Monday, September 24, 2007

Outback Regatta!

We had a great time this weekend on Lake Murray in Columbia, SC. My parents drove down late Friday night and Trey and I already had the boats unstacked and on the beach. They were exited to be there we got to bed around midnight. With over 100 boats scheduled to be out on the water at one time (25 of which were catamarans) it was the biggest Outback Regatta on record.

Saturday was very light and Dad and I sailed in Open B fleet against one other hobie 18, one modified hobie 18, a couple of hobie 20s, a nacra 5.2, a G-cat and a couple of AMF Track 16s. The first day ended with three races after a change of the course when the wind shifted and we ended up in first place after the first day with straight 2nds. The G-cat ate 5 pts in the last race with bullets the other two so he was poised for the lead if we took a throw out. One of the hobie 20s was tied for 2nd with the G-cat but without the possibly favorable points spread. While we were out sailing, Mom took the kayak out to explore the lake.

Dinner was catered by Outback and as soon as we got off the water a small storm whipped up and made for some rain on us during dinner which we sat out under a big tent enjoying our steaks and pie YUM. The rain let up later on and Mom and Dad were early to bed and I stayed up with the regular cat crowd until about midnight drinking and then, when we were drunk enough and Trey went to get his Guitars, singing...loudly.

Sunday morning looked like it was going to be another floater but the wind picked up to a steady 4 or 5 knots and we were on the water by 10am. We ran another 2 races before sticking a fork in it. The G-Cat was out biggest threat and although we had him over the line in both races, he is rated slightly slower than us and we were not sure if we had him by enough. The hobie 20 owed us time and we hoped he didn't cross far enough ahead to be a threat. The G-cat was just too close to say.

Trey sailed single handed on the Nacra 20 which wasn't so bad in the light air. He finished up 4th in Open A fleet. Derek and Ally on their hobie 16 also took a trophy (2nd I think) for the hobie 16 fleet. Everyone from NC State goes home a winner.

Awards followed in the midst of packing up and we were happy with second (Pretty Darn good for my first time racing my hobie 18) out of about 10 in the open class. The G-cat eeked it out. Not sure if they did the throw out but I don't think so. Either way he had us beat, (they were also a father and son pair although quite a bit older than us) freak'n G-Cat, oh well.

After a stop for dinner at Maurice's SC BBQ, we made it back to Raleigh around 8:30pm and Derek hitched a ride to Chapel Hill with Mom and Dad to get his car.

Thanks so much Dad for sailing with me this weekend and Mom for keeping him moving (heheh). Sorry there wasn't much wind. Maybe next time. Anyway a great end to another fun Outback Regatta. I'm sure we will be back next year.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Gold Nugget Adventure Race

The 2007 Gold Nugget Adventure Race is scheduled for October 6th in Uwharrie National Forest, near Troy, NC. Mike heard about the race because it has ties to the Charlotte Orienteering Klub where Mike has done a lot of orienteering. Mike, Adam, Tim and I are registered for the race as of Tues. You can see our team on the homepage under "Teams". Tim is another Aerial Robotics Club guy who is into mountain biking and also took over my previously held position of president of the Aerial Robotics Club at NC State. We are registered as "TEAM NORSA". NORSA was formed by Adam in the early days of his adventuring and stand for "National Outdoor Recreational Society of America", want to join NORSA? contact Adam at he would love to hear from you. You may recall that the Pamlico Swirly Whirly bike ride was also a NORSA event and the Video was produced by NORSA as well.

The Gold Nugget Adventure Race has three duration levels (4hr, 8hr, and 12hr) and naturally we signed up for the longest one, the 12 hr "dirty dozen". You can register with between 2 and 4 people, coed or all male/female. Its not late to register!!! Here is what the race consists of as per the website, and this is pretty much all they tell you. You can see some "sneak peaks" of the course on the website but they are not very helpful. Some rocks, some water, some grass no kidding.

Dirty Dozen - 12hr

Mountain biking and pushing a bike - 4 hours

Paddling and portaging - 5 hours

Orienteering - 2 hours

Special challenges - 30 minutes

Asking yourself why you’re doing this - 30 minutes

The course and distances are not revealed until the start of the race. There Will be portages and you Will be canoing WITH your bikes in the canoe with you...interesting. The site mentions that you may want to have some kind of float for your bike in case you flip your boat. It also suggests bringing rolly wheels for the boats. Perhaps some bike towing might be involved if there is a long portage. We really just will not know what to expect until the gun goes off. We are planning to rent 2 canoes from the school for the weekend to use in the race (12 bucks for a canoe for the weekend, what a deal)

First place is awarded a half refund of their entry fee as well as 50% off registration on their next "Bushwack Adventure Race". It's not too late to sign up and remember there are 4hr and 8hr courses as well. Fun fun fun.
(, registration on the right side link bar.

Another great trip in the making.

Views of the course "sneak peak:

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Adventure Racing, Kick it up a knotch

Having only recently adopted adventure racing into my list of favorite activities especially after having completed the Watertribe Everglades Challenge in March of 2007 and the Missouri river 340 in July, I have definitely either lost my mind or just have the bug really bad. Since the 200 mile bike ride over Labor day weekend it has been easy to keep the adventure factor high these past few weeks. Well the other day, I (along with good friend Adam Domanski) signed on for what is sure to be another great adventure. I am officially registered for the Louisville Ironman set for August 31st 2008.

Adam who is already a seasoned Triathlete has been trying to get me to sign up for a triathlon (I have never done one before) for a while now but I haven't partly because of last minute sign up costs and partly because I didn't think I was in good enough shape. Adam recently finished his first 1/2 Ironman (the Patriot's Half) last weekend and another sprint Tri this weekend where he placed 6th. He helped push me over the edge and I thank him for that as he and I are now committed to training and becoming Ironmen. It would seem that commitment is contagious as it was not hard for me to convince my Mom to sign up for her first Ironman also and she will be right there with us next year on the start line. Go mom.

In other news, this weekend is the Outback Regatta on Lake Murray in SC. I decided to break from the norm and sail my Hobie 18 in the regatta and asked my Dad to crew for me (your not getting out of this one Dad). He agreed and mom will be coming down as well with her kayak. My sister may come down from Boone, NC for the weekend and join us as well.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Masonboro Island

This weekend, the NC State Sailing Club went down to Masonboro island for a fun time of sailing, camping, and being merry. This is an annual trip for the club and always promises to be a good time. I took my Hobie 18 along with 2 club Flying Scott's, 1 JY-15, one McGreggor 15 Cat, Trey's Nacra 20, and two Carolina Skiffs as chase boats. We had a group of just under 40 people!!! this year but despite the large numbers, everything went smoothly.

We put in just after noon on Saturday after a somewhat early 8:30am rendezvous in the school gym parking lot (earlier for some who partied the Friday night before like normal college kids). Arriving in Wilmington, we set up just across the street from the Blockade Runner Hotel at a small mast up storage lot on the sound. We were joined by sailing friend Thomas who we met at the Hatteras Regatta a few weeks earlier and who also came down and floated around with the more inland catamaran group at Catfest last weekend. He keeps his cat there and offered up some local knowledge for parking and also set us up with the launch location (no cost to us). He also sailed around with us on Saturday on his own Hobie 18.

We sailed south west down the inlet about 1 and three quarters miles to the sound side of Masonboro island where we set up camp and shoved off for some ocean side sailing. The wind was very light but it was not too hot so it was a relaxing sail in the calm rolling sea swells. Later the wind picked up slightly and I got some solo sailing in on the ocean side and did a little Drag racing with Thomas on his 18 down the beach.

Dinner was served around 7:00pm after we found the lighter fluid and got a fire going. Sandy hot dogs...YUM. The wind blew a fine blanket of sand over everything which was ok because just about then the storm that we had been watching turned south east and it started raining...then pouring. Time of death of the fire was 8:30pm. I know because I was standing in the downpour trying to cook the hot dogs and wait out the shower which was surely passing. Don and I gave up when the hot dogs core temperature took a sad turn for the worst and I retired to my tent to dry off. The shower let up around 9:15pm and the party continued into the night. With most passed out around midnight, the last of us killed the fire and hit the sack. I had one of about 3 tents that was still dry. Some tents should come with warnings like..."Warning, don't use this tent if its going to be windy or raining", I was glad to have a decent tent.

The night brought increasing wind and we awoke around 7:45am to about 15knots steady from the north and lovely sand dunes under the rainflys that were just waiting to blanket everything in the tent when you opened the outside zipper. It was around 65degrees +wind and everyone was bundled up. having survived the night (thought some were a little worse for wear) we began cleaning up the campsite. Bagels and pop tarts... and sand for breakfast and we shoved off the beach around 10:00am. We decided to sail straight back to the launch point since the wind had steadily increased to about 18knots steady in some spots and everyone was a little cold and sluggish. It took us a good while to fight the current upwind back up the inlet but it was the best sailing we had since the light air the day before.

We got back to the launch point and broke down the boats. A quick stop at Wendy's for lunch and we were on the road by 1:30pm arriving back in Raleigh to drop the club boats back off at Lake Wheeler by about 4:30pm. All in all a very successful club trip and one that introduced a lot of new guys to the club and to sailing. Hopefully we did our job hooking the new members and keeping the club alive for the next generation of sailing club members. Pictures coming soon.

Monday, September 10, 2007

What a Floater

This last weekend NC State brought down a whole crew of boats to Lake Norman Yatch Club near Charlotte NC for the "Catfest". It's always hit or miss this time of year on inland lakes and this weekend sure was a floater. We had plenty of boats and beer but the wind refused to join the party (at least not while we wanted to race). We did manage some relaxing sailing in the evening hours after dinner. All in all we got in one race that took all of 1 and a half hours. This year was also the first Catfest held without beloved cat sailor who haied from Lake Norman, Jeff Price to whom this years regatta was dedicated.

Despite the lack of wind it was nice to see my hobie 18 out of the driveway in Chapel Hill since I lent it to Ryan Boyle for the weekend who raced, I mean floated around, with Ray and after dinner on Saturday the breeze filled in for a few hours and I got to take it out for a while.

We took my boat down on top of the Nacra 20 and left it there for this week becuase next weekend its going down to Masonboro island for the first NC State sailing club trip of the year. With 38! people signed up it should be fun to say the least. The weekend after that is "Outback Cup" on Lake Murray, SC which my dad has agreed to sail with me in as crew. Hope for more wind to come. Look out for some great write up's from these next few trips.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Foux Da Fa Fa

Arriving in Raleigh last night, we ended our adventure safe and sound with a combined 203.3 human powered miles under our belts. Click HERE for pictures of the trip and be sure to check out the slide show that Adam made set to "Foux Da Fa Fa" by Folk-Comedy Band Flight of the Conchords from New Zealand, we had this song stuck in our heads all weekend. Read on for the complete trip report.

We arrived in Manteo at around 9:45pm after stopping at a gas station for some food. Adam and I boldly went for 2 large microwavable beef and bean burritos each and mike stocked up on wheat thins and assorted cakes and muffins. We pulled up at Alan's house in Kill Devil Hills (our couch surfing host) not really knowing what to expect since none of us had ever couch surfed before. We called him from outside and he invited us in from the deck above the driveway. He turned out to be a really nice guy who had lived in Manteo for a while working for the local wildlife and natural resources branch researching water purity. We had fun playing with his 6 month old German Shepard Lopez who liked to eat shoes, especially when they were on your feet, before hitting the sack.

In the morning, Adam and I ate our burritos (little did we know how much rocket power these would give us later on) and we left quietly around 6:30am and leaving Alan one of the cantaloupe that Adam had brought down with him as a thank you gift of sorts. We drove back over to Roanoke and parked the car at the Manteo historic site and Festival park and geared up.
Lets Ride We pushed off at 10 past 8 onto the open road. Traffic was minimal and with a 15-20 mph following breeze we were riding over Oregon Inlet before we knew it cruising at around 25 mph in tight formation and getting into the groove. We got to Hatteras lighthouse at 11:00am (~53miles) with only 2 stops along the way for food. We refilled our water, took some pictures and kept on trucking. We boarded the Hatteras ferry to Ocracoke at around 12:30pm having averaged 20mph thus far, feeling good and enjoying the overcast skies that shaded us all morning.

The 40 min ferry to Ocracoke was a welcome break from riding. Mike's friend Neely who drove our camping gear down from Raleigh for us was planning to camp at the National Park campground on Saturday and Sunday. We didn't see his car in the campground on the first pass so we biked the last mile and a half or so to the town of Ocracoke at the end of the island and had a late lunch at The Jolly Rodger restaurant that Alan had suggested to us Friday night. After some much needed hamburgers and a pitcher of beer and mimosa (an interesting combo) we biked back to the campground to find Neely and friends setting us camp.

We made our introductions and set up our tents. Eager to wash off the days road grime we joined Neely and friends on the beach for some body surfing and relaxing. Later Mike biked over to an airstrip on the island and took some pictures of the airplanes parked there (I guess its a pilot thing). For dinner we had noodles (that I may or may not have burned...a little) with spicy tomato sauce (also an explosive combo as we soon found out) and a block of mozzarella cheese as well as a six pack of Red Stripe and the last few cups of protein powder that Adam had brought before hitting the hay around 10:30pm. We planned to catch the 6:30am ferry to Swanquarter and needed to get an early start.

Day 2:
We awoke to hazy stars at 5:15am and quietly packed up our tents and refilled water. We hopped on the bikes and felt the burn big time but just as we limbered up, we were there and boarded at 6:15. As we rode aboard we saw three other bikers ride on and after setting the bikes down we got to talking to them.

To our surprise they has set out yesterday morning from Manteo as well just an hour before us. We could not believe we had not run into them until now. They had planned the exact same trip as us and were headed back to Manteo today. We were even more surprised to learn that they two of them were majoring in Landscape architecture and the other in Accounting at NC STATE! Here we were all on the ferry together all doing the same trip. They were surprised how little gear we had until we told them about our friend camping on the island. They all had backpacks and were carrying everything with them. They had camped just north of us at another campground. We had some good times biking around on the ferry deck since there were hardly any cars on board and exchanged disapproving looks with the captain up on the bridge but we were never bothered to stop. We all got about an hour of sleep on the 2 and a half hour ride to Swanquarter.

We stopped with Scott and his party after leaving the ferry and consulted a map that they had. We were planning to take a scenic detour over lake Mattamuskeet while they were just going to continue on hwy 264 so we parted ways and never saw them again but are planning to look them up now that we are back at school. Riding north was quite a bit more difficult than yesterday as the winds were still out of the North and we got very good at keeping a tight formation and rotating positions every few miles. Drafting was essential all day long into the headwind. We slowed our average to about 16mph this day because of wind as we rode north on hwy 94 over the lake. Once over the water, we were immediately engulfed in a cloud of nats that stuck to our sweaty arms and legs like flypaper. Soon they were gone and we made it to a small store where we loaded up on calories in the form of assorted little debbies, muffins and cinnabuns. We also borrowed some sunscreen from a girl working the register. All the store had for sale was tanning oil (SPF 4) and she took pity on us when she learned how far we had come and that we (I) had left our sunscreen on the beach the day before.

Rocket Power
I chose not to mention until now the effect that our diet of bean burritos and power bars had on us but early on in the ride on Saturday Mike exclaimed to me "I've got rocket power"! (I happened to be drafting him so it wasn't very funny to me at the time) and it seemed that soon after, we all developed a tremendous case of the farts. Honestly I don't think I have had so much gas in so little a period of time. We were all pretty impressed with ourselves. We're not sure if it was the power bars or the constant pedaling motion that kept us going but it wasn't until we got home that I think we let up. It was especially bad on Sunday biking in the headwind because we were trying to draft as close as possible to the the leader usually by no more than a couple of inches for full effect and then you were put into the lose lose situation where you had to ask yourself, do I break away for fresh air or stay in the draft and just deal with it. Usually it was the latter because our legs were nearing the end. Good times.

Almost there
Our final stop was at Stumpy Point were we refilled on water and scarfed down what little food we had left (realizing now that we really did not bring enough fuel for our legs). Adam said that he thought we had about 35 miles to go so it was a wonder full sight when just around the corner was a mile marker that said "Manteo 24 miles". Those last miles were slow ones and we separated for a time having to just grind through at our own paces but we all met back up when the wind died and brought the pace back up to around 20mpg for a sold 5 or 10 miles. We reached hwy 64 once again and knew that we were almost there.

We made the turn onto 64 and as Adam slowed to get into the left turn lane for the bridge over to Roanoke, I slowed with him while Mike, who was still in cruise mode didn't see us slow down and when he nicked my rear derailleur with his front wheel it sent him off balance and he landed hard on his left side in the middle of the road. We both stopped and he got up quickly a little stunned and said he was ok. We made the turn and then pulled off to check Mike and his bike over. He had twisted his foot a little and ding'd up a couple of spokes on his front wheel but that seemed to be about it and everything still worked. We started back out slowly and commented on the fact that we were just a couple of miles from the car and had yet to have a single flat tire or breakdown which we thought was pretty incredible.

The bridge over to Roanoke was long and drained my legs of their last bit of energy. We stopped at the top of the bridge to catch our breath. Rocket power really does not help you climb the hills but it does keep you laughing (or at least it kept us laughing). At the top of the bridge was a small concrete building and a sign bolted to the wall left only one thing to be done and Adam was happy to oblige.

Mike and Adam made it to the turn for the Park where the car was before me and having missed the sign, I ended up going an extra mile before realizing and turning around. When I got to the car, I figured they would be looking for me and they were. They showed up a couple of minutes later and figured that I had missed the turn which I had. Who cares, we were done. We had finished at about 5:30pm and averaged about 16mph. We took some pictures, threw the bikes on the car, and convinced Mike that Big Macs were the only cure for the extreme hunger that we all had.

Mike had 3 Big Macs and Adam and I both had 2 and fries. We later estimated that we had burned about 7400 calories that day having rode over 100 miles since the morning and even with the Big Macs we only took in about half that many. Ooops, now we know. After Adam nearly cleared that room with an earth shattering noise from underneath the seat, we left and headed over to Jockey's Ridge to fly a kite that I had brought down to play with in case we got bored. After we were good and tired, we found an outdoor shower at a surf shop that was closed and got clean. We were glad to have made it back in time to get home on Sunday and Mike drove most of the way while Adam and I slept. Our feeling of accomplishment was outweighed only by our excitement in doing the trip again next year hopefully with even more riders.