The Epic 24-Hour Barr Brawl Adventure Race

Written by Jennifer Van Gorder
Created Date: Tuesday, 05 March 2013 17:30

On Feb 9th, DART-Nuun-FeedTheMachine took part in the 24hr Barr Brawl adventure race. This race/training event let's competitors get an early assessment on how they stack up against some of the best teams in the nation not to mention how their early training is going. This year Julien Lallenmand took out all of the stops to bring an unforgettable experience in Yolo County in Northern California. The race consisted of several disciplines such as biking, trekking, bushwhacking, navigating & swimming or in our case 'pack rafting'. For this race we asked an up and coming racer to join us, Ryan O… and a good friend that is an experienced Xterra racer. Below is what Ryan O had to say about his first race experience with us...

With a new year comes new opportunities and starting in 2013 I will be racing with team DartNuun. To be honest I was a bit nervous, I wanted to demonstrate to my new team that I had what it took to be a part of such an iconic team in the US. From the very beginning when I flew in from Colorado to race the Barr Brawl with Dart they were very warm and easy to get along with. Everyone on the team was like a friend that you haven’t seen in a while but you instantly connect with when you are back together. We spent Friday preparing gear and talking over strategies. After we were done preparing we had dinner and then I drove with my folks (who drove up from Southern California to cheer us on) up to the event site to get maps for the race. Our team consisted of several veterans of team Dart such as RVG, JVG, and Mari along with a new gun Rene. This would be his first AR race ever.

At 8:30am the gun went off and we started running down the road to a small bridge. Team Tecnu took off pushing much faster than us. This was going to be a battle. We quickly found ourselves off trail walking up a small reentrant to CP1. Once arriving to CP 1 we started up a shear 2000ft climb up to the ridge. This was a calf burner right off the bat. Once on the ridge we ran along looking for CP2 which was supposed to be right off of the trail. For some reason all 5 of us ran right by it and we had to double back. This cost us about 30min however, we recovered quickly working well as a team and continued on running down an almost nonexistent trail to the first TA. Once at the TA we learned that Tecnu was about 57min ahead of us. They were definitly moving fast. We quickly took off on our bike. and easily found the next 2 CPs. We were having a great time riding new trails and seeing some exceptional downhill skills by Renee. We continued on over grown trails that transformed from rocks to fast grass. We quickly picked up the next two CPs, moving at a more relaxed pace, just having fun and enjoying each other’s company. When we reached the waypoint we realized we were just 25min behind Team Tecnu and we were closing in. We quickly took off down the road invigorated to get to the Swim TA. We arrived just before dark and at the same time Tecnu was headed out for the frigid swim. At this point we were ready to unveil or secret weapon. We had brought pack rafts which was like bringing a gun to a knife fight. We quickly took off out of the TA and inflated our rafts when we reached the water. The nice thing about the rafts was that we would be able to stay dry and “warmer” which would translate to a faster TA back on to the bike in the dark. The rafts were great minus a few small leaks that managed to cool off a few of our teammates and resulted in RVG and Mari working together on the biggest raft instead of dumping water ever 10min. During the section the sun had fallen to leave us in complete darkness. A big THANKS to our Light and Motion lights we were able to spot the reflective tape of CPs from across the lake while other teams, were stuck swimming blind.

After warming back up in the TA we hopped back on our bike & we took the lead back. We pushed hard up a few mt. bike climbs till we ended up at the final tracking section. This was almost like a mini orienteering section with well-placed CPs. We had a little trouble finding the first one later realizing we dropped into the renitent just feet above the CP. After that the remaining 4 checkpoints flew by. I hardly remember them because they went by so fast. Back on the bike we pushed up our last big climb which turned more into a push a bike in our depleted state. As the temps dropped ice started to form on the ground and soon our drive trains started to suffer. Almost at the top of the climb we spotted a pair of big eyes in the darkness. It was a large mountain lion only 30feet away. This was a good kick in the butt as we all made lots of noise and picked up the pace a little. It is always amazing what you will see at 3 in the morning. Atop the final climb we started down a nice fire road which took us to our final trail to the finish. What we thought would be an easy trail turned out to be a tunnel carved in the brush. RVG had a hard time even fitting in the tunnel with his larger frame. We continued down this section what felt like forever until we finally popped out on the road just before the sun topped the mountains. We all chatted and laughed about our experience and how cold the night got as we meandered to the finish.

We all survived and completed another Barr BRAWL. Thanks to everyone who made the training event possible and thank you to Team Dart for letting me prove myself.

Looking forward to our next adventure!