goes on - I just sometimes need a short lie-down and an extra snack.
I learned that despite living at sea level, I can hold my own in the mountains - even on my bike, which was a big surprise to me.
I learned that even if I'm not in charge of navigation, I should probably pay attention to where we're going and what we're doing, so I can be more helpful
But the most important thing I learned during the Rev3 50 Hour Challenge was that adventure racing is without a doubt where I'm supposed to be during this chapter of my life. I have found my happy place.