The 2013 Gold Rush Mother Lode is a four day unsupported Expedition Race running from September 19th to 22nd 2013 with check-in on Wednesday September 18th.. The event took place in the Sierra Mountains of central California. The event included hiking/running/orienteering, mountain biking, paddling and rope work. The winning team in the co-ed 4 person class Bones received a free guaranteed entry into the ARWS World Championship event in Costa Rica and the second place team received a guaranteed entry.
The race started at the Tuttletown recreation area on Lake Melones at 8 am with a short run. Teams then picked up kayaks, carried then 200ft down to the water and pushed off on a 30 mile paddle. Interspersed in the paddle, were a hiking leg to find checkpoints and then a return to water to continue paddling East in the spectacular Stanislaus River Canyon until the lake ran out. Here, teams tied their boats to a buoy and swam a short distance to shore. They then hiked several miles up the canyon beside the river to the first ACP at Camp Nine. Two teams, Firestarters and And Lovin It chose to skip some checkpoints and the hiking section on the paddle leg, and they were the first to arrive at the end of the lake. They arrived before the organizers had set out the bouy. The two teams dragged their kayaks upriver still expecting to find the buoy. They were a long way up river before they finally dropped their kayaks figuring that they had missed the buoy or possibly that the organizers had not set it out yet. The first team into TA1 at the huge bridge at Camp Nine was And Lovin It closely followed by Firestarters both of whom had passed up checkpoints on the lake. The first full course team was SWECO with Yogaslackers arriving ten minutes later and then Bones, OutNorth and adventureteam.dk in the next half hour. The next leg involved a steep climb out of the canyon and then undulating cycling on dirt roads through the night. The objective was three checkpoints on the way to TA2.
Bones got past the others to arrive first at TA2 early in the morning at 3:04 am, looking strong. They were followed bySWECO just 15 minutes behind but with one team member vomiting. Yogaslackers was third but had a scare when one team member thought they were having a heart attack. OutNorth was next having had a 'slow time of it'. These teams stopped only briefly and all were away on the trekking leg within an hour and a half. adventureteam.dk came in and left in 5th place but had stayed for 3 hours as they had a team member doing badly.
The trekking leg from TA2 to TA3 was 90 miles in length and involved many miles at 7 and 8 thousand feet altitude (2,100 meters to 2,400 meters). At the farthest point of the course was the ropes course at Double Dome.
Bones was the first team in the vicinity of the ropes course but had trouble finding the first jumar ascent. Close behind were SWECO who reached the start of the course. and decided to leave their backpacks at the base of the ascent, Reaching the top of the ascent they then found that they were not allowed to haul the ropes up to retrieve their backpacks. It was late evening and cold at this altitude. SWECO worked their way through the ropes course which took several hours. Further difficulties awaited them when they finished the ropes course and had to backtrack with no map to retrieve their gear. By this time they were very cold and tired.
The course continued from the climb site, on the high summits of Double Dome, along high exposed ridges. For the lead teams in the cold of night it was a tough route. For the later teams on Saturday morning it became progressively worse.
During the trek of the 2013 Gold Rush Mother Lode a storm hit. It arrived Saturday morning with rain and soon turned to sleet and snow. The lead teams had just made it through the ropes section but were caught on the high ridges. The rest of the pack were on or approaching the ropes.
At TA3 in the picturesque Camp Oski, teams began to arrive at 5:30pm on Saturday. It was still raining. Bones arrived first and were still making the transition as SWECO arrived. Bones took two hours while SWECO, probably fired up by the sight of their competitors took only 1 3/4 hours Similarly, Yogaslackers arrived while SWECO was still in the transition and Yogaslackerspicked up 15 minutes on their closest competition too. They left at midnight. Walhalla Specialized, and adventureteam.dk were the next teams in just a couple of hours behind. Both took a long rest and did not leave till dawn with adventureteam.dk out first at 6am and Walhalla Specialized at 8:20. No sooner had Walhalla Specialized left than OutNorth arrived. They took a quick transition and continued on the course just an hour and a half behind 'Walhalla Specialized. the remaining teams trickled in during the day all having either missed checkpoints or taken rides to escape the atrocious weather. Several inches of snow had fallen and winds were blowing hard. teams had left the warmth of the 1000 ft altitude (300m) sun drenched lake 2 days before and were now at high altitude in a winter storm. No team was entirely ready for it and the storm created an epic challenge to be layered on top of the competition of the race. It had been the opening day of hunting season so, as luck would have it, there were many camps out in the woods where teams got shelter a cup of hot coffee or even a ride back to civilization
On the bike leg from TA3 to the finish, teams cycled back up to to almost the highest altitudes of the race. Teams ended up back in snow. In the vicinity of CP 18, Team SWECO cold and exhausted, were unable to spend time to search for the checkpoint which was one of the more navigationally challenging of the race. Unfortunately for them, that missed checkpoint would have a major bearing on the results.
On Sunday morning at 7:42, Bones arrived at the finish line in Long Barn. SWECO , And lovin It,Yogaslackers and Barkin Frogs followed them before noon. Torti, Firestarters, Walhalla Specialized and OutNorth came across the line soon after noon. The last team to finish was adventureteam.dk. When passports were checked, Bones, Yogaslackers and adventureteam.dk had all checkpoints. SWECO , Walhalla Specialized and OutNorth had missed optional checkpoints and finished ranked.
It had been a tough but successful Gold Rush Mother Lode
Additional stories by And Lovin It,
End of race Wrap up
|3||Adventure Team dk|
|7||And Lovin It|
Gold Rush Mother Lode is excited to be the North American qualifier for the Adventure Racing World Series, and the only North American qualifier for 2013. Teams competed for a paid entry to the AR World Championships to be held in Costa Rica.