It's 2 am and we're heading back to the finish/staging area to get ready to receive the first finishers in the early morning hours when one of the SPOT units sends out a "we need help" signal. No! After 18 hours of setting up transition areas, checking in with minor injuries (hamstrings are a big problem), and helping motivate our already stoked competitors, this is the first time we're genuinely worried about a team. Sure, there were some seasickies on the kayak, and a couple teams bonked on the first stage bike ride, but all in all, the race was going smoothly. The competitors were spread out far and wide but we were keeping tabs on them with GPS, radioing to our manned checkpoints, and our manifests. But at 2 am the signal goes out. We're about an hour away from the point we'd have to get to in order to start looking for the team that needs help. As we're logging into the ranger stations' computers to find the exact location and team, the help call is canceled.
And thus goes All Out Events' first 24-36 hour adventure race.
Our teams met up at Santa Margarita Lake, dropping off bins and bikes that would be trucked to the various transition areas they'd need them throughout the race, and they boarded a bus for an hour-long ride to the beach.
Winding through the coastal mountains, through eucalyptus groves, and arriving at a beautiful cove, the kayaks were laid out and our racers set to preparing themselves for one heck of a long day.
After an eight-mile open-ocean kayak (well supported by local rescue organizations and fortuitously, a blue whale), racers landed at a beach in Morro Bay where they hopped on their bikes for a long climb and a fun, fast single-track descent leading into the area's college ag land.
The run transition area was set up at Cal Poly's poultry unit, where racers could stop, take a break, and go back into the hills they came from. Said one member from Team Hilarious, hailing from Calgary, Canada, "That was the second-best mountain biking I've ever done!" Her teammates then decided to weigh the merits of whether it was more like the best or not.
Racers came in looking tired, but stoked. Some stayed for an hour, some took off right away at a jog. We didn't see them until many hours later in the dark - fifty miles away at Lopez Lake, where they picked up their kayaks for a lake trip and then their bikes for another epic tour of the mountains.
Our first team came in just under 6 a.m. - Team DART/Nuun/SportMulti, a world-class adventure racing team. Teams trickled in from there, with our last team finishing at 2 p.m. Results are posted here: http://www.ccadventure.com/results.pdf
Out of a field of 13 teams, we had 5 non-finishers. Though healthy respect goes out to all our DNFers, most especially SLO local Ryan Tarver from Hopes and Dreams, who kept up with the winning team throughout the first three stages of the race before deciding he would bow out.