what am I thinking?!??!

my preparations and thoughts as I prepare to compete at Primal Quest '06

Saturday, June 24, 2006

it's almost time!

We're less than 24 hrs til start. We finished our skills testing yesterday after finding our missing teammate. Skills/gear checks went well - we weren't all set and ready to go, but since we weren't in our scheduled stop it didn't really matter. we took breaks to go fetch gear or to have lunch. We got through it all without a hitch other than waiting at a few stations. It's great to have it all done so that today we can finish packing the gear and food bins, and take a nap before they bus us to the start at midnight.

Yep, midnight busing for a dawn start. Why let us start rested? What would be the fun in that?

You have no idea how great it is to know that there are a bunch of people who will be watching our progress through the race. Thanks for all the good wishes!

Thursday, June 22, 2006

at race headquarters

We're here! Ok, we're mostly here. Charlie's flight was delayed for five hours yesterday, so he missed his connecting flight. He called at 7 am from Minneapolis, when he should have been boarding a bus to get from SLC to Moab. Instead, he's taking a shuttle as I type to Moab, where we'll pick him up in a couple of hours. It means that we are missing our skills testing slot, but that's fine. There is enough elasticity in the system that we can do it in the morning.

Instead, Pete, Ernie and I have been doing some organization and just relaxing. We went for a river swim through some fun rapids just outside the lodge. Very fun. We'll head into town pretty soon to pick up Charlie and have dinner.

Tomorrow - skills testing report.

Thanks to everyone for the well wishes on our PQ guest book! They mean a lot.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

leaving for moab in the morning

Pete and I leave for Moab tomorrow. Our skills testing day is on Thursday, and continues for other teams on Friday and Saturday. Race starts on Sunday morning, early.

So, once the race starts, you'll be able to track our progress on the Primal Quest website. Our team name is 24seven. Pictures of us will appear here. That's also the place you can leave us messages, which may be delivered at some point during the race.

To track us, go here.

Wish us well!

Sunday, June 18, 2006

the adventure has begun!

I've made it to Los Alamos. Sheryl, Jonathan and I drove up here today, and 12.5 hours later, we made it safely. All my gear is here, and it's a relief to not think about packing any more. That's not to say I have everything, since I don't.

Now is the time to give a huge huge thanks to the people who have helped me get here. Who said the race is unsupported this year?

Karen & John
Kelly & Jocelyn
Debbi & Stephen
Sharon & Nick
Sheryl & Jonathan
David & Katherine
Cody & Lynette

Saturday, June 17, 2006

relaxing saturday

Since the packing is done, I thought I would have a relaxing, yet busy day. I have a massage at 1:30, and I was planning to Westley to the dog park and also do the neighbourhood home tour. Instead, it's raining. I'm not complaining about the rain - I don't remember the last time it rained, and it does give the yard a fighting chance of surviving til I get back - but it does put a damper on the dog park and the home tour. The dog hasn't even left the porch. He'll have to pee eventually but right now, he's decided that it's Too Wet.

(yes, his legs are that long)

Friday, June 16, 2006


The packing is complete! The bin is quite full, but it's all in. I wonder how we're going to possibly keep any semblance of organization when we're sharing bins. I guess we have a day or so to figure that out, but man, it's crazy how much shit we need. I'm so glad it's done so that I can do other stuff tomorrow and have a whole day to remember what I've forgotten.

What it took to finish packing was remembering that it was all going to be pulled out and reorganized for gear check and the race. Which meant that it just had to get into the bin, but didn't have to be perfect. Much less stressful.

last day of work survived

I survived the last day at the shop. I had a huge list at the start of the day, and I systematically went though and got it all done. Phew. The shop is un-womanned while I'm gone, so I had to have everything lined up for the next couple of weeks.

Tonight I'm planning to continue the packing. I'm hoping I can get it all done so I can have a relaxing day tomorrow. But I wouldn't put any bets on it.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

where is the fun?

On Tuesday I was talking to Marlene and she made a comment about how she hasn't been playing full out in life. That things that should be fun, hadn't been fun. I realized that this was true for Primal Quest in the last few weeks as well. I've forgotten that it's supposed to be fun - that I'm doing it because it's fun. Instead, the stress of packing and final gear checks has made it work.

Since Tuesday I've put the fun back in. Now I'm looking forward to racing with my amazing teammates, to enjoying the landscape we'll be travelling through, and having a great time doing all the cool parts of the race. (How did I forget the horse back riding, ropes, canyoneering, river swimming... all the super fun stuff??) This is a much better place to be than in Stressville.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

food packing is done!

Finally. I can get my kitchen back. I have ten food bags with around 5000 calories in each. They will be supplemented by drink powders totally another 1500 calories. Yep, a whole bunch of food. And I have a huge amount left.

That's one more thing off the list.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

from the PQ site

Pete hopes his fine ass will compensate for injuries sustained in car accident.

June 13, 2006
Less than two weeks before the start of the most important race of their lives, Team 24Seven learned that teammate and co-navigator Pete Stilwell had been in a serious car accident.

Not only did Pete suffer serious foot injuries and bruising from the seatbelt during the collision, but the massive impact sent the bike rack "flying across the highway" with a brand new Ellsworth Truth still attached to it. Pete was later overheard stating that it was not the kind of "breaking in" that he had intended for the new bike.

Although relieved that their friend and teammate had suffered no permanent injuries, the team was overcome with fear that he would not be able to compete. Teammate Beth Reyburn was reported to have called three times before noon the following day to check on his progress.

Being the optimist that he is, Pete is always looking on the bright side and told reporters, "I would say I am most trained for rock impact on the river swim" and "[at least] my ass still looks good in these shorts!". Team member Charlie Roberts commented that "I've seen Pete's ass. It's not bad, but I don't understand how that is going to help us win this race. I think he's still high on pain killers."

Team 24Seven is asking that everyone send out good vibes to Pete as he resorts to bed rest for the next 10 days and hopes to recover from a swollen foot, limp, and pain throughout the upper body.

you get what you need, when you need it

There are a few items I'm still trying to get for the race. I have been looking at the money in my account to see if I'll be able to get them - I could make due with other things, but it would have a detrimental effect. Two of the items have been on my REI wishlist for awhile, one of them being something I really didn't expect to get since it's pricey. Today I went over to see if there were any changes on the list, and lo and behold, the pricey item has been bought. I don't know who got it for me, but I'm super excited. And I'm reminded of the generosity of people and how you get what you need when you need it.

And that I have amazingly supportive and generous people in my life. Lots of them. I'm super lucky.

in the midst of packing

The problem with having more time is that I'll use all of it. I don't have to be packed until Saturday, and so I won't be. Instead, I'll have piles around until then. Maybe it's better to have to ship your stuff a bit earlier so you can stop thinking about packing.

On Sunday I spent a few hours (and a few CSI episodes) packing food into individually labelled ziplocs. Each bag is marked with the number of calories inside. Everyone who snacks should have to do this. It's a very eye opening exercise.

I went through about 120 ziplocs.

Monday, June 12, 2006

my teammates are on house arrest

No one is allowed to go outside for the next week. If going outside is a must, it is allowed in an open field on a sunny day. Otherwise, housebound.

Pete was in a car accident yesterday. A woman hit him, totalled the car and sent the bikes (attached to the roof rack) flying across the highway. He's bruised (seatbelt bruised his collarbone, sternum and ribs) and his foot is bruised from the engine and other parts being pushed into the space where his legs were sitting. He's feeling much better today than expected, and he'll be fine by the time the race starts in 13 days.

But no one is allowed to leave the building.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

sometimes you need a change

A new look, just for the sake of it.

Friday, June 09, 2006


On my way to work, I ride past a Krispy Kreme. The light is always on indicating that the doughnuts are fresh and that a free one can be had just by going in. They also pump the exhaust right out towards the street.

I have been resisting for about nine months. But just talking about it making me hungry. Evil Krispy Kreme.

the weekend approaches

And that means that it's time to pack. I'll take over all the flat surfaces in the house, I'm expecting. Right now it's contained to the spare room (now referred to as the gear room) but once i unpile it, it will explode to cover any available space. We have to take a remarkable amount of stuff with us. I looked over the gear list last night to do a quick check of what I need to pick up at REI on the way home tonight.

The food situation is also a bit crazy. Last night I sat down and figured out how many calories per day I would get by dividing up all the food I bought at Costco. 11,700. Which is far far more than I need. I need about 6,000 calories/day, and I will get some of that from Spiz. So, I'll share my food purchases with Pete. He hasn't been food shopping yet, so it works out ok. And since he bought all the Spiz, it will work out well there too.

I'll post pictures as the packing takes over the house.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

food shopping

Tonight we made a trip to Costco so that I could buy race food. Notice the size of the boxes - 48 servings, 3 lbs, 60 bars. And I don't think I have enough yet. Craziness.

Monday, June 05, 2006

another race report

This past weekend was the Too Cool Spread Your Wings Adventure Race. It was held out at Camp Eagle, a few hours west of Austin. The drive out there on a long, lonely road showed that we were in for some fun. It was hilly, with real terrain features (sometimes lacking in Texas races). Pulling into the camp brought back memories of my summers at camp - definitely an amazing way to spend you summers as a teenager.

Two of my teammates were already there and were setting up our TA under a big tree. A lot of teams had already arrived and set up. There were a lot of teams, and everyone was looking forward to trying out the fun stuff we had spotted down on the water front.

The race started at 8 am on Saturday morning. We were told to wear PFDs to the start line. We ran down the hill and into the water where about 100 m downstream there were boats clipped to a rope across the river. Each team was to get a boat, and with everyone touching it, take it around a raft in the middle of the river and then back to the take out. We all jumped onto our boat, and paddled with our hands, which everyone ended up doing, since it was the only way to make any real progress. Even so, it was difficult to have four people on one boat.

After running back up the hill from the water, we set out on Leg 1 - mountain biking. We plotted the few points and set off for CP1 (they had to be found in order). When we arrived there, Tom discovered that he had lost the passport out of his handy-dandy new shorts pocket. Oops. So, back we went to the start to get a new passport, putting us way behind a bunch of teams. That meant we were behind a line of bikes through the singletrack. We managed to get past most of them, and back to TA.

Leg 2 was a trek and the points had to be found in order. At the first CP there was a special test where we had to get all four teammates through a hole in platform about 10' off the ground without touching the platform supports. We did it pretty easily and moved on. We were in second place. We probably passed most of the teams on the bike and the rest in TA between the legs. The second trek leg was up on the highest hill at the camp by the windmill. The point was in the middle of the swimming tank in beside the windmill. Paul climbed in to punch the point. It was a bit of a battle to see who would get to go in. Part was through this leg Lance started to get some leg cramps. Not a good sign so early in the race. The last point of the leg was the ropes course. We chose to go down the long rappel and then ran along the sherpa traverse and back up to the top. There were two teams right behind us when we arrived at the ropes, but we put a gap on them through the ropes and ran back to TA for the next leg.

Leg 3 was water sports!! There were two checkpoints, one on top of the 'texas iceberg' and one of a platform (ladder up, slide down). It was a really fun break and a good chance to get in the water to cool down. We got the next checkpoints for Leg 4, which was a bike leg out a dirt road, about 9 km each way. Lance was still cramping, so we started giving him lots of salt tablets and did some towing up the hills during the bike leg. We were still in second, about 40 minutes behind Backpacker, the leading team.

Leg 5 was a paddle. There is a river flowing past the camp, but it has many dams along it that we had to portage. One of the portages was quite long and was a total bitch. We saw backpacker during the leg, and confirmed the time gap. We knew that unless they made a mistake it would be hard to catch them unless there was another bike leg.

After the paddle we got to go down the zipline. Super fun! There wasn't any way to make it go faster, so we just got to enjoy it without thinking about the race for a few minutes. After that we had our final leg - a trek where we could get the points in any order. The first two went fine. Lance was still feeling poorly, and we continued to try to hydrate him and get electrolytes into his system. Before the third CP, he went down with terrible leg cramps. Paul had been towing him a bit to help, but he was still suffering pretty badly. It didn't help when we had a nav error on the the third CP and spent extra time wandering around a very hot mesa (the wrong one) looking for the point. After that, the CPs came easy, but Lance was doing poorly. We knew the STAR had passed us during our nav mistake so that we were sitting in third. We plodded back to the finish and as we were approaching, we saw another team running in. We couldn't move any faster than we were, so we ended up in 4th - 1 minute behind 3rd and 20-something minutes behind 2nd.

It was a fun race, in a great location. I'll definitely go back next year! Thanks to Art and Robyn for putting on a great race.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

another race

I'm heading to another race this weekend. It's the Too Cool Spread Your Wings 24 hr race. It's being hosted at Camp Eagle, a kid's camp out west of San Antonio. Being at a kid's camp means lots of fun water activities. There will be rapelling and a zipline, and a traverse and singletrack for mountain biking. oooeee. Should be super fun. I'll be racing with Tom, Paul and Lance. I've raced with Paul once, and Tom is my usual Austin racing partner.

Race repot next week.