Jun 21, 2010

The Aggieman Adventure Race - an Adventure in more ways that one!!!

I knew the POO had really hit the fan when I was nearing the York Exit on I-95, going about 60mph and caught a glimpse of a red kayak flying through the air behind me. That kayak was formerly attatched to the top of the Jeep I was driving. I watched in horror as it crashed down to the pavement, bounce three times and skidded to a stop with each end resting equally on either side of the rumble strip.

"Sorry I can't do it, I'll have Ella because Jason's gone that weekend," is the response I had given to my sister Jen months earlier when she asked if I'd be support crew for her and Greg at the Aggieman Adventure Race Triathlon (read: kayak 2mi, bike 25mi and run 3mi up a mountain).

"You can still do it. Ella can just sit in the car while you load the kayaks. You just drive right down to the water." And to Jen's credit, that is exactly what the info packet made it sound like. So I signed on!

I got the inkling that the info packet was not so accurate and that I was in over my head when they had the support crew briefing 30 min before the race. What led me to that conclusion?

Clue #1) Most atheletes had a 2:1 ratio (like TWO support people for ONE athlete...not the other way around like me.)
Clue #2) No one else had a baby on their hip
Clue #3) Hit me around the time I learned that I did not just have to drive my car down and load a few kayaks, but I had to be at water's edge, in the thick of the athletes coming in off the water, get my racer's kayak out of the way as fast as possible, drag it down a beach and up a ramp and THEN go get the car to load it. Mind you, I was doing this x2.

But hey, I was there. They had no one else, and 'bout the time that I lugged a kayak right past two support people carrying theirs and heard one say, "C'mon, she's beating us and she's alone with a baby!" I thought I was going be just fine. OH, HOW PRIDE DOTH COMETH BEFORE A FALL!
After the chaos of getting both kayaks out of the way and down the beach with Ella (perfectly behaved child, bless her heart) on my hip, I got to the car, got Ella strapped in and then drove down to the water and scrounged a bit to find people to help me hoist the boats up into the J racks. With each boat SECURELY & PROPERLY fastened to the racks I remembered that I hadn't picked up their transition gear. I scooted up, found their stuff, threw it in the back and breathed a sigh of releif...

"The hard part is over," I thought. "Now I just have to make it to the second transition area in time to put their running gear out, slap the bikes on the car and my job is done." My biggest concern was if Ella would get bored and fussy or not. OH, HOW I MUST LEARN TO THINK BIGGER!!!

I really wasn't concerned with making it to my destination on time. I knew my way perfectly. And gosh darnit, I was almost to my exit when that dang red boat went airborn. I remember sucking in a huge gasp of air, uttering an explative and thinking..."That did NOT just happen!" OH, BUT IT DID. IT SOOOO DID.
I thanked the Lord that only one van was behind me and had been able to swerve out of the way. I pulled the Jeep over, ran to the kayak and dragged it out of the highway just as a barage of three lane traffic was approaching.
I took a breath and went to survey what the crud just happened and make a plan. Turns out the actual rack that was bolted to the jeep broke off!!! So there was no putting it back on the car, and the other kayak wasn't safe to stay there either. I popped the back hatch and started rifling through their bags for a cell phone. Even though I couldn't find one, it dawned on me...Jen and Greg had no phone on them, they were in a race! I didn't have any contact info for anyone associated with the triathlon. Who the heck would I call? I don't have AAA, and I wasn't sure it was an appropriate 911 situation! So much for making a flippin' plan! I had nothin'!

To add insult to injury, the back hatch now wouldn't close and Ella was bawling because the traffic zooming by was so loud! I figured Jen and Greg would know something was up when their crap wasn't at transition 2, but then what!!?? I bowed my head right over that stinkin' back hatch that wouldn't close and said a prayer. Then I started flaggin' people down.

One woman and teenage boy stopped and their solution was to put Ella and me in their car and take us to the transition area. At this point, we're yelling over the noise of rushing traffic just to hear one another talk and my child has ramped right up to flat out screaming. I'm not gonna lie, at this point, I kinda didn't care what happened to that red kayak or anything else in, on or around that Jeep for that matter. This plan sounded good.

I started unlatching her carseat when another car pulled up. Out popped the Fergeson family (OH, BLESS THEIR FIT, FAST ACTING LITTLE HEARTS!!!) The guy jumped up on the Jeep and surveyed the damage. With that he and his sister sprung into action strapping both kayaks to the roof of their car while Mrs. Fergeson jimmy rigged the broken rack so it would flop all over and scratch up the Jeep.

Just then I had the where-with-all to consider how I could get Jen and Greg's transition stuff to them on time. So I sent good samaritan #1 on ahead shoving the gear in their hands and saying, "Can you put these out for racers 21 and 58!?" and off they went.

Then I followed the Fergeson's to the transition site where I had to walk 1/4 mile from where I parked (not fun with baby who did not want to be carried!) Greg had already come through (good thing this hard core support crew sent his gear on ahead or his race would've been finito!) and shortly after I arrived Jen came biking in. I took her bike, she slipped on her shoes and I uttered something to the effect of, "Greg's rack broke, big problem, but everything's okay, finish you're race. Go Jen! Yeah! Lookin' good! Woohoo!" (complete with fist pump). I figured the intrigue of "big problem" might help her game and make her run faster to the finish line to find out what happened! :)

Then, I was apparantly supposed to take two bikes, two helmets, four shoes, a towel, a camel back and some goo and Ella 1/4 mile back to where I parked. At that point I literally said, "Screw this. I'm driving the Jeep up here. If they get DQ'd or something because of it, so frickin' be it!" And with that, I walked back to the Jeep, drove it to their bikes, loaded up the gear and headed up the mountain. (Don't worry. No penalties were incurred. The race people were pretty chill.)
Half way up the mountain I met Greg sprinting down it.
I pulled over, rolled down the window and was all, "How's it going?"
and he was all, "gooood?"
and I was all, "Me, not so much."

And that my friends, was my first experience being a support crew at the Aggieman Adventure Race.

Congrats to Jen and Greg. She finished 2nd in her age bracket, 7th for all women and 43rd over all. He finished 6th for his age brackett, 17th for all men and 24th overall!


Cheryl said...

Way to go Aggieman, Aggiewoman, and Aggieman support team! Woo-hoo! I've been waiting for your post about this experience ever since hearing about it. Great story! I'm glad you and Ella survived. Jen and Greg, too! But you left out the funny line where Greg is running DOWN the mountain. And thank goodness this is Maine, because I was thinking... in many other places, you might never have seen their running gear or the kayaks again! =)

Anonymous said...

Wow, Sarah, that was rough! I probably would've just sat down and started crying!! UGH! So glad you made it through - what a good sister!

Tricia Lee said...

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! What a great story!!!! I could picture every moment of it!

Cheryl said...

Oh, yeah. I was wondering why you did not whip out your camera at that crucial moment, so you would have a picture of the kayak flying through the air to post on your blog??? :o)