Sat Apr. 6th Crooked Compass served as the quasi-inaugural race for the new Team Soggy Bottom Boys Racing team. Four of the eight team members raced here under three different team configurations. Team Tri-Capt. Dan Szilier raced with his son Trevor as team “Mommy thinks we’re fishing”, team member Mary Foster raced as a soloist along with her husband Greg and Team Tri-Capt. Mark Montague raced as a co-ed team w/ team member Emmy Shae and honorary team member Samson (Mark’s Chesapeake Bay Retriever). This was to be a fun, Nav semi-training day workout for Emmy and I, and the day was perfect for this.
The weather for race day was perfect with start time temps in the high 40’s and increasing to mid 60’s and sunny most of the day by the end of the race. A fantastic racer turnout eagerly awaited sign-in and map distribution. After a quick map study, we were informed there were 5 mandatory CPs that we had to go to, in order. At each Mandatory CP, a new map would be given with 4-5 optional CPs that were located between there and the next Mandatory CP. The final race brief was given by Abby & Brent and the race was on!
Teams chose one member to run the initial Prologue to find pieces of candy in 5 marked locations on a Prologue map and return to get their passports (and the real race began….). As racers returned and got their passports, they took off for M1. The location seemed a little off, but with so many people heading there, we all found M1 and the volunteer w/ the new maps. Decision time now (how many of the optional CPs did we want to get on our way to M2).
We saw Dan & Trevor leaving M1 and said hello!
Emmy and I elected to only to go for the CPs directly on the way to M2 and M3, then use the rest of the race time working for as many of the optional CPs as we could get. As we were leaving M1, we ran into Greg and decided to work together the rest of the race. We elected to go for CP’s B & A and then straight to M2. CPB was a straight hike along a reentrant uphill and we found it along w/. a few other teams heading that direction. Then, it was a steep uphill climb to the top high point and onto CPA. Unfortunately, at the top was a ton of early morning fog, making visibility tough at best. After a long search, many teams started arriving, all unable to locate the CP. With the whole race in front of us, we opted out and headed to M2.
We followed a bearing right towards M2 and came to the creek it was located on and went up 150 ft in elevation and right to it. Abby and a volunteer with a baby in her backpack met us there with our new map. Again, a steep long climb up to Cat Rock (and 6 possible CPs). We were one of the only teams on top of Cat Rock area originally and grabbed a couple CPs right away. Then, as we were looking for CPI, we finally started figuring out that the maps were 1:24K, then blown up to 1:10K or 1:5K. Unfortunately, that only helped distance. The real problem was that the “shape” of the topography seemed very different (ie. Contour Lines proximity, threw many teams off for awhile). We grabbed another CP, cut the corner of the woods and grabbed the Yellow to Orange Trail, on our way up to M3.
Sam & I grabbed a snack and shared my backpack water until we got back down low to water. Greg, Emmy, Sam and I decided to take the ridgeline down and grab CPK & L along the way to grabbing CPM & N. Throughout the course, every time we got near any type of water, Sam jumped in and rolled all around. We chose to “cut-the-corner” at the Dam and save a bunch of up & down elevation. We discovered once we got to the Dam that we had to cross the low water area to get over to M4.
Once we got on the backside of the dam, many teams were converging on M4 and we actually had to wait a minute to sign in and get our Maps. This also was a big “Day Hiker” area and there was a couple different large groups starting a group hike at the same time teams were all coming through. We grabbed CP P, Q, R, S & T (skipping CP O at the falls, to get back on our time schedule) all on our way to final mandatory point M5. On our way to M5, we cut through some woods and came across a cool old rusty car sand had fun with this picture.
At M5, we were given our final map. We had to look at how much time and miles we had and how much elevation changes were left. We decided to hike to the top at the intersection of Blue & Yellow trails and then decide. Once there, the steepness of the terrain on the maps had us choosing to skip CPU & Z. As it turned out, this map was actually 1:24K, so this was a good decision for us. We chose to take a bearing to the saddle and then continue to what we thought were one set of rocks to CPV. Unfortunately, not knowing the area we were not familiar with Ridgeline rocks and we were a little bit north of the expected CPV location. Emmy went south and quickly put eyes on the CPV flag. Along the way, we became separated with Greg and could not relocate him.
We decided to bushwhack North back to the Blue Trail because Sam could not cross that steep of rocks in the hopes of running into Greg along the way. Emmy & Sam grabbed CPY, W (overlook) and the tricky CPW (on the 2nd rock ridgeline) and prepared to head to the Finish.
Emmy started shuffling downhill down the trail w/ Sam taking off in the lead, so Mark picked it up and the 3 of us fell lockstep the final few km down the hill to the Finish. Along the way, we ran into Greg again. All of us arrived well in time before the 4PM Finish Time and were greeted by a cheering Rootstock staff and fellow racers!
We all enjoyed the post-race Pizza & drinks, I think no one more than Sam (who I know ate 4 or 5 full pieces) and who knows how many racer crusts. Mary Foster of Team SBB Racing finished high in the standings with a 2nd Place finish in the Solo Female class. Dan Szilier, loyal Rootstock Racing participant earned a “Special Loyalty Family” award of a beautiful jacket earned by participating in 10 of Rootstock Racing events over the last few years.