Saturday July 8, 2006
Alum Creek State Park
Something a little different from Ambush this time - an after-dark, 3 hour 'sprint' adventure race on a warm summer evening.
The race began with an on-the-water-start and a mad dash to see who could be the first to reach the inevitable bottleneck at the culvert passing under Africa Rd and back into the protected inlet east of the New Galena boat Ramp on Alum Creek Reservoir. Fisherman sitting quietly on the back looked surprised (and none too pleased...) to see 20 canoes and kayaks bearing down on them and churning through the protected backwaters, but it didn't take more than about 20 minutes for the lead teams to be back on their way out and onto the bikes. Fastest paddle time were Jay Williams racing solo in his custom home built solo canoe and Mark Spencer and Lori Smith, who travelled all the way from Michigan to join the fun.
Despite the heavier rains early in the week, the 'Phase I' mountain trails were in great shape (thanks to the dedication of the COMBO trail crew. Four checkpoints were located at undisclosed locations along the trails so teams had to be sure and ride the whole trail to find them. In addition to that, COMBO mountain bike patrols were stationed to keep people from shortcutting on the emergency bailout trails and forced everyone to ride the entire loop. Three teams somehow managed to miss one of the CPs and were ranked behind everyone who got them all. With a blazing 39 minute bike time, Doug Stephenson and Chris Dolan managed to take the lead and were off on foot to the orienteering element.
COO (Central Ohio Orienteers) graciously provided reulation "O" maps of the mixed woods and overgrown farm fields on the east side of the dam area, and the nearly full moon didn't seem to help anyone a bit. Eight CPs, worth 10 points each, were located on features, that while fairly obvious during the day, required careful navigation after dark. 6 teams got them all and returned to the finish within the three hour time limit. Crackerjack navigator and CMAART.org founder Jason Schaefer leading a team of novices actually had the best "O" time (74 minutes), but alas, they were one of the teams that had missed a bike CP, throwing the lead to Steve Kaczor and Joe Tillison.
Everyone enjoyed a raffle and post-race cheeseburger before heading off into the night. Thanks to COMBO and the mountain bike trail patrol as well as our volunteers Terri, Kristin, Aaron, Bob and Derinda, without whom the race would not have been possible.