The Village Creek Race!

Ozark Outdoor Supply

Well, I’ve been on the road all week traveling the great state of Arkansas.  Since my last post, I’ve been back to eastern Arkansas again, spent Tuesday night at DeGray Lake Resort State Park working on a photo shoot of the golf course, spa and beach.  I then spent Wednesday and Thursday on Friday morning to check out the progress on the new cabins (niiiicccceeee).  Finally I was back in Little Rock around noon but wait.  After lunch back in the car for a quick trip to Fayetteville to see a play that my daughter did set design for and a night on Dickson Street.  Saturday morning found us at the Hobbs State Park – Conservation Area Visitor Education Center (mouthful).  If you get a chance go see it.  It is top-notch.  The 13 year old said it was “cool”.  We took the “Pig Trail” home, which is one of my favorite drives in the state, passing through Withrow Springs State Park near Huntsville.  Father’s Day was about catching up and yard work.  Sounds relaxing after all that.

So back to the race!  The folks at Ozark Extreme put on another well organized and fun race.  Another unique location too! Village Creek State Park near Wynne, AR.  When you think of the Delta of east Arkansas you usually think of flat fields of rice or cotton but there is actually a wonderful strip of land that goes through the middle from north to south called Crowley’s Ridge.

We arrived at Village Creek State Park in time to get our race packet.  Arkansas Travel Writer, good friend and all around great person, Kim was volunteering with the race and got us all signed in for the start. This would be another one of those untrained for races for me.  I’d been dealing with some back issues but they seemed to clear up the morning of the race. Must have been the adrenaline.  This race was going to hurt me.

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The Start!

We took our time getting out of the start checking the map more than I needed to.  I’m learning that these races work best if you stick wit the herd mentality.  Follow the group and then get creative later.  We did a little running and scrambling then a run across the dam to the third checkpoint.  At this point we got creative.  We decided to cut straight through the woods to the next checkpoint.  Did I tell you that Crowley’s Ridge has a lot of deep steep ravines?  We went up and went down and went up. Orienteering and counting steps along the way.  Thinking we had somehow missed the CP we took a ridge line over to where I felt the trail was. Sure enough, we step out on the trail looked to our left and there was the checkpoint. Our orienteering was right on. The problem was it would have taken us about half the time if we had just run up the trail. Stupid! We then decided that the rest of the checkpoints would best be done from the trails. We were behind. We ran as much as my physical conditioning would warrant (not much). Didn’t catch anyone but got passed by one team.  Once we had the final checkpoint of the hike I decided to take a shortcut through the woods to a trail that would take us straight out.  That one worked well, we cleared the rest of the checkpoints along with a team we would meet again on the bikes.

On the Bikes!
On the bikes!

Ah, the bikes. I love the bikes.  So we’re heading out and we about 1/2 a mile down the road a mud splattered girl is heading back to the transition.  She was leading the pack of the sprint racers and she was muddy! We rode across a big open field to the first bike checkpoint and then into the woods.  these trails are wide due to equestrian traffic and designed more for the horses and hikers than mountain bikers which makes some areas pretty challenging.  Through most of the bike ride the route was pretty straight forward but I have to admit, I was wearing out.  When we were coming up on the last bike checkpoint I had a brain fart and thought that we had passed it. So back up the trail we go only to realize that we were within about 100 feet of it when we turned back. We got passed by one advanced team at that point. Lisa wasn’t happy….

Adventure Ozark 8-Hour Adventure Race

The ride back to transition wouldn’t have been bad except for the hill that goes up to the park day-use area. My quads began to scream, usually I’m the climber but not this day. We pulled into the transition and picked out one of the kayaks-from-hell (inflatable torture devices).  Once we got to the water our trip was pretty uneventful across the lake.  Much better than we did at Cane Creek State Park a few months ago.  then back to transition and a surprise.  Heading down to the public swimming area we found out that we would have to swim out to one of the buoys and touch the checkpoint.  Lisa is a bit timid around open water but she sucked it up we walked/ran back to the finish to take our first place in category (we were the only coed advance team to show up).

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It was a good race in a unique part of the state.  I recommend a visit they have two lakes, a beach miles of hiking, mountain biking and horse trails, some new campgrounds and if you’re into geocaching, you can spend a day on that activity alone. Thanks to the park interpreter for the photos in this post.

Norfork Adventure Supply

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