One of the most magnificent natural wonders in the world - Lake Tahoe - played host to the 2010 Big Blue 24-Hour adventure race on July 31. Careful route choice and time management would be as important as speed on this course due to a hard cut off time of 24 hours. With the high altitude and challenging terrain even the best teams would be pressed to obtain all the checkpoints in the allotted time. In this Rogaine (non-linear) format, being first across the finish line is not a guarantee of winning.
Under an epic, bright morning sun, Team Technu joined 20 other teams of intrepid adventure athletes on the western shore of Lake Tahoe for the mass kayak start. Comprised of four veteran racers with dozens of expedition and international races on their resumes, it was the first time any of the four (Kyle Peter, Brian Schmitz, Jen Segger and Rick Baraff) had raced on the same team.
With a fast triple kayak towing a sleek single boat, Team Technu quickly got to the front of the kayak pack along with series rivals and national points leaders, Yogaslackers. Along the 15-mile kayak leg, teams would literally paddle over the state line from California into Nevada to beach at Sand Harbor on the eastern shores. After nearly two-and-a-half hours of paddling, Technu completed Leg One in second place.
It was here that all teams received the maps, checkpoints and instructions for the rest of the race. While Segger and Baraff took care of the paddling gear and prepped the bikes for the next leg, lead navigator Peter plotted the course with Schmitz. Team Technu got out of the transition in first place alongside Yogaslackers for the first of many long, slow granny gear climbs into the Sierra mountains. Within minutes, teams were 1,000 feet above the lake on the incredible single track of the Flume Trail heading for the next transition at Spooner Lake, several miles south of Sand Harbor.
At Spooner Lake, teams exchanged bike shoes for running shoes to tackle an 18-point orienteering course with thousands of feet of elevation gain and loss in a mere 15 kilometres. Teams were given four hours to obtain as many points as possible before incurring time penalties. With Baraff unfortunately succumbing to some stomach problems due to hydration and altitude, Team Technu had to forgo three checkpoints to make it back to the transition within the four-hour limit.
From here, the rest of the race would be a combination of biking and trekking loops with teams carrying their running shoes (and plenty of water!) all the way to the finish. It was also from this point that teams began to take their own routes to collect as many remaining points as possible in classic Rogaine style. Each checkpoint was assigned a different point value determined by the difficulty in acquiring it, so the team with the most total points - not the most checkpoints and not the fastest time - would ultimately win.