One of the reasons I currently really enjoy adventure racing is because I have absolutely no idea what I'm doing.
This was painfully apparent at times during the 2021 Independent Republic Adventure Race, a 12 hour event held right here in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
Alright, maybe "no" idea is a bit of a stretch. But, hear me out...
If you're a long time reader of my personal blog, Relentless Forward Commotion, you're probably already painfully aware of the fact that I love to reference the Principles of Training.
(...and if you're new here: Hi, my name is Heather, and I'm an exercise science nerd. I also really love to tell stories, and the story of this particular race is a long one. If you just want to know whether or not YOU should do this race, feel free to skip ahead to the final review section at the end.)
So let's talk about the Ceiling Principle, often referred to as the law of diminishing returns. The idea is that as fitness increases the relative & absolute improvements in fitness will decrease, even with continual overload.
In simpler terms, every individual has a ceiling, or upper limit of fitness that they are capable of reaching.
Genetics certainly play a huge factor in how high that ceiling goes, but nevertheless, beginners almost always have room to grow.
And when you start something new with the least amount of skill or fitness, you will notice huge gains in the beginning. But, as you get better and better, despite continuing to train hard, those gains become smaller and smaller.
Now I've been running, for what feels like forever. Technically, it's only been about 17 years, but considering I'm 40 years old, that's nearly 43% of my life spent running.
And sometimes that feels like "forever".
Granted, my training hasn't always been spot on - or even close to it. There's certainly still room for me to grow as a runner, and hopefully plenty of time and distance PR's still to be made. But the gains I'm making these days are much smaller. In order to see improvements, the training has become much more nuanced. It gets...dare I say...dull at times.
But when it comes to adventure racing? There is SO MUCH LEFT TO LEARN.
I may be an established endurance athlete, but I'd be lying through my teeth if I didn't admit that I'm still bumbling through the forest (quite literally), trying to figure this sport out as I go.
I'm NOT good at it, but I WANT to be good at it. And the massive amount of room left for improvement is equal parts exciting and intimidating as hell.
And that's what keeps me coming back to this sport for more.
The 2021 Independent Republic Adventure Race: as Told by Heather
As some of you may recall, the 2019 three hour version of the Independent Republic Adventure Race, held right here in Myrtle Beach, was my first adventure race ever. After approximately 7 years of my husband Geoff convincing me to give the sport a try, having an event practically in my own backyard left me with no excuses.
And of course, I loved it.
In 2020 we were going to sign up for the 10 hour version of this same race, but the city ended up canceling the race (on par for the race industry as a whole that year, due to COVID concerns).
Fast forward to 2021. We patiently waited for a date to be announced for this race, but no date ever came.
A local adventure racing friend who was privy to the details told me it was due to lack of sponsorship. Fortunately, a handful of local businesses, including ours, were able to band together to make sure this race would happen.
And it did, and speaking for my team, we were so grateful for the opportunity.
Friday: It's Gonna Rain.
Now, up until Friday, November 5th, we've had a warm fall here in Myrtle Beach. I won't say "unseasonably" warm, because, well, it's Myrtle Beach. I never actually put my shorts or flip flops away, they are year round staples.
But the important thing to note is that up until the Friday before the race, daytime temperatures had hovered between about 68-80 degrees.
But the day before the race, out of the blue, we're experiencing rain, wind, and temps in the low 50's. I know many of you readers from Northern, tundra-esque areas may be reading this thinking "that's not so bad".
But let me remind you that we had been training in - and enjoying - temperatures that hover in the 90's with 90% humidity (or damn close to it) since the previous April.
Further, we were under a "Gale Warning", and all weather outlets were predicting 1-2 inches of rain fall for Saturday. As I spent the day watching emails roll in from clients on the East Coast letting me know that their own races had been canceled due to the predicted high winds, I won't lie...a tiny part of me hoped that our race would be canceled too.
You see, I am notoriously horrible at regulating my body temperature in the cold. I once got hypothermia while tubing down a river in August.
And while over the last 5 years of longer distance endurance sports (ultramarathons, etc.) I've gotten significantly better at the things I can control (nutrition, fueling, my attitude), staying warm when it's cold and wet still intimidates the crap out of me.
(But, you'll rarely hear me complain about the heat and humidity, which is why I consistently toe the line at the notoriously miserable Hell Hole Hundred every June.)
Nevertheless, I knew as long as the race was still on, I was going to go. The perks of a team sport, I guess. I'm certainly not going to be the first one to punk-out.
So Friday night, Geoff and I headed down to the Carolina Forest Rec Center, met up with our teammate Brian, and attended the pre-race briefing.
Now, the cool thing about the sport of adventure racing is that you often don't know much about the race or the course until you get there. Sometimes, quite literally. As in, you don't know where you are going the night before the race. You don't know where you are going until you are handed the map, race morning.
And sometimes, even then, you aren't given the FULL map or full details...you've got to wait to find out LATER, when you arrive to a certain check point.
So Friday night we are only told the basics: where to drop off our boats, where to drop off our bikes, and where to go to get our maps. We're also told this year that our maps will be pre-plotted.
I guess it wasn't supposed to be that way, but there was an error on the map printers side, and long story short, the only maps printed were identical copies of the race directors planning maps...with checkpoints clearly marked.
Which immediately led to mistake #1: assuming not plotting our own CP's meant we didn't need a ton of time to analyze the maps and come up with a plan.
But we wouldn't REALIZE the grave error we made until the next morning. In fact, it was on the drive to the kayak drop off to meet Brian at the time we decided upon that I said to my husband "wait a minute...what the f*@& were we thinking getting here THIS late?"
Saturday: Race Moring
4:00 am alarm. 5:45 am kayak drop off. We're at the bike TA by 6:15. And we finally get over to the start/finish line to grab our maps at 6:30. Keep in mind, you could pick your maps up as early as 5:45 am
But we didn't.
Our overconfidence over the fact that we live here and train here (I even laughed out loud when I was handed the map, as I have frequently covered, on foot and on bike, every single area each of the non-boat checkpoints were located), combined with the fact that the maps were pre-plotted left us feeling like it would be no big deal to show up with only 30 minutes to get ourselves ready, get familiar with the map, and actually feel prepared for this race.
But, turns out, it was a big deal.
At 6 am, we board a bus that drives us about 20 minutes to the kayak drop off / boat landing. Once we arrive everyone quickly hurries to put on their PFD's and get their boats ready, including our team, under the assumption that we'd be starting off with the paddle.
The race director calls us to all gather around, and throws a quick wrench in our plans:
"When I say go, you're all going to head down this road about a half a mile to a gas station parking lot. Once you get there, you'll see a bucket full of packages. I need you to grab a package - one per team - and bring it back to me for further instructions."
Lesson #2 of Adventure Racing: NEVER assume you know what's going to happen or where the course is going to go. You're probably wrong.
We all scramble to ditch our PFD's, and barely have enough time to do so before the RD shouts "GO!"
Everyone starts barreling down the road. Daylight has barely settled in, and I'm certain the weary, early morning motorists are absolutely confused by the near 50 people, dressed head to tow in various rain gear layers, some wearing huge packs, others wearing PFD's, running in the same direction on both sides of (and some straight down the middle) of the road.
We get to the aforementioned bucket and pull out a package of...
Legos. It's Legos.
As we head back to the starting area, the mom of two barely-teenage-boys side of me immediately volunteers to build the Legos. I may not be the most experienced adventure racer out there, but my Lego building skills are top notch. Bring it on.
Do You Want to Build a Snowman?
We make our way back to the parking lot, and I can hear another racer behind us yelling "Hey, did anyone lose a compass? We found a compass!"
My brain immediately judges the careless racer who has already lost their compass, not 10 minutes into the race. When my husband turns to me and says "hun, do you have your compass?" I smugly quip "OF COURSE I HAVE MY COMPASS." as I reach down to the map holder...only to realize it's open.
And my compass is missing.
I turn around and follow the voice of the racer who found the compass, and sure enough, it's mine. The compass I inherited from my Dad after he passed away in 2018, making me feel like double the asshole, for not only being the careless racer who already lost their compass not 10 minutes into the race, but for loosing what feels like a piece of my father. I'm off to a great start.
I profusely thank the racer for rescuing this future family heirloom (if I quit losing it before I can pass it on to one of my kids, that is), as does my husband, and then we finally turn to the race director.
"Build a snowman, then bring it to me, and then you can start the paddle".
No problem, on it.
Geoff, Brian and I drop to the parking lot, and rip open the box of Legos. Brian holds the instruction booklet open, flipping the pages as soon as he can see that I've found the correct piece. We're working in such synchronicity, you'd think we've team-built dozens of Lego kits before.
(Spoiler alert: this was the first time)
We're about 6 or 7 steps into building the snowman when I say, out loud, "Why does this snowman look like a penguin? OH MY GOD WE'RE NOT BUILDING THE SNOWMAN, WE'RE BUILDING THE PENGUIN."
The booklet included in the kit had two separate build instructions: one for a snowman, and one for a penguin. I'm instantly reminded of a classic lesson taught in elementary school: always read through ALL of the instructions before beginning a task.
15 minutes into the race, and I've made two grave errors. I lost my compass, and I built a penguin. So much for this home turf advantage, I'm blowing it.
We quickly correct our course, and proceed to build the snowman. I purposely choose what I call the "WTF eyes" instead of the happy eyes in the LEGO kit, because that's how I was feeling at the moment.
Snowman built, we head to our boats, and begin the paddle.
It's now beginning to rain harder, but I'm warm with Lego shame and rage...and dry thanks to the $26 Frogg Toggs rain jacket I impulse bought at Walmart the day before in a panic about the weather.
10 out of 10 recommend, by the way (the Frogg Toggs, not necessarily the impulse shopping).
Once our entire team is in the boat, we head to CP #1. The first checkpoint is actually located maybe a half a kilometer upstream, while the next five CP's are located downriver on the paddle.
And because bad things (or stupid mistakes) happen in threes, I make one more blatant error to start our day: when we see a number of other boats parked on a sandy shoreline, we pull in right next to them.
Had I bothered actually trying to navigate (or had we bothered to come up with a strategy before the race) I would have had us paddle another 200 yards further up the river, significantly closer to the location of the O-flag.
But no, instead, like a lemming, when I saw all of the other boats, I overexcitedly thought to myself "THIS IS WHERE WE NEED TO BE!"
As a result, we ran a solid, oh, quarter mile down the peninsula before finding the flag, and then had to once again, run back out. And not only run, but run over downed logs, and other not-as-fast-or-easily-runnable terrain. Paddling would have likely been faster.
Alas, have no fear readers, I redeemed myself or the next 4 checkpoints, navigating us almost directly to the CP's without fail. Thank goodness, because I think my teammates would have probably put a "help wanted" sign on the back of my boat right then and there looking for a new navigator.
(Also worth noting: There was a moment at CP2 where captain-husband-Geoff scolded me for leaving the map at the kayak while we were a solid 300 yards or so inland looking for a checkpoint. But navigator-wife-me found the flag without fail, and thus, got away with this oversight.)
It's still raining, but fortunately very lightly. The combination of body heat from the constant paddling motion, plus the brand new Seals Splash Deck half skirt Geoff had bought me recently kept me warm enough. We're on a section of the Waccamaw River that we've never paddled before, and I'm loving the opportunity to sightsee.
At least for the first ten miles.
Ten miles seems to be my current threshold for paddling, and as soon as we approach it, I'm starting to get tired. Geoff ties a tow-line to my boat, but we haven't practiced this method enough, and it's resulting in wild tracking for both of our boats.
TA 2 appears before us soon...but it's not our time to stop yet. For there is one more CP, #6, about 2 km further down the river. We go for it. Our goal from the get-go had been to clear the course. Despite my lost compass-penguin-snafu at the beginning, we were still doing very well, holding our own towards the front of the pack. .
But after we grab CP #6, and start paddling both upstream and into the wind, I begin to realize how many 3 & 4 person teams are splitting up. Half of them had headed down to collect CP6, while the other half waited a ways upstream.
Now, let me be perfectly blunt here, I'm all for the "race your own race" mindset, and I admire those who can do that. I, on the other hand, have this obnoxiously competitive alter-ego who cannot stand when people don't abide by the rules of the sport.
(It's the same alter-ego that more often than not causes me to not get invited to board game nights at friends houses.)
And the rules of this race, both in the prerace email and on the website, state that teams must remain together at all times. Now, I'm not talking about one boat straggling 100 yards away, we're talking completely out of sight of their teammates, hundreds and hundreds of yards away. And frankly, I didn't want to have to paddle all the way down the river and back up again either, but I did.
(Again, I get that other racers choose to focus on their own event and pay no mind to this stuff. And that's cool, and I respect it. I don't call anyone out during the race, I focus on my team and what we are doing. But four months later when I finally sit down to write the race recap on my blog? I'm calling you out. You're only as strong as your weakest teammate. )
TA 2 to Run, CP 7 & 8
Boats out of the water, we take a few minutes to eat, use the port-a-potty, and pack whatever gear we didn't want to run with into our kayak bulkheads.
Remember how, in the beginning of this post, I mentioned how confident I was, due to the home turf advantage? Yeah...I currently had absolutely no idea where were were.
That's not entirely true. I knew where we were on the map, I'm not that inept as a navigator (though, no, I still haven't read Squiggly Lines). But, we were on a road in Conway, SC (just Northwest of Myrtle Beach) that I had never been on, nor heard of, in my life.
Fortunately, however, Brian came to the rescue, and casually mentioned how he drives on this road every single day to and from work. How perfectly convenient.
At this point, we were on a mandatory section of road anyway - a nearly 5km stretch pre-marked on our maps by the race directors showing where we had to cross a few major roadways before spitting back out into the backside of Lewis Ocean Bays Heritage Preserve.
We find CP 7 next to an abandoned gas station (I think that's what it might have been?) and then head towards CP8 through a new and still under construction neighborhood.
Conveniently, we have been out here very recently (now I know where I am) and so we head to exactly where we anticipate CP8 to be.
But...it's not there.
We spread out a bit (still within 100 yards of each other), and canvass the wooded area on the edge of the preserve border. Still nothing. We consult the map again...and again...and a few more times for good measure. Nothing.
At this point, I should probably explain what topography maps look like when you live in the swamp, at sea level. They look like this:
There AREN'T any sort of lines or features to go by. We were clearly in the right general area, where the fire roads intersected, but we can't find the CP.
There are now other teams with us, also equally as stumped. At one point, I turn around and see Geoff waving his hands in my direction frantically. He points to a culvert next to the road that I have never seen before, and sure enough deep within it is the O-flag.
We quickly (and by quickly, I mean send Brian deep into the culvert) grab our punch and take off.
Our "local" strategy was to skip the obvious road to CP 9 and instead head directly to TA 3...we'd get CP 9 on the next bike loop through the preserve. Instead, we thought we were being sneaky taking an overgrown fire road we knew about to shortcut us to the main road.
Unfortunately, where we thought the road would spit us out (pink line) and where the road actually took us (yellow line) weren't exactly the same...
While I didn't want to admit it during the race (or the handful of times Geoff said "are you sure this is actually a faster route?" post race analyzing led me to realize we probably went a full extra mile out of our way.
Which frankly, was on par for our performance thus far. And another reminder that if we had taken the time to come up with a pre-race strategy and spent time looking at the maps before the start, we would have probably avoided this.
Never the less, we continue running towards TA3, and arrive with no further navigation errors.
TA3 to TA4 (with CP on the way)
We now arrive to the section of land that we lovingly refer to as "new LOB". This plot of land was sort of secretly introduced to us a few years back by some local mountain biking friends. Some county parks and rec officials confirmed the land was free for adventuring shortly thereafter. Geoff and I spent endless hours and miles training back here, until all of a sudden one day it was littered with no-trespassing signs, and aforementioned friends confirmed that adventuring was frowned upon.
Nevertheless, we were confident in this next section of the course, as we felt like we knew this area like the proverbial back of our hands. This was definitely going to give us an advantage, we just knew it.
We run to our bikes, and take some time to gear up.
At this point, the rain is getting heavier, and the cold is getting...colder. I try to change out of my current gloves to put on warmer, thicker, winter cycling gloves. But my hands are too swollen and waterlogged to even get my fingers into the gloves. I refuse to freak out about this already, and instead, just put on the wet gloves I was wearing before, and hop on my bike.
We stumble upon CP #32 without even trying. One of the perks of not being an elite racer at the front of the pack, is that you can often inadvertently find checkpoints simply by noticing why there may be a crowd of other racers standing around.
And that was the case with this particular checkpoint.
While we had an idea of where it was, we saw the crowd down the road punching their passports before we had a chance to even look for the o-flag.
We grab our punch, and then head onto TA4. When we get there we CP24 about waist deep in the water. I don’t remember if we played a round if rock, paper, scissors, or if Brian simply volunteered to be tribute, but he took the literal plunge for our team.
We ditch our bicycles at the transition and head out on foot on the O-course. Again we are full of confidence, as we feel like we know all of these back roads and open fields.
But this, my friends, is where it all goes to shit.
We run down the road and take the first right, down a side road I have been on dozens of times before. Except when we take the turn we are greeted with a swath of clear cut land, a massive ditch that was never there before, and new roads that do not follow the path of the original road.
No problem, I think to myself, I know how to follow a map. It’s fine, we’ll figure this out.
Long story short we spend the next 30 minutes not figuring it out. The pre-plotted map shows that the checkpoint should be on the left side of the road, before the tree line, about 3/4 ish of a km down the road. We search what feels like every inch of the left side of the road along the tree line, and into the tree line, for well over a mile, and find nothing.
I’m growing frustrated with my own navigation skills, but find solace in seeing plenty of other teams bumbling around in the same area finding absolutely nothing. We even go so far as to crawl on our hands and knees through a culvert and a tunnel made of brush and bushes, wondering if the race direct just felt like making us truly go on a scavenger hunt.
But we find nothing.
At some point our captain (that's Geoff) decides that we’ve spent enough time trying to find a checkpoint and we need to move on. The nature of the O-course means that we have to come back by here to get to our bicycles eventually, so we can hit this one up again on our way back through if we have time.
This race recap is getting ridiculously long, and coincidentally, this is about where my memory gets foggy. Likely due to low blood sugar and frustration at the time, and the fact that it's taken me 4 months to actually getting around to writing this post.
Nevertheless, let me present you with the following highlights of the rest of the race:
- Almost all of the O-course CP's were ridiculously hard to find. I think we only got half of them. At one point, another team tells us they actually did find CP 26, and it was NOWHERE near where it should have been. Instead of about a 0.75 km down the road on the left hand side, it's nearly 1.5 km down the road on the right hand side...in the middle of the huge ditch, on top of a pile of dirt. Please enjoy the following photos of said CP:
- We give up on the O-course, grab our bikes, and continue to pedal stumble around the woods for quite some time, struggling to find the checkpoints that should be easy, and somehow easily finding the ones that should be difficult (like the aforementioned CP 23, with nary a map feature to be seen for 3 square kilometers).
All three of us are vacillating back and forth between wondering if we are just still so new to this sport, and this is how it's supposed to be, or if these maps (especially compared to the actual CP placements) are just really...bad.
During one search for a very deeply hidden flag, a solo racer who definitely seemed to know what he was doing confirmed our sneaking suspicions...it wasn't just us. The maps were less than ideal.
- At one point, while looking for another flag, we're in such deep brush we can barely see each other, even though we're close together. I yell "BRIAN!" to which someone who is NOT my teammate Brian, and who I also had NO idea was around (I thought we were the only team out there) responds "yeah?" His name was Brian too. What are the chances.
- Geoff runs over a tree and bends his derailleur, which resulted in a few minutes of cursing and a trailside fix. But, if you're familiar with past AR recaps of mine, such as the 2020 Palmetto Swamp Fox race where Geoff dropped his chain no short of 25 times in a 10 hour race, trail side fixes are nothing new to our team.
- We find not one, but TWO random O-flags on the ground. Nowhere near where any controls were supposed to be located, and there's no punch or number on the flag. Confused, we shove them in Brian's pack to bring them back to the RD, and to hopefully prevent others from being equally as confused. (Turns out, the RD thinks they bounced off of the back of the pickup truck they used while setting some of the course).
- Brian climbs up the most rickety, rotting, wooden ladder we've ever seen. Naturally, I (weeks later) turn it into an Instagram reel.
...if you're saying to yourself "Gee, Team HSEC really seems let Brian do all of the dirty work", you aren't alone. I'm just now realizing that too. But I think he likes it? But also: sorry Brian.
- I get temporarily frustrated seeing MORE teams splitting up, letting one or two teammates sit down and rest while the others go - I'm not kidding when I say it was at least a half mile - deep into the woods to try and find the CP. Again, I fume to myself, because I recognize that my obnoxious competitive side is not everyone else's problem. But I also hope they aren't in our category and have more checkpoints than we do...
It starts getting colder and rainier, and we're quickly running out of time. So we head back to TA3, refill our water, put on some warmer clothes, and get our lamps. Geoff REALLY wants to hit up the CP's on the Lewis Ocean Bays Heritage Preserve section of the course, but Brian and I are crashing, FAST.
Nevertheless, we head across International Drive and into the preserve.
Geoff is as enthusiastic and hopped up on his caffeinated gels as ever (woooo 150 milligrams!) , he's starting in on his classic "left is right" and "right is left" mix up. It's an entertaining distraction for sure, but another sign that we are pushing that 12 hour envelope.
Our first stop on the other half of the forest is CP 9. Looking at the map, I'm almost CERTAIN that the CP is at one of the parking lots in the preserve that we pass often during training. Once we get there I say to the guys "I bet it's behind the kiosk".
Lo and behold, I got one right. At least I got one home-turf-advantage-point.
We grab our punch, it now has to be around 6 pm. Captain Geoff wants us to go for at least three more checkpoints clustered together on the opposite end of Telephone Road. As anyone local to Myrtle Beach who rides Lewis Ocean Bays knows: Telephone Road is notorious for deep sugar sand. It's tough, even on fresh legs.
And I, for one, do not have fresh legs.
I speak up in protest that I think I'm just about done here, and that I don't think we have enough time to get to CP 10, 11, and 12, AND to the finish line in time.
I had come into this race woefully undertrained due to "life", and had spent the last 10 hours relying solely on a decades worth of endurance experience and a ton of SIS gels.
Brian, aptly given the team title of "Voice of Reason & Tie Breaker" agrees. Geoff protests for just a minute, but then concedes. It's been a long, tough, cold, and wet day. At this point, we had only collected 22 of 33 CP's (with one left to grab at the finish line) and figured any chance at all of placing was gone. Let's cut our losses and make sure we don't lose any of these hard earned points by being late.
So, we decide to give one last big push to the finish line...mostly so we could get into our heated seats in our Subarus that much faster.
(I have no shame in my winter racing game. My strengths shine in the miserable, hot, humid swamps of the Southeast midsummer.)
We finish the race at 6:44 pm, with 23 out of 33 check points, and 16 minutes to spare.
Turns out, that was not only good enough for 1st place 3 person team, but 4th place overall. No one actually cleared the course, with 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place punching 30, 29, and 24 out of 33 CP's respectively.
Honestly? I'm shocked we did that well. Damn proud of our team for giving our best, but considering all of the rookie mistakes we made, still really surprised we pulled it off.
9 Lessons I Learned from the 2021 Independent Republic Adventure Race:
In no particular order, here's my takeaway lessons from this race:
- Don't confuse beginners luck with experience. Eventually, the beginners luck wears off, and you'll realize you have no idea what you're doing.
- Sometimes slowing down will save you time. After spending a lifetime in sports where I've learned how to shut my brain off and just physically push myself, I am now in a sport where sometimes it's absolutely necessary to slow down (or stop completely) and think before acting.
This has been a humbling lesson in all of my adventure races so far, but probably more so during IRAR. Had I stopped to truly analyze things, rather than making rash decisions on the fly, I think we could have avoided a lot of silly, newbie errors.
- Hills can be hard, but at least they give you topo lines to work with.
- Related to point 3: I have so much learning to do still when it comes to navigation. All joking from every race report I've written before aside, maybe I really should finally read Squiggly Lines.
- ALWAYS READ THROUGH THE LEGO DIRECTIONS FIRST.
- Speaking of things you should do first, ALWAYS COME UP WITH A PLAN OF ATTACK/RACE DAY STRATEGY FIRST. That's why the RD gives you over an hour to pick up your maps before the race starts after all.
- Focus on your team, don't worry about what everyone else is doing. There will always people who don't play by the rules. Don't let it ruin your experience.
- Always make sure your map case is securely closed, and on you at all times.
- I really, really, really love playing in the woods.
Ok, that last one is not a new lesson learned, but something that's always at the forefront of my mind after spending a dozen hours or more stomping around the wilderness.
Independent Republic Adventure Race Final Review:
Despite everything, I had an incredible time during this race, and while I can't speak for Geoff or Brian, I'm pretty sure they did too.
The map situation was a bummer, no doubt about it. The combination of barely any features to navigate with, and the fact that the CP's on the map and the actual location of the CP's in the real world were not lining up, did make it frustrating.
However, the race director was very upfront from the beginning that there had been an issue with the map printer. Further, our team took the time to talk to the RD, and you could really sense that he was not only excited about this race, but at the potential for more adventure races in our area in the future.
The logistics of the race seemingly went off without a hitch. The busses to transport athletes to the start arrived on time. There were county employees at the boat drop AND the bike drops the entire time, making sure all of our equipment remained safe. At the finish line, there was plenty of hot food for each athlete.
And the race swag, if you are into that stuff, was great. And I'm not just saying that because our business logo was printed on the back.
Therefore, as long as this race continues, our team will absolutely keep coming back. And we hope to see you there too.