Important note about adventure races: some of us view them as adventures, others view them as races. TEAM PINATA is all about adventure :)
This was truly a weekend--to remember, and its ridiculousness deserves a timeline.
10pm: I run from the bar where I've been celebrating the Ballers' win (G2, rugby, and other awesome people who are good at basketball) to pack my gear and head to Princeton. I am wearing the official Shot Caller uniform: short shorts and high socks, naturally.
11:15pm: Pack extremely quickly and "sprint" to Penn Station. Note that the word "sprint" is here used very loosely.
11:42: Caught the train--yessssss
12:58am: Watch the dinky (little train that goes to campus) leave without me. No cabs in sight. Consider walking to campus. Reconsider and find a cab with nice grad students.
1:30am: Arrive on campus and cat-nap in D's common room.
4:45am: Wake up and go meet the party van! TEAM PINATA is united! Proceed to pass out until Vermont.
afternoon: Rent cross country skis and try them out on groomed runs. Get organized. Eat as many calories as I can (I like this part). Mmm PB&J.
8pm: Lights out!
3:45am: Alarm goes off. Put on many layers of spandex and fleece and ski gear. Eat more large amounts of PB&J. Check gear, receive map and try to figure out where checkpoints are.
5am: Snowshoe to start of race in a blizzard! The pitch dark is lit only by our bobbing headlamps
5:18am: RACE BEGINS! We run off and head up a hill to the left, where we think a checkpoint might be. Apparently we look knowledgeable because about 50 people follow us.
5:20pm: We stop to reevaluate our course. From behind us, we hear, "Wait, they don't know where they're going?!? Why did we follow them?!" Realize we just led 50 people on a wild goose chase up a mountain in a blizzard at 5am. Laugh uproariously. First rule of adventure racing: NEVER follow anyone else!
7isham: Return to start to switch into skis. One of M's has lost a binding. Return to ski shop to rent another pair.
7:30isham: Finally start XC ski section, which apparently requires us to climb a mountain in skis--aka, nothing like what we practiced. Oops. Curse vehemently and extensively at the mountain, the snow, my skis, myself, etc. Eat some snickers to feel better.
10ish?: Terrain is flatter and we can breathe. Celebrate by singing Disney songs and Total Eclipse of the Heart. Also, by eating some more PB&J. Find Checkpoint 5!
11am: Downhill, glorious downhill! Think that this is wonderful, until D wraps herself around a tree. Continue to use my alpine ski maneuvers while my teammates pioneer a new style of sliding down the hill on their butts.
noon: Ski, sing, stuff mouth with snickers. Lather, rinse, repeat. Compose thank you letter to snickers-making people.
12:45: Make it to transition point before cutoff, drop skis, and start post-holing, a glorious method of mobility in which you walk in deep snow so that your legs sink in with each step. Decide that it is miserable and head straight to the Tyrolean Traverse.
1:30pm: Tyrolean traverse, noun. 1) 100 ft of rope stretched across a ravine which you will pull yourself across. 2) Test of endurance and upper body strength. 3) Hardest physical thing I have ever done. For the last 10 ft, it felt like my shoulders were going to pop out and my whole body was screaming. Which made it that much harder to watch D and M come across like it was a piece of cake. Note to self: next year, don't try to sprint!
2pm: Decide that instead of looking for more checkpoints, we should just finish on time. Stuff myself with more snickers to fuel up for the long slog up the side of the road--it's faster than the woods.
2:30pm: Running low on energy. Wonder why? More snickers.
3pm: Find a trail with the sign "1/4 mile to lodge". Would jump for joy if we weren't so tired. Instead, sing Bon Jovi as we snowshoe in.
3:10pm: FINISH!!!!! aaaaaah! We made it!!! Eat last 2 snickers, just for good measure.
4pm: hot tub & shower...mmm. Change into my sexy post-race outfit:
5pm. FOOD, awards (we came 2nd in the 3F teams--congrats to our friends team tundra terror for winning!), and an incredible massage.
night: drive to camp Pok-O where we stay in the cabins and try to hang out, but are too tired and fall asleep
8am: breakfast in the mess hall
9am: walk through the snow around the camp and out onto the frozen lake. Shenanigans ensue--shadow pictures, snowball throwing, snow tackling. Never want to leave.
10:30am: Have to leave. Feel very sad as there is less and less snow on the side of the road and the mountains slowly become flats. Realize that adventure races are the embodiment of Type 2 Fun: sometimes not so fun while you're doing it, but extremely fun to talk about later!
And then we were back and the winter wonderland was at an end. It is no longer appropriate to dress entirely in fleece, spandex and goretex, and subsist entirely on snickers & pb&j. But it was a wonderful escape from the real world and an incredible adventure. Here's to TEAM PINATA and many more adventures in its future!
Race results & photos can be found at these links. Thanks to everyone at GMARA & can't wait to be back for next year!