• Photo by Alexandra Cannon
    Between legs of the race, participants had to check in with Too Cool to show proof that they reached every required checkpoint before moving on to the next challenge.
  • Photo by Alexandra Cannon
    Participants in the Big Chill Adventure Race on Saturday, January 20th were required to bike about 20 miles for the cycling leg of the race, and maps issued to teams early in the day helped them stay on track to reach every checkpoint spread between Fort Parker State Park, Old Fort Parker and the Confederate Reunion Grounds.
  • Photo by Alexandra Cannon
    Several teams finished their cycling leg around the same time and began their trekking portion of the race together! Though this race was challenging and competitive, there was a strong sense of camaraderie among participants, as part of the fun came from exploring the historic sites.
  • Photo by Alexandra Cannon
    Johnny 5 is Alive was the first team to complete in the Sports Sprint version of the Big Chill Race, finishing a few minutes past the three hour mark. (L to r) Kellen Gunderson, Steve Williams, and Nathan Gorrell were exhausted when the race was all said and done, but excited to snag their first team win.
  • Photo by Alexandra Cannon
    Too Cool Racing encouraged participants of the Big Chill to bring canned goods for a food drive in exchange for the ability to skip one checkpoint, and many competitors happily traded canned goods for a competitive edge in the race.

Big Chill Adventure Race at Fort Parker State Park

By Alexandra Cannon, Staff Reporter

The challenging fun of adventure races came to Fort Parker State Park with the 14th annual Big Chill Race, held at the Park on Saturday, Jan. 20. Too Cool Racing, an Austin-based sports organization, sponsored and conducted the event. With about 70 participants, the race took up most of the day and allowed competitors to interact with several historic sites including Old Fort Parker and the Confederate Reunion Grounds that were marked with several checkpoints for the race. This was the first year Too Cool held the Big Chill at Fort Parker State Park, as the past 13 annual races had been held in and around Bastrop.

“Fort Parker State Parker is a great location! We love all the history, we love being able to use the Fort and Confederate Grounds,” said Art Cook, who founded Too Cool Racing in 2005. “The trails are nice and relatively easy to hike or bike for our beginner participants. All that said, we will probably try to skip a year between races here because we like to have new sites and experiences for our participants and we used pretty much everything in the park this year.”

For those unfamiliar with Adventure racing, each race is broken into three parts: bicycling, trekking or running, and paddling. There are two versions of the race so that people of all skill levels are encouraged to participate. The Sports Sprint Race consists of 1-2 miles of paddling, 8-12 miles of biking and 4-6 miles of trail running plus some surprises. The Adventure Sprint Race is made up of approximately 4-6 miles of paddling, 15-25 miles of biking and 6-10 miles of trekking, plus special challenges.

“This is the first time we've done the Big Chill here, but we've done other races here a couple of times in the past,” Cook said. “I think we did one here two years ago and one about five years ago.”

The winning team for the Sports Sprint Race, Johnny 5 is Alive, was a 3 member team from the Houston area. The team, made up of Kellen Gunderson, Steve Williams, and Nathan Gorrell, finished the race in just over 3 hours, and their version of the race consisted of about 13 miles of biking, 5 miles of running and a mile of paddling. The group shared a laugh about an awkward moment in their race.

To read more of this story, pick up a copy of Thursday's edition of The Groesbeck Journal! You can also subscribe online or call 254-729-5103.

Groesbeck Journal

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