Friday, June 7, 2019

2019 GORUCK DC 12 mile Star Course AAR / Review

This was my wife and I's second GORUCK Star Course.  The first was the 2018 Philadelphia 50 miler.

When they came out with the 12 miler and 26.2 miler, we figured we would give the 12 miler a try.  My wife was injured and couldn't commit to the full or the 50, so we opted for the 12 for fun.

First off, this course was in Washington D.C.  This was our first D.C. event, and we parked outside of the city and took the metro in.  This worked very well for us, parking was easy and we were able to get fairly close to the start point.

After getting off the Metro we headed to the start point.  The start point was at Georgetown Waterfront Park.

It was easy to find the GORUCK start point, they had several tables setup with GORUCK flags.  All the GRTs with rucks on their back was a good indicator also.

Cadre Igor was leading the 12 miler.  We all signed our teams in and the team leads were asked to meet with the cadre to get through part of the admin portion.  Next we were given all the points and instructed to layout our routes and check them with the cadre.  We were also given time to do this before the official start.  This was much different than our Philly 50 miler.  There we were given the points and the clock started.

This time we used the Circuit app instead of the Road Warrior app which we used for the Philly 50 miler.  The Circuit app worked great, and I think it is easier to use.  It also had a few days of a free trial with unlimited points so we didn't even have to pay anything.  It also linked to Google maps, so we could use it for directions from point to point.

Once it was close to the start time we all gathered together for a group picture, and were sent off on our journey.

The first point in the route we chose was mile marker 0 of the C&O Canal Towpath.  Being this was the first point on most team's list there was a line and not much room to get a picture.  So we did the best we could so we could continue to move on and not waste time.

The second point was the Women's Memorial. We snapped a quick picture and quickly headed on.

Then as we were headed away from the memorial we read the information on the points and found we had to get the picture UNDER the dome so we headed back to try again.  So if you do the star course be sure to read the information for each point and get the proper pictures.

Our third point was the Lincoln Memorial.  A lot of the points were much more crowded than when we were in Philly.  Plus with the 12 miler we were out in the middle of the day so many of the points were quite busy and it made it a little more difficult to get in and get the photos.

Our fourth point was the Jefferson memorial.  We quickly found there were a lot of locations we could cut corners and cross open spaces to shorten the route.

Our fifth point was the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial.

The sixth point was the World War 2 Memorial.  A nice thing about the D.C. course was that many of the points were easy to find and everybody knew where they were, because they were so iconic.  Also, most people in the area were there to visit the same sites.  It was a little more hectic because Georgetown had graduation ceremonies that day too, around the same time that we started our event.

The seventh point was the Washington Memorial.  This was probably one of the easiest to find because you could see it from a long distance.  Many of the D.C. points you could see from a distance, which helped out a lot.

Our eighth point was the Supreme Court of the US.  Overall, the D.C. course was very flat, with the biggest hill being the walk up capital hill to this point.

Our Ninth point was the White House.  Then we were off to the finish.  It was getting really hot out, but we continued on.  From start to finish there were 11 way points.

The finish was at Balance Gym on the roof top, so there were quite a few stairs until you got to the top.  The timing was also planned out well so the 50, 26.2, and 12 mile finished around the same time.

After finishing they had pizza, donuts, beer, and water for everybody.  It was was a good location to hang out and wait for the other teams to finish up.

We ended up being the first 12 mile team in, so we got to see a lot of other GRT's come in for the different distances.  We also had the chance to meet up with quite a few of the GRT's that we have met over the years.  The D.C. Star Course had many more participants than the Philly 50 miler we did.

We highly recommend the 12 mile Star Course.  It was a lot of fun, and there seemed to be more points per mile.  So we didn't have to suffer through the long out and backs like we had for the 50 miler in Philly, to get the total 50 miles in.

This ended up being a quick tour of D.C. and some of the most popular attractions.  We also ended up with a great photo gallery of us in front of all the local attractions in our Instagram account that was created to track our event.
I would definitely recommend this one for fun.  We didn't take it too seriously, but we also kept moving because it was so hot out.  It was a great event.

Monday, June 3, 2019

2019 UROC Ultra Race of Champions Race Report

The 2019 UROC (Ultra Race of Champions) was held in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia.

We drove down the day before the race for packet pickup.  The views around the area were amazing, and there were a few overlooks to pull off and check out.

The packet pick up was the same location as the start / midpoint / finish of the race.  It was located at the Skylark Nature Preserve, also know as 12 Ridges Vineyard.  

Entering and exiting the location was a little tricky, because it is a very narrow one lane road.

After arriving at the parking area, there was a good hike up the hill to get to the packet pickup area.  But seeing that you are probably there for an ultra, you should be OK making it up the hill.  (your family and crew may feel differently)

At the top of the hill was the start / finish line and the packet pickup location.

I got my shirt and bib and headed off for the night.

The next morning we met at the same location as packet pickup.  

The race began at 6:00 am.
The sun was just starting to come up, so there was no need for the head lamp in the morning.

The 50k and the 100k started at the same time. 

 The course was broken down into 2 50k courses.  The 50k and 100k split shortly after we left the start line.  The 50k went left to the 50k course which we would be doing later, and the 100k went right for an out and back.

After about a 0.75  mile run though the Skylark farms property we hit a dirt road, and continued down it around 2 miles until we hit a paved rode.

We traveled the paved road for about another 2 ish miles.  We hit the first aid station at the end of the paved road, then it was single track for the rest of the out and back.  This worked great to spread out the races before we hit the single track.

There weren't a ton of markings on the trail, but there also weren't many places to go.  When the trail would split it was marked pretty well.

The trails had a few smaller elevation changes in the beginning then we got into some steep short ups and downs.

The views were amazing.  The trail seemed to go out the top of the ridge so there was a pretty good view the entire first 50k.

This next leg between aid stations was around 11.5 miles.  This was the longest leg between aid stations and we did it twice out and back.  I was very happy I had an extra water bottle with me.  After getting out to the aid station we did the same course back to the start line.

After leaving this aid station, we headed out on the same course the 50k participants ran earlier.

This half of the course started down the hill to the parking area and back through the other side of the Skylark property.

After around a mile we hit the Blue Ridge Parkway.  We continued on the blue ridge park way for around 1.5 miles.

Some of this half of the race included a dirt road.  It was raining pretty hard at this point so there was a small river running down it.

The second half of the course, the single track, seemed a little more technical with a few rock gardens throughout the trail.

The aid stations were very well stocked, and they were setup so you passed through a few of them twice.  This was nice for crews so they could meet there runners twice without driving to another location.

The second half of the course was marked with a lot more flags.  They were nice when it started getting darker.  Most of them also had reflective strips.

There was about a 1.2 mile out and back down a dirt road that we went to the end and marked our bib, and returned to the aid station.  After this there was around 5 miles to the next aid station.  It was mentioned at the previous aid station several times that it was a LONG 5 miles.  They weren't kidding.  At this point we were 50 plus miles in to the race and those 5 miles ended up being one of the steepest and longest climbs of the race.

On the way back to the finish line it started to get pretty foggy.  Luckily the turns were marked well and they had cars and volunteers where we needed to turn.

After getting back through the Skylark grounds we headed up the final hill to the finish.

This was a great race with a good mix of terrain. There were a few challenging hills and the weather definitely added some difficulty, but the views were amazing!

Sunday, April 14, 2019

2019 GORUCK Precision Rifle Gore VA

Another local GRT and I attended GORUCK Precision Rifle in Gore VA.  The spots for this event seemed to fill up pretty quickly.

We stayed in Winchester, VA.  This worked out pretty well, because the first night the classroom portion was held in Winchester at the Marriott.

Cadre Heath and Geoff met us in a conference room.  We spent around 2 hours going over long distance shooting and the theory behind it.  It was great to go through a lot of this the night before in a classroom environment.  It also gave us a little to think about the night before our first day on the range.

The next morning we met at the range at 8 am.

It rained most of the first day, lucky Cadre Heath suggested bringing canopies and tarps if we had them.  So we spent the first 30 minutes or so setting up the firing line.

Next we went through the normal admin stuff, and the range rules.

The range was at the Cove Campground, and it was a brand new range.  We were the first to use it.  Originally it was to be out to 600 yards, but by the time we got there they only got it out to around 500 yards.

The range was extremely muddy, mainly because it looked to have recently been dug up.  There was probably anywhere between  1 - 3 inches of mud we walked around in most of the day.  There was a nice gravel area for the firing line, but any time you stepped off it the ground was pretty slimy clay.

First we paired in to teams of 2, so we always had a shooter and a spotter.  Throughout the drills we would rotate between being the shooter and spotter.

We setup paper targets at 100 yards and a few steel targets.

First we all confirmed zero at 100 yards.  Cadre Heath and Geoff walked around and helped everyone out that needed help.

Now that everyone was shot in Heath started walking us through a few different drills.

After each drill we would get time to try the skills ourselves.  The first day was mostly about the basics and walking through different techniques and getting some time behind your gun.  Even when we had a break for lunch they kept the range hot.  So there was plenty of time to get practice in.

After finishing up the first day we headed back to Winchester, VA for the night.  The second day was much better weather.

There was no need for canopies the second day.

We started off with a drill to raise our heart rate.  We had to lay 10 rounds around 20 ft off the firing line.  You could only take 1 round at a time to the firing line, take the shot and run back for your next round.  We were using a battle ship game board as a target.  There was several games played throughout the day to keep in interesting.

Most of the day we were given time to dial in our doping for different distances.  Most of this was done using the steel silhouette.

Also through out the day they gave us more techniques to focus on.  They also demonstrated how the shooter and spotter works together and their roles.

There were several more games for us to apply our skills towards the end of class, then we finished and cleaned up for the day.  

Just like any other class we received our patches at the end.

This was an amazing class.  Cadre Heath and Geoff  were amazing.  They walked us through a lot of information with a lot of time behind your own gun.  They were always there to help if you needed it.  A lot of times they would stop by if they had some advice as they were walking by.  I would highly recommend this class if you are interested at all in long distance shooting.  These classes are a lot different than a normal GORUCK event.  There is no beat down.  This is a class that is more about learning and working with the Cadre.  You really do learn a lot from some of the best in the industry.

There was a large array of different guns.  I used a Remington 700P .308 LTR with a Vortex Viper HS-T 4-16x44 scope.  It worked great for the class, but it did kick a little more than some of the guns on the line.  After shooting around 200 rounds for the weekend my shoulder was a little tender.  Many rifles were either .308 or 6.5 creedmoor.  There were a few other calibers though, mostly bolt guns, but there were a few semis.

All in all it was a great course/event.  If you're interested in trying, do!