Last weekend I participated in the Ouachita Adventure Race at Mountain Harbor Resort in Joplin, AR and it was just that…an adventure! The Ouachita Mountains are the perfect place to hold an adventure race. In this region of the state you’ll find flowing rivers and streams, clear lakes and plenty of woodlands for rigorous hikes.
The race combines hiking, navigating, mountain biking, ropes and paddling on a course consisting of a mix of hiking trails, bushwhacking, paved roads, fire roads, ATV trails and open water paddling. I had the good sense to try the sprint for my first adventure race experience. The sprint course is much shorter and requires less orienteering. We started out Friday with a navigation clinic so that we could learn how to plot points on a map to lead us to our checkpoints throughout the race. Once the adventure started on Saturday morning, we would only be allowed to use a compass, a map and a UTM reader. After the class we enjoyed a fantastic spaghetti dinner catered by Mountain Harbor Resort. I had
always heard about the fabulous pie at Shangri-La Resort located just up the road from Mountain Harbor so I convinced my racing partner to take the drive in search of pie. I have to say, that was one of the best pieces of butterscotch and banana pie I’ve ever had! Twelve hours later, I was glad that I had packed on the carbs the night before!
In the end, team “Loco Rojo” pulled off a first place win in the Co-Ed sprint division. We were racing against ourselves which meant that we only had to make all of the check points and finish within the allotted timeframe to win. I thought, “This will be easy!” Guess what? It’s not easy