Kulshan Quest was an awesome experience..Sarah and I were the only all woman team and the only women participating in the 6 hour race. And I can’t remember for sure, but I think we may have also been the only first-time adventure racers too. We hit every single check point including all the bonus points and had a fantastic time in the process. We finished the kayak leg right in the middle of the pack but ran into a few snags on the trek and the mountain bike legs. The navigation element definitely makes it more challenging over just following a pre-set course! I feel like we learned a ton that will better equip us for next time (“Things I Learned” in the comments). And no matter what, I got to spend a beautiful solstice day with a good friend in one of my favorite places being active and having adventures of all kinds. Thanks to Brent Molsberry and Quest Adventure Races for creating such a fun event!
2. It is hard to paddle a kayak and look at a map at the same time. Next time either use a tandem boat so someone is always paddling and someone can navigate or memorize the checkpoints and questions.
3. Do not separate. More importantly, don’t separate the map from the passport. One is no good without the other. And you will lose at least an hour looking for each other—more if not for the help of some passing mountain bikers.
4. Have a backup plan in case of separation so you don’t spend an hour looking for each other. The backup plan you create after you are already separated is not likely to be what the other person would assume for a backup plan.
5.Run more, bike more. Even when all you want to do is kayak.
6. Mountain biking is less scary the second time. But the second time mountain biking is not likely the best scenario for your first race. Do some mountain biking in the next year.
7. It is also hard to ride a bike and look at a map. Or run and look at a map. Watch the people that have done this before. They have really cool things that make stuff easier. Get some of those things that make stuff easier.
8. Trust your instincts. If it looks like a giant boulder split in two, it’s probably THE giant boulder split in two. Don’t spend an hour looking for other giant boulders split in two, just call to find out if the checkpoint has been accidentally removed. Sometimes that is the case.
9. This area is one of the most beautiful places on earth. There are parts of the Chuckanuts I didn’t even know existed before yesterday.
10. Navigation isn’t easy. GPS is easy. Get lost in the woods a few times this summer and practice getting out. Don’t just stick to the trails you know, find some new ones.
11. A LOT of work goes into putting these races together…we are so lucky to have something like this right in our backyard! I can’t wait for the next one!!
April is a co-founder and former co-Executive Director for Recreation Northwest. She has a passion for place and loves exploring, experiencing and sharing the beauty of the pacific northwest. She is currently working with Ocean Conservancy to protect our oceans, specifically the Arctic.