Do or Die: Natchez Trace Adventure Race

So, several months ago, there must have been a moment where I had a lapse in judgment.  Perhaps I was suffering from low blood sugar.  Or sleep deprivation.  Or the Knight hypnotized me.  Whatever the cause, at that moment, I let the Knight convince me to participate in something that, at this moment, sounds completely and utterly insane.

I speak of the Natchez Trace Adventure Race.  It is staring me in the eye, taunting me, laughing at me, cruelly rubbing it in that IT IS THIS WEEKEND.  Funny how the last time I talked about this I was actually excited.  Now, I am just terrified.

Here is what I, along with the my hotty totty friends and husband (go Team Steeltoed Stilettos and Three Girls and a Compass),

 (Team Steeltoed Stilettos + plus another lovely cousin!)
(don't worry, none of us are preggo anymore. 
the 3 lovely ladies to my left are Team Three Girls and a Compass)

will be doing this weekend (all info copied from this website):


Teams will navigate/orienteer through the entire race using 1:24,000 topo maps (Yikes, I do not even know what this means!) with points plotted (points?  plotted?  oh boy, I am in trouble) by race management. Supplemental maps may be provided if necessary. No outside maps or GPS systems allowed. (yep, seriously in trouble.  be on the lookout for lots of yelling and smoke signals when we get lost!)

Special Events

Be prepared for anything. (hopefully champagne and manicures?!?)  Rope HangSpecial events are geared toward teamwork and problem solving. (i'm wishing that our problem is that we are going to be hungry and have to follow a recipe to make brownies.  something tells me that is not the kind of problem-solving we'll be doing, though)  We have some of the old favorites and a couple new ones for you this year. Emphasis is on having fun and doing something different.


Canoes, paddles, & PFD’s will be provided. (PFD?  anyone? anyone?) There will be multiple paddling legs this year so be prepared for anything on or near the water. (please let this mean sunbathing and volleyball!)


There will be 4-6 miles of trekking/running through dense undergrowth, fire roads, trails, and paved roads. (okay, other than the reference regarding the dense undergrowth, I think I can handle this part)

Mountain Bike

The mountain bike will be approximately 10-12 miles on paved roads, fire roads, and trails. (again, I think I can handle this part too.  Although I'm really hoping fire trails are a lot less scary than they sound.  what is this...the circus?  I did not sign up to ride through fiery hoops).

So, um, GULP.  We shall see how I survive this weekend.  At least my camelpak will be nicely outfitted for all kinds of emergencies.  This is all the gear we have to bring:

Final Mandatory TEAM Gear List:

•15’ string/chord (probably will be used for hanging myself.  OR tying my bike to the back of the Knight's so he can pull me along)

•waterproof map case (zip locks not recommended)

•1:24,000 plotting tool (again, what is with this thing?  with the colon?  and the commas?  I just don't know what I think about this)

•pen or pencil

•first aid kit - 3 pr of latex gloves, 6 large band-aids, 3 blood absorbing pads, 1 roll of gauze, iodine swabs, 1 ace bandage. Please add to this kit any items your team feels they need. The kit listed above along with your other gear is designed to do very basic first aid/stabilization. (thankfully, one of my team members is a licensed PT.  I hope that also means she knows what to do with all of this stuff)

Final Individual Gear List:

•6’ duct tape (to be used on all the mouths of the bears so they won't growl at me)

•(1) green chem light

•waterproof lighter or matches (too bad i don't even have the first inclination of understanding of how to actually start a fire...but I have waterproof matches!)

•Whistle (1) (i do know how to do this, also i have one)

•Knife (1) (the Knight let me borrow one of his eleventy hundred knives he has all over the house)

•compass (got a lesson last night about how this works.  Seriously, would you believe that at one time I was actually a Girl Scout.  I have gotten WAY too city-fied.  sheesh)

•watch (watch what?)

•drink system, 70 oz. minimum

•headlamp or flashlight with batteries (this race claims to be 4-6 hours.  why in the world do I need a flashlight?)

•space blanket (wait, I thought we were going to the woods, not the moon)

•Waterproof jacket & pants

•Wool/synthetic headgear

•Full finger or mitten gloves

•Wool/synthetic long-sleeve top (fleece is ok)

•Wool/synthetic socks

•Picture I.D. (probably to identify my body, after I have been savagely attacked and ravaged by rattlesnakes and poisonous beetles)

Other Required Gear: (oh yes, there is more...)

•Mountain bike (no cyclocross or road bikes) - Individual (i confirmed that I still do know how to ride a bike)

•Bike helmet - Individual (i will actually be bring full body armor)

•Red blinking light, with batteries, attached to the rear of your bike - Individual (i'm glad that they specified it is to be on the rear of my bike.  I really don't want to attract more attention to my booty)

•3 spare bike tubes per team (minimum) - 1 per Individual (minimum)

•1 pump system (hand pump or CO2) per Individual

•tire changing tools - Individual
•multi-purpose bike tool kit or equivalent - Individual

•tube patches (glue or glue less ok) - Individual (all of these things assume I would actually know how to replace a tube on my bike.  off to YouTube I go for yet another lesson!)

So, there you have it...that is what I will attempting to be doing with myself this weekend.  Adventure Racing it up at Natchez Trace State Park.  My parents are coming to watch the Coco Bean.  This will be my first night away from her (and probably my last night ever...just joking), so that should be interesting.  I am so thankful that they are coming all the way from Oklahoma just to watch her...seriously.  Best. Parents. Ever. 

Wish us luck, safety, and, heck, even a decent finish time!

Divas and dense undergrowth,
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MEK said...

Oh my goodness! This sounds like so much fun (and also sounds entirely like something I would say "so fun!" about and then freak out once it was just around the corner). You'll be amazing, I'm sure. Go team! Good luck!

Aidan Hagood said...

Well, if it turns in to a disaster, at least it will be the makings of a hilariously awesome blog post. :)

Go Steeltoed Stilettos!!

Artsy Fartsy said...

Thanks, girls! It will definitely be entertaining! I keep "siking" myself out by googling it and reading all these blogs of elite athletes who said it was hard. Hopefully, they were doing the 7-12 hour race and not the 4-6 hour one!

Joseph said...

In case you were being serious about PFD and fire roads - a PFD is a Personal Floatation Device (or life jacket) and a fire road (or fire break) is a road in the woods that is designed to prevent forest fires from spreading.

Jail Break said...

Wow, it was an exciting adventure race girls. Congratulations for a great job well done. Great challenges. Keep it up and looking forward always.

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