Man, have we been slacking. We haven’t raced since the Atomic and haven’t really been training either. I guess everyone needs some down time. We were supposed to race the Luminescent, and I was really looking forward to it. But, this thing called work got in the way. Once I get this money thing figured out, there will be no more excuses for missing races.
Since we couldn’t make the Luminescent, we decided to do some lazy-man training by going to Oak Mountain and hitting their permanent O-course. On the way, we also decided to go to the Coosa River and try out their Class II rapids. We called ahead to reserve a canoe from the Coosa Outdoor Center and made the 3.5 hr drive north to Wetumpka, AL. The last departure time was at 2PM and we were supposed to be there by 1:30PM to sign our paperwork and get our safety briefing. We were running late, imagine that, and so called to let them know we wouldn’t make it until 2PM. But they were super cool and told us to come up and they would wait for us, which they did.
We rushed there, signed our paperwork and were whisked off to the launching point. Along the way, we chickened out with the canoe and decided on a tandem sit on top kayak instead.
The Coosa River was flowing and it took a little getting use to the eddies and currents pushing the kayak around. The trip starts off on flat, flowing river and then you hit a couple of small rapids to get you warmed up to the idea. This is a great first trip for those that have never done any rapids. The river is very wide and there aren’t any sweepers or hidden trees in the water to be concerned about. As you approached the rapids, you could definitely hear the water rushing over the rocks and the sound would get us a little worked up thinking we were going into some major whitewater action. But, we found that our canoeing on Choctawhatchee Bay prepared us well to handle these small rapids.
At one point, we approached a large island just prior to some rapids where a lot of kayakers had stopped. We also stopped because the rapids looked impressive on the approach.
From the island, we could decide on how best to approach the rapids. There was a little deliberation on whether we should take the bigger rapids to the right of the island, or the smaller rapids on the left. We knew we’d regret not haven taken the bigger ones and the worst that could happen is that we’d dump and get wet–since we’re experts at that, we decided to go big. We took the line we wanted and ended up making it through without dumping and I think we even got a hoot from the spectators.
The rapids here are fairly short and the total trip took us about 2-2.5 hrs. If you’ve never done rapids before, this is the place you want to go. And if you are looking to rent a canoe or kayak, check out Coosa Outdoor Center, they were really awesome.
After the rapids, we headed up to Oak Mountain State Park in Pelham AL to do their permanent Orienteering Course. I did a short write up on it for the first trip we took there (http://teamdisoriented.com/tag/oak-mountain-state-park/). The park is amazing with tons of bike and hiking trails. But best of all there are two permanent orienteering courses with maps, which are maintained by the Vulcan Orienteering Club.
This time we found the elusive CP#6. Oh, and that little stick pointing move, well let me tell you that is no stick but a rather magical wand we found. With it, we attempted many new spells such as: Eradicus Arachnius; Eradicus Reptilius, and my favorite Eradicus Ursus. It worked miracles keeping away the snakes and bears, but it didn’t work so well on the spiders.
I’m going to throw one more picture in here just because it’s so damn pretty, kinda like me…
We didn’t finish the advanced course due to our leisurely stroll speed, but we did find CP5-CP10 on the advanced course and we already found all of the CPs for the beginner’s course, so we know they are all there. I think the course organizers did a great job putting the markers in interesting locations that are not the easiest to find. The posts blend into their surroundings and there is only a small metal placard designating it as the marker, so you have to look closely to see them especially if there is much undergrowth. Here is one marker they placed in between to very large boulders. Ana is practicing her Spider Wall Climb so she can be the next American Ninja Warrior.
So, if you’re feeling lazy but still want to get out and claim a day of fun as adventure race training, go hit up the Coosa River and Oak Mountain State Park, you won’t be disappointed at all.