Tuesday, November 18, 2008

CURRAHEE! (Currahee Adventure Duathlon, 2008)

Most of us have a propensity for taking-up new challenges in life, perhaps not so dramatic as to warrant the title of a 'bucket list', but challenges nonetheless. To this end, I subjected myself to a last-minute enrollment into the Currahee Adventure Duathlon which took place this past Saturday in Toccoa, GA with my compatriots Mark, Doc, Jeremy and Michael, on a six hour quest for as many checkpoints as possible, given the time hack. Happy to say, we collected well over half and finished the race with a time of 5 hours, 32 minutes.

A brief summary: the race started at 10am with a two-mile trail run to collect the race map, then down the forest service road on mountain bike to connect with a gnarly, narrow, muddy horse trail. Two creek crossings later found competitors trudging up a rocky path pushing or carrying bikes as this incline was entirely unrideable. I could imagine breaking a cleat on my mountain bike shoes and pedaling the rest of the day one-legged... that would suck. A quarter to half mile later, the horse trail ended on a comparably flat and beautiful section of forest service road and we were off pedaling again.

Dumping the bikes off to the side at a trail head, we changed some shoes and base layers and proceeded to run and hike our way to the top of Currahee Mountain (made famous by the Band of Brothers series, recounting the tales of the 501st during WWII). The views at the top were gorgeous, the overcast breaking and giving way to welcome, warm sunshine and a breeze that promised to dry the remaining trails later in the day. Rappelling ensued, and then it was off to the ascenders - which got fouled - so we cut that short and took off down the mountain again and ran the next six or seven miles to collect a loop of checkpoints before ending-up at the bikes at the aforementioned trail head.

In the saddle once more, we took the forest service road to hit a more forgiving horse trail (thank God) to snag the final two checkpoints before heading back to the finish. Right calf quivering and quad locking-up, I crossed the line with my pals and fell into the welcome arms of a Coke, two brownies, two burgers, a bowl of white bean chicken chili, real baked beans and the best homemade organic cookies I've put in my mouth. All told, an epic day. I am hooked.


  • Watching teammates get too low on the rope swing, "swinging" through the creek opposed to over it
  • Chamois Butter - you either know or you don't; Electrolytes (the real anti-cramping life saver of the day)
  • Stepping in horse crap and being too tired to care
  • Putting on dry clothes at the end
  • The amazing Volunteers with FCA that made this race possible

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