One of the tricky decisions about AR is how much sleep, when to sleep and the all important where. Transition Areas are some of the worst because they are busy places with teams coming & going all the time at all hours of the day. Sleep strategy is very important and there are lot schools of thought on it. With no slam dunk guaranteed approach its very situational. I’ve tried all there is from early and often to go as long as you can. Lots of short 30min naps to well just about anything. I’ve slept in ditches, abandoned houses, churches, under bridges, under trees, in tents, in the rain, in the shade, in a canoe, just before going into a TA, after just leaving a TA…
As we biked down the road into the 2nd night we were moving but busy debating and negotiating with each other when, where and how much around the topic of sleep. We knew there was rain coming and agreed that if we pushed through it we might get really bad sleep monsters (when you can’t stay awake but continue to ride you bike or run/trek when you are actually asleep.) believe me its real. Can even happen while paddling.
We figured if it rained it might rain for a long time and we wouldn’t be able to find a dry place without putting the tent up (which always takes time & wet tent = more weight). We didn’t know what might be available as far as buildings ahead, knowing we were about to head into a forrest. So we decided to find somewhere around where we were. There were plenty of farm buildings on the road we were biking along, and so picked one, found an implement shed and started to bunk down.
When you are that tired, you aren’t fussy. It was dry and out of the weather. The particular shed had used bailage bags and when placed on top of each other in multiple layers made a nice comfy surface.
We slept for about 3hrs… It was wonderful.
The rain passed as we rose and soon we were off on our bikes, slightly chilled but biking up a big hill soon warmed us up. In AR you are constantly having to respond to body temp issues. Too hot, too cold, raining too much need to put a jacket on. Not raining enough, getting too hot.
We wound our way through the forrest collecting points along the way. Some of the roads didn’t match up with the map and vice versa so this kept us on our toes. One point almost left us in a bit of a mess. It was located a short distance into the woods off a left hand turn. We ditched the bikes, and packs and Pete & I wandered in to get it. It was further in that we thought and soon were a ways from the road. We finally found the point but had gotten sooooo turned around we were is disagreement as to which was the road was. No problem look at the map…GULP neither of us brought a map. Ok… get a bearing of West. The point was directly East from the road. Just do the reverse and walk until we reach the road…GULP neither of us brought a compass. Mine was in my pack, and Pete’s was on his bike. hmmmmm. We were very turned around. Pete thought it was one way I thought the other.
So calmly we tried to make sense of it all retuning to where the point was. I tired yelling, each time louder and louder to get Craig & Lucy’s attention but we were over the brow of a hill in a pine forrest and they couldn’t hear us. We weren’t desperate but heading that way. I turned my mouth sky-ward to get my trajectory on my voice and yelled like I haven’t yelled in a while. Finally I heard Craig calling back way off in the distance but only because he had marched into the forest looking for us to see what was taking us so long. Whew. Oh Adventure Racing, they make for some of the best stories.
We got back to the bikes. I took my compass out and put it around my neck, we laughed a little and rode off. The rest of the ride through the night was pretty uneventful. Although I did have bad sleep monster right before dawn, but thanks to Craig’s conversation with me I managed to fight them off as we rode. Eventually reaching TA2 around dawn. To begin our transition to the monster 150km Trek/Pack Rafting section. The key here was, pack lots of food then try and jam some more in there.
I ate so much in that TA and probably consumed several thousand calories in camping meals to replace and prepare. We left there with very heavy packs and me not in a good place mentally.