Twilight Biathlon at The Burial Mound (Pawnee) AAR

cdragen

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It didn't occur to me until after it was over, but I was surprised I didn't see any mention of the Twilight Biathlon on here. This was my first time attending, and while I definitely have a list of lessons learned (for myself), I'm glad I went and I'm very grateful to Cody and his family, and Brandon, and Mark, and all the other RO's and volunteers who put on a great shoot. I'll work through this chronologically for sanity's sake--mine and everyone else's--otherwise it's going to be a mess 😅 (it's going to be a mess anyway, and I'm pretty verbose--fair warning).

Unfortunately, I work shifts on a modified duPont schedule (alternating day and night periods over a 4 week cycle, a unique slice of Hell of Earth--sorry to anyone who prefers this type of schedule, but it does not work for me), so naturally I was working days this past weekend when the biathlon was scheduled, but I had the foresight to take Sunday off so I could recover. This turned out to be a good move for the day after, but what I did not consider was perhaps taking off the day of as well, since I wound up getting up at 4AM and working until 5:30PM, and then having to drive out to Pawnee and do the shoot, then drive home. By the time I went to bed at 4AM I had been awake for a full 24 hours...and then the baby woke up at 4:10. I think next time I'll just take both days off. Check.

Prepping the gear and packing went well and I did not forget anything, so that's a win. I think from now on though I'm going to leave the plate carrier at home--I always bring it and say I'll see how I feel about running in it once I'm there, and inevitably I wind up wearing it for some dumb reason, and then I regret it, and my wife makes fun of my old man noises. Leave the plate carrier home. Check.

Arrival, check in and the course brief were easy and well executed. I love the Run n Gun community--everybody is so welcoming and social, and also knowledgeable and capable. This was the first time I've done any night shooting or maneuvering since a long time ago in a country far, far away, so it definitely took some getting used to running under NVGs again--I've tried it out in my relatively rural neighborhood, but there's still too many lights to really effectively practice moving in darkness without looking really sketchy. The course was extremely well laid out and marked by surprisingly bright tiny LEDs and high contrast arrow signs; the only time I had trouble following the course was when I wasn't paying attention or it took a sharp turn and my limited field of view didn't pick up the markers to one side, but that's more a lesson to me to remember to scan and break my tunnel vision. I was running a PVS-14 monocular (Gen 2--I know, but I've got a funny story about how I came into this set gratis, but I'll post it later if there's interest), with a Holosun LS321G laser and illuminator on my 10.5" AR pistol and a BASIC green laser that I panic bought off Amazon for my CZ P-07 when I realized I didn't have any way to aim my pistol in the dark (which actually wound up working very well, except it's a visible laser and not IR). I can't say I shot particularly well, or covered the course very quickly (which had some fun obstacles mixed in--2x4 planks across cinder blocks, balance beam log, two short body rappels, and a couple embankment climbs, one with a rope assist), but I completed every stage (except the bonus), and I had a lot of fun. One other note about my setup is that I apparently need to find a new flash hider. It was...very bright. I'm a little surprised since my research had indicated that my Seekins Precision Nest flash hider was pretty good, but I know that when you shorten the barrel some things change dramatically. Might try a flash can, or some other three prong flash hider and see how that does. All I know is that it was lighting up the night with every shot--sorry RO's!

I did hear that there were some inconsistencies in how the stages were being briefed or run from Friday night to Saturday night, and even between shooters on the same night, but my run was smooth and I didn't encounter any issues with the stages. I think as dark, late, and challenging as the course was everybody was just doing their best, and it's only going to get better the more of these that are held. Overall the RO's were very helpful and maintained excellent control of their stages ensuring safety above all else, and given that by the time I ran a good number of them had already been through the course themselves I think they did great. The stages were just challenging enough and had a good mix of speed, transitions, maneuver, and non-standard shooting positions. The bonus stage was particularly ingenius/diabolical as not only were you required to load rounds into your magazine in the dark--twice--and complete the stage in less than 30 seconds, but they threw the added fun of a green holiday laser projector into the mix to make it extra fun to try and track your own laser or reticle against the moving green dots all over the stage. The reward for completing the bonus was a token to skip one of the two balance and dexterity obstacles at the beginning of the next lap, but if you didn't have a problem with those you could skip the bonus altogether. I tried anyway, and failed lol, but luckily I didn't have a problem with the obstacles so I didn't take any penalties for skipping them.

It was a great time and I was happy to really exercise some of my fun equipment that I don't get a lot of opportunities to work with. Made some new friends that I hope to see again, and apparently this was the first time a lady ran the Twilight Biathlon, so that was cool. We gotta step it up and get our ladies out there, gents! That's our most likely fire team partner anyway, so probably a good idea to go train together. Thanks again to Cody and the gang for putting this on--looking forward to the next one!

(A couple final lessons learned: Hydrate (take come ORS or Liquid IV beforehand if possible); bring your IcyHot/Aspercreme/Deep Blue or whatever so you can apply immediately on finishing and not wait until you get home; set a camp chair near the finish so you can have a seat when you're done; depending on how far you have to drive, consider camping as an alternative to making a long drive home in the middle of the night after running a race.)
 

gmar

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I wasn’t able to make this one due to work but I live the night runs!

We normally camp and grill steaks afterwards and it’s the only way to go!

As far as the flash, just get yourself a suppressor and call it good!

Whats the story behind the NV?

Are you part of the RNG Discussion page on Facebook? If not, it’s a great resource!
 
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