Storm the Eastern Shore, the video
Yes, I know. It’s again been way too long since we’ve posted anything on our blog. Part of that is because we haven’t been doing too many races this summer, and part of it is we’ve been working on something new we hope to feature. Video! We’ve gotten a couple of portable, durable video cameras and have started taking some footage at recent races and hope to make short videos of our exploits available online.
The first attempt at such a show is from the Storm the Eastern Shore adventure race a couple weeks ago held in Cape Charles, VA. The race was one of the last in the Checkpoint Tracker Series before next weeks national championship race in Kentucky. As the race was in the middle of the east coast we sported a half and half team, half from the north (Jeff and Joe), half from the south (Michele and I).
Heading into the race, we knew that there wouldn’t be a lot of elevation change as the highest point around Cape Charles is about 25 feet above sea level, if you don’t include the highway overpasses. What we didn’t know is if there would be much off road travel. Of course, in order to travel off road, it helps to have all the appropriate gear, like good shoes, mountain bike, etc. Oh, and ones mountain bike shoes too, which after going through my gear the night before the race I realized I left sitting on the floor in my living room. DOH!
What to do? It’s 10PM, the race starts at 9AM, no bike shops are anywhere close to where we are, not to mention they wouldn’t even open before the race. I had my regular running shoes, but with the egg beater pedals that would make for some very sore feet. After a short bit of panic, followed by ample use of choice four letter words, I remembered seeing some bikes locked up out front of the hotel. I thought they might be another teams bikes, but upon inspection they were rentals provided by the hotel. Now I don’t usually condone taking without asking, but the situation was dire and these bikes had something I didn’t, platform pedals. I checked the parking lot, pretty empty. Checked the weather, rain. This wasn’t going to be peak season for mountain bike rentals so I decided to borrow a pair for the race. Come the next morning, I got plenty of strange looks for having a $10 set of platform pedals without toe cages on a carbon fiber race bike, but what’s a man to do? I figured I’d have the fastest transitions ever since I’d never change my shoes!
We were given the course in the morning, plotted a couple points and figured out a route. It all seemed fairly straight forwards, a bit of running, paddling with some running and portaging sprinkled in, then biking, biking, more biking, a little bit on foot and a whole lot more biking. At the end of the race we had ridden over 140km on mostly paved roads, with an average speed of 25kph! Not bad for nobby tires.
The navigation for the most part was fairly easy, but I can say that as I didn’t do most of the work. Joe held the maps while on the water and foot, and expertly guided us through the maze of mud flats, soybean fields and chigger infested woods. I pointed us in the right direction while on bikes, platform pedals and all. During the race, we bounced in and out of the lead with Scott Pleban, until we got to the longer of the two foot orienteering sections where we pulled into the lead and managed to stay for the remainder of the race.
Overall it was a fun event, mostly because we had a cohesive team racing together, but there were definitely a few high points on the course. I’d have liked a little m ore off trail travel, but given the circumstances and the terrain I understand the limitations put on a race director. I’m looking forward to heading north to another of Hampton Road Adventures races next year.