It was a new venue, but the same amazing experience for participants in the third annual Gung Ho Adventure Race.
The event, which took place June 15, was put on by Gung Ho Bikes of York, whose fearsome foursome of Jay Zech, Penny Zech, Rob Kinsley and Doug Hershey have plenty of adventure racing experience of their own.
The quartet created a challenging course for competitors at the new venue at Pine Grove State Park and Michaux State Forest. There was a 10-hour race for veterans seeking a tougher challenge and a four-hour race for beginners.
If the multitude of comments on the Gung Ho Facebook page is any indication, the new course drew rave reviews.
Our favorite came from a man named Jason Clarke, who apparently felt the “Like” button did not do the event justice.
“I wish there was something more than a ‘LIKE’ button for yesterday’s experience/race,” wrote Clarke. “Facebook should have a ‘FREAK’N AWESOME’ button.”
There also are plenty of amazing pictures taken by participants on race day, including a nice close-up of a rattlesnake that was spotted by racer Eric Blom.
Hershey said the long day was a success at every level from the race-organizer perspective.
The 10-hour race started with a 5:45 a.m. check-in, where teams got their first look at the course maps and plotted their course. There were 75 participants in the 10-hour portion of the day, divided into teams of two or three athletes. There also were five brave solo participants.
A 30-minute bus ride took the teams to the start location, and at 8 a.m. the race started with teams inflating and paddling their rafts to various checkpoints on a reservoir. After the paddle, teams had a choice. They could either ride dirt roads or technical trails on their mountain bikes.
After that, teams traveled on foot searching for checkpoints along a ridge line with “awesome” views. Teams then jumped back on their bikes for another orienteering section, followed by an 80-foot rappel and more checkpoints to locate on foot.
Teams used maps and compasses to locate checkpoints throughout the race and were required to finish within the 10-hour time limit.
The four-hour race drew a field of 50 participants and mirrored the 10-hour event, just not quite as long and with no rappelling.
Since there were so many divisions in each race, and because the results have teams with crazy, creative names, it is pointless to name them all here. Full results and photos of the race can be found atgunghoadventurerace.com.