Day 1: adventure race
Adventure races are on the top of our priority list. And when I say ours I actually mean Igor’s, although with time I’m starting to be less of a nagging escort and more of real partner. My first time at Lim Bay Challenge was last year. How things usually work out in my head, I was expecting a leisurely sightseeing of the bay and what I got was 10 hours of hard core action which included 30 meter high abseil (in the rain, as if my fear of heights was not enough), bloody struggle through the bushes and then romantic sunset flipping over from kayak into the really cold water. This year I wasn’t as optimistic about how idyllic and easy the race would be but still I was imagining golf terrains, single trails covered with moss and sea current that goes from inside of Lim bay and pushes you straight to the finish.
On the race morning all the teams were transferred from Vrsar to Pazin, where they were then separated on the opposite sides of the Pazin pit and zip-lined across at the same time. If I really have to choose between abseiling down the cliff or zip-line, I’d definitely choose zip-line but I’m still not a fan of heights and this probably won’t be that pleasant. The ride was short and the moment I thought how I had everything under control I realised I haven’t even noticed Igor going the other direction and I do have some blank spots in the last minute. On the way to a first check point this situation reminded me of my dad telling me the story of his famous parachute jump. He said he was totally conscious but watching his go pro shot it was obvious he was on the verge of passing out.
After the zip-line, the almighty organiser kindly let us separate for a while so now I’m in charge of finding check point 2 while Igor is looking for check point 1. I have no other option than to turn on my half-hour orienteering experience from few days ago and find the way. By some kinda miracle I can even recognise where I am on the map but I quickly catch up with Mateja and Žine, who disturb my plan of independent orienteering. Together we’re arriving to the check point 3 where I’m meeting my spatially more intelligent other so I’m slowly putting compass and map into the pocket and comfortably jump into passenger seat so he can lead. By passenger seat I mean 17 km of running through mud, bushes and over wired fences but anyways… Igor always makes those little mistakes to make the adventure more exciting for me and he always does it on purpose, never by accident.
We arrive in Tinjan, where our bikes are waiting, as the third team. Once again we have to separate so I go find those baby check points, even a blind man would find, and Igor does the man’s work. I can understand the map very clearly but still I decide to try 3 wrong roads just to get to know the town. Who knows when again will I be able to be there and it’s such a lovely day. After I found all the places where my check point wasn’t it was inevitable to find where it was after all. On my way back I’m meeting Paula and letting her know my little secret about the check point position. She, with her years of experience, sure wouldn’t be able to find it herself 2 meters by the main road.
Being on the bike felt quite good after all that running. I mean, you sit on the bike, what’s there not to be comfy. I didn’t know what the terrain was going to be like, but after last week debacle on Koprivnica bike marathon I was ready for anything and this ride went by relatively easy. Actually, when I think about it, pushing aluminium bike uphill for 20 minutes at one point was not that easy but I will always choose a hard uphill over a hard downhill. On our way to kayak we catch up with Meta and Žine so we reach the transition together. We’re quickly on it and already kayaking 3 kilometres towards another separate running orientation challenge. I did understand that the woods we have to go to is on the top of the hill but I refused to think about how I’m going to get up there. You’d say kayaking is nice and relaxing since you can just sit there and row but exactly 2 days ago we did our first TRX training and my arms were absolutely dead. On the other hand, our kayak was slightly more hydrodynamic and by the time we reached the shore we had few minutes of advantage ahead of Slovenians, few minutes I’m soon about to lose again. It could be my conscious, because of the faster kayak, so I decided to punish myself with extra 5 kilometres through poison ivy nowhere close to my check point. The thing is, I had no problem with finding first two so I got cocky and thought how easy this was going to be, but then…I’ve mixed few basic map elements and ended running in circles for 15 minutes somewhere where leg peeling was for free. Returning back to Igor I was depleted but with all the check points found and big experience gained. Now I don’t have to look at another map until the next race.
We descended back to our kayak and cought up with 2 teams that passed us earlier because of me getting lost. Next was a hike on the other side of the canal but since Igor went up and I’m not the hero of that story it doesn’t even matter. It took us 90 more minutes of kayaking till the finish line. Maybe it would be more precise to say that it took Igor 90 minutes of kayaking till the finish line, I’m there just for support, gently waving those paddles above the water surface.
I really felt beaten up after this one. But I’d do it again. Amazing what you can see and experience in a day. There’s something about those adventure races…
Below is Igor’s experience of proving manliness on the next day’s 25 kilometre tracking race and a photo gallery.