My Favorite Part
In 2010 I won the Black Bear Challenge, the smaller version of the Grizzly Man Adventure Race. I won the inaugural GMAR back in 2008 but opted for the smaller race when kayaking was introduced. So there I was last year laying out on the grass. Sitting at Paws Up Resort soaking up the spring sun. I had finished in a little over 3 hours and was waiting for my friends to finish. My favorite part of these things is to watch my friends bask in their accomplishments. I love to see accomplishment.
My friend Dave Chenault crossed the line and he looked absolutely demolished. He said something about running way to hard at the start and collapsed on the lawn beside me. His legs were coated in burrs so bad it looked like he should just throw them away. I started to entertain the idea of doing the full grizzly man race and downed another hand full of peanuts and M&Ms.
At the awards ceremony we were presented with some great prizes. Dave made the observation that teams actually were being regarded in a higher plain then solo. To me solo was the way to go. I mean, it is harder. Right? The teams got paid trips to the nationals and better prizes. Plus, they were put in a raffle for a new bike. Not saying GMAR specifically but in all of adventure racing circles, teams are where it is at. Dave looked at me.
“Looks like doing it as a team is the way to go”.
“Next year, you and me”, I said in return.
“hummm, interesting idea … possibly”
Of course I was lying out of my teeth. I do SOLO. But the biggest reason … water. No way I was getting in the fu&%$@ river. No way!
256 days later we were crunching the numbers and realizing that if we did not get back to the start finish area we would be disqualified.
“Dave, we have like 25 minutes before the time cut off. What if we just take one more run up there”, I pointed up the hillside.
“And try to find C3?”
“Exactly … just one more look. You never know. If it doesn’t work out there is the tunnel and after that is the finish line.”, I pointed towards a culvert under route 200.
“Let’s do it”
Moments later we located “W” and ran back down to our bikes. Somehow we missed “C3” and found “W” but we at least got one more and it was 8 minutes to get to the finish line.
Later on at the awards ceremony I looked into my friends eyes and saw it, that glaze of accomplishment and joy. It is my favorite part of these things.
To be continued…