The Nashville Oyster

Some of you might not know that I’m a huge fan of adventure racing.  Notice I didn’t say a huge adventure racer, just a huge fan.  I’ve actually competed in two races and plan to one day be an avid/consistent racer (3-5 races per year), but for right now I only dabble.  For those of you not familiar with adventure racing, think of being dropped in the woods with a compass (generally unfamiliar surroundings for a guy who made it through ONE boy scout meeting) and then asked to find a needle (checkpoint) in a ‘forrest haystack’ using said compass.  It ain’t easy, but it’s a blast!  My first race was a 24-hour, mind-numbing, feet-blistering, morale-crushing race.  I somehow managed to talk (trick?) my buddy Graham into racing with me.  We were asked to trek, navigate, bike, canoe and swim for 24 hours hours.  We spent 5 1/2 hours in a canoe (Graham, I won’t tell them what happened to you), and at one point I was literally seeing things moving in the woods while Graham was hearing thing in the woods.  Pretty freaky experience.  I can easily say that I won’t do another 24-hour race.

My latest race was just slightly different.  For the latest one, think more “Amazing Race” than “Survivor”.  The race was the part of the Oyster Racing Series, and they hold several races through the year in different cities.  Graham and I teamed up again, but this time we had our friend Bjon join us to form The Good, The Bad & The Ugly (you get to decided who is who!).  We covered about 30 miles total, but we didn’t canoe nor did we need a compass.  On this race we were given clues that led us around downtown Nashville to various sites and landmarks on foot and bike.  There were times that we used Bjon’s iPhone to look up a location, asked people for directions, and we were even allowed to use public transportation.  It was a completely different experience from the 24-hour race, and we’ll definitely be doing it again next year.  Here’s a great article recapping the Merrill team’s take on it.  The Merrill-sponsored team finished 6th in the men’s devision, while we finished 8th.  Not bad if you ask me!