Saturday, October 20, 2012

Race Report - 2012 Gunter's Grunt 'N' Grind Urban Adventure Race

Team M&M was race team #8.
This was my first adventure race in a while and my very first event ever where I have teamed up with my 13 year old son. It was a lot of fun. My son participated in his first big endurance event and he did absolutely fantastic.

This adventure race is an urban event, meaning we didn't race on trails or off-road but rather on city streets. The race organizers had split teams and single participants into two waves with the first group starting at 8AM and the second ground starting at 8:15AM. We were in the second group, while Pteam Pterodactyl, a team including James Duncan and Dan Brooks who have raced and trained with me many times, took off at 8AM. Gunter and is wife sent us off in "authentic" traditional German dress.

A bit cold but still all smiles just before the race.
The picture above shows us just before the race start. The first challenge consisted of collecting our map and clue sheet to figure out where to go first. The first leg had us riding our bikes to the first challenge site, a Crossfit-esque workout. While my son struggled a bit with the cycling and hill climbing on our bikes, he handily beat me in the Crossfit challenge.

We got back onto our bikes to proceed to our next challenge, but first we had to head back to the start for a couple of challenges, including a game of "beer pong" which I managed to win (I think i was the only one or one of to actually complete this challenge). Next was an Angry Birds-style slingshot challenge and Mace took care of that one. A quick chicken dance with Gunter and his wife and were were off on foot for the first time, though I can't exactly remember, if the chicken dance came before or after the other challenges.

We headed to our next two challenges, purchasing a cup at a farmer's market and continuing on to the pavilion named after the only female Alabama governor. There we had to climb a nice steep trail and hole-punch our map before engaging in a math/physics challenge. With some help from a fellow team, we managed to get the right answer.

Now, we ran back to home base again, before taking to our bikes and continuing on to the next challenge. This time, we headed to the chamber of commerce (see pic below), before leaving our bikes and heading into town on foot. 

The host city for the Grunt 'N' Grind.
The picture below shows Mace near one of the sites we had to take a picture of. Our next stop was the post office in the center of Guntersville's main street. Once there, we had to solve a riddle to find out our next destination. We were headed straight for the harbor. That meant we would be canoeing next. Awesome!

One of the "clues" we had to locate.
But rather than just get into our canoe and take off, we had to carry it down the pear to "port it". At least I think that's what it's called. We had to paddle across Lake Guntersville to arrive at our next challenge, a short 75 yard swim followed by a 1.5 mile trail run. Once we completed this part, we got back into our canoe to cross Lake Guntersville once more.

The Map.

Once we arrived back at the harbor, we ran straight for our bikes and on to our next challenge. But first we had to bike back to home base for a fun little beer keg roll challenge. We got back onto our bikes once I completed that challenge and on to the final stretch of challenges. While we had been pretty much in the back of the field early on, we were now firmly in the middle of the pack of racers.

We pedaled to the local high school stadium, where we had to complete a football throwing challenge (dang, being a soccer player, I had really hoped for a field goal challenge). Thankfully, Mace hit the target right away. We had to run the stadium stairs before getting back on our bikes and moving on to the local museum, where we had to find a particular item before moving on. We kept  steady pace and arrived at our next stop, where we would leave our bikes before continuing on foot on a levee towards the local fire station. Once we arrived, we had to do a few physically challenging tasks to earn our race bracelets. Once again, we passed with flying colors, even though we had to drag a gigantic tire across the field for one challenge. This tire was bigger than Mace and I together.
The Clue Sheet.
We ran back to our bikes, passing a couple of teams on the way. We knew we had just one challenge left before heading back to the finish and that gave us both extra energy. We headed to a pumpkin patch, where we had to scour through a bunch of pumpkins to identify one that contained our final clue.  As soon as we found it we headed straight for the finish. Unfortunately, that straight line included a serious climb. But we pushed on to the finish, crossing the finish line in 4 hours and 40 minutes, 9th overall. Not bad for a first time father-on team:-) I can't wait to register u for next year's event.

Happy Finishers, 9th out of 17 overall:-)

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