Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Maya Mountain Adventure Challenge Pre-Race Blog

Since the Maya Mountain Adventure Challenge is the first expedition race for Adventure Capitalists/BDAR Midwest, we have no idea what to expect. I’ve been adventure racing for almost 8 years now, but my longest race has been 30 hours. Same goes for one of my other teammates, Eric Olsen, so 4 days of trekking, mountain biking, canoeing and spelunking, will be a whole new experience for us. This will also be our first International race so I’m excited to see what the jungle has to offer! I’ve been given a lot of great advice from fellow racers, but nothing can paint an exact picture of what I’m about to experience in Belize.  The race will include 15-20 miles of paddling which I’ve done before, but with a kayak paddle. We get the torturous pleasure of having to use a single blade oar that the race directors will be supplying for us. Who knows what this thing will be made out of or how much it will weigh. The mileage does sound short for such a long race, but we could be paddling up river. If that’s the case, paddling up river with a canoe paddle will feel like 50 miles to me! As for mountain biking, 125 miles is a lot but doesn’t concern me too much. I’ve done 160 miles on my mountain bike before all in one day. It was brutally painful, but at least I know I can push through it! I’ll be sure to pack enough Bag Balm! The trekking distance is a tad scary to me. We could be on our feet for a total of 85 miles! My feet usually hold up pretty well during races but that doesn’t mean anything. We’re racing in a humid jungle, and it has been raining more than usual, so that means we could have hours of wet and muddy feet. Foot care is going to be a huge factor during this race. I’ve known top teams that have had to drop just because of feet becoming too painful or infected. I’ve been reading the book “Fixing Your Feet: Prevention and Treatments for Athletes” so I can prepare myself for the blisters and swelling that we might all eventually endure. I guess this officially makes me the “foot doctor” of the team, which I don’t mind. I stocked up on everything we need like moleskin, Gold Bond powder and lotion, blister ampoules, foot tape, Marathon second skin, just to name a few. I’m going to try to keep everyone’s feet as happy as possible! Happy feet, happy racers!

So the big questions are am I nervous and what are my biggest concerns? As for nerves, I think I lost those a long time ago. I’ve been racing for so long that I don’t seem to get nervous anymore. I say that now, but on February 12th when I’m waiting until midnight to race through the unknown jungle, those nerves might decide to pay me a visit. My biggest concerns are of course feet, but hopefully we won’t have any major problems, and sleep. I’ve never had to sleep in a race so it will be interesting to see how my body reacts with how long it can go without sleeping, and how it will feel after I wake up and start beating it up again. Also, I hope I don’t forget anything. Although I’ve made a list and checked it a kajillion times, there’s usually something that I wish I remembered to bring.  REI doesn't exist in Belize so if I don’t already have it, I’m not going to get it! Oh and I can’t forget the snakes!! The snakes down there are no joke. We have a snake bite kit but I really hope we don’t have to use it! So with all that said, we are all super excited for our first expedition race! Also this will be the first adventure race ever for my teammate Mark Rouse.  He’s an accomplished triathlete with plenty of Ironmans and multi day ultras, so we are confident he’ll survive.  Eric and I are excited to drag him through his first AR, or actually he might be the one dragging us! We will soon find out! 

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