Saturday, September 8 began as a windy, humid and cool day for the second annual Eagle Creek Sprint Adventure Race. The venue, Eagle Creek Park, is the largest metropolitan park in the United States. Team Ragged Glory was entered in the long course event. We arrived with the other teams at 7am to get maps and attend the pre-race meeting. After copying the course down, we readied our gear and made plans for the forty plus miles we would need to cover.
At 9 am the gun sounded and we ran a 1.5 mile loop. As soon as we got back to the marina we jumped on our mountain bikes and rode a twisty course on and off-road through Eagle Creek Park. According to the race director, this was the first off road bike event ever to take place at Eagle Creek. Great thanks for that go to IndyParks. Once we completed the off-road circuit, we rode out of the park, then west across the reservoir bridge and north to Eagle's Crest. Once we arrived we dropped our bikes and did a short trail running loop down a rutted road and up a steep hill to the first checkpoint. Doug was in such a rush that he didn't fully read the instructions handed out at Eagle's Crest, which told us to take the passport. Once we arrived at the checkpoint, Steve had to run about 150 meters back to the bikes to get the passport. We punched, then ran back to the bikes for a mile of hike-a-bike down the rutted road, over a bridge, and out to Wilson Road.
The next bike portion of the bike leg was about ten miles up to Nancy Burton rail-to-trail Park in Zionsville. We biked off-road down a trail for a checkpoint, then retraced our way and looped back to the Starkey Park entrance. We once again dropped the bikes, picked up an orienteering map with instructions, and took off on a four mile trail run to hit five checkpoints around the park. We made great time and Leslie even crossed Eagle Creek (the creek) to get the optional checkpoint punch. At the last checkpoint we realized that we should have been punching the passport instead of the O-card (Doug's fault for rushing again) which ultimately cost us a time penalty.
Back on the bikes, we rode the ten miles back to Eagle Creek Park. Lots of hills took the wind out of us, but we made decent time and got back to the marina for the next leg, the special tests. Michael Sapper, the race director, had four special tests for us:
-team paddling a sailboard about 50 meters around buoys off the point
-a hand-over-hand rope traverse backwards through the water
-walking diagonal planks set across the corners of the sailboat dock
For the puzzle, the three of us viewed a 2x2 foot puzzle with a Gearheads Bike Shop logo. Leslie then put on a blindfold. The volunteers jumbled the puzzle pieces, and Steve and Doug directed Leslie on reassemlbling the puzzle while she was blindfolded. Leslie did a great job and we got through all the special tests in good time.
Next was the paddling leg, which was over five miles of the three of us in a canoe on some windy, rough water. Doug had built a seat for the center of the boat, but it was too tall and the team dumped the canoe fifteen seconds after getting in the water. After swimming it back to shore, Leslie suggested Doug get in front. Leslie sat in the middle and we cranked away with our kayak paddles. Our canoe, an aluminum Grumman Eagle borrowed from Ken Langell (thanks Ken), tracked extremely well in the rough stuff and we made good time. A 500 meter portage in the middle of the trip took the wind out of Steve and Doug but we got back in the water and finished the canoe leg well.
The last leg was a four mile orienteering loop on the east side of the park. We walk/ran the course of nine controls. Leslie made things interesting by rolling her ankle. We crossed the finish line at 7 hours and 20 minutes. Although we crossed the finish line in sixth position , the fifteen minute time penalty from Starkey Park moved us back to seventh. Even at that we were all happy with our race, finishing seventh out of 19 teams.
Lessons learned? Don't let Doug rush! Experience helps a lot. This was the team's second race and we were very comfortable with each other and knew what to expect. When one was weak, another was strong. For official results, check indysprintar.homestead.com. It was a great day. - Doug