Posted by: csdailyblog | May 5, 2010

Timber Rattler Adventure Race

The 2010 Timber Rattler Crew (from left to right: Jon Ciatti, Jess Kavanagh, Gabe, Jake, Dick, Chris) and the Adventure Wagon

This weekend, four students, Gabe and Dick of “Team Dick n Gabe”, and Jake and Chris of team “Frisbee Freaks”, along with two staff members, Jess Kavanagh and Jon Ciatti of team “Great White Buffalo”, attended the 2010 TimberRattler Adventure Race in Black River Falls, Wisconsin, hosted by the UW-Stevens Point Adventure Racing Club. The race, being named after a type of snake, focused on ground travel type activities.

Jess K. standing with some of the nice single track at Levis Mound mountain biking area.

Starting at 8am in the morning, with winds topping 20mph, and a bright sun in the sky, racers ran a 1.5 mile interpretive trail loop at Levis Mound to gather letters that, when unscrambled, spelled “National Dance Day”. Of course, we were required to dance in front of a video camera after that. The race had several unique features compared to former races of the same name. The first and foremost was the mountain biking portion at Levis Mound trail system. This trail system is located just outside of Neillsville, Wisconsin, and covers a vertical ascent of over 300 feet with miles of technical single track loops. Jake said, “It was awesome. There was a really cool part where we biked right next to a ledge.”

The race also contained an orienteering point that led to a 30 foot rappel at Levis Mound. This part was supervised by the UWSP climbing club directors, and was a ton of fun. Racers descended between two rock faces 30 feet below by controlling the rope that went through their belay device, avoiding rock obstacles on the way down.

Another portion of the race that was unique was nick-named the “rock scramble”. The “rock scramble” was designed to force participants to search for orienteering points along the spillway of Lake Arbutis. This part had some challenge to it as one can imagine, because this land is sometimes flooded so no smooth pathways exist. I definitely felt that the rock scramble added some special challenge and a unique chance to see some parts of the riverbed that many people aren’t able to observe up close.

Jess K. starting the rappel over the 30 foot ledge. Watch out for those rocks!

One of the most challenging parts of the race consisted of the canoe portion. Canoeing into 20mph wind gusts with white-caps breaking on each side of the canoe, we canoed over three miles straight into the wind, waves and spray to find four of the points hidden on Lake Arbutus. By the end of the canoe, the only Conserve team that didn’t end up walking their canoe along the shore was Team Dick n’ Gabe. It was a tough canoe paddle, and an impressive feat to complete the entire paddle without stepping out to walk the canoe.

Both student teams finished the entire race, Team Dick n Gabe, and the Frisbee Freaks. Jake and Chris of the “Frisbee Freaks” finished in second place only eight minutes behind the experienced first place team, coming in around seven hours. Team Dick n Gabe finished a few minutes after that. Both teams stated that they had a great time and would do it again.

Dining with the rest of the racers at the post race meal, we had some good conversations, won a few door prizes, and had some good laughs at the misfortunes and wrong turns we all took in getting from start to finish. Overall, it was a great physical, mental, and sometimes emotional challenge for all of us (yes, Jess and I did it too) and we’re all stronger for having done the 10 hour 2010 Timber Rattler Adventure Race.

Post and photos by Jon Ciatti, Conserve School Field Instructor

Jess K. high tails it to point 5 for the Rappel.Jake and Chris of the “Frisbee Freaks” finished second just 8 minutes behind the first place team. Chris is not as thrilled as Jake. The 2010 TimberRattler Crew after the adventure race. See how happy we all are? So much more fun than 8 hours of Youtube on a Saturday afternoon.

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