The Blast '09
The weather could not have better for the 2nd Annual Blast. Racers arrived between 5:30 and 6:30 at American Cycle and Fitness (ACF) to find out where the bike/canoe drop would be located. It was at Hawthorne Park, 3.5miles away. Teams dropped of their paddling gear and bikes where they expected to be starting the paddle from. Southern Michigan Adventure Racing Team (SMART)had other plans and was already moving the canoes before the racers started their pre-race meeting at 6:50AM.The racers were in for a bigger surprise after the pre-race meeting and maps were handed out. It seems that the urban racers were given a map of the bus route and had to figure out how to get closest to the real canoe put in (CP6) that was located on Mohawk Lake in Lake Angelus.
At the beginning of the race, there were 5 CP's that could be gotten in any order in the city and had to be done on foot. However the bus only left Pontiac every hour with the first one leaving at 8:20. Racers had to decide if they wanted to get a few check points between the start of the race at 8and catch the 8:20 or get all of them and wait for the 9:20 bus. One of the city check points was not open until 9 leaving several options open.
The race started promptly at 8 with racers scattering in several directions. Some headed for the fire station and found the flag inside the large bell on the front lawn forcing racers to lie down to get the punch. Many also headed to the GM Office Center that was near the bus stop. The flag was located in the lobby with the only entrance on the north side. Racers had to navigate through the parking structure to the lobby. This proved very challenging because they had to change levels to get over Orchard Lake road.
It was a sight to behold with 60 racers lined up on the curb in Pontiac to take the 753 bus at 8:20.The situation got very interesting when the bus pulled around the corner. It was not the extra big bus we had been promised. Some how all 60 racers, and two regular riders, stuffed themselves on to the bus and headed north.
The racers got off near Great Lakes Crossing and ran 2.5 miles to the canoe put in. From there it was a scenic paddle across Mohawk, Wormer, Schoolhouse, Loon, Silver Lake and Lower Silver Lake. Teams had to get one CP on the water and most opted for CP7 as it was the closest. CP8 was declared MIA after one team dropped it into the murky water.(It was actually rescued the next day after the water cleared.)
Hawthorne Park was the canoe take out were the bikes were waiting. Before starting on the bikes, most teams opted to try and pick up the two CP's at Hawthorne Park on foot. CP11 was a root stock (now you know) that proved challenging for many veterans and a confidence builder for some of the beginners.
Next it was on to the bikes. Teams had a possible seven CPs to get with the majority of them located along an abandoned railroad two-track with Jaycee and Galloway Parks being mandatory stops along the way. Parts of the two-track were almost impossible to ride with an inch or more of loose gravel slowing every one down. Several teams reported seeing a fawn along the way.
Galloway Park had the thickest cover for the O-points. The quickest method was to shoot a bearing to the depression and then head through some open ground to the mouth of the river. Since the river was low, some decided to just walk the river to CP19 and then get CP18.Seemed like a good idea till a skunk changed their route!
Some only got the minimum and were able to come in after Galloway. Others kept going on the rocky two track all the way to Auburn road. Then it was time to head back to ACF.
Teams dropped their bikes at ACF and picked up the CP's in the city they didn’t get at the start of the race. Their favorite was the bank building with the flag located on the 14th floor! No elevators allowed, they had to climb the stairs.
Team Jeep and Chrysler finished first at 1:06 PM. Brute Force Navigation was 19 minutes behind making the first three finishers all 2 person male teams.
Next in were the Michigan Racing addicts (coed) team followed ten minutes later by Frasier Bike (coed).Third place coed was Laroozie and the Bearcat.
The Pink Ladies took 1st place in the female division followed by Trail Seekers and then Dazed and Confused.
There was plenty of food for all and even some cookies were left after all the prizes from GREAT sponsors were given away. Our highlight was the racer that won one of the bikes. He had borrowed a bike to do the race and was so excited to now have one of his own!
Thanks again to everyone that came out to volunteer, sponsor or race. We couldn't do it without you!!
We were impressed with the racers this year as there were no DNF's and everyone that signed up for the race was there for the start.
Our volunteer photographer, Kim Squires, must have been busy. She has posted several hundred photos for your viewing pleasure. Click on the Pictures Link.
Tom Lining is the photographer who does many professional events and also posted pictures. Here is the link: http://luv2mtb.smugmug.com/gallery/8461672_YwEL2#P-1-9
Post your comments and suggestion on the message board.
SMART Blast racers are entitled to train for free, for two weeks, with Motor City Bootcamp. A year round, outdoor strength and conditioning program designed for multi sport athletes. Named one of the ten toughest programs in the US by Men's Journal. Sponsored by Moosejaw and Hammer Nutrition. For more information, contact Jeff at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit http://jeffwatters.com/motor_city_boot_camp.html
The SMARTBlast Team,
Gary, Marcia and Andrea
Hope you had a BLAST!