After a decent night’s sleep, and breakfast at the hotel, and a great big Aleve, I decided that I would be able to toe the line for the Mal Harding Extreme-O. It was the event I look forward to the most when I come to Georgia, so I wasn’t going to miss it, if I could help it.
My map pieces got soaked when I got wet, so I don’t have them to post.
Valerie, Dave, and Paul – ready to go.
A chill start – Trysons, Frosts, and Dave
As mentioned elsewhere, I realized that I had forgotten my compass on the way to #1, so I settled into the role of team photographer.
S-1 4:13 - 473: Footbridge – map snippet
1-2 3:39 - 474: Ditch junction – xxx meters on x azimuth?
At #2, we were fortunate enough to pick up Red Mal to carry with us to the next control.
2-3 9:30 - 475: Hilltop – plot on 1:24,000 map?
On the way to #3, we all randomly noticed this tree and no one knew what it was. The first of its kind I saw all weekend…
We dropped off Red Mal so that he could hitch a ride on the next team through.
3-4 4:31 - 476: Footbridge
Team Red Bull caught and passed us between 4 and 5 – just a blur:
4-5 9:52 - 477: Man-made structure
5-6 6:10 - 478: Depression /clearing – E side
Two controls later, here comes TRB again:
And, the junior team from OCIN:
6-7 7:25 - 450: Between boulders
Paul and Dave nailed this one, getting us there just ahead of the junior team.
7-8 12:57 - 487: Trail – NE end
I guess this was the King of the Mountain leg of sorts. Long, long, long. Team Red Bull took the trail and were out of sight quickly.
We climbed steadily to the road.
And, then the control.
8-9 3:05 - 485: ET has a problem here
Had to decipher some written Morse code which said to Follow Power Line North.
9-10 2:29 - 457: Building – N side
We were issued a raw egg which was to be carried to the end. I initially thought it was to be carried to the next control only.
After first loudly declaring that "I was in charge of the egg", I quickly tripped. I decided that it would be safer in the side pocket of Dave's pack instead.
Paul with his back to the power line leg.
10-11 4:44 - 458: power line - bend
11-12 5:36 - 459: Rootstock
Team Yellow Pants
Maksim Popov/Bulat Sagdullin running down the hill towards the pool.
12-13 3:55 - 604: The _____ Pool
13-14 7:29 - 489: Ditch junction
14-15 4:59 - 483: Culvert
15-16 4:20 - 484: Spur
Picked up Green Mal for the next stage of his journey.
16-17 4:18 - 460: Pit
Dropped off Green Mal in the pit.
17-18 4:28 - 461: Culvert
Blue Mal joined our team for a climb to the next control
18-19 11:56 – 462: Hilltop
Reconvened with Team Red Bull
Blue Mal was left to be one with the control.
19-20 4:34 – 463: Spur
20-21 6:47 – 464: Hilltop
Dave and Paul powering up the hill
21-22 2:56 – 465: Dirt bank
Bob T directing the rope climb.
23-23 9:40 – 466: Lake – NE side
For this control, we had to use photos to piece together the route. I, retrospect, we should have just bombed down to the lake, but where was the fun in that?!
Dave looking over the photos.
Chuck welcoming our team to the lake.
23-24 2:08 – 467: Copse – N side
We had to row (paddle) the boat to the little island. The boat was tethered, and the boat would reach the island in a thorny area, or just reach, but someone had to get out of the boat and hold it. Besides being in front, I was also the one who wanted to get wet, and the timing was good since we were near the end of the race. So, out I went, taking one for the team.
Yes, Paul, you might want to sit down.
24-25 8:43 – 497: Building – N side
Then, we had to head back off of the island via the ropes.
And, Valerie, deciding that more adventure was called for, and after being egged on by the massive crowds, screaming, Do it! Do it! Do it!
Happy to make it safely! Well, maybe just happy to be wet up to my neck. Goal achieved!
I preferred my method to this one by the juniors who followed…because, I would have probably fallen in anyway, and hey, getting wet was my main race goal, after finishing in one piece.
The juniors made it over with a cracked egg, but it stayed intact to the end, whereas our egg was soundly smashed when Dave threw his pack into the boat.
25-26 2:50 – 472: Bridge
Since I was already wet, I got to do the rest of the tasks, while the guys stayed dry. They weren’t complaining, and neither was I.
26-27 1:37 – 470: Stream junction
Down the wash, step by step, to the stream.
27-28 3:20 – 490: Man-made cave
Yes, it is in there.
28-29 1:07 – 486: To Amazing finish
10 controls in the maze. Thanks to Janet for taking the pictures.
29-F 6:03 – Total time was 2:44, with about 25 minutes of stoppage time. I measured about 8.7km on the straight line. Advertised as 9-10km with 250 m of climb, which was just 8 less than the climb the garmin recorded.
When Dave asked me if I wanted to go out with them, I told him that I was concerned that I would hold them up. He said they would probably jog some in the beginning, and then get slower from there. I thought, good, I’ll try to keep up, and then I usually get stronger, so I should be ok. By the end of the race, our team name could have changed to “What?! We’re really going to run again?!”, and it wasn’t me saying it. Good fun with these guys, who at some point stopped trying to correct me when I called them the wrong name. Thank you, Dave and Paul! Let's do it again sometime!
Many thanks to Joey Ciza of VOC, and all of his volunteers from VOC, QOC and GAOC. This was a fun event, with just the right amount of difficulty, especially for the fourth event of the weekend, and with needing to travel home the same day. I plan to add the GNC/Extreme-O weekend back on my schedule, if health and fitness allows.
P.S. Teams Red Bull and Yellow Pants both finished ahead of us. Oh, and it wasn’t me who had to pee during the race…likely, a new record.