While Franz and Rainer were doing the Slowenian thing, and “Well done guys” we were also busy. It is the longest day of the year so the race has to happen then! We, Fred and Neil took to Auenland, near Marburg for the first race in the German Adventure race series. It was a navigational experience! Such things like a strip – map (yes, you keep your clothes on) a blind line as well as aerial photos to navigate from.
Start was 20:00 on Friday (22/6/12) so we took it easy until then. Once the clock started we got our maps for the first time. OL with 1km “straight line” through impenetrable forest (you go around the thick bits of forest) and you should find an OL punch the size of a carrot at 1km! We spent some time looking!
One crucial nav error where Neil AND Fred independently marked a crucial co-ordinate wrongly in the map meant we lost 90 minutes on a Compulsory CP. This was a hard start! We enjoy being at the middle to front of the pack and so when we came across the rope bridge at 23:00 so late, it was very sobering. “Mmm Team-Berghaus Adventure is very late, but this is a long race (170km in 22 hours) so who knows. ”
MUCH later after finding THE fallen tree in a forest of about 40 square km and a dozen check points, we came into the transition area. Having made up some time, we still saw other teams leaving the TA after completing a 2 hour OL. But we keep on keeping on and managed the OL with the fun Blind line (Follow compass bearing with distance on scaled piece of white paper) with the best time. Here Rene, the amateur Photographer popped up and caught us trotting along at sunrise. Why do we all so often sleep through this magic time of the day! Well Fred and I were zooming along and literally jumped into the canoe. Everything was soaked after a minute in the rushing rapids and we had the fastest flowing river paddle ever in an Adventure Race. Dry bags are wonderful inventions! (Dry bag inside our new OCTAN Berghaus packs meant there was plenty room for keeping food and clothes dry!).
The next 2 hours will go down in my mind as the river run with the most exquisite atmosphere! We were alone on the fast river, the sun had just risen and between the trees it was blinding us so that we could see the mist rising from the water in places and the orange yellow light reflecting off the water with black silhouetted trees.. AMAZING. We paddled like crazy and after 2 weirs (water did slow down a LOT) and a small run up to a ruin on a STEEP hill along side the river, we landed having made up a good hour!
We were stoked!!! back in the race and having fun!
Next followed the most original city OL I had done… navigate by matching photos on the “map” with the real life setting. You have to use shadows to estimate the vantage point! Again we were the quickest on this leg although our pace was about 7 min / km at the best by now. We now know Marburg and will visit it with family and friends again as it’s a magic place! Then we’ll stop for a beer!
Back on the bike and after refueling with our mixed drink nutrition we tore off down the road following an aerial map. This is easy in the country, but the city? Who knows what the roof of a building looks like when you are on the ground? However, we made only small time mistakes and cruised on to the climbing stage. En route there were CPs up trees, under bridges,- you name it. These race setters all have a sense of humour!
Climbing in a high ropes course becomes a common thing in ARs so there was no “fear of heights” at all. Respect for the height is still good but nevertheless we were only held back by other people in the queue. It pays to be VERY diplomatic and “influence people with respect” and head off in front of ‘em. If you tell them how great they are, and how, after 30 seconds, they will not be slowed down by you at all, then they are most obliging. We had a lot of CPS still to do so the clock was ticking internally!
An optional OL was started, but we had to break it off as we needed to start the final bike session on time. 2 valuable CPs were not bad to have. Then we sat down for last session – on our bikes of course. That is not true, the hills were steep so it was a lot of standing too. Most adventure racers know that being wet and cycling also makes certain parts of your body unhappy about sitting for longer than 20 seconds! One CP after the other with no navigational errors now was what we needed. The front of the field was still about an hour ahead of us, but we did our absolute best and grabbed the final CP before dashing to the finish with an ave speed of over 30km/h.
Well the 50 odd teams of the 3 categories all rolled in quickly as the 18:30 cut off was worth keeping. (Minus 2 CPs and 1CP per 5 minutes late was a sharp penalty!)
The finest minutes in a post race routine are those spent in the shower! It was heaven!
After a great noodle supper with easy to digest veggies and salami, we hit the hay. 10 minutes later we heard that the final ceremony was taking place right then and not, as advertised, in the morning! Well, we were overjoyed to have come in 3rd after our 90 minute backlog. The winners shot the air pistols much better and got 4 more CPs so they were within reach.
It was a great race, navigational a challenge but so original at times that we simply loved the challenge!
Thanks to Axel and Nicole of Auenland Camping and the Leopard team for a great race!
One more thing… NO BLISTERS! yes, for the first time in a race, no blisters! I think the Berghaus socks did it for me! I did have 8 ticks, no FSME and NO BLISTERS!!!
For outdoor clothing from Berghaus including men’s waterproof jackets, women’s rucksacks and more then please visit our online store.
You can find a wide range of gear for climbing, hill walking, mountain biking and other activities.