Fort Bragg G.I. Janes own Smith Lake for a day
August 20, 2010
FORT BRAGG, N.C. - Sixteen women pushed through the sweat, sand and "splash" of Smith Lake during the G.I. Jane ... Out o'Bounce race on Saturday. The two-woman teams raced from station to station in the muggy morning air, beginning at 8:30 a.m. with most teams finishing, in under two and a half hours ahead of schedule.
The race started with a sprint from the Smith Lake welcome center to the riding stables, where one team member led the other on a horseback ride across the outdoor arena before jogging to the bike racks.
Teams geared up with helmets for the mountain bike trail ride, peddling through miles of trees and sandy tracks. Ditching their bikes for paddles and life vests at the boat dock, the women paddled through calm waters to the far side of Smith Lake, where a final jog returned them to the starting point. The day ended with an intense paintball tournament, after which the victors took home the Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation title of "Outdoor Queen Team of the Day."
All participants were connected to Fort Bragg. Alicia Veith and Simone Drost, who placed second in the competition, are European au pairs who competed to "experience Army life." The women, who work for dual military Families, agreed that the forest bike ride was sandy but fun.
"The tour was nice for me - riding in the forest, seeing a little bit different (scenery). It was nicer than the gym," said Drost, a native of Bavaria.
Veith, originally from Germany, seemed to breeze through each event even though it was her first time mountain biking and canoeing.
"We plan to do something like this again," said Veith, who won a weekend stay in one of Smith Lake's cabins for placing second with her teammate.
Sharilyn Wells and Joann Myers, who won the event, are two Army Reservists who brought their competitive spirit to the weekend competition. Wells and Myers, psychological operatives, run 5k and 10k marathons to stay fit.
"She invited me, so I said, 'Yeah, let's show how tough we are'," said Myers, who admitted to never paddling a canoe before the competition. "We were ready to go but also ready to have fun," added Myers.
"I've never used the horse stables, never canoed, so it was fun to see what Fort Bragg has to offer outside the gates," Wells said.
The two Reservists took home more than bragging rights for gaining a competitive edge. They won free tickets on an upcoming G.I. Jane day trip.
Sabina Bryant, MWR chief of outdoor recreation, facilitated the all-female event in an effort to provide an outlet for Spouses of Soldiers and others who hope to ride the competitive streak.
"It just proves that we're offering something they're looking for because you find, especially with the ladies, that they're the last ones to think about themselves. We design the program so (the participant) has a day for herself."