Lake Castaic – 2001
Photos by Ruth Ann Timothy
After record setting 100-degree temperatures last year, night racing returned to Lake Castaic to kick off the 2001 Hi-Tec Adventure racing series. Many familiar faces like Team Balance Bar and Team Red Bull also returned to compete for the series championship, along with several newcomers like Mike Pigg’s team adventuretrain.com and Ian Adamson’s team Eco-Internet. It was a stacked field that made for a very competitive race.
The special tests started during the pre-race meeting when we were given two-1 foot ropes that we were told to have at all times during the race. The first special test encountered during the race was right at the start when we were forced to run about 100 yards through knee deep water along the Castaic beach before heading out on a 6 mile trail run. The run course proved to be a Lake Castaic tradition of hills, hills, and more hills. The good part was that it was mostly three miles of up-hills and then 3 miles back down. I think we were in 5th place finishing the run and we were right on the heels of Team Red Bull.
As we neared the park area we encountered our second special test called the Rescue Carry. One person on the team had to be carried according to the diagram on the instructions we were given. Dave and I carried Tracey for about ¼ mile. When we were told we could finally put her down we were hit with a second “double” special test. We were given the ring of love that all three of us had to hold on to while orienteering. The orienteering, which is usually a strength of ours, gave us problems as we wasted 5+ minutes in locating the first point that was only about 100 yards from where we started. In my confusion, I lead the team in the wrong direction. To get back on course we tried to descend a steep hill covered with ragweed. The second step down the slippery slope sent us sliding on our rear ends that were immediately skewered with prickers.
Following the run was the first 6-mile mountain bike leg. The bike course was similar to the run course and covered many of the same trails. We were lucky and were able to finish the first bike leg while it was still light outside. Returning to the transition area we encountered the next set of special tests. The first one was the traditional “mud pit” and the second was a new one called “chaos” that resembled the spider web. For the Chaos test, each team was given three 2x4s nailed together in a triangle. Each team member must be touching the wood at all times while trying to get through a spider-web of elastic rope. The catch was that the wood could not ever touch the rope or the ground at anytime. We did well at this special test until Dave’s neck got caught on the last rope and nearly got decapitated.
Reaching the kayaks we realized my second “brain fart” of the race. We were going to use a tow system for the boats, which I inadvertently left in the transition area. I took the time to run back and get it, which ended up being a waste of time since Tracey accidentally dropped it along the shore while ferrying the boats. This was only a prelude of what was to come on the water as my seat cushion deflated about half way through and then we got entangled in fishing line that brought us to a complete stop until we were able to bite through the 6 pound test line. Despite all that happened we were able to keep team Timex in sight. In fact Dave was able to pass them in the single kayak right before reaching the shore. Back on shore we encountered another new special test I dub, “William Tell”. Each team was given one bow for shooting arrows at a target. Each teammate had to shoot at least two arrows unless the target was hit on the first shot. Only Tracey was able to accomplish this task where as Dave and I couldn’t even hit the bails of hay.
Next up was the second loop of the mountain bike, but now it was dark. We immediately discovered that Tracey’s helmet light was inoperable and hindered our ability to ride fast. Luckily we were able to pre-ride the course in daylight on the first loop. Following the bike was the last two special tests of the evening. The first one required the ropes that were handed out at the pre-race meeting. Amazingly enough they were still in my shorts where I put them on the first bike leg. We used the ropes to tie our wrists together and then scale a 4-foot wall. Behind the wall was a series of low wires we had to crawl under without touching or be forced to start over. After the wires was a second 4-foot wall. The final special test was the 12-foot wall that did us in last year. We used our new method of putting me up first, then Tracey, followed by Dave. All went well until Dave started climbing. Dave seemed to want to try some new acrobatic stunt where he scales the wall upside down with his feet first. To everyone’s amazement it worked, it just wasn’t as fast as we would like it to be.
We ended up crossing the finish in 7th place with a time of 2:56:55. Tracey did awesome in her first ever adventure race and Dave did equally well in his first race back from breaking his ankle in last years Fog Dog 24 hour race.
Look out Detroit – Here comes team Ultima Replenisher!