Mother Lode 5 Day Expedition Race – 2012

Team coming in strong

After experiencing my first multi-day adventure race at the Gold Rush Mother Lode in 2011, I decided to make it my yearly goal to come back again and try to compete at a higher level.  The 2012 edition up’d the anti by tacking on 1 more day, making it a full 4 days of racing.  I also had joined Team Tecnu, full of athletes driven to win.  We came to this race with the clear goal of putting it all on the line and trying to win.  I was racing with strong athletes in Mindy Fernando (triathlete extraordinaire), Garret Bean (highle motivated captain who will always push hard), and Ryan Ognibene (solid athlete used to the altitude of Colorado).  Garret and I had trained most of the year together, and we all had raced together a month before in Pennsylvania at a 2 day AR….which hadn’t gone as well as we had hoped.

This race was hard, mostly due to an insanely hot first day, and being on a team that pushed so hard throughout.  From my perspective…I suffered heat stress, puked repeatedly, recovered slowly, navigated solidly, and biked my ass off.  Through our ups and downs, we made smart decisions, never got off track, and kept our heads  through 4 days of racing hard.  I probably slept about 5h throughout the race, at least 1h more than my teammates.  I had one of my proudest moments in racing when we beat all the odds and completed a difficult second bike leg in 6h, after being mis-informed about a time cutoff 6.5h away (we thought we had 8h).  The team came together there in amazing ways, when we could have fallen apart.  The top teams finished that leg in 8h….to finish it in 6h (which included a 30min mechanical) was super rewarding.

This race also brought out my emotions like nothing before.  I’d find myself crying on bike climbs, wanting only to be in Julias arms.  I found myself cursing race directors, cursing my teammates for pushing so hard, and cursing myself for not taking care of myself in the race.  I often wondered what I was doing out there.  I often felt like I was accomplishing amazing things.

In the end, we covered:

  • 28mi paddling
  • 30mi trekking
  • 100mi biking
  • 30mi trekking
  • 40mi biking
  • 5mi trekking
  • 2h ropes course (200ft ascent, 400ft rappel)
  • 20mi trekking (with pack rafting)

We captured 3rd place, which in any expedition is a fantastic achievement (though that 1st place team made us look like beginners…)

If you want a full race report, check out my teammate Garrets writeup here.