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Huntsville State Park

Huntsville State Park hosts the Texas Jailbreak Adventure Race.

By Sheryl Smith-Rodgers

Sometimes adventure racers will do whatever it takes to get ahead. Take, for instance, last November, when contestant Chad Holman assumed a rather funny position during the Texas Jailbreak Adventure Race at Huntsville State Park.

“A number of campers were there watching, too, while we made fools of ourselves,” he remembers.

No doubt folks must have laughed when they saw Holman kneeling on the beach next to a water-filled PVC pipe, plugging holes with both hands and his tongue. Meanwhile, his teammate (and wife), Megan, raced for more water from Lake Raven to pour in the pipe. Their mission: keep the holes plugged and retrieve a tennis ball inside the pipe.

Later this month, new goofy team-challenge events will test more than 60 teams when the Texas Jailbreak Adventure Race returns to Huntsville State Park. The growing sport of adventure racing — which can last a few hours or go for days — combines two or more disciplines, including trail running, mountain biking, paddling and orienteering.

Heavily wooded trails and a 210-acre reservoir make the 2,083-acre East Texas park a favorite with adventure racers who come to train throughout the year. Other visitors enjoy hiking, biking, camping, swimming and boating. Canoe, kayak and flat-bottom boat rentals are available, too (weekends March through November).

In Lake Raven, fishing enthusiasts catch bluegill, catfish and redear sunfish by the scores. Some land hefty largemouth bass (catch-and-release only). The fish are part of the Budweiser ShareLunker program, which encourages anglers to donate 13-pound-plus bass to TPWD for spawning purposes.

How about a horseback ride through the pines? Guides with Lake Raven Stables lead one-hour treks through the park. Eat-and-ride trips include horseback riding and either a hot breakfast or steak and all the fixings. All trail rides by reservation only.

Huntsville State Park is located 6 miles southwest of Huntsville off Interstate 45 on Park Road 40. For more information, call (936) 295-5644 or visit <www.tpwd.state.tx.us/huntsville>. Call Lake Raven Stables at (936) 295-1985.

The third annual Texas Jailbreak Adventure Race starts at 10 a.m. Saturday, November 17. For more information, visit <www.solemracing.com>. To learn more about adventure racing, call the U.S. Adventure Racing Association at (512) 873-1205 or visit <www.usara.com>.

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