I’m relatively new to the sport of Adventure Racing, but I’m pretty sure that there’re better ways to start your event than by having your teammate decorate the side of your rental car with bile.



By most measures, it was a long day yesterday. We left Burlington at 12:30; connected in Chicago at around 4:30, landed in Phoenix at about 6:00 Pacific-Time, and then caught the last flight to Reno at 9:00. Upon arriving, I argued with the rental car people about whether a Fiat 500 met the NADA definition of a ‘Full-Size’ car, while Andrew secured our checked bags. Neither were enviable tasks. From there, we began the drive to Bear Valley. At this point, things appeared to be looking up. Having made the trek from Reno to Lake Tahoe numerous times, I was confident that I’d be able to shave at least 40 minutes off of the drive time predicted by Andrew’s iPhone. As an added bonus, my negotiation skills had landed us in a Ford Fusion. Although not the Batmobile per-se, it was certainly a welcome upgrade from the Italian buggy we’d initially been issued. Plus, we could sync my iPod with it, ensuring that we’d have plenty of Motorhead to get us through the drive. Andrew’s iPhone had predicted. Armed with such instruments, we were ready to subscribe to the Eli Lesser-Goldsmith philosphy of rental car driving: with the right attitude, and a little chutzpah, you can make just about anything go fast. We made it to the California border in record time, and before we knew it, the heavy smell of soot and ash began to lift (ED NOTE: the smoke around Reno is really, REALLY bad. As soon as you go outside, it begins to make you nauseous. Even though we’re much closer to the fires in Bear Valley, the temperature inversion and weather conditions are much MUCH more favorable).

Thanks to all the  Men and Women working so hard to save one of our National Treasures. Hats off to you for the work you do, FMT.
Thanks to all the Men and Women working so hard to save one of our National Treasures. Hats off to you for the work you do, FMT.



Then, as they say, the wheels came off.

It started with the detour. Both Andrew’s phone and the really nice lady from Bear Valley Mountain Rentals suggested we avoid Lake Tahoe, and instead cut through the California state forest. We’d agreed with such assessments – they appeared to save us time, and the views promised to be spectacular. What we didn’t consider were the roads themselves. For anyone who’s never driven in Stanislaus National Forest who’d like to share our experience, I’m happy to report that you can do so in your own home. Simply find an old Nintendo or Wii, put in a Mario Cart racing cartridge, and play non-stop for 90 minutes. Watch out for bears.

I’d like to think that if the circumstances had been slightly different, that the end outcome would have been different. But when you consider that:

  1. We’d been traveling for 14 hours, across three time zones;
  2. We were at 8200 feet…and Andrew has never been at altitude;
  3. Andrew is…a little more susceptible than most to motion sickness;

It’s a miracle that we got here last night at all. After about 20 minutes driving in the forest, Andrew mentioned that he didn’t feel well. After another 5 minutes, I suggested we roll the windows down to get fresh air. :30 seconds later, he began to sputter and cough; :10 seconds after that, and the wonderful panini sandwich he’d enjoyed in Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport was cleanly deposited roadside. After we were both positive that nothing more could possibly be left in his system, we resumed our journey…only to be derailed by another bout of nausea less than 2 miles later. Long-story-short – we entered Stanislaus National Forest at 11:24pm, Pacific time; we arrived in Bear Valley 38 miles later, at about 12:52 AM. If you’re looking for a good alternative or scale for Toes-to-Bar next time they come up in a WOD, we have just the ticket for you. After vomiting incessantly for 38 miles, the only thing Andrew could manage to cohesively state when we finally arrived at the Hotel was that “his abs hurt”.

THings are looking much better today. We test drove sections of the course, and it looks like it is going to be a TON of fun. We go off at 5:00 AM Pacific time tomorrow – we’ll post later on how you can track our progress.

Speak soon,

Tyler and The Smurf.