Saturday March 11, 2006
Scioto Trail State Park & Forest
Chillicothe, OHevent website
Although it was rainy with thunderstorms, and never reached the promised 67, the weather was not an issue for most teams and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves at the third annual Toad Hollow Enhanced Wilderness Adventure Duathlon.
Steve Kaczor and Jason Schaefer made it look easy as they escorted newcomer Steve Shaffer to victory. Tony Carter and Chuck Walters of 'Team Not So Fast' used their intimate knowledge of the forest (Tony doesn't live but a half mile away...) to place a very strong second.
The race format was a modified mountain bike rogaine. Twenty-eight checkpoints were spread throughout the forest, each with a different point value, and racers could visit them on foot or bike to collect as many points as possible within 6 hours. To keep it from being simply a mountain bike race with brief excursions on foot, 7 of the CPs were designated as 'foot only' and racers had to leave their bikes at the central transition area to collect points for this section.
In addition, there were two optional special navigation challenges. At the 'memory-O' course, racers had to look at a map of 5 CP locations and navigate to them by memory only. They could return and review the map as many times as they wished, but if they were able to complete the 'memory-O' course without returning to look at the master map again, their scores were doubled. Although some choose not to even try the 'memory-O', most gave it a shot and were able to score bonus points.
The 'X-course' tested racers ability to follow a compass bearing. They relinquished their maps and were given a map marked with only CP locations and a 100m grid aligned to magnetic north. Racers had to pace count and follow a compass bearing without the benefit of any other terrain information. Some, recognizing their limitations, opted out of this challenge, but most gave it a shot and found it satisfying to complete this unusual exercise.
The course was designed so that there was no clear winning strategy, and looking at the results it is easy to see that many of the top finishers approached the course differently - some skipped the special challenges altogether and pursued a straightforward hike & bike, other focussed on mostly riding, but most tried varying amounts of each.
Due to overwhelming racer feedback, in lieu of trophies, 1st 2nd and 3rd place winners in each category will receive discounted entries to future Ambush Adventure Races.