We woke up to one of the best weather days ever for the Blast. Weather was a little cool in the morning with a good coating of dew. Racers bringing their own boats arrived between 6:30 and 7 a.m. to learn they were dropping off the boats at Holly Recreation Area. Racers were given their race bags with race number, passports and long sleeve Brooks night wear tech shirts to celebrate our 5th year anniversary.
Everyone gathered around for the pre-race meeting at 8. The race was very straight forward. A two CP course in the city in opposite directions. Teams could get them in any order. Half the teams went to CP1 and half to CP2 with the total distance at about one mile. Teams then jumped on the bikes to head for Holly Recreation Area. That first hill going out of town up Holcomb road was just the start of a long hilly bike road. Teams grabbed two CP's on the dirt roads of Clarkston before navigating to a back entrance to Holly Rec. Team Jeep took an early lead but it was only by seconds.
Racers biked to the Valley Lake Boat launch and dropped the bikes to begin the paddle. Teams had to get four of the five canoe points. This meant they had to portage the canoes across the park road twice in order to get required check points. Once again Team Jeep was the first out of the water but the racers were really get spread out.
A gear check for a compass and hunter orange was completed before racers received the maps for the O Course with not a single racer being docked which was a first for the past four years. Next the racers transitioned to the O course with seven possible points with three being required. Last year's O course was full of poison ivy and this year's course was full of burrs and stick tights. The course was a challenging one with racers basically circling Valley and Wildwood Lake to get all the check points. CP19 proved especially challenging as that area does not get much foot traffic and the terrain was very challenging.
Teams returned to the boat launch to get back on the bikes and head for Depot Park. There was one mandatory point on the way back with one optional point that added a couple miles to the already long bike ride. Teams had an advantage since they already knew approximately how long they needed on the bike as it was almost an identical route they took on the way out.
After that hard ride uphill on Reese road, the fast downhill of a paved Holcomb road had teams flying to the finish. First to return was the two person male team, Team Jeep at 1:23. Next team to arrive was the solo team Lets have some fun twenty minutes later. Finishing only two minutes later was another solo team, Rage against the cutoff. Next was Not very harmful and Bill Scanlan. Finishing up the male placers was Mekenge Mutombo. The first coed team to finish was Team Jammin followed by Beer and Cookies and the Long Islanders. First female team to cross the finish line was Get your Bearings. South Coast Canuck was the first solo female team. The next 2 person female teams to finish were the Guinness Girls and then Pretty in Pickney.
There was plenty of pizza, salad, chips, bread sticks and cookies for all to fill up while the results were tallied. By 3:07 the results were complete and prizing began. Many thanks to all of our of our sponsors for the GREAT prizes. Even though the prizing seemed to go on forever it was finally time to give away the Trek bike donated by American Cycle and Fitness. I think this was one of the only races that all the racers stayed around to the finish. This years winner of the bike was Team Jammin.
Many thanks to our great sponsors and racers that made The Blast truly live up to its name!
A special thanks to all the volunteers:
Kim took hundreds of pictures that should be posted by Thursday. Did any of you see the trail cam this year? Those pictures are also posted.
Preliminary results are posted.
Thanks again to everyone that came out to volunteer, sponsor or race. We couldn't do it without you!!
Suggestions or comments can be emailed to Gary
The SMARTBlast Team,
Gary, Marcia and Andrea
Hope you had a BLAST!