Saturday, July 24, 2010

Race Report: The Mud Mile

Good thing I have photos of this, because I wouldn't be able to capture what a cool, weird, adventurous day we had.  Are you ready for a very bizarre "race" report?

Christine and I drove to MDI to catch a ferry to Cranberry Island.  After a series of humorous missteps, we finally got to the right spot in Southwest Harbor to catch the right ferry.  We got on the boat with our bikes.

It was socked in with fog, but because this whole day was totally story-book Maine, the fog was rather fitting.  Cranberry Island is the home to about 60 people, with a general store and a small school.  We were both fascinated by the idea of living on an island. The whole day felt just like we stepped into One Morning in Maine.  There were cute people doing cute things everywhere, like little families with their dog heading back to the island with a fresh stock of groceries, and like this cute old man, paddling into the mist.

We wanted to stop everyone and ask:  "What's it like to have to take a boat to your home?  And are you happy out there?" 

We talked a lot about how romantic it all seemed, but wondered if it felt quaint and adorable or isolated?  Maybe both?

Leaving MDI behind.  It was a 20 minute boat ride to the town dock on Cranberry Isle.

Then a 2-mile bike ride.
I'll try not to overuse the word "cute."  But it was so cute.  There were cedar shake cottages all along the ocean, and I swear that every house had a bright, colorful garden, and every house had bikes leaning up against the porch.  I just wanted to move in, brew some coffee, and sit on the porch to write. 

At the end of the road, we came out to the mud flats, which is the exposed ocean floor at low tide.  There was a giant bonfire on the beach and a motley crew of runners, hippies and generally colorful folk.

See that guy with the loin cloth and beer can outfit blowing the horn?  Remember him for later.

Okay, we were ready to go, and ready to get dirty.   The "race" director stood on a rock and yelled:  "If you are here for an athletic event, you have come to the wrong place!  This isn't an athletic event!  We don't know what it is, or why it is, but here we are!"  And then a few minutes later, to gather everyone for the start, he yelled:  "Okay!  Everyone who is doing this, come this way..."  It was officially unofficial.  It was quirky!

Here we are heading out into the mud to start.  Pretty quickly, we realized how hard it is to move through the mud.  It's that thick, suctiony kind of mud that tries to hold onto your shoes.  I think that it looks really gross when looking at these photos, but it really wasn't gross at all.  It didn't smell bad, like some mud flats, and it was, as if this makes any sense, kind of clean mud.

Off we go!  (A kind non-mud-runner kept my camera for me and took some shots)
The course had orange cones (can you see them?) and we had to do 4 laps around the course to equal one mile.  Before Christine and I got to the first cone, we were breathing really heavy and could barely move forward.  You couldn't run through this stuff... way too thick.  It was hilarious.  We were covered in mud up to our hips before one minute had passed, and it was fun to get so dirty.  We ended up laughing and fast-walking the whole way.

Some people actually stopped after the first lap, and most people stopped after the second lap.  They all just laid themselves down in the mud and watched the rest of us keep plodding through.  We were going to "run" the whole mile!  The guy with the loin cloth took it upon himself to make sure that everyone got really muddy, and if he perceived that you weren't muddy enough, he tried to knock you down.  He body checked me from behind during our 2nd lap, but he somehow didn't knock me over.  He was a drunk man on a mission to muddify all the women out there.  We didn't find him to be funny at all, and luckily he didn't hurt us, but he did knock down two other women who were bleeding at the end of the race.  BLEEDING!

Christine and I mucked through the whole mile, and except for the drunk ass incident, we had a blast, and in fact, it was an awesome workout.  It was hard work!  Who knew?  After our fourth lap, we wiped mud on each other's faces and headed back to the beach.  Done!

Ha!  That's not gatorade, that's beer.

Once again, I know this looks disgusting, but it felt kind of cool and soothing.  We kept pointing at each other and laughing.

On the other side of the grassy knoll from where we were standing was open ocean water without the mud.  We climbed over there and went swimming to wash off the mud.  That mud did not really wash off, and there was more laughing at how dirty we were and how funny this whole day was.  We changed into clean clothes on the beach, hung out by the fire for a while, and then we were ready to bike back to the ferry.

We only had to wait 10 minutes for the next boat back to MDI, and then we were very ready for the Little Notch Bakery for dinner.  And I got to fantasize about opening a bakery while we waited for our food.  Every good race ends with a satisfying meal, and this one was no different.  Grilled chicken on foccacia with garlic aoili.  Chocolate chip cookie.  Hot coffee.

I'll call this a huge success:  a beautiful day with Christine, a quaint island experience, a muddy workout, and a good story to tell.


Joanne said...

This race is now on my bucket list!
As always - Thanks for sharing.

Kim said...

That looks like too much fun! I might have to do that someday. I totally agree with you about island life. I've been to a few, and I have that same vision-romance! I got to spend the night on Vinal Haven this past spring with a friend that lives there. Her husband's a lobsterman and they treated me to fresh lobster off the boat. And their school is beautiful.

Heather said...

That sounds like an amazing experience!

What a great day. Looks like fun!

Michelle said...

That does look like fun! And a lot cooler than here in MO - or is that my imagination? ;)

Kirsten said...

you beat reed in muddiest face this week, I think.