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Steel Sports Tyler Sprint 2008 Race Report

September 20, 2008
by David Bogle

I recently did the Tyler State Park sprint adventure race put on by Steel Sports. The race was a sprint race, so rather short. Hurricane Ike hit the park the day the original race was scheduled, so the race was postponed a week. Our team went from a 4 person down to a 3 person team, Kipley Fiebig, Scott Appleton, and myself. We arrived at the park Friday night and just planned to tent camp at the park. Our camp was all set up by 9 pm, and since none of us brought any matches we did not even manage to make a camp fire. We all contemplated going to bed early (as we sat in the dark), then the boy scouts arrived! Wow, those kids were sure wound up and just made tons of noise. We were concerned they would keep us up all night. Well, there was noise all night, but it had nothing to do with the scouts. There was some sort of drilling rig not far away that very loudly banged some steel pipes all night long.

Well, on to the race. There were lots of solo male teams that came to this event. We kind of thought one of those guys would likely win the thing. We set up a quick TA and were ready to go. At the start, we were told to run a counter clockwise loop around the lake and then head back to TA. We could choose any route we wanted, but I suspect everyone took the same route around the lake, which was the lake trail that went all the way around. We followed the couple of male solo guys in front of us for about 95% of the run, and at the last moment, they faded a bit and we made it back into transition first (by a second or two).

Next up would be a bike leg. We were given instructions to ride all of the park bike trails in a certain order. There was no plotting to be done, so we headed out on bikes. We were the first team to hit the trails, but we were quickly passed by some of the solo guys. The first part of these trails was in bad shape from Hurricane Ike. There were lots of downed trees blocking the trails. We had to pick our way around the trees then find the trail again on the other side. It was not long before the solo guys were out of sight. We just rode our own pace and punched the CPs (that were located along the trail). The most interesting part of the ride was when we came to a creek crossing. The bridge was completely gone except for one sole log crossing the creek. It was about 8 feet deep and too wide to jump. We slowly walked across the log while carrying bikes. We finished the bike ride in 4th place (3 solo male teams were now ahead of us).

When we got to the TA, we had to complete a special test that involved transporting a ball through a small obstacle course, but we could not use our hands to touch the ball. Then it was time to go paddling, the three of us all in a single canoe. We did not even need to plot the points as we had seen them while running around the lake earlier, and we knew which order to get them in based on their descriptions. We put the hammer down while paddling. We saw all 3 male teams while out on the water. We were only able to catch one of them during the paddle. The leg was rather uneventful other than that (it is a small, small lake).

Back in TA, we were given our final set of instructions which was a trek around the park to punch several more CPs. We plotted these points and set off to find them. They were not too tough to find and we were able to run in most places. After punching our second to last point, we saw Paul Thibodeaux (solo male from Team Outcasts). He was leading the race, and we thought he would have been done by now. We still had to get one more point so we knew he had the win wrapped up. We punched the final CP and headed to the finish line. Paul apparently was cramping up on the final run, and we finished less than a minute behind him. At some point we passed the other solo male racer while trekking. The race took us a little over 3 hours. The weather was great compared to all the blistering heat we have had this past summer.

Thanks to Rodney at Steel Sports for continuing to put on races, and congratulations to all the new first time racers who came out for this fun event.

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