2015 AXS 12-hour AR Buena Vista Race Report
Result: 1st place in Division; 2nd OverallRaced by Katie Ferrington & Thomas MckeenWritten by Thomas MckeenI’ve done this event about 6 or 7 times since I started racing AR.  Now that I moved here a little over a year ago, it’s a hometown race for me.  Most of the terrain covered in the race is the […]
Result: 1st place in Division; 2nd OverallRaced by Katie Ferrington & Thomas MckeenWritten by Thomas MckeenI’ve done this event about 6 or 7 times since I started racing AR.  Now that I moved here a little over a year ago, it’s a hometown race for me.  Most of the terrain covered in the race is the same one I use day after day for training purposes!  If I like it enough to live here, I certainly like it enough to race here.  The BV race has always been one of my favorite 12-hour races due to the awesome class 3 kayaking, 400+ tyrolean traverse and the stunning vistas from the high-up-top O-course.  These are all things you just don’t find in other events of this length…Every year I’ve done this race I’ve teamed up with my brother-in-law Dan.  We have been quite successful in the past and have the winningest record here.  Now that we race on the same team (Journey Racing) we have even more reason to keep our foot to the floor.  When I called Dan about securing our spot for 2015 he told me he’d been battling hamstring issues and rather than exacerbate them, he was going to take time off to recuperate.  Later it turned out he was dealing with a sciatic nerve, which is easier to deal with in terms of long term effects…  Anyway, after hearing that I contacted Ryan, another team member to see if he would go.  Ryan won solo last year and has been quite successful in BV other years as well.  He was racing mtb in Grand Junction, so no go.  Later that afternoon during a run Katie’s name popped into my head and though I knew she would just be coming off an Iron Man in Texas, thought she might be recovered enough to give it a go.  Only one way to find out!Katie said yes right off the bat so now we had a team.  She and Ian won Co-ed in Moab this Spring so her entry fee into BV was covered.  Mine mostly was after volunteering in Moab at the bike to run transition.  We shot a few e-mails and texts back and forth, but we’ve both been doing this long enough that we didn’t do any big picture planning at all until the night before the race.  In fact Katie and I had never raced together in the past.  Against each other, yes, but until this year have never been on the same team.  I knew she was strong from her results over the years, though.She got to town the evening before the race with her baby-sitting parents in tow.  We plotted the maps and talked strategy for an hour before heading out to the two transition areas (TAs) to drop bins and gear.  The race was going to start in BV at Riverside Park and we’d run from there to Wilderness Aware via trail and dirt road to the TA there.  We’d switch from running to white water kayaking in the ubiquitous duckies.  From there it was down to the next TA and a switch to mountain biking.  We would ride to the O-course, do our navigating and then ride to the tyrolean traverse.  After completing the traverse it was a short ride to the finish line…The next morning we arrived at the start nearly an hour before the start. I always like to be early and luckily so does Katie.  We had plenty of time to settle on clothing choices (dress for the second mile, not the first!) and to run some hill intervals to get the legs warmed up.  We saw plenty of our fellow competitor friends and chatted while waiting for the start. We carried only the mandatory gear of space blankets and cell phone for the start leg.  Looked like most folks were carrying the gear they needed for the whole day!  One of the benefits of having done a bunch of these “sport” length races is knowing what you can get away with NOT taking!At 8a the metaphorical gun went off and all racers headed up the hill.  It was a bit chaotic as both the 12 and 6 hour events went off at the same time with all their different categories.  Katie and I made great time up to the Midland grade with me checking a few times to make sure the pace was okay.  It was.  We had a really quick run to the TA and pulled in behind one solo racer and a 2-man team.  I punched while Katie got her wetsuit on, we chugged a bottle of Gatorade and grabbed a boat.  By the time we hit the water there were people all over the place so we had no idea of what our placement was.  We had a clean run down the Arkansas (the Milk Run) and the water was pretty much at a perfect level.  Quick, but not scary fast.  Not like last year…  Pulling up at the takeout we were told we were the first team in!We quickly shucked out of wet gear and put on dry stuff for the bike ride.  It was going to be flat for only a couple miles, so we knew we didn’t want to overdress.  We felt like we got out in a reasonable time, but once again it was chaos in the TA so we really had no idea.  Hitting the steep hills of CR300 right off the bat got us warmed up in a hurry.  Wasn’t long before I realized I’d forgotten sunscreen.  Oopsie.  I’d scouted these roads a week or two before the race and had a good idea of what to expect.  Katie was having a bit of a tough time with the sand since she had spent most of her bike training time on her tri-bike.  We hooked up a tow and we started making some good time.  Catching one solo rider I was surprised to see only one set of tracks ahead of us – and that was a rider I could see.  We never caught him, but did pull in to the O-course just as he was heading out.  We’d had a pretty good ride.Katie knew she was point for the O-course and since it was rogaine style and was mandatory we stay out at least an hour, we opted to just get as many points in the hour as we could.  There were 120 points total and with her steady nav we got 90 in just 55 minutes!  We spent the 5 minutes extra eating and putting our harnesses on for the traverse coming up…  Back on the bike we flew down Shield’s Gulch and across the Midland single track.  This was sweet and mostly downhill as we caught a few punches along the way.  A quick jaunt on Broken Boyfriend for 2 miles of technical riding and we arrived at the traverse in 1st place.  I quickly (for me) hauled across the rope.  The span is maybe 400’ across and close to that high.  Very airy!  We had a nice tight rope I was pleased to note.  It’s always a tough haul to get across, but this was the best I’ve done it.  From arrival at the bike drop to returning from the traverse and run back was 12 minutes for me.  Katie made good time as well and with the solo racer right behind us we flew down into town and the finish line.  We took first team overall and second to the solo racer who had more O-course credits.  Still happy to beat ALL the teams, especially the 2-man ones.    Katie was a solid racer all day and we worked well in all disciplines.  Happy she was able to come out to BV and play!  Later that night I went back and competed in the RMOC night orienteering competition.    It’s been a bugaboo of mine in the past and with hard work I was hoping to improve on one DNF and one DFL from the last two years.  I started off a bit slow but quickly found my rhythm.  The 3k length course flashed by in short order and before I knew it I was done. As I was the first competitor out I had to wait awhile to see how I did as all racers went out in 2 minute intervals.  After the last short-course racer was in they ran the splits and I was the winner.  Wow, never would have put any money on that!  All in all a very good Saturday of racing.  Thanks to Journey Racing for the support and to our sponsors at Altra Running, 

XX2i Optics and Project Rudy.  Used their gear all day and it was first class.  TT