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Buff Betty Women's Adventure Race
April 23, 2006 - Proud Lake Recreation Area, Detroit, MI
Buff Betty Detroit ? April Showers and Awesome Female Competitors
Adventure racing burst out into a new era in Michigan with the stunning success of the first womens only event at Proud Lake State Recreation Area on April 23. Almost a hundred women competed on teams of various sizes with very few experienced racers among the group. One of the veterans, Ginny Jernigan, recruited seven members of the high school lacrosse team she coaches to form a team of nine! The day dawned cool and sunny for the prelude mile-long run down an overgrown trail marked with orange ribbons. The women charged through the woods and back to the start/transition area/finish at Heavners Canoe rental to continue their journey with a 4-mile paddle down the Huron River. Once teams reached the take-out at Central Park in Milford they were to return by the most direct route on foot to Heavners as the sky started clouding over, the temperature dropped, and rain started to fall.
Mountain biking was the next discipline. Teams were instructed to complete all four of the horse trail loops in the park, in any order but counterclockwise to lessen the potential for head-on collisions. There were a total of 5 manned checkpoints to be passed through that were not on the map. Volunteers at these points would initial the team passports and send the teams on their way. This section of the race proved to be particularly arduous for teams. The trails at Proud Lake are rugged in good weather - overgrown with briars in patches, fairly hilly, and with many downed trees making swift completion of this section difficult for an expert rider; and most of the racers were very inexperienced. Despite the huge challenge presented to them the teams were enthusiastic and focused on moving ahead no matter what. One team in particular, the Rookies, demonstrated real resolve as they lost two out of the four initial team members due to injury. The pair out of the team that was left carried on determined to finish the race.
All but two of the teams completed the bike and went on to the orienteering course. The course consisted of twelve control flags scattered throughout the park. In order to finish ranked teams were required to find at least one. Much to the astonishment of race organizers, and despite the rain which continued for the rest of the race, it became apparent that teams were determined to use all the remaining time to find and punch as many flags as they could.
Continuing their two-for-two winning streak, Kathryn Connolly and Jennifer Szostek of Team JAK found eleven out of the total 12 possible points for their second Buff Betty title. Awards were handed out for second and third place finishes in the open category to teams The Dynamic Duo and Shooters respectively. Due to the large numbers of teams qualifying for the masters category there were awards handed out to Lost Souls (first), Pam and Kim (second) and Buff Beauties (third) for their performance out on the course.
The Buff Betty race stayed true to the goal of providing a legitimate adventure racing experience for women. This was a challenging course designed as a group effort by Race Director Susan Douglas with much input and assistance from the Michigan adventure racing community. Of particular note were the contributions by Brian Bialk, Greg Gibbard, and Steve Kaczor in course planning. The race staff was awed by the enthusiastic response of the women who took all the rain, mud, miles and navigation challenges and smiled throughout. Of the few experienced female racers that competed many enjoyed acting as lead navigators for the first time. The Buff Betty Detroit was an opportunity for women to challenge themselves, get completely filthy and have an outrageously fun time doing it. AMBUSH has opened up a door to a whole different arena of competition for Michigan women who were unquestionably ready to race.
|This page last updated 04/24/2006 - copyright©2006 Ambush Adventure Sports Ltd - webmaster|