Wednesday, May 22, 2019

The Splash and Dash Adventure Race Recap

Splash and Dash Adventure Race - Bridging parts together

 The Irmo Chapin Recreation Commission recently held the Splash and Dash Adventure Race on 18 May. Originally scheduled for September, Hurricane Florence upended any activities planned that week. Thus the ICRC postponed the event with the aspirations that it would happen in the Spring. 

  I became aware of the Splash and Dash Adventure Race in April. I eyeballed the South Carolina Governor’s Cup race which would take place the same day, but I could not pass up doing a three part event with my wife.  The ICRC advertised the Splash and Dash as a two mile trail run, a four mile bicycle trek, and a one mile kayak paddle in Saluda Shoals Park.

These trees were spared by any bad weather

 It definitely sounded different than running a 5k or a half marathon, but still offered cardio exercise through the entire duration. It also meant I work together with my wife.  Teams could be two or three people, with “early” pricing being 25 dollars per person before the fifth of May, and regular registration costing 35 dollars per person afterwards until the day of the event.

  Our only preparation involved bringing our own bicycles, preferably mountain type, and helmets for the race. The ICRC would provide the watercraft, paddles, and life preservers.  I ran several races in Saluda Shoals Park before, so hearing this would be a trail race, I got excited because it meant I could wear my On Cloudventure shoes again.  Both of our bicycles are hybrids, so lowering the tire pressure a little, should set us for the race.

  Saturday morning, while pretty much every runner headed downtown to take part in a fantastic race Amanda and I joined just over a dozen others in our little adventure.  We parked on the east side of the park and picked up our packets.  We then proceeded to move our bicycles to the transition station about 100 feet or so away.  Amanda is the triathlete of the family, so she tried to prepare her bicycle on the bike bar as she normally would, but someone built the bar too high, so she positioned her bicycle underneath facing outward for easy transition. I followed suit, but noticed most others did not.

Taking Off
  We head back to the start line and listen to the overall scheme of events, the safety brief for the course, and how the ICRC had to adjust the course due to recent rising water levels from Lake Murray, thus modifying the run route, adding half a mile to the bike trek, and preventing us from paddling a mile on the river. Instead, we would paddle a canoe through a set of obstacles in Saluda Shoals’ pond. When the announcer tells everyone that she will count down from “ten” and that’s when we would start, people start going when she gets to “seven” (anxiousness, I suppose), so she released all of us then started the official clock.

The 1 mile turn-around
  The crowd starts running, but Amanda can only walk and we trail behind. However, never count out a walker, especially one who can clocked in a 12 to 13 minute mile pace during our 5k and 10k races.  We start down the road, but the course transitions into a trail route for almost the entire trek. Once we hit grass and dirt, I felt relieved that I wore my Cloudventure for this. The two mile course ended up being a mile out and back because the river swelled up and consumed a part of the return route from the original plan.  So as Amanda and I hit two-thirds of the first mile, we see a dad-son team run past us.  About two minutes later, we see the rest of the pack coming at us.  We do make it to the one-mile mark and turn around, and scoot back. Along the way, we cross the paved road a few times, and see a team on bicycles as we finish up the first leg of the race.

Had to walk up this hill. It was too steep
  We make our way back and get to the bicycle transition station. Our bikes sit alone, but once we reach the area, Amanda and I quickly pop on our helmets and pedal off. The bicycle portion consisted of part road biking and part trail riding. Before the race, I set our bikes’ tire pressure to 65 psi because I wasn’t sure of the terrain we would traverse, and I think 60-65 psi overall was a good choice. 

  We take off and follow the white arrows to a path. We weave in and around on the trail before we hit a couple of hills. I didn’t think Saluda Shoals could pack in such elevation spikes and dips along the trail, but I was wrong. In fact, a few times I hopped off my Cannondale and walked up steep inclines, with one time for a decline.  Part way through the trek, Amanda and I got lost. That sounds crazy, especially since at that point we rode on a paved trail, but somehow we missed signs for crossing the road. Instead, Amanda and I veer right and pedal up to the main entrance.  After wildly looking around, we circle the Environmental Center’s parking lot. Thanks to a friendly patron, we head back and retrace our steps. Once we neared the Broad River Road, we see an event volunteer and cones along the road. We ask him where to go, and Amanda and I made it back on course.

Wrong turn! Wrong turn!

Paddling is harder than it looks
  Once we finished the second leg, we reach the pond. They had a two person canoe ready for us and informed us we had to maneuver three obstacles. I’m not the best seafarer, but I can at least navigate a one-person kayak. A two person canoe is a different story. I take the front and try to steer the canoe, but it was more comical than anything else.  According to Strava, we paddled the course in 3 minutes and 18 seconds. Not bad for a very amateur uncoordinated person.

  We finish up by cycling back to the finish line, which was about 300 meters away. While we were the last to cross, and our time was 1:17 and some seconds, the ICRC awarded Amanda and me for our efforts. We each received a glass with the “Splash and Dash Adventure Race” logo on it and we each received a certificate to redeem for either for a one hour canoe rental or a two hour tube rental. Combine that with the t-shirt we got, and the Adventure race definitely seemed like a good deal.

The spoils of the race

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