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Teams challenged mentally, physically in YMCA event

October 31, 2006|by JENNIFER FITCH

FAYETTEVILLE, PA. - The day started with crossword puzzles and ended in a maze of rope, with grueling bicycling, running and paddling in between, to test the mental and physical prowess of the 119 people participating in the fourth annual Michaux Team Challenge (MTeC) hosted by the Chambersburg YMCA.

Designed to foster teamwork, the times put in by adventure racers are affected by their performance on mental challenges that require problem solving and memorization.

"This year, they have math problems," said Dave Campbell, co-race director. "They have to figure out their coordinates."

Four-person MTeC teams on the novice course began crossing the finish line in 3 1/2 hours, while those on the technical course did so in about five hours.

The Chambersburg YMCA for the first time offered an introduction to adventure racing event that drew 11 participants, including Connie Kelley and her 13-year-old son, Bryan.

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"If you have a family that's into fitness, it's a nice thing," said Connie Kelley, 49.

Mom found the constant climb on the first portion of the bike ride to be challenging, while Bryan was pleasantly surprised that it wasn't harder. The pair, who have been Chambersburg YMCA members since 1995, laughed when talking about the speeds reached while traveling downhill.

The "Lost Boys" team from Chambersburg found the bike ride to be the most difficult part of the race. One of the bikes had problems with the gear and seat, so the guys traded it around.

However, they could be heard laughing from the shore as the inflatable raft brought them yards from the finish line. Laughter continued as they talked about the few times they got lost on the course, which, in anticipation of that happening, had brought about the team name.

"We thought we were going to get lost," Ryan Adams said.

"Actually our wives said, 'Lazy Boys,' but we didn't feel lazy doing this," Joshua Redding said.

Laughter also was a key component of a team from the Hanover (Pa.) YMCA, member Autumn Rinehart said.

"We had a great time," Rinehart said. "We laughed together."

The novice group, which had three members new to adventure racing, was pleased with its time of 4 hours and 42 minutes.

Campbell said the dozens of volunteers that pulled off the event received "wonderful" feedback from participants, but he was hoping for more youth participation. Event organizers have special teams set up that partner four teenagers with an adult captain.

"Other commitments seem to deter them. We'd like to get more teen teams," Campbell said.

For more information about MTeC, visit www.chbgy.org/mtec.

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