Adventure Racing race 11:45:00 
Stockville with Rebekah as "GOALS Weekend Getaway". Rebekah wanted to do this for our anniversary, so the plan was to take it casual and do our best but not go nuts. Things changed quickly...
Cool morning, but perfect temps for a t-shirt and shorts. The maps looked pretty accessible, with a small set of optionals at the beginning, a few spread out at the end, and a massive chunk in the obvious crux of the race in the middle. These were spread across 3 topo maps, and we were given a supplemental trail map as well. I actually considered dropping the first 3 points (A, B, C) but decided that the easier drops were at the end of the day (O, P) if needed.
The race began at 8, and we took off with a pack of teams headed towards C along a rather indistinct ridge, eventually meeting up with some trails to weave our way out to the point, which we punched just before the o-stars. We descended down to B and weaved our way through the brush, and then climbed over a ridge and back down to A before heading out on the AT towards M1. After we punched we made our way out to a road right behind Joe and Corinne, impressed that we were making great time despite moving at a conservative pace. We weaved on roads to an attackpoint for D, but really struggled with the indistinct nature of the spur. Joe and Corinne entered the area with us, but I later found out that they located it as they left to reattack. We probably spent 15+ minutes hunting before finding it with a group of Navy teams. I then tried a bushwhack to M2, but bailed back to the road due to some think undergrowth. The brush must have thinned soon after we gave up, because all of the bushwhacking teams moved much faster than we did over that section. On the out and back from M2 we passed KDD.
I had spent much of the opening leg trying to decide how to attack the next section, with 9 optionals and a mandatory. The supplemental gave me a good idea with a few non-topo trails. I decided to take the inner three CPs as an initial loop to avoid unnecessary elevation gains - Rebekah enjoyed this decision. We did H as an out and back (It took a few minutes longer than expected to find, as I was pulled off line by some game trails) before heading to J and M by trail. I was passed by the o-stars at J; I figured they had about 1 hr on us. The bushwhack to K was rough but surreal, as the woods have been burnt out pretty well in a number of spots. Leaving K was even rougher. We really struggled through the undergrowth and the thick limbs of rhododendron. The terrain may have produced some of the roughest bushwhacking that I've ever experienced (until Sunday...). Thick plants with little give; my legs were really beat up from the experience. We popped out onto a road to attack G, which we hit rather cleanly. This was followed up with nailing E, which featured the only horribly nasty section of thorns on the whole weekend. From there, we had the toughest CP of the day. F was only a 400-500 climb away, but it was on an indistinct spur that had to be hit cleanly. We did just that, followed a strong bearing and using the altimeter well (a wonderful tool for the weekend) and readjusting to contours as needed. Past Prime were our shadows for this section. We dropped down into I, and then rode around on trails towards L (after a slight misdirection on the first road. From there, the trip into M3 was tough, but thankfully the path had been cleared by previous teams. We also got a good view of the other teams on this out and back. From there, we turned around and headed back uphill to M4 after a short bushwhack. I was really happy with this section. It could have been a little cleaner, but I liked our order of CPs quite a bit. If doing it again, I would do nothing but reverse my order for JMK (doing KMJ instead).
Rebekah was feeling exhausted on the approach to M4. She expressed disbelief that I ever did this for four days, and was dying for a break from her feet. We took about 5 minutes at the manned CP with a lovely view, but left quickly after learning that we were only the second full course team in. Again, with only some light shuffling, we had moved efficiently enough to surpass everyone except for the now-distant o-stars (about 1 hr ahead).
From here, we dropped down into N, being very careful to flow into the correct reentrant to hit N directly. I was expected it on the stream at 1305', and when we arrived my altimeter read 1314'. I didn't see it , and proceeded to drop down the stream. Stupidly, we kept going until I was more than 50' below the CP, where we ran into Chasing Bigfoot doing the same thing. I knew we had messed up, and we decided to head back upstream in the water to avoid a miss. We ran into Joe and Corinne again on the same misdirection, and ended up finding the flag only 20-30 meters from where we dropped into the stream, just hidden behind a few trees. A very frustrating 45 minutes lost on this simple CP.
We ascended out to the road and back down the hill to M5 with Joe and Corinne, almost all on trail. From M5, I took a trail found only on the supplemental to M6, arriving before the other teams near us at M5. M6 was a mini-o at Camp Michaux. We were elated to drop our packs and head out for a quick job around the old camp. I struggled slightly with a few of these: I didn't see the ruins for 11, I couldn't read the words to answer the clue for 15, and I searched like an idiot for 4. We probably spent 10 minutes on 4, wandering off of the map and looking at a bunch of fence posts before finding the correct one on an overgrown trail.
It had become rather apparent that we would be able to finish the whole course somewhere around M4, which meant that we had a climb up to O next. However, the supplemental map showed a different route for the AT than the topo, and we were actually lead on trail rather closely to it. The climb was simpler than I expected as well, as the map had 10' contours instead of 20', which meant that the hills were less severe than I thought before the race. We hit O smoothly before dropping back down to a road surrounded by cabins on our way to M7; there were also a bunch of teams all around us at this time. After finding M7 we took the advice of the race briefing and filled up on water in a stream before beginning our ascent to Stockville. I was surprised to learn that we had somehow past Past Prime on the last short section, and we headed up towards M8 with them following at a distance. We needed headlamps by the time we arrived at the quarry.
The CP required a long, steep scramble up some sketchy rocks. As we returned to the road, we made the decision to attack P as an out and back from Stockville. A bushwhack up seemed plausible, but we had no daylight with which to make the decision about the thickness of the woods. Our choice seemed correct however, as we headed uphill fast enough and didn't have too much trouble finding the CP off of the "Bicycle Trail", hidden just behind some rocks that seemed too good for Brent to pass up. We arrived in Stockville around 7:45, the second full course team in, and only 47 minutes behind the o-stars. We set up the tent quickly and began to cook a nice hot dinner of vegan/gluten free mac and cheese for rebekah, and some chicken and ramen for me. Afterwards, we enjoyed some s'mores, grilled cheese (for me), and hot chocolate and tea by the fire before heading to bed. The temps were shooting down pretty quickly, and we were excited to be tucked into our warm sleeping bags with plenty of time before our 4AM alarm.