Sunday, April 19, 2009

RR: Dirty Moose Adventure Race

Dirty Moose Adventure Race
Date: Sunday, April 19, 2009
Location: Mt Blue Job Strafford, NH
Acidotic Racing Event

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This is the view from the summit of Little Blue, a small peak/knob adjacent to Mount Blue Job in Strafford, NH. This was the site of my first ever adventure race today, a fun little get together put on by my running friends in the Acidotic Racing Team. I had no idea what to expect, had no idea how I would hold up... I really was just clueless and showed up expecting only to have a great time with some new friends. Of course, I showed up at Sherpa Time which many of you know as a term defined by "fashionably late." The event started with a 30 minute prologue where our RD, Chris Dunn, took us on a 35 minute tour of the area pointing out various areas of significance. We all made a special attempt to memorize these areas and to take a mental picture of any clues/notes that may help us in our adventure. After climbing in and around the summit area of Blue Job, we all settled in on the top of little Blue, split up into our teams and awaited our first clue.

My team was comprised of young Austin Stonebreaker, who ran his first 50 miler in Pittsfield, VT back in November and did a fantastic job. Today, he showed up a bit under the weather due to a night full of excessive beer drinking, followed up this morning by the burps, vurbs and sharts. Ri Fahnestock is who I usually refer to as the 10,000 Dollar Man, after jvaing won the coveted peaks purse last year by completing all 6 Peak.com Races. Ri ran 100 miles at McNaughton Park last weekend in a staggering and speedy 25 hours. And myself, who slogged around the McNaughton Park course in 36 hours. We were quite the team of rag tag misfits, tired, still sore, licking our wounds and dreaming of that case of beer the winning team was about to win in this adventure race.

While on the summit of Little Blue, our RD handed us our first clue. It was a riddle that could be solved by unscrambling the letters posted about 300 yards away at the openning to Porky's cave. Luckily, I had all ready memorized the letters upon our passing earlier. I don't remember what the riddle was, but the answer was "Nothing." We wrote the answer down on the index card, showed it to the RD and he handed us our directions on how to locate the 2nd clue. We ran all the way down the mountain to the parking area where our next clue was pinned up to the backside of the map kiosk. We answered the question on the back of the cache's lid, retrieved the directions to the next locale and headed off through the woods once more. We bushwhacked a short way until we located a stonewall. The Next clue was somewhere in the vicinity. Once we located the cache, we answered another question and headed off on a fast paced bushwhack to the next cache which was hidden under a down hardwood.

This next clue sent us back up the mountain to the frog pond where we searched the embankment. We were very close to one of the other teams and rather than it being two teams looking feverishly for the clues before each other could... we were searching together and aiding each other quite a bit. This new cache had a green index card inside which led us out on a Bonus Trip if we so chose to take it. We decided to skip it as our next route clue led us to the anvil on the top of Little Blue. Back to the top of the mountain. The next clue sent us to the other peak, but there was another Bonus card inside. We took the 2nd Bonus card and headed down the mountain about a 1/4 mile to an old cemetery where we had to write down the age when one of the locals had become deceased. We then turned around and ran back up to near the top of Little Blue (yes again) before heading back over to Porky's Cave for the other Bonus Trip. By now my team mates are dragging me up and over the mountain. My legs are still tired and sore from the weekend befores 100 miler. I'm not sure how the hell Ri is doing it... or Austin with the hangover for that matter. But together, we held it strong and made our way to Porky's Cave. We climbed a short rock scramble to a sign with animal prints on it. After some discussion, ridiculous at that we determined that the tracks indeed belonged to a Raccoon.

From here we ran over to Blue Job's main summit area, around the back side where we were to search for our next cache down in a drainage. We found the clue and made quick work of once again ascending the mountain. The guys really took off on me here as I gasped for air and struggled to keep up. At this point I really felt like I was just along for the ride. We find the next box which included yet another question on survival (all of the boxes thus far had) and another green bonus card. We followed the directions on the card that had us contouring around the summit cone to the powerline area. The bushwhack was rough, traversing along some ledgy sections of the small mountain. Eventually we found the powerlines and the green concrete building which was home to the next bonus activity. Ri opened the canister and began tying the knot required to continue on our adventure, an Alpine Hitch. While he tied the knot, we remained low and hid from the other teams as they ran by us on their way down the mountain. We headed up to the Wardens tower, retrieved our clue which congratulated us on completed Part 1 of our adventure. I was beat. While the boys read the next direction card... I drank liberally from my water bottles. Weather forecasts called for a cloudy and cool day... it was near 55 degrees and not a cloud in the sky. I was DYING from being over dressed.

The next clue sent us all the way down the powerlines to the bottom of the mountain, of course it did. When we got there our next set of directions were stapled to a telephone pole. We were being instructed to carry 2 small logs, a rock and a larger log to the top of Little Blue by following the red flagging through the woods. The larger logs all had different point values dependent upon their size. The largest log left was the 2nd biggest in the competition. So I quickly grabbed the 30 point log and began to carry it through the woods. It was tough going as I got the log tangled in low lying branches. We were on an all out bushwhack and there was no real easy way to carry the awkward shaped log. BUt we carried on as a team hiking briskly back up the slope. We went up and around, twisting and turning our way through the woods for what seemed like aimlessly. We went through two knee deep mud and water filled bogs on a trail near the top. Then we emerged above treeline to the magnificent views, once of which included the summit! I had to take a picture of me enjoying myself.. (check out the sweat)

At the top of the mountain, we had one final task (besides finally not having to carry the log)... (why lie.. I loved it)... we had to blindfold one of our team mates and the other two of us had to jump up on the summit rock. We received a final card which had a picture of a pattern which we needed to get our 3 logs and stone to re-create below. The catch was, the blindfolded team mate was doing the work while we depicted the design without using certain words. We made pretty quick work of that and we finished our race.

After the event, we all headed to the RD, Chris Dunn, house for a small cookout which included the tasting of various fine home brew beers Chris had made in his basement. After eating chicken, burgers, chips and salads, we tallied our points to which we found out the final word that our team had won the event. Our prize? A case of Redhook Longhammer IPA. A great way to end the perfect day of adventure.

We Win!