Rockstar – 8-Hour – 2013
Rockstar is the 3rd event of the season in the ‘Storm’ racing series, put on by race director Sean Roper. The race has two basic options (4-hour and 8-hour) with a mixture of team setup options. I was entered in the 8-hour race option in a team of two males (but all 4 teammates were competing and as such we had an agreement to complete the course together as a group of 4, as this race was primarily used as training for Wilderness Traverse on August 18th in which we are a four man team).
The race is a Rogaine style event, with various bonus activities as several CP’s. This was my second year entering this race, and so far is the most fun event I have entered. The atmosphere is very relaxed, and the Rogaine style eliminates some of the anxiety associated with more traditional style AR. I know a lot of people disregard this style as not being true AR, but I think it has its place as long as you approach is with a more relaxed and fun mentality.
The race starts remotely from the TA hub and buses boarded at 10:15am. Race start was at 11am on the bikes. The course requires you to bike 26km back to the TA hub with the first 12k on double track trail and remaining 14k on a mixture of gravel and paved roads.
When you arrive into transition (CPA) from the bike course you are off your bikes and do not return to them again. From this point forward it is very much a choose your own adventure race, with several logical choices available to you. We decided to head east on the Lakota trail to gather a loop of CP’s totalling roughly 400 points. This required extensive bushwhacking and accurate navigation, we were able to hit each of the four CP’s dead on and headed back to TA.
For the third leg of our race we headed west by canoe to gather another loop of CP’s worth about 200 points. We encountered our first navigation error of the day here, if you can call it that. We followed our bearing through the bush for a k or two, then encountered an unexpected lake. It seems that a beaver dam had created this lake recently as it was not on any maps we had, we chose to edge around the lake and try to pick our spot on the other side. This didn’t work so well, and after completing the other CP’s in that loop headed back the canoe, we then paddled around the point on the lake to gather the CP we had been unable to find by foot.
From here we had only about an hour remaining to gather as many points as we could. We headed back across the lake to complete another CP or two and then headed home. The penalties for arriving at TA after the 8-hour mark are severe (10 point penalty per minute) so we didn’t risk a last dash for points.
In the end we finished 8th in our category amassing 1040 points (only 130 points out of 3rd place!). The course was significantly more challenging than last year, points were spread out more and required a lot less trail running and a lot more bushwhacking. Race director Sean Roper summarized this in the his post race awards ceremony speech by stating: ‘several teams cleared the course last year, and as a race director I had to step up my game and ensure that didn’t happen again’. Well, mission accomplished as no team was able to collect all the available points.
As always I highly recommend Storm events, they are very well organized and offer a great experience.