Double Trouble’s Patriot’s Battle Race Report
Soggy Bottom Boys: Patriot’s Battle 8-HR
May 3, 2014 – Newport News, VA
Team Double Trouble (2pp co-ed): C. Austin & V. Barrera
Race Report by: Conrad Austin
Weather: Perfect (moderately sunny & mid-60’s all day)
Excited as always to have a race where sleep deprivation isn’t an issue, team Double Trouble arrived at check-in for the Soggy Bottom Boys first race of 2014 around 0630 on May 3rd at the Newport News city park. The Patriot’s Battle was set with a cutoff time limit of 8 hours, and a mostly Rogaine style course within each specific discipline. Perhaps the location of the event, time of the year, or as simple luck would have it; we found none of the serious sponsored “professional” teams at the team meeting with us. Well, Untamed New England did have a solo representative… The rest of us were just a band of misfit adrenaline junkies, outdoor lovers, normal athletes, and the false brave with real jobs that had no time to ever train. We felt at home with friends, family and other ‘back of the pack’ jokesters we had met over the years. Adventure would be the order of the day, not the race…
1:15K map (mostly pre-plotted) and our rules of travel in hand we knew the discipline order (trek, paddle, bike & trek) and quickly figured our route choice and estimated how much food and water to carry. Boat gear staged, bikes ready, and we went to the team meeting. After a little info, the race start, and we were off on the prologue to find a team plotting tool that would be required to plot on a 1:15K Topo the missing CP.
Of course team Double Trouble came prepared and always carries a 1:15K plotting tool that we had acquired from Mad Athlete.com already, so we plotted the missing point and were off at the start (virtually skipping the prologue).
Just shy of 0800, was the start! We all began a few minutes early. A snail’s pace as usual while we discussed the upcoming points and who would invariably get wet (as to be expected with a Soggy Bottom race). Race director Mark didn’t disappoint and by the time we arrived at our second CP we were rethinking our decision over who was skipping logs and hopping from island to island to get the CP. Dry was now just a dream… We chose to attack the rest of the trek/O-course in a counter-clockwise pattern around the lake, but purposely dropped CP #1 (an outlier that was a few extra few miles we didn’t have time for). We finished the trek in just under 2 hours and arrived back at the T/A ready to paddle.
Back at the T/A we found all the boats still sitting silently awaiting owners to push them into the water. We restocked food and water and watched as Team Untamed NE slipped past us in lightning fashion. We knew to expect a couple of portages but opted for no wheels. We started off and headed for points in a counter-clockwise fashion again. Paddle CPs were worth 2 points each and we planned to spend extra time as needed to ensure we found them all. Luck and skillful navigation was on our side as we found each of the paddle points with little extra effort. We estimated our paddle time at 2 hours, added a little for portages and the short treks to CPs. In the end, we allotted ourselves 3 hours to be back and off the water (we would have to move it on the bikes…). Little wind and only minor traffic to dodge crossing Jefferson Ave found us back at the T/A completing the paddle in just over 2 hours. We were excited to have finished the paddle so quickly and found all of the valuable 2 point CPs. Lunch time… Yes, we break for lunch. Doesn’t every team?
We changed out of our wet paddle gear, dried off, and dressed to bike while we took time to enjoy PBJ’s, kettle chips, and an energy drink. No nutrition here and nothing fancy. It’s all about comfort food and having fun while we race. In the end, it’s all about the adventure, not about the race.
The entire bike-O section of the race was back across the lake, and we were given very specific directions how we were to get to it (more importantly how we could not get to it…). All of the obvious shortcuts were off limits, and we were required to ride the long way around before we could even begin collecting CPs. We biked from the Southern side of the park to the Northern side which contains the bike loop and connecting trails into Yorktown. Mark made it a point to mention that the “blue lines” on our map were verified trails. We opted for a small dotted line (drawn circa 1983 that was connecting some blue trails). So far so good, the trail was a little wet, but nothing we couldn’t bike. And then we hit the bottom… It was a little wet, maybe an inch or two of water at first. No big deal, or so we thought… We couldn’t see the trail on the other side, but figured it was too far to go back, so trudge through we did across the 250 meters of just plane swamp. In proper Soggy Bottom fashion we wound up thigh-deep at the center of the crossing. All of a sudden, paying $65 for a drive-train cleaning seemed like an easy decision from our local bike store… Less than 30 minutes into the bike-O, and we had completely submerged our bikes… Ugh. CP found, and all was right with the world again. We continued into Yorktown to Surrender Field and through the battlefields where our country’s independence was finally won. Time was now our enemy; we collected the few points in this area, and we had to start back. One last point along the way, and less than 30 minutes left. It was scramble time! A flat tire, a broken chain, or any other mishap would have us late to the finish. Possibly missing out on the promised good food (our only real motivator to make it back in time was for the food) was not an option. Too many times team Double Trouble has missed the pancake breakfast, or other tasty treats because we arrived at a T/A too late to enjoy. Never again we vowed…
Bike to the Finish-line
It was hammer time (and we don’t dance). We pushed on over roads, packed gravel, and muddy trails to finish with only 10 minutes to spare. Had we spent too much time fording the muddy creek? Should we have gone the other way? Perhaps we stayed too long on the initial trek leg? These questions never came into play (lol). The only thing on our minds now: What’s for supper??? Finish line in sight, all would be well with the world. It was time to eat, drink, and be merry!
Huge thanks to Mark, his volunteers, and his supporters/sponsors! Without them this fantastic race could have never happened. As always, we will continue to look forward to more adventure coming out of Soggy Bottom Boys Racing.
Oh, we pulled off a second place overall finish behind that Untamed NE guy… Haha, go figure… All we wanted was a free meal and a nice place to bike and paddle. Till next time. Cheers all, and be safe.
Team Double Trouble is a couple from Virginia Beach, VA with a combined total of over 50 A/R events since 2004 ranging from 6 to 30 hours in length. Look for more excitement from Double Trouble when they compete in Rev3’s Cowboy Tough, Wyoming this summer.