Terra Firma Racing
Date and Time
When: 03/08/2014 8:00am
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Eco Lonestar Adventure Race

My first adventure race experience…

by Jeff Shoemake - Team iMOAT

Three weeks ago I received a Text message from Nathan Winkelmann.
He asked if I'd team up with him and Patti Plagman for the Eco Lonestar Extreme Adventure Race.
For those who do not know Patti. She is the female version of Nathan Winkelmann.
She raced pro MTB back on the east coast, has been invited to the Kona Ironman and competed multiple times.
She and Dave Boyd won almost every co-ed MTB race and adventure race around.
I said yes and quickly checked the Terra Firma website to see what I had gotten into;

3-person teams will be challenged by 35-45 miles mountain biking,
8-12 miles canoeing,
20-25 miles land navigation/trekking,
and possible mystery events.
Race will last 8-12 hours.

I started running a couple days later when I found my running shoes.
Between those worn out shoes, some loaner shoes from Nathan, and a new pair of trail running shoes I logged 32 training miles.
Paddle training - 30 minutes with Nathan at Double Lake.

Raceday: 0700
We're at Reveille Peak Ranch. Near Burnet.
It's 40 degrees. Raining. It hailed last night. The wind is howling out of the northwest at a steady 20mph.
I have no idea what we are doing first, riding, running, paddling?

Racers meeting: First event 5k trail run.
We head back to our transition area, a tarp between Patti's car and Abigail's car.
Expecting a biking event after this run, we get the packs, helmets and riding shoes next to the bikes.
The Packs are loaded with 100 oz of water, knife, first aid kit, space blanket, duct tape, rope, food, dry gloves and socks in a zip lock bag.

The Pavilion.
Huddled together to stay warm, anticipating the start signal.
We run down a dirt road, across the dam, onto the mountain bike course. Onto another dirt road.
I am gasping for air. Sweating like crazy. Unzip my jacket. This pace is way faster than any of my training miles.
Back onto the singletrack. Patti in front, then me, then Nathan. Rules say we must stay within 10 seconds of each other.
A team passes us. Patti ups the pace to stay with them. I can't feel my legs. That's probably a good thing.
I see the dam and the pavilion. Nathan tells us to head for our bikes and get ready to ride while he checks in.
5k time: 22:29.

Change shoes. Load the running shoes into the pack along with the rain jacket.
We were right. It's a bike race now. But first we plot points on a map to find our destination.
We are headed 5 or 6 miles away. We get on the bikes and head uphill out of the ranch. Hit the paved road and feel the 20mph headwind.
We're in the lead. We miss the turn, go 100 meters too far and turned around. The team behind us didn't miss the turn.
We caught back up. Got to the destination. Drop the bikes. Put on the running shoes. We now must find 3 checkpoints.
Rules say on this leg we can split up.
We run up a dirt road. Checking our map every few seconds. Nathan heads northeast for two checkpoints. I head northwest for another.
I run across granite slabs to a fenceline. Check the map. Follow the fence north looking for a windmill.
There it is. I see it. Looks like half a mile. I run down a long hill over rocks, dodging cactus, through cedar trees.
Then OUCH. I look down and see a cactus sticking out of my left shoe. I stop. Pull it out and keep going.
Up the hill. Down the other side. A dry creek bed. I jump off a ledge. Three ft down.
OUCH. Slammed my right pinky toe against a rock. It aches. Keep going. There's the windmill. I see another racer leaving, headed back at me.
I punch the card at the checkpoint and head back.
My right foot is pounding. I keep running. Over the rocks and back to the dirt road. Down hill run back to the bikes.
Waiting for Nathan I change shoes and get ready to ride again.
I pull off my sock to check my bruised toe.
It's a cactus thorn the diameter of a toothpick sticking out of my little toe.
Pull on it. It's in there. I pull again and it comes out. About a quarter inch was in there. Oh. The relief.
I see Nathan. We all get back on the bikes and head back to the pavilion.
Check in.
Time for this leg; 1:07:26.

Abigail and Nathan's mom feed us and take wet clothes from us.
Next, a bike race. Plot points on a map first.
The destination is about 15 miles away.
Hit the road. Monster hills. 20mph headwind.
Take hold of Patti's pack strap and pull up the hills.
We arrive at Hill Country Marina on Buchanan lake.
Time: 57:29

Change into running shoes. Put on water proof pants. Scarf down food and water. Jump into the boat.
Crazy winds, whitecaps, boat tossing left and right. Stay together Nathan says. Keep loose Patti says.
Instead of paddling around all the coves in the open water, we head into a cove that has a little protection from the wind and paddle across it.
We get out and drag the canoe 300 meters over the peninsula to the next cove. Paddle across. Drag it again.
This time, over and through a sea of dead trees, logs, old coolers, and anything left here.
Back in the boat. Across the cove.
Get out and run. About a mile to the checkpoint.
Back to the boat. Back the way we came.
Back at the dock.
Time for this leg: 1:20:00.

Now we get another map and run to a checkpoint out in the bush.
Paved road, dirt road, dirt path, singletrack, bushwack through the trees. Got it!
Back to the dock
Time: 29:00.

Back on the bikes and head back to the pavilion.
With the tailwind we drop the hammer on the way back. 28mph in a 3 person paceline. Hit the hills, grab Patti's pack strap and pull.
Drink lots of water...the next leg is probably a run.
Flying down the hills at 45mph, tucked in behind the stem.
Back at the pavilion.
Time: 50:28.

Now a run. Plot 5 points on the map. 5 Checkpoints to find out in the bush.
We change socks, shoes, jerseys. Fill packs with more water, pizza, ensure, brownies, and pbj. Take out the jacket.
Head out into the bush. Dirt roads, singletrack, over rocks, through creeks, Got it!
Head for the next. Then the next. Running. Climbing over rocks. Jumping off 4ft drops over and over to get down.
Saw a wild turkey the size of a ostrich. Holy Crap!
Constantly running. Eating. Drinking.
Climb a 60 ft cliff.
Check the map.
Cross the road.
Last checkpoint down. Head back.
Arrive at pavilion.
Time 2:52:21

Eat. Refill packs with water.
Next leg, Mountain bike trail. 9 miles.
Change shoes. Jump on the bike. Drop the hammer on the jeep road.
Hit the trail. Legs are so glad to be riding and not running. Great trail. Nice climbs. Lots of rock.
Keep an easy pace. Patti is spent. She has been sick and hasn't been training like normal.
This is the most calm hour of the day for me. I love this leg.
Time: 1:13:35

Last leg: Run. Three checkpoints to find in the brush.
It's 5:15. Finish after 8pm and you are DQ'd.
We load the packs with lights and jackets.
Change shoes and hit the trail.
Three miles out we find the first one on the highest point out there.
We shoot a line to the next one. It's 1000m away. Straight line. Through the bush, downhill.
Across a s

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