Tuesday, June 9, 2009

GMARA's Frigid Infliction 2009

Green Mountain Adventure Racing’s Frigid Infliction at the Bolton Valley Ski Resort in Vt. would have been more aptly billed as the “Tepid Infliction” in 2009. With temperatures hovering in the 40’s and the sun beating mercilessly on the trails, the snow was mushy, wet and slow. But hey, adventure racers don’t complain, right? I know I was glad to have worn my lightweight ski tights instead of my heavy ones.
We began the race at 5:00 AM with a snowshoe to the start at the base of a steep incline where we opted to head further up to CP 5 while the other teams split away from the cliff face that the CP sat on top of. After a pretty tough ascent, we found the CP with not too much difficulty. As it turned out, this was a good route choice as the remainder of the teams came from the other direction and had some difficulty locating the cliff top. We were able to complete the rest of the first foot section in blazing time coming to the TA a half-hour before the estimated time that the first team would arrive and 30 minutes in front of the next team.(7:08 AM) Unfortunately, in a winter race with deep, wet snow breaking trail for the other teams was not in our best interest and not our strategy either. But, things being as they were, we went with it.
The Tyrolean traverse across a deep gully (7:43 AM)
lead us to the ski section TA , where once again, we laid tracks to the controls.( I swear…I didn’t have the glide I needed. I was inching along and it felt like there was glue on my skis.) We skied to the next section (9:27 AM) where we removed any support that would keep us from sinking into 3 feet of snow and head 2 km over a saddle with “Bwen the Postholing Monkey”leading the way. I believe I learned at least 5 new expletives during that 2 km. By the time we got to the TA 5 (10:04 AM) to put our skis back on, the second place team thanked us politely for the trail we had left and proceeded to ski past us and take the lead .
From that point we (Ben and Ernie) skied down a pretty gnarly backcountry descent while I fell over continuously for about 300 feet. It wasn’t pretty, nor was it fast. Those new expletives came in handy…We arrived at the final TA (11:01 AM) where we re-hydrated and decided to foot the first 3 CPs and ski the last 4, which was the opposite of what the lead team had decided. So once again, we broke trail into some pretty cool areas. I did manage to lose my mouthpiece from my drinking tube and thankfully Ben had an extra one, thus saving me from sure dehydration. The ski in this last section was quite difficult with some steep climbs and quick,tight descents, both of which I wasn’t prepared for.
We managed to finish the full course come in second at 9:07 hours. Even with my final “boot won’t go into f***ing binding!!!” 5 minute tirade with less than a mile to go.
All things considered, my first race with Berlin Bike was a really a great learning experience about the value of teamwork and humility.