There was a great turnout for the inaugural running of Blacksburg's first local adventure race and it included a good number of first time teams. It is always great to see new blood in the sport and we only hope that after this that they'll be back for more.
After a 07:00 mass start on the mountain bikes, the racers were off on a fast ride in the chilly early morning fog to the take-out on the banks of the New River. Take-out? Yes, take-out - being an unsupported race, the teams dropped their bikes at the take-out and then had to make their way to the put-in at Whitethorne on foot. Most chose the fairly obvious, yet bone-jarring, jag down the railroad tracks.
The river is wide and shallow at this point, and the first water challenge they faced was an upstream paddle to a small island where CP 4 was hidden. After that it was about 5 miles to the take-out below McCoy Falls. Many minor rapids where the river poured over small ledges gave the racers a chance to warm up for the big one at McCoy Falls, a short but somewhere tricky class III, but even so, about half the teams lost it and went for a swim. Luckily the take-out was only a hundred yards downstream, so soon they were safely ashore and back on their bikes for the ride back up to the Pandapas Pond bike trails and some very technical singletrack as well as some tricky bike navigating.
CP #10 was somewhat difficult to find, but once located it was very challenging (and by that I mean "hard-as-hell") bikewhack down the mountain side to the START/FINISH area for the orienteering element. This was to later prove to be the undoing for the majority of teams, especially those that did it after dark.
Matt Bullington, who had been leading for most of the race, was the first back for the "O" leg, but unfortunately, with about 90 minutes left in the race he was unable to find any of the orienteering CPs and was so overtaken by Aaron Rourke, who was right behind him but managed to find 2 markers. Aaron was the only one to find any orienteering CPs and many teams arrived late and were unable to even attempt any part of the "O" course.
The finish order was determined by "O" points found, then by time, then by being in before the 12 hour limit and then by missed CPs on the non-"O" portion of the course.