Earlier this month my training partner Stephanie and I ran the Angel Island Adventure Race. It was fun. Scratch that. Super Fun.
Here’s the gist. A team of 2 or 4 people race around Angel Island, stopping at 10 different stations along the way. At each station you complete a challenge and earn a card or a sticker that is part of a puzzle that you’ll solve at Station 10. Each team of 2 people could bring 1 bike, teams of 4 could bring 2 bikes. Challenges would need the entire team to complete or just one person could do it. Like the Amazing Race. Ok, I’ve watched that. I got it.
Here’s where the fun comes in. The stations are scattered around the island so you must circle the island completely. Most are right off the main perimeter road while 3 or 4 are on trails. The challenges weren’t very hard but did require spatial skills, good eyesight, balance and team work. The website said it would take 2 1/2 to 3 hours to complete the course. Check.
We boarded the Angel Island Ferry in Tiburon at 9 am with our bike in tow and was handed our race packet. At 9:15am we were given the all clear to open our envelope and get a look at the course and map. We had time to strategize how we’d get around. We figured out our plan of attack pretty easily then enjoyed the ride to the island.
We’d head straight up together to Station 8 at the top of Mt. Livermore (at 800 feet) the come back down to Station 9 then run down grab the bike and continue along the perimeter of the island until we circled back to Station 10 (which was near the start).
So here’s what we both thought. We’d do the race; one of us riding the bike, one of us running. We’d stop at different stations, complete the challenge then continue together. We figured the bike would be required for one or more of the challenges.
We quickly learned when teams and teammates scattered how it really was suppose to work. One person could ride ahead and complete the single person challenges, then meet the other person at the team challenges. And they could switch riders so one person got a running break. Plus, it would cut your time. Significantly. The bike was just for transportation and to do the race quickly.
Color us contrarians but we both felt that since we were a team we should stick together. Plus the whole bike thing threw us off. So we decided to continue on foot to run the race together. #thatshoweroll.
The challenges were more fun than I thought they wold be. There were puzzles, finding visual clues using binoculars, sling shotting squeaky pizza slices into your teammates open pizza box, building things as well as some other physical and mental games. For most of the race we were in really good spirits.
At mile7 or 8 we had to make a decision solely based on time. We both wanted to catch the 2:20pm ferry back to town and it was 1pm. We had 5 challenges to go we (I) couldn’t get a solid read on how many miles we had left to go. Plus, full disclosure, I was hungry (the food we brought was left in our backpack with the bike at the starting line) and getting a little cranky. We decided to move forward and figured if we missed our ferry we’d catch the next one.
About a half mile towards the next station a refueling duo rode by with water and snacks. That lifted our glycogen stores and spirits and we managed to bang out the next few challenges quickly. One challenge was being broken down when we arrived; that’s when we realized we were at the back of the pack.
After the second to last challenge we had to haul to get to the finish line. We saw the ferry coming in and ran down the hill and to the 10th challenge. We put our puzzle pieces and stickers together to try and form a phrase. “The wind blows me”. Wrong. “Clouds in the trees.” Wrong. “Find me under the palm tree?”. Bingo! 2:15pm.
Stephanie ran to get the bike, our checked bag and backpacks. I ran to the beer tent for our free Lagunitas beers. And we both hustled to the ferry. Victoriously we toasted! Even though we came in 5th to last place we did it. On foot.
Can’t wait to do it again next year. On foot.
Now go run!