After a bus ride to the southern tip of Lake Nockamixon, we began with a short trail running prologue, finding 3 nearby checkpoints while navigating solo. Reed had no problem on his CP and we quickly geared up for the first proper leg of the race. This leg consisted of finding CPs in a wooded, loosely residential area and around some trails adjacent to Tohickon Creek. Between some questionable nav techniques employed by Dad and a preponderance of slow thorny underbrush, we did not get off to a stellar start. The nav got a bit easier at the end of the leg and we checked off the last 5 CPs without any significant delays, en route to TA1.
|Hard won verdant CP3 which we gained via the difficult southern traverse - 400m of brushy thorny undergrowth.|
|Reed punching in a cute CP location.|
|Reed displaying his freakishly large left hand. Mandated photo credit: Cliff White|
|Steep put-in. Trying not to run Reed over with the boat. Credit: JS O'Connor Photography|
After a little tentative probing of the shores, we quickly got our lake-nav mojo working and started picking off shoreline CPs. We then crossed over to the other side of the lake, navved perfectly to another CP before heading off to the "Ladies Room" CP. This CP, which could have been a cinch if you approached from the S/SW, became a huge time-suck as we backtracked on muddy trail and fought our way through the brush and copious poison ivy around an abandoned building of some kind; laboriously exploring every outbuilding except the Ladies Room. By the time we located it and punched the CP, I looked at my watch and saw that we would have to go full-gas to the next TA to make the 3:00 PM cutoff. After some inspired paddling, it became clear we would not make the cutoff, so we grabbed a final mandatory CP and arrived 13 minutes late to the canoe take-out. The penalty for missing the cutoff was that we would be ranked behind all of the other teams that made the cutoff, which happened to be all of the other teams. Not a big deal to us, as our final ranking is not a matter of high concern; we were just happy that we could continue on and finish the course.
|Quick inland run for a CP while Reed checks his delts.|
|Son's scenic slippery surface scramble|
|Primo trail conditions around the "Ladies Room"|
|Inviting "Ladies Room"|
|Definitely not making that time cutoff. Credit: JS O'Connor Photography|
|TA activities Credit: JS O'Connor Photography|
We left the TA on bikes and entered the Nockamixon MTB trail system which was amazing. Though muddy, the trails were fast flowy and smooth (i.e., not New England) with multiple groomed pump track sections. We had a lot of fun in here, logging 7 miles of buttery singletrack and finding plenty of CPs along the way. Following this was a 9-mile road ride including pretty historic bucolic riverside dirt and paved roads and easyish nav before emerging back in the Tohickon area for the final leg.
Arriving at the final TA, we had 1 hr 45mins to spend before the 8:00 PM finish time. We used this time to hustle along the trails and forests of Tohickon Valley Park, efficiently finding another 6 CPs. Reed was especially impressive here, after 11 hours of racing, keeping up with my strenuous last-hour pace and driving the decision to grab the last 1 or 2 CPs rather than playing it safe and heading in with a time cushion.
We had a great day out on the course, exploring this prickly yet scenic area of Pennsylvania. Thanks to Rootstock for again providing a great racing experience for me and Reed. They get extra kudos for providing really nice race shirts and and excellent social media race coverage for family and friends.