Friday, December 25, 2009

The Best Adventure Racer Ever...

So I was thinking last night (Christmas Eve) that Santa has to be the best adventure racer ever. I mean how many checkpoints and miles is that anyway? In less than 24 hrs!! Even with a flying reindeer powered sleigh that is pretty incredible, he must have some wicked nav skills. Anyway I set out to catch a peek at him in action to try to find out some trade secrets. See the movie below to see what I got.

How can a man of his size move so fast? I wonder what his training routine is...


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Castlewood 8 Race Report

It's supposed to be an 8 hour race. Translated, this means that Team Alpine Shop will finish in just about 30 minutes. For the rest of us mere mortals, this means hopefully coming in under 10 hours.

Team Alpine Shop is the standard for adventure racing in my book.

Now I know that there are other great teams out there, (WEDALI cracks me up, and they LOVE to race) but Alpine Shop are in our own backyard (St. Louis), so as far as I’m concerned, they are the gold standard. They won the 2009 USARA point series. The youngest person on the team is 41 y.o. (very inspirational). Not only that, but you would be hard pressed to meet a nicer group of racers. And as long as Dave Frei is putting the Zanfel where it is supposed to go, they will always be in contention for the title.

Jeff Sona was fresh off an ultra marathon (100 mile trail run in under 30 hours), so it’s understandable if he was a bit banged up. Maybe slow the team down by 30, 35 seconds. Totally acceptable.

The reason I’m mentioning Team Alpine Shop, is because The Castlewood 8 race is sponsored by Alpine Shop. An outdoor gear store in the St. Louis area. They have a great store, and supplied a lot of the swag for the race. I think everyone came away with some sort of goody at the awards ceremony. My hats are off to both the store and the racers.

As for team Forum Dental. We usually race as a 4 man team. My use of the term ‘man’ is subjective here, but suffice it to say that we each have at least one X chromosome, and one Y chromosome. Chris “Klinefelter” Wehrli moved to Idaho, and was not with us for this race. So we opted to jump to the elite category, and took to the internet in search of a female race partner. After an exhaustive search, and several interviews from applicants from around the globe, we opted for our strongest applicant - Kari Young. Fortunately for us, she happens to be the spouse of teammate Scott Young, so it didn’t make for any awkward sleeping arrangements.

The night before the race we were fortunate enough to be going to bed early. Usually Scott is up until 3am plotting routes. Then, once he is in bed, he fidgets around for hours trying to get some sleep. With no pre-race maps, and his wife on the team, he was in bed at 8pm ready for some sleep.

Dave and I slept fine too. Rest assured, there was no snuggling going on in our bed though.

At 4:17am the prostate gave out, and I made the “I’m 40 years old now; I have to get up in the middle of the night to go potty” trek. For me, that was it as far as sleeping. Over the next 30 minutes, everyone made the trek to the bathroom for the same purpose. I’m the slowest one on the team (the weak Link), so it was fitting that I was the first to give in to the calls of nature.

Once we got on the bus we started joking around with some of the other races. I’m always saying dumb stuff just to see the reaction of some of the racers. “OH crud, we're supposed to bring our own food?”. “I didn’t realize we need to bring our mountain bikes”. “We’re going to be in the woods!??”. You get some stunned looks until it sinks in that you are only joking.

Over 100 teams signed up for this race. I think 96 actually started the race. Some very stiff completion. A top 5 finish was going to have to be earned the hard way. When we reached the starting area we received our maps and got ready to go.

This would be a good time to mention that the temp was 17 degrees.

A week before the race it had been around 70 degrees, so 17 degrees was a real wake-up call.

We started out with a run to pick up our passports. This was a brisk winding uphill run. We got to the passport station to find volunteers standing near a roaring fire and our passports. Scott had already plotted our course, so we were off like banshees. This is a new approach for us. We used to start out slow and work up, but a few races back, we decided to just go for it from the start. It’s been working fairly well for us, so we stuck with it.

Checkpoints 1 thru 11 could be gathered in any order you wished, while #'s 12 thru 15 had to be found in order. Not very many teams plotted the course the same way we did, so we were essentially on our own for a bit. As usual, Scott took us directly to the 1st CP.

At CP 6 we started to run into some of the other race teams. A few were scratching their heads, wondering if they should try and follow other teams and abandon their maps all together, while others were beginning to enjoy the warmer 22 degree weather as the sun came up.

Scott was doing his usual fabulous job of making sure we got to the correct location as quickly as possible. About the only problem we ran into was that our water supply lines from our hydration packs kept freezing up. We had to keep them tucked under our arms to heat them up so they would flow properly. Ever sucked on the end of something that has been tucked under a sweaty armpit? Yea, it’s as bad as it sounds.

Getting from CP 14 to CP 15 was a snap, and I was wondering how the transition over to our mountain bikes would go. Biking has historically been a section were we pass a number of teams. The unknown was our newest team member. Kari XX Young. She is super fit. Super fit as in I can only joke around with her so much, because if I cross the line, and she decides to “Bring It” and open up a 6-pack of booty smack on me, I’m in trouble. I can’t even run away from her, because she is faster than I am. The few times I have crossed the line with her have ened up with me in fetal position sucking on my thumb asking for my mommy.

Anyway, Kari has only recently taken up biking (3 weeks ago). Not just mountain biking, but “how do I use the gears and breaks” kind of biking. She is a competitor though, and has dedicated heart, soul and body to learning to mountain bike. She has the bruises to prove it.

Some mid-race stats.

We were the 14th team to reach the Bike Transition. This means we were doing fairly well out of the chute. The fastest team did this section in 1 hour 35 minutes. The slowest team did this section in 5 hours and 52 minutes. Our time was 2 hours 9 minutes.

Transitions are notoriously slow for us. We had the 40th fastest time in and out of the transition area. Not sure why this plagues us every race, but it is an area that we need to work on.

With frozen solid water bottles, we started on the bike.

The first several miles of the bike leg were going to be on paved roads and the CP's looked pretty easy to find. There was one just brutal climb though.

Usually we love going up, because it means a fast downhill after. In 22 degree weather, after building up a slight sweat from the climb, this downhill freeze is not quite so welcome.

After we punched the passport at CP 16 it was time to make our descent to CP 17. It was all downhill and very fast. My bike computer was set to Km rather than Miles, so when I looked down and saw 55, I almost fainted. I quickly made the conversion to mph and figured we were going about 33mph. Did I mention it was 22 degrees? At the bottom we realized what it must feel like to have Botox our faces had literally frozen into huge numb cheesy grins. Special D commented that it had taken years off my face….. I’m thinking of scheduling an appointment.

We got to CP 19 from our bike transition in 42 minutes. That was 14th fastest on the day. Forget those fears that Kari had only been biking for a few weeks. We were crushing it here.

Heading to CP 20 we got off course a bit. I don’t think it cost us more than a few minutes, but the local signage was a little messed up. It was clear that some other folks took the same route. These ‘other folks’ were in front of us, so obviously they were fast, and had a very good idea of how to read a map.

This single-track leg took us out of our game a little. We were not going very fast, and it was not really difficult terrain. For us it was an out-and-back, so on the way back, we knew what to expect as far as what the ride would be like. It was flat, a little muddy, and we all had a ton of energy. It should have taken us about 27-28 minutes. It took us 42. A good 10 minutes of that was a chain repair…but still, we were not on our game for this leg.

Chain repair – let me tell you we handled this with an expertise that you might only find from a local bike shop mechanic. First of all, we got a chain wrapped around the crankshaft. NOT just wrapped around the crankshaft, but wrapped around the crankshaft SEVERAL TIMES. I don’t know how this is possible. We could not do it again if we tried. To this moment, it is still baffling to everyone on the team. The only way we could think of reproducing this picture, is actually taking a link out of the chain, wrapping it around the crankshaft, and then putting the link back in.

Seriously, it was that bad. However, Special D whipped out his tools, and in less than 10 minutes, we had some bad links (torqued beyond use) removed, chain unwrapped, and we were back in the saddle.

We ranked 42nd in this section. Not our finest hour, but one more section down, and on to the canoes. (Read on to discover how this “slow” section and chain difficulties ended up being a blessing in disguise, and actually saved our entire race).

Getting to CP 23 presented its own challenges.

We had to load our bikes into a canoe and then paddle upriver. This requires a balancing act. The CP was at the far end of an island, so rather than paddle upriver even further; we parked the canoe at the near end, and ran for it.

Now I would choose to do this again, but in retrospect, it might not have been the wisest thing to do. The mud on the island was thick. We jumped out of our canoe and were up to our shins in thick, ice cold mud – with our bike shoes on. Did I mention that it was 22 degrees?

So we get to the other side of the island to bring our mistake into full realization. The CP is hanging on a tree - out over the lake. You could paddle right up to it and punch the passport in a canoe. Dave thought about shimming out the tree and punching the passport, but there was a big branch sticking straight up out the side of the tree. If anything went wrong, SPLASH into the river – Race Over.

We realized that we had three choices: A) run back to the canoe, paddle upriver to the CP (10 minutes at least) B) risk the shimmy and possible full body douse (Race Over) or C) plunge into the river knee deep (Dave is 6’2”), and deal with the cold (22 degrees out)

It took Super Dave all of 0.03 seconds to go charging down into the water and punch the passport. We got back to the canoe, and took off down river towards the take-out, and the final leg of the race.

We maintained a solid, sustainable rowing pace despite the cold wet feet and frigid temperatures.

Dave and I have made the mistake in past races of just throwing our bikes on the canoe and strapping them down and going. Only to realize later that the handlebars were in the water acting as a rudder. Or one of the wheels was shoved up my backside, or sitting on Dave’s lap. Worse is the “off-kilter” set, that puts you in full on pucker mode for hours as you try to compensate for the poor weight distribution.

This is all much more difficult to get right than it seems. Taking your time is important, but even then, it is impossible to tell how things are going to end up until you are in the water and going. If you get it wrong, it’s not like you can stand up in the canoe and start making adjustments. It is always a crapshoot.

This race, Pluto lined up with Saturn’s third moon, and Dave and I got our bikes “right”.

Scott and Kari had a little more trouble. Because of the set of their bikes, Kari could only paddle on one side, with a partial stroke. Scott could only paddle on one side with a – reach out over the bike tire and stroke – type effort. Fortunately this was not a 4 hour paddle, and we actually made it through this section 14th fastest.

Later we found out that one team flipped their canoe. Did I mention that it was 22 degrees out?

We all handle adversity differently. For the most part, I’m the slowest person on the team. I’ve come to accept this. It’s not easy, but it’s either enjoy being with friends, and realize I’m going to be the deciding factor in how fast/slow we go, or not race at all. Scott and Dave are like Gazelles going uphill – on foot or on bike. I weight about 60 lbs more than Scott, and am several inches shorter than Dave. I just don’t go up hills very fast.

I’d be lying if I said that being the slow guy was not discouraging – but I live with it because it is a ‘constant state’ for me. My teammates live with it because they know someone has to be the slow guy, and if they had a different teammate that was faster than them, they would be the slow guys, and would probably have a total mental breakdown.

Now when Scott or Dave do something that causes the team to ‘err’, it is not only unusual, but as a team, we are usually unprepared to deal with it. Basically the only way for this to happen is for the navigator to make a wrong turn or something like that. While this used to be more common when we started racing, it is actually fairly uncommon any more. Usually it is more of a post-race ‘ahh, knowing what we know now’ type of thing; we might have made a different route choice.

Every team out there has missed a CP, decided they took a bad route, or been momentarily lost at some point during a race. It happens, and happens a lot.

In the past, if Scott made a navigation error, he would get ticked at himself, go into a little trance, and bust a move to get us back where we were supposed to be. Silence was an absolute necessity. Part of the ritual is putting the head down, mentally beating himself up, and about 5 – 10 minutes later everything is fine. No one on the team really cares about the error, because NONE of us want to shoulder the burden that he does by taking on the task of navigator.

When I leave my bike stuff back at the hotel, and we have to go back for it, run tight on time, and end up carrying it with us instead of being able to drop it off with the bikes, I just feel stupid. It does not really slow me down trying to shake it off, because I’m already the slowest.

With this lead in, Forum Dental had a completely new experience this race.

We get to the canoe take out, and there is a mandatory gear check.

Dave and I fly through this like a hot knife through butter. We take both canoes up to the loading area while Kari and Scott are pulling out their gear. We are moving.

No problems – except that Kari does not have her whistle. At a Bonk Hard Racing race, this does not result in a time penalty, or a CP penalty. It results in a DQ. Basically the death penalty. A DQ is mentally very different than an “unofficial time” or even a “DNF – Did Not Finish”. A DQ, DisQualified, is a – you broke the rules, you cheated, you otherwise are not allowed to complete the race and receive a finishing time and ranking.

This being Kari’s first race, being Scott’s wife, and otherwise not knowing much about the “Required Gear” list – Scott took it upon himself to make sure she was packed and ready to go.

By the way, the Young’s own three whistles. They brought every one of them to this race. They had each of them on the bed the night prior as we meticulously went through the gear list. There are any number of reasons how one got left back at the hotel, and was not put in the race pack. No Whistle = DQ’d.

It is hard to say how I would have felt had this been me. I’ve slowed us down. I’ve caused us to come in dead last. I’ve thrown up, I’ve cried, I’ve bent my derailer (had a spare one), pushed my bike up a mole hill when I had absolutely nothing left in me. I’ve dealt with these emotions. DQ’d when we are one hour from the finish of the race – I’ve not had to deal with that one yet.

Let me be honest here. This is when your mind, in its cold tired state starts to play tricks on you. “how important is a whistle”? Is it worth compromising my integrity and “borrowing” a whistle from a teammate that has already been checked? Believe me, as a teammate, these same thoughts are running through your head. These races are expensive. It’s a silly whistle for goodness sake. But it’s the rules. We all know the rules in advance, and we all play by the same rules.

I’m proud to say that we maintained our integrity – and were blessed for it.

The Volunteers (bless their hearts) relentlessly asked each team that came to the gear check if they had a spare whistle. Now some race packs have built in whistles. Ours don’t, but some do. So up wonders a racer with a pack with a built in whistle. Not knowing this counts, he had also packed another whistle – ahh, a spare. We’re back in business. A huge shout out to this racer that saved our entire race.

By the way, if we don’t have the chain malfunction that I mentioned earlier, we don’t get this whistle. Had it not slowed us down, we would not have been in the right place at the right time to get this whistle. While the chain was no one’s fault, it certainly makes you feel better about it if it happens to you.

Now I’m a big believer in Karma. This was some good Karma. We owed someone big time.

This cost us 10 minutes. Shake it off, water under the bridge, let’s go.

Well, easier said than done. Down goes the head. “Shake if off Scott, we’re in business”. Only time is going to heal the crushing feelings that Scott must have felt when he thought he might have cost us the race. Non-the-less, we are back to racing. Not busting it out like we might otherwise have been doing, but back on the road.

We’ve now been passed by a few teams, an unusual situation for us when we are on bikes – no big deal, we are still in the race. Back to the single track, and up the hill we go. CRUNCH. Scott’s chain in munched between the crank and the bike frame. His eyes look like they have been soaked in acid. I thought he was going to chuck the bike off the mountain. We decide to walk the bikes to the top of the hill and fix it there. Man when it rains it pours.

On the way up the hill Special D sees some “trash” and bends over to pick it up. This is no ordinary trash. This is team 118’s passport. No passport, and you don’t finish the race. Your passport is the only proof that you found every checkpoint.
Karma. Scott’s chain does not go CRUNCH, and maybe we just ride on by like the four teams in front of us, and don’t bother picking up the “trash”. That’s the way I see things at least. More on this later.

We get to the top of the hill, and the chain fix takes a few minutes. Nothing big, and we are ready to go. It appears that Scott has fully shaken off the whole whistle thing at this point. I can see in his eyes that he is back in it.

This last mountain bike portion is fairly routine, though quite hilly including the psyche-crushing energy-void known as Cardiac Hill. We end up doing this section with the 34th fastest time. No one passes us after the chain fix, but we also don’t pass anyone before we come across the finish line.

Two things happen during this bike ride.

First the funny one. Remember Kari, the “newby mountain bike rider”. Well, up to this point, she has really been holding her own. Of course she has used up all of her allotted “I’m sorry” statements at this point. You get one per race. We gave her 10 because she is new. She used them, and was done. Not only that, she was a good sport about it.

I’m bringing up the rear, making sure everything is good. Scott is leading the way with the map, and Kari comes to a rough patch of ground. She comes to a stop and tries to put her food down on the ground on the downhill side of the bike. This time of year, there are a lot of leaves on the ground in Missouri. Sometimes they get caught up in logs and are much like a snow drift – meaning they are several feet deep. Well, Kari went to balance on one such “leaf drift”. I’m watching in slow motion as she starts to go down the hill over the log, dragging the bike with her up and over her head. I reach down and grab a wheel to try and stop the slide. No one got hurt. But it was funny as anything – even to Kari. We were still cold and exhausted; maybe you had to be there.

The second one was touching. We passed a Father and Son who were out on the trails running together. The boy was probably 5 y.o. It was really neat to see a dad out in nature with his boy getting some exercise, and having some fun.
Karma, we finish the race. We hand in Team 118’s passport – you’ve never seen a happier team. They had the wherewithal to punch their map after losing their passport, but without the passport to prove they had gotten to the first 24 CPs, they are DNFs. Whoever was responsible for their passport is thanking the heavens.

Super Dave saves the day. In the process Team 118 (Diesel Manpower) goes from DNF to #2 in the 4 man team division, and 16 overall. Obviously we place one spot higher if we don’t find, or turn in the passport – good sportsmanship and a love of the sport rule out, we’re here to have fun. We return the whistle, and feel like all is right in the world.

We end up 5th and 6th in our respective 2 man and 2 person coed divisions. 20th overall with a race time of 6 hours and 25 minutes. A great race.

Alpine Shop wins the overall race with a time of 4 hours 39 minutes. They are in a league all by themselves. Might have been 38 minutes if Jeff had not run that 100 mile race a few weeks ago.

For various strategic reasons, we raced this race as two teams, but ran together. In 2010, Forum Dental will race as a 4-Person Co-Ed team.

2009 closes with Team Forum Dental winning the 4-person Adventure Division of the Bonk Hard Racing Series. We’ve come a long ways baby.

A special thanks to Henry Antolak and Forum Dental for sponsoring our team.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Scanned Castlewood maps

Ok, Below is the scanned version of the Castlewood 8 hr Adventure Race maps and the route that Forum Dental took. The little maplet window below does not display the maps properly so you have to click Here to get the link to download and open up the maps in Google Earth.

View Larger Map

Thursday, December 10, 2009

2009 Castlewood 8 hr map

It seems that I left my set of race maps at the restaurant Saturday after the race, so I did this map by memory. Once Special D gets back from Milwalkee I will snatch his maps and scan in the real maps, but until then this will have to do.
Click Here for the full size map. Also click on the little arrows at the end of the tracks for the mileages of the different legs of the race.

View Larger Map

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Castlewood 8 hr splits

I took the clock times from Jason's splits and broke out the actual time splits and rankings. The spreadsheet is HERE

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Turkey Orienteering meet, Babler St. Park

Paul and Ginger Joyner, and Anne (from Forum Dental Too) went up for the Turkey O meet at Babler State Park. The meet is a Score O format (get as many checkpoints in three hours). I felt I ran a great course, I finished pretty well in the overall standings with 560 points out of 790 possible with 5 minutes to spare. I didn't have any major nav errors and was just about beat after three hours. In fact I wasn't sure I was going to make it up that last hill to the finish. One guy swept the course, Incredible!! It was great weather and the woods were super open. Paul, Ginger and Anne scored 300 pts.

View Larger Map

The CP had point values CP 1-10, 10pts; 11-20, 20 pts; 21-30, 30 pts; 31-34 50 pts.

For some reason my GPS track always shows up under the map when viewed in Google maps, for the best results, to see my route on top of the map click HERE to download the .kmz file and view it in Google Earth (you have to have Google Earth installed on your computer). You may have to right click on the link and save it to your computer.

Run for Strong Kids Half Marathon 09, Holister MO

Owing to the fact that the Castlewood 8 is on the same day as the Memphis Half Marathon and Kari likes to do a half marathon this time of year, I searched and found another half to run. I came across a little race in Holister MO and thought well it is probably going to be hilly, but it is really cheap and close so we decided to do it. I just didn't realize how hilly.

Judd, Stephen Kofoed, Dave and Kari and I headed down on Friday. Kari and I stayed the weekend in Branson since it was our 10th anniversary. After making a quick QT stop and calling Chris for a little nostalgia we made it to Branson. Met Judd, Dave and Stephen and headed to Olive Garden where we saw the rest of the Rolla people that were going to run. After dinner we left Judd back at his hotel and went to preview the course. It was quickly apparent that this was going to be no stroll down Beale St. We followed the rough directions and found our way up a HUGE hill to an aptly named place called Murder Rock. I tried to console myself thinking that maybe I missed a turn or something and we weren't in the right spot when Dave pointed out a sign that pointed to the 10th hole on a golf course which was part of the rough directions, Rats well we were in the right place. Looking around I saw a water tower far below us that we had passed earlier along the route and thought oh man what have I gotten us into, I think Kari was ready to switch to the 5K at that point.

Next morning we arrived at the race, the place was chaotic and it was apparent that it was not going to start on time. After a long delay we finally headed off. My usual race strategy (or stupidity) is to go out hard, get some fast miles in and then just try and gut it out when I run out of gas for the last few miles. I figured with the Murder Rock torture fest in the middle of the race I had better hold back and save some. Dave, Stephen and I went out together with a handful of people ahead of us. Kristine from Rolla went out like a rocket and was way up on us. We passed a few people on the way out and had most everyone in sight. Stephen, seeing that he was being beaten by a girl(Kristine) kept wanting to push the Nitro button and pass everyone. Dave and I kept telling him that this is no 5K, we have Murder Rock to contend with, and we have plenty of time to real them in. Finally, at about mile 5 the piss and vinegar was about up to his eyeballs, and the hormone crazed teen could no longer stand to see a girl in front of him so we told him that if he was feeling it, go ahead and have a go. He was off, charging down a hill at a speed that would have destroyed Dave and my knees but hey, he is 17 what does he know about sore knees (I think he found out the next day). Dave and I held our pace and passed the water tower that we knew we had to be looking down onto before all was said and done.

I would like to take a moment to describe the climb up to Murder Rock. You start out passing the water tower and getting psyched out thinking that I have to essentially run to the top of that thing, then you go shooting down into a valley at a sharp decline that absolutely destroys your quads. Oh well you don't need those to climb right? Then you start your assent, winding your way up a just ruthlesly long, moderate incline which is just steep enough to push you to your aerobic threshold and sap your legs of all endurance. All the while the climb gets steeper and steeper as you go up. Then you pass by an aid station which is staffed my EMTs (wise move race director). After splashing water and poweraid all down your front because you are breathing too hard to drink anything, the road decides it is done taking it easy on you and earns the title Murder Rock. With no legs, out of breath and swimming in lactic acid the incline shoots up to like an 89 degree angle, ok it is probably like 45 but it feels like almost 90 so if you are not some sort of mountain goat/human mutation you just crawl up it to the top or your heart explodes and Murder Rock claims another victim.

The view of Murder Rock hill (its more impressive in real life)

Now I am sure that Dean Karnazes, Lance Armstrong, the entire Alpine Shop team, and anyone from the Rockies would call it a molehill and laugh their butts off, but there ain't nothin' in Rolla that compares.

Kari looking out over the precipice at the top of Murder Rock (note the water tower)

Your reward for making it to the summit of Murder Rock is to make the turn and come right back down. See, at that point you "ok the worst is over" and start your decent. Murder Rock then takes one more attempt to do you in. It didn't succeed at blowing up your heart on the way up but since you have no legs left you essentially are a car with no breaks and due to the now severe decline, it is everything you can do to keep from careening out of control and cartwheeling to a bloody demise. I can't be sure, but I think I glimpsed a large pile of skulls and bones in the valley at the bottom of the hill, and what were all those large birds circling around us for?

At about mile eight Dave and I started up another sharp incline (the one that destroyed your quads prior to Murder Rock) and I decided to walk up the incline while Dave proclaimed "I'm takin it!!" and then began walking about 15 yards in front of me. That small separation was enough though, and I couldn't reel him back in. He came in 1:20 in front of me. The rest of the race I focused on reeling in one person after another. On one of the super long uphills I noticed Kristine running and then walking and then running. When I went by her I tried to give her some encouragement to stay with me but she had blown herself up by going out too fast without knowing the perils of Murder Rock in her future. I wonder if Stephen would have made the same mistake had Dave and I not held the reigns on him for a while. The last 3.5 miles I focused on reeling in a couple of guys running together between Dave and Stephen and I. I really didn't want Stephen and Dave to go 1 and 2 and then me come in 5th. So I kicked it up a bit and passed them while they were at an aid station with 1.5 to go. They kept me honest though and I could hear them behind me for the rest of the race. I came in at 1:40:10 (7:39 min/mi.) my PR for a half which is just insanity considering the course.

After catching my breath and getting some water I went back to wait for Kari and to run the home stretch with her. Judd came barreling around a corner at the bottom of a hill at top speed and almost took out a traffic cone. I saw a cop with his radar gun out, start to turn on his lights before he realized it was someone on foot. You see Link(Judd) trains to be a "downhill specialist" which means that he likes to store as much "potential energy" as he can so that he can really build momentum on the downhills. Just after Judd blasted by me carried up the last slight incline from momentum alone, Kari rounded the corner and we ran in together. She had enough of the ipod and gps watch and unloaded all of the gear to me. She asked me if she could make it in under 2:05 and at 2:03:30 I said she could make it, but she had to get moving. She then dropped the hammer and took off which induced a cramp in my calf and I hobbled along after her. She sprinted in the finish at 2:04:42. Not a sub 2hr but a very nice time on a challenging course.

In the end the Rolla Stormin' Mormons went down to Branson to show those boys how to run hills and swept the overall men's division with 1st overall going to Stephen Kofoed (1st half marathon and longest run of his life) 1:36:52; 2nd overall Dave Whittekiend (PR) 1:38:49; 3rd overall Scott Young (PR) 1:40:10; 9th female Kari Young 2:04:42; 1st Varsity Girls-Judd Boehme 2:03:23 (1st half). Now don't get me wrong it was a small race but we are ecstatic with the results. I'll post the vertical profiles later. Official results are Here

Kari and I at Murder Rock

Stephen on his way to victory

Look like I'm really enjoying myself there

Dave bringin' it home thinking Ha! Kari is going to owe me some ice cream!

Friday, October 16, 2009

09 Berryman 12 hr splits

Jason posted the splits for the 09 Berryman, however he didn't really break out the splits, he just gave the clock times at the different TA's. So being the enginerd that I am I took the liberty to break out the actual splits times for the different legs and rank them against the field. Have fun analyzing, I know I will ;-)

Download the splits HERE


Monday, October 12, 2009


DIRECT LINE+60-193168415.

Dear Friend,

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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

09 Berryman 12 hr Elevation Drofile

I had forgotten what it was like to race in that kind of terrain. The elevation profile shows just how much up and down and the total distance there was. I know, I know.....I am achieving a whole new level of geek here but oh well.


Monday, September 28, 2009

2009 Berryman 12 hr Race Map

Well one thing is for sure the Berryman Adventure 09 lived up to its slogan this year. We are still waiting for the results and the full story on what happened to all the teams. The last word we got was Jason saying that there would not be an awards ceremony because there were so many teams still out on the course and they were working on getting everyone in safe. Life flight had to be called in and we saw it fly over while were at the finish. We didn't hear any other details and pray that everything ended up OK.

Unofficially, we are pretty sure that we came in 2nd of the four person teams and really don't have any idea of our overall ranking, though I would wager it is in the top ten because I don't think many teams got all the CPs. We had an awesome time and I for one am still feeling the high from this last weekend, and am still feeling the sore muscles and fatigue as well. I love adventure racing, there is just nothing quite like it.

There were tons of teams from the Rolla area and we are anxious to see how everyone fared. If you are reading this and did the Berryman, please comment and let us know how you fared and any crazy experiences you had during the race. We would like to see your route as well, you can map it by going to paste these coords (36.79520,-91.33123) into the address box. Then in the upper right drop down box switch the map to US/Can MyTopo and then zoom in using the scale on the left. Then use the drawing tools to plot the CPs and tracks of where you went. When done click to download the gpx or kml file. If you email me the gpx or kml I will post your map, or you can go to and click draw a map and do it yourself to get your own map.

As for us, by examining the map below you will notice that we had a little trouble with CP 9 which costs us about an hour, the bike whack from 13 to 14 was also a pretty insane adventure by riding into weeds that were over our heads then careening down a hill without a trail. Our race was almost over when Judd's bike decided it needed some extra fiber for lunch and ate a stick into the derailleur. It would have cost us the race had he not been packing his spare derailleur hanger. It's a good thing he does all that reading and research on AR, maybe we should listen to him more. By the way when bike whacking it is a pretty good idea to stay off your bike, kinda hard to whack and bike at the same time. Later in the race Chris decided to give my bike map holder some extreme beta testing by slamming it (and the rest of his bike)into some boulders while gracefully pirouetting his body in mid air to softly land pack first onto the rocks with nary a scratch to show for it. My bike map holder was not so lucky and it will be back to the drawing board with that one. Link was having some fatigue issues most of the race which Dave and I don't suspect had anything to do with his level of fitness or capabilities because he has kept up with us many times in the past without problem and he was dragging pretty early on. We are wondering if he had some dehydration/nutrition issues or was just coming down with something. Well this is turning into a full on race report which I didn't mean it to be since we don't even know the real results but anyway the map is below, ENJOY!

To get the full experience click View Large Map

View Larger Map

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Bike map holder and racing secrets

Subject: Bike map holder

Although Chris-one-handed-wheelie-while-holding-map-guy is very talented, I have tasked the Forum Dental AR R&D department to come up with a bike map holder. The prototype is being constructed and should be ready for alpha testing soon. The beta version should be race ready for Berryman. Dave has been involved in part of the development process and has been sworn to secrecy. Paul Joyner keeps trying to bust into the R&D's cubicle to steel racing secrets.



I can tell that this is going to require a photo and a post to the blog.



The RMC AR Team advancing on Forum Dental AR R&D Lab. Look at us navigating. Paul

From: Paul & Ginger Joyner

Another RMC AR team member speaks up...... I do believe the word went like this, tell Scott Young that us tri geeks already have map holders on our bikes and we will be putting aerobars on the mtbs for the Berryman. hummmm


If you figure out how to put aerobars on the canoe, please let me know. I'll pay anything!!!



I know we have a don't help other team rule but sorry everybody, I have and will continue to divulge our secrets to RMC AR team. The thing is, when Paul comes by my cubicle he is packing heat, and a tazer, and mace, and a beater-club-thingy, and handcuffs, etc. And even if he wasn't, he could still break me in half. My only hope would be to out run him, but he may be very fast in short bursts, then again he is training for a half iron-man so out lasting him might not work either, so I will continue my assistance to RMC. Our only hope would be if Dave would go all Forest Supervisor on him, but wait I think law enforcement isn't under the Forest Sup. so we are hosed there too.



Team RMC would like to thank Scott for all of his race hints; an official topo race map of Stoddard county, carry lots of rocks in your pack when you cross the river, yell real loud "I found it" at every checkpoint, and the most crucial information is still to come.

Only 23 days till the Berryman.


Try and explain it like this.

See, with magnets, opposites attract. So when the little Needle points to the N, it's actually pointing to the South Pole. So actually that is South. That is why so may people get lost using a compass - because they don't actually know how to use it.



I probably could name request a specific law enforcement officer be in uniform and present for this race. That may work to our disadvantage if the LEO believes we look suspicious and has to use the tazer, mace or beater-club thingy on us. Maybe we need a fifth racer to sacrifice while we scamper into the woods. Paul, that is another one of our secrets. Start with five and you are generally guaranteed to end with four.


There are actually twelve people on the team. We send eight of them to hide in the woods the night before and we just take turns getting CPs. If we are behind we just radio ahead and tell the next group to get going and we'll catch up. It works out great unless someone realizes you punched CP 20 in record time and before you hit CP 10 (that guy is no longer on the team).


So what I am ready is that even though we are registered as separate teams, we all are part of RMC and we can form a union/team work. Especially if we all are wearing the same jerseys.

Here are some of our race secrets we will share with Forum Dental AR:

We have found it is easier to mount the map holder on the paddle and not so much onto the canoe. We also thought of saving weight on the canoe, by drilling 1 1/2 holes in the bottom of it and covering the holes with plastic wrap. This should allow us not only to shave some weight, but time also.



May need to bring in the LEO from Salem as back up. I'll talk to the new patrol captain when I get the chance. I think if the LEO needed to manage this event we could justify sending him to law enforcement MTB training. Perhaps that LEO could clear the way for the forest supervisor's team.


Since we are sharing secrets, I figure I will share that one of the keys to our success is our training program. Check out the video below for a glimpse of a typical Forum Dental AR trecking/nav training session.


Dave you might want to share a typical mtb training video.


Sunday, August 30, 2009

Dusk 2 Dawn 12 hr Race report

Geez, after reading the report that I wrote earlier today I realized that it is just kind of long and boring. I could have really used an editor on this one. Oh well here is the short version...

The race was a lot of road biking at night followed by trekking on a barely navigable trail while being followed by a train of hitch-hikers. The canoe was painful, then a short running section where I almost heaved, then more road biking followed by a ROCKY singletrack. Laid the smack down in a race to the finish and won our division, third overall 4 person (only beaten by two nationally ranked teams). 60+ miles total, awesome race.

Now the long version...

The Dusk 2 Dawn is a race run in July at night in order to beat the summer heat. Luckily July was very mild in the Midwest and we had great weather to race in. It was our first attempt at a night race and I think that we were all a bit apprehensive about the endeavor. I don't know about every one else, but for me the experience of racing all night is kind of surreal. Even now it doesn't seem like we raced all night long, it kind of felt like we woke up in the morning and raced for a normal day, only it was dark (don't know if that makes any sense, but you just have to experience it to know). I had to keep reminding myself that it was 2:00 A.M. and all other sane people were in bed.

We loaded up Chris' "Red Dragon" and made our way to Perry Lake, KS. The trip was pretty uneventful and we were mostly concerned with not repeating the mistakes we made on our way to the Mission 18hr (i.e. dinking around too much and missing the pre-race meeting). We arrived at a fairly deserted race site in the afternoon. We checked in and only noticed one other team lying on some picnic tables trying to get out of the heat. We decided that laying around in the heat was only going to sap our energy and went to the Motel 6 for a few hours rest in the A.C. When the four of us got to the hotel and asked for a room the guy looked at us and said you know we only have rooms with two beds. I replied "oh no problem, we don't plan on doing much sleeping" He gave us a kind of OK, don't ask, don't tell kind of look and handed over the keys.

We got everything ready and made our way to the pre-race meeting where they gave us the maps and clues about a half hour pre-start time. We planned out our attack and it looked like it was just going to be an almost all on trail endurance fest. After the national anthem Jason blew the horn and we were off. We started with a small 3 CP orienteering section to get everyone separated out. CP 3 gave us a little trouble but nothing too bad and we made it back to the TA in front of quite a few teams. We also realized that the "trails" were not always well defined and the brush was very thick.

After the TA I handed the maps to Chris since it was all road riding and he drove us in most of the roads. I also have a terrible habit of taking us on "detours" when navigating by roads. Chris rocked the bike nav and set a blistering pace where we passed several teams and got to the bike drop off with only a few teams in front of us.

After we dropped off the bikes at CP 7 we headed off on a "trail" run. The trails were super hard to follow and it was nearly impossible to bushwhack with the thick brush. We had some trouble finding the right trail and my stress level went to critical. I really did not want to be lost in the dark in the thick brush. We found CP 8 and I told everyone that we couldn't really run because I could not keep track of us on the map, and if we lost track of our position in the dark it would be very costly to try to find our place again. We got a pretty good system where Chris would keep us on the trail so that I could keep thumbing the map and just watch his feet to step over roots and rocks. One team went running by us, but we saw them a little while up the trail looking for a CP about a mile out of place. About halfway through the trail run Chris told me to look back and I saw a train of about 20 headlights just following our lead. At one point we tried to lose them by punching fast and taking off across a field to the next trail entrance. The hitch-hikers punched and sprinted across the field, then lined up right back behind us. It was pretty funny. We finally finished the trail run and decided to take a less traveled bushwhack to our final trekking CP. We passed by a bathroom to make a few deposits and to fill up Chris' camelbak. When we got the the next CP we were surprised to see all the canoes. We had misunderstood and we thought we were running back up to the bike drop to hop in canoes.

The paddling section was BRUTAL. Judd and Dave were having some kind of paddling disfunction and were having a hard time keeping up with Chris and I which never happens. Usually Judd and Dave hand us our lunch in the canoe and we struggle every stroke to keep up with them. The lake was only a few feet deep in some places and it was like a maze getting through the trees and branches sticking up out of the mud. Most of the time I was thinking "man I do not want to run aground and have to step out into the mud" It was pretty spooky in the middle of the night. We felt we had a terrible paddle but our splits weren't too bad.

We had another small orienteering section where I started to feel the nausea set in. After having concentrated on the DAT so much I had neglected my training and was now feeling the effects. After trying to choke down some shot bloks I nearly blew chunks and decided I needed to walk a bit or I really was going to heave.

We got back on the bikes and made our way on the last part of the journey. The sun came up and thankfully we got to do the singletrack in the light. The singletrack trails were as good for biking as the previous trails were good for running. The trails consisted of more rocks than dirt and it was impossible to get up any speed. It was hike-a-bike up every hill and white knuckle going down. As we came out of the singletrack we had a couple miles to the finished when we came up on the now two man team of Wounded Warrier who have been our rivals in the series. At this point I was still feeling like dung but when Judd asked me to dig deep, the adrenaline kicked in and we destroyed those guys on the hill. We came zooming across the finish line like we were in a sprint finish in the Tour de France and found out we were the 3rd four person team and the first all male team. After dismounting my bike the quads rebelled by cramping up and leaving me rolling around on the pavement. It was great!

The race totaled over 60 miles in all and we had a great time. There were a lot of DNFs and making it in under 12 hrs put was quite an accomplishment.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Dusk 2 Dawn 12 hr Race map

Had to take a different approach to getting the race map online this time since Jason didn't use MyTopo. I scanned in the maps and overlaid them in Google Earth and published them. The scanned images are kind of big so it might take a while to load. Also, in the map below and when you click on View Larger Map, sometimes the maps don't draw in the correct order (i.e. some of the smaller maps are "under" the overview).

The best way to view the map is to download the kml file and open in Google Earth. The images are still going to take a bit to load but once loaded you should be able to turn them on and off and browse around no problem.

View Larger Map

Sunday, August 16, 2009

XTERRA Logansport 09 Off Road Tri

Photos of the race are HERE

Results with pace and rank calcs are HERE

Chris, Erik, John Bird (a coworker of Chris and Erik), and I went to compete in the XTERRA Logansport off road triathlon this past weekend. Chris, Judd and I did this race last year while it was Erik and John's first tri. John's overall goal was to not have the emergency medical service put into action on his behalf while I was wanting to improve over last year's mark and Chris was on a mission to once and for all determine who is the off road champ between him and the 5 month pregnant woman that handed him his lunch last year. Sure he had one of the most spectacular high speed, stick in the spokes, over the handlebars wrecks that caused him to hike-a-bike for 3 miles, but still, losing to a 5 month pregnant woman under any circumstances cannot be overlooked by your racing buddies.

We drove up on Friday and stopped in Effingham for some Big Az Biscuits and got to registration early enough to give the course a preview. While we previewed the bike trail, John decided to give us a demonstration on how to properly tip over on your bike when you can't get unclipped, after we got back to the hotel Chris adjusted the clips and he was good to go. It was the exact same course as last year, small bit of technical riding at first followed by a bunch of just all out fast rolling trail.

Saturday we got the TA set up and were ready to roll. I was of course full of piss and vinegar while John, Erik and Chris seemed like they were getting ready for a funeral. I asked what was up, John and Erik just had some first tri nerves going on while Chris said he just hadn't been feeling all that great. A half mile swim looks a lot more daunting when you see it all laid out in a lake instead of just 35 lengths in a pool. I lined up and noticed about a 13 year old kid to my right and knew that he was going to blow me out of the water (little kids always take me to school in the swim). They blew the horn and I began a my half mile journey of inhaling water and flailing all while watching the people in the survivor wave pass me. It felt like the worst swim of my life.

After the swim I hopped on my new Gary Fisher X-Cal 29er and started ripping up the bike. I knew that I had a lot of ground to make up so I just pushed as hard and fast as I could go the whole way. Man those 29" wheels roll fast!!! I passed a boat load of people and had a great time. John and Erik got out of the water in respectable time for their first tri in front of Chris, who like me put on a splashing and thrashing clinic and actually admitted to fearing for his life at at least one point in the swim (his time wasn't all that bad though). Chris overtook John and caught up to Erik on the first lap. Chris and Erik raced the remainder together. Erik and John both ate dirt on the bike and came back with some bloody legs which if you don't eat dirt at least once on your first off road tri it really doesn't count.

I made it back to the TA, stashed my bike and gear and headed off for the run. My legs felt a bit jelly-like, but not too bad. About a mile into the race a dude went flying by me like a gazelle. I asked him what lap he was on and he responded it was his second. He was the overall winner and it reminded me just how much of a pretender I really am. Overall I ran a 7:40 min/mi pace, that guy had to be going about 6 min/mi!! I spent the rest of the run pushing hard and giving encouragement to the first lap racers as I went by them on my second lap. I finished feeling like I had pushed hard and had a great race except for the swim. My overall time was 1 hr 36 min which is 11 min faster than last years time. I was 16th overall and 2nd in my age group so I am super happy about that. My swim split was 18:01 for the 1/2 mile including the transition time which is my PR!!! I am still trying to work out how that came about, I felt like I had a terrible swim and I must have drank about two gallons of lake water so who knows?! Erik and Chris came in at 2:06, the announcer's call as they approached the finish line was "Here come two guys that are trying to come in at a TIE!!" It was kind of funny. I don't remember what time John came in (like 2:12) but after he crossed, he felt like he was going to pass out. After getting some water and sitting down he came back to life and was thrilled that he had made it without having been administered CPR at any point in the race. This was the first time I met John and he is a real stand up guy, I hope to race with him again sometime.

After the analyzing the times the verdict is in.....CHRIS "Razor Legs" Wehrli, has snatched the off road title away from the pregnant lady....of course she sat out this year because she was 8 months pregnant.

My race map of the bike and run from my GPS watch color coded by speed (I know fancy smancy huh) is below. You can switch to topo map with the buttons on the right.

To get the full experience click View Large Map

View Larger Map

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Quail Run Tri - Aug 09 Results

Results from the first Quail Run Tri held in Rolla MO in August 09.

To see the results in a full page click HERE

Info on publishing an excel table to blog is found here (so I can remember the next time I want to do it)

Monday, June 22, 2009

2009 Mission 18 hr Adventure Race Map

Ahhhh....The Mission 18 hr. Did you ever have one of those days when EVERYTHING seemed to go into the toilet. That was the Mission 18 hr for us. In fact the whole weekend was an exercise in blundering. We didn't even make it to the pre-race meeting the night before because we forgot about the time change going from central to eastern. We did have a great time and hopefully learned some lessons under the tutelage of Hard Knox. The map includes comments on most of the debacles that occurred during the race

To get the full experience click View Large Map

View Larger Map

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Ohio River, Mission 18 hr

Just sit right back and you'll hear a tale,
A tale of a fateful trip
That started from this muddy port,
Aboard this tiny Ship.

Ohio River, Mission 18 hr

The mate was a mighty paddlin' man,
The Skipper brave and sure,
Three passengers set sail that day
For an 18 hour tour.

An 18 hour tour [ sound of thunder: crack! ]

Ohio River, Mission 18 hr

The river started getting rough,
The tiny ship was tossed.
If not for the courage of the fearless crew,
The race would be lost.

The race would be lost.

Ohio River, Mission 18 hr

539211087_dino mission 5-16-2009 430, originally uploaded by Scott R Young.

So this is the tale of our castways,
They're here for a long, long time
They'll have to make the best of things,
It's an uphill climb.

Other race photos from our running of the Mission 18 hr Adventure Race are located on flickr at

Most of these photos were take by the event photographer and can be found and purchased at

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

2009 Bonk Hard Chill, Not for the faint of heart

This is really long. By long I mean like my mother, who actually likes to read this stuff because I’m her little Judd E. Pie, would consider it long. Long like l…o…n…g long. But hopefully enjoyable.

I must give credit where credit is due. The Author of this “outline” is an individual that raced and posted on Red Wheel Bike Shop blog. The original post can be found in their archives for Feb. 2009 at the following link. the original post was so funny and so real to our experience that I opted to plagiarize and change the thoughts, feelings, names and experiences to reflect our team. If I were as eloquent as my brother-in-law’s Jeremy or Uillame, I would not need someone else’s words to help me out. Alas, it’s not to be.

The following events occurred between 6:00am and 6:00pm February 7th, 2009. Events occur in real time.

How can I possibly summarize 12 hours of adventure racing into words that would do it justice? It has long been my opinion that the words "epic" and "surreal" are so grossly overused that their meaning is lost. I'll break one of my own rules right now by saying this race was epically surreal....or was it surreally epic? Who knows, but the fact remains that the race is worthy of both words.

Jason and Laura, (Bonk Hard Racing put on a race that tested its participants' athleticism, intelligence, and character. This was Team Forum Dental’s 2nd Adventure Race. The first was The Berryman 12 hour race in September 2008. That is another story…

From the moment we walked into the pre-race meeting it was evident that this was a very well organized race. Volunteers were everywhere, all having very specific duties to which they tended with enthusiasm and attention to detail.

At the meeting we met Jason and Laura, whom comprise the brains of Bonk Hard Racing. The enthusiasm these two have for their sport is intoxicating. There was a raffle for a ton of free stuff donated by the sponsors. We didn’t come away with anything, but fortunately that was not a predictor in how well we would fair in the race. We had a good time meeting the other racers.

After being given our maps and clue sheets, Nav., Special D., Crack and Link (these are our super secret, super special, super cool code names for each other. Kind of like we were in the military or something like that) jumped into the "Red Dragon" (code name for our vehicle) and headed off to our luxury spa resort (snicker, snicker). HQ was a pretty pimpin' little dive in Osage Beach. With lightning speed and surgical precision, we plotted the checkpoints on the map, did a final gear check and were off to bed about 1:30am.

In case anyone was wondering, yes we are cheap, and yes we only got one room (with two actual bedrooms), and yes we shared beds. Hey, you’ve got to get your sleep, and we are grown men and know our boundaries. How does the old saying go… Pole to Pole, Hole to Hole….whatever. We were just fine. I did hear some strange noises from Nav. and Crack’s room, but I’m not one to ask questions.

When the alarm went off at 4:30am I think we had gotten about 20 minutes of sleep. We indulged in the wholly inadequate continental breakfast offered by the hotel and headed out to drop off the bikes and get to the starting line. I had just purchased a totally pimped-out headlamp. I don’t know exactly the wattage or lumens or candle power or whatever else light is measured by. Suffice it to say that I could have lit up a movie premier in Hollywood. Everyone around me at the bike drop had to have been suffering from light envy. They were all thinking “I wonder where they are ranked nationally? Look at that dude’s light. Did the sun just rise and we missed the start of the race?”

We all made friends around the outhouses as we tried to shake off the nervousness and began to feel the diuretic effects of caffeine. There were actually dudes warming up for the race by running up and down the street....What The Crud?!?!?...Like you're not gonna "warm up" in the first 2 hours of the race??? Freaks.

Two years ago at this race the temperature was Seven. Seven degrees. As in 7. As in days of the week, as in average number of teeth someone from Arkansas has, as in the number of commandments – No Wait…

They said GO and everyone took off. Some people ran and some people walked...we did more of an "old-lady working-out-in-the-mall-pumping-her-arms-and-swinging-her-tush" walk. Man we're sexy.

We were employing the “it’s 12 hours, don’t wear ourselves out in the first hour strategy”.

Checkpoints one and two came pretty easily, and it was interesting to see the incredible pace some of the other teams were holding. These dudes weren't here to play games; they had to have been running at an 8-minute mile pace thru the woods. With no desire to kill ourselves, we pressed on at our endurance pace; run the flats and downs, walk the hills.

Not long after checkpoint 3 or 4, the teams were already very much spread out. The 4 of us trudged along, watching the faster racers lumbering ahead of us.

My 1st brain-fart of the day came about an hour or so into the race. My strategy of wearing “sock liners” backfired and I had blisters on the heels of both feet. I’m thinking “no way am I going 11 more hours like this.” No duct tape and nowhere to turn, I let my teammates know that I was already in trouble. Fortunately Nav. had the foresight to bring along some Moleskin. Five minutes later I was off to the races and had no problems the rest of the day. Moleskin has been my friend ever since.

On the way to checkpoint 5 we passed a firing range. It was pretty dang funny, because they had a plywood cut-out of a car door. I’m thinking what? Are they practicing for drive by shootings? We stopped for some photos.

We realized that there were VERY FEW teams behind us, so we were looking to make up some lost time. We were looking for ways that we could be more competitive. I use the term competitive lightly here. We had no idea what lay in front of us. Our first race, we were given a map and ALL of the checkpoints (23 or so). This time we were given a map and some of the checkpoints (22 or so). I figured we would receive 3 or 4 more checkpoints to plot. Little did I know that Jason had much more planned than I had anticipated.

So at this point I was thinking “this race is going fast” we need to start moving! There was a road-route we could follow to get to CP 7, or we could bushwack our way thru some furry woods and cut out some distance. After careful deliberation we decided to pick up the pace, and take the road route. There are several calculations that you can make to help determine your path. We used the old reliable “gut” feeling. That and we didn’t want to get lost.

We made good time, and to my memory we got CP 7 & 8 without any further problems.

From CP 8 to 9, we were on our mountain bikes carrying all our required gear plus the extra food/water for the paddling leg. A bit awkward riding w/ only one hand, but this was a quick section mostly downhill to the canoes, so no problems there.

Upon arriving at the canoe station, volunteers checked our passports and sent us to the boats.

Canoeing is not a natural sport for our team. It is so unnatural for me that I actually carry some knee pads and a butt pad to try and be more comfortable. I’m not allowed in the back of the canoe, because it is s “skill” position. I’m also not allowed to move in the canoe, because I’m most likely to tip a canoe over. Basically I sit there the whole time and wonder how much longer we have to be in a canoe.

We always debate whether or not certain items are necessary. My response is always, “the pros wouldn’t use them if they didn’t help” - what do I know? We have this debate about clipless peddles vs. cages. Big powerful headlamps vs. the $3.00 Wal-Mart special. Waterproof shoes vs. non-waterproof. Basically Nav. is unwilling to spend more than $1.23 including tax on any racing gear. He is ALWAYS telling me “I could have made that for you”. I’m always like “well, this works great, and was only $19, so I’ll just stick with it. Maybe next time I need some racing shoes made out of a paperclip, and avocado and some plumbers’ putty, I’ll give you a call.”

On the way to the race we had been debating the use of double paddles (Kayak) and whether or not they were really worth having. (the race provides canoe paddles. If you want Kayak paddles, you bring them. And sometimes this means carrying them too)

The subject came up about 100 yards off shore. Just as we were about to begin the debate, a team with Kayak paddles went sailing past us. They didn’t even look like they were paddling. Here we are dragging our paddles through the water getting nowhere, and Team Swan Lake goes gliding by with what appears to be little to no effort. We all kind of looked at each other and in unison said “Looks like they probably do help.” End of debate. Now we just need to see if Nav. can make some out of some old bailing wire, some duck waders and a used flashlight.

It wasn't cold at all that day, but it was windy as crud on the water. It seemed like we were always paddling into the wind. I was feeling wholly inadequate with my canoe skills as I watched another team pass us like they were on a leisurely canoe trip. This was not a 4 MAN team like ours. There were 2 boys, and 2 GIRLS. As I began to work up a sweat trying like the Tasmanian Devil to catch up to this team, all I could think was how the heck are they pulling away from us. Have they found some secret, ancient underwater current in the Lake? Is the wind over by them somehow blowing the opposite direction as the wind by us?

Fortunately for me, Special D. is a master at piloting/powering a canoe, so we made the most of my second-rate paddling. Every now and then some goon in a motorized boat would go flying past us throwing a bunch of huge waves. I nearly "deloaded" a few times, but we made it thru alright.

When we got close enough to the land-based checkpoints, one racer was required to stay with the canoe while the other trekked landward to find the checkpoint. When it was my turn to run after the checkpoints I did everything I could on land to make up for my run of the mill paddling on the water. It seemed that we would find land usually around the same time as 2 or 3 other teams, and that really added a sense of urgency to finding the checkpoints. At one point Crack smashed his knee on a rock and got a nice little gash. He didn’t admit until the race was over that it had really taken its toll on him. The blood running down his leg totally made him look like a professional racer. I think the rest of us were secretly jealous and I could tell it intimidated the other racers......either that or they thought he was a clumsy dumbcrud. Either way, I’m sure he’ll have a pretty cool scar. (chicks dig scars)

At some point I was griping about what a horrible paddler I was, and Special D. decided to lay some wisdom on me. He said, “it’s all about your core. Use your core". I nodded to act like I understood, but it was obvious that fatigue had taken its toll on his brain and he was spouting gibberish. I sucked down some Perpetuem and tried to focus. About an hour later I was still thinking about WTC he meant by "use your core” – Nothing. I’d like to say it made sense, but it didn’t. We had managed to pass the Casual Co-ed team, but only because I think they wanted us to so that we would not find the ultra secret underwater Lake Current that they obviously knew about. As for Team Swan Lake, they were nowhere to be seen.

Other teams' canoes could be seen in the distance, they were not growing in size, and we were not reeling them in. Our six-pack of whoop-butt would have to be opened on the bike. At one point I looked over at Nav. and Crack and they were actually paddling their boat backwards. Dude, are we actually in this race. You are paddling backwards. Nav. is a real life engineer and I’m thinking to myself “what causes a person with some obvious mental capability to think that paddling backwards is actually faster than forwards?” I was concerned about their nutrition.

Their boat actually had a hole in it, and they were sitting pretty low in the water. All of their stuff was soaked. I was looking at the flair gun on Crack’s pack thinking we may actually need to use this thing. The water temp was around 40 degrees.

As we paddled into the gale force winds, we actually began to close the gap on another 4-man team. My first thought was to use the flair gun to take them out of competition, then I decided to use the patented "Scott Young maneuver". This is when you engage your opponent in conversation and attempt to have them believe that there is dissention on their team. We paddled up next to one of the canoes and whispered “your teammates over there said you were the weak link on the team. If it weren’t for you, they would probably be in 1st place.” It worked beautifully; 30 seconds of conversation had these jokers arguing like school children and wondering what had just happened. Exhilarated and re-energized from this small victory we sludged onward thru the growing wind and waves.

We hit dry land again for the next transition. Our new objective was to securely fasten our bikes into the canoe and paddle an estimated mile (?) to the biking section. We did a pretty decent job of balancing the boat, but realized that our transition time was about as speedy as a man in the bathroom with a newspaper.

I was in the front of the canoe w/ the top-tube of my mtb crawling up my hinny when we were suddenly hit crossways by a wave and a gust of wind at the same time. All I could think was how is it that the wind is blowing in the wrong direction only for our team? I’m sure Special D. was thinking “who cares about this race, my bike better not end up on the bottom of this Lake.”

We hit land, and I thought “thank heavens the canoe portion is done”, and the very kind Volunteer said “I’ll see you again later”. A not so subtle hint that the canoe was not over, and that I might have a second chance to cause Dave’s bike to end up in Davy Jones’s Locker.

Now it was time for the cycling leg of the race. After being in the canoe for that long I couldn't wait to get out and crank some pedals. The first part of the bike leg to CP 18 was a monster climb. Since there had been so much rain lately, there was zero single track riding for the bike portion; it was all gavel roads. There was certainly no shortage of quad shredding climbs tho, and we found ourselves gasping for air at the top more than once. There were even some climbs that had people pushing their bikes to the top.

I think I speak for everyone when I say one hill stood out among the others. This hill was an absolute soul-crusher. The higher you climbed, the steeper it got and the looser the gravel was. Towards the top the road turned into a quad shredding washboard of pain before finally leveling off into a gloriously flat hilltop. The view from the top overlooked a beautiful Missouri landscape.

As we pressed onward, Mother Nature obviously thought we were going too fast. She took it upon herself to pimp-slap us in the faces w/ a strong, gusty headwind. The rest of that bike-leg is a bit of a blur. Mostly we just rode into the wind and watched the miles tick by. We held a solid pace and began unleashing the 6-pack by passing a few teams.

Then came the church. This pit stop was loaded with teams.

Now we are not notorious for quick transitions. During our first race we took over 30 minutes getting our buns in gear on the bike; however, this was different. Nav. and Special D. had a foolproof checkpoint plotting system. I was convinced that by sitting there and keeping my mouth shut, that I was shaving a good 20 minutes off of our transition time. Let’s be honest. Sometimes the best way to contribute is to be quiet.

Many of the teams were lulled in by the kindness of the volunteers who had prepared sandwiches, cookies, lemonade, and a host of other amazing foods and drinks. They were a jovial group of people and I hope they know how much we appreciated their service. I have found that an all liquid diet works for me during the race. I get my nutrition from a liquid supplement from Hammer Nutrition called Perpeteum. During our first race I ate the wrong thing at the wrong time and paid for it the rest of the day.

A HUGE part of adventure racing is coordinating your nutrition. It sounds easy, but it’s not. You forget to eat. You overeat to compensate. Something does not sit right. Sometimes you only have one hand to grab stuff. It is an art that we are trying to perfect. With that said, I watched as my teammates ate 5, 6, 7 sandwiches and handfuls of cookies. Apparently they were so good that stopping was not an option. I just hoped that the other teams were feeling a little too comfortable.

We got our new list of checkpoints and coordinates. Then the magnitude of the race hit us. We thought it was going to be a fast race. Our new list of checkpoints consisted of another 20 checkpoints. All I could think was what were the race directors smoking? I thought there were going to be 3 more. We had our work cut out for us.

UTM and Sharpie in hand numbers were flying. We were all business. No chatting or small talk here.

With our bellies and our camelbaks full, we set out to kick some more butt. We were jumping on our bikes thinking we had passed a few teams at this checkpoint, and I saw a little bleb on the sidewall of my tire. WTC? A sidewall blowout, but my tube was still holding air. Do we stop and take the time to fix it, or just forge on and deal with it if it becomes a problem. We decided there was no time to waste and to deal with it if it became a problem.

While I was in total support of this idea, I couldn’t help but think that while there was no single track to punish my tire, we were moving very quickly on some gravel roads. A quick turn, a blowout, and I’m hamburger.

Heading northward we covered approximately 13 miles and a few checkpoints to the next transition. Bike tire still hanging in there, this was not as easy as I make it sound, and I should say that with ferocious tenacity, we passed 6 or more teams on this leg of the race. Having fun, and being competitive might actually be able to coexist in the same race.

The next checkpoint was a transition into a ROGAIN. ROGAINE is also a backronym for "Rugged Outdoor Group Activity Involving Navigation and Endurance". This is where you have a certain number of checkpoints, and you are allowed to get as many or as few as you want. You can also get them in any order you want. There was one catch – be back by 5:00pm, or lose 1 checkpoint for each minute after, and possibly be disqualified. Nav. and I competed in an SLOC (St. Louis Orienteering Club) event back in November and learned this lesson the hard way. Time management was our biggest concern.

Fortunately Scott is great at navigating – thus the nickname Nav. This is where we felt we could make up some ground. Little did we know.

It was about this point that another team pulled in to the transition area. The volunteer went over the rules and someone on the team joking said “just give us the fastest time that anyone has completed this section, and we’ll beat it”. The volunteer responded with a very serious “I don’t know, no one has come back yet”. We joked about this statement, but something told us that this was going to be more difficult than we thought. It was kind of like heading into the black abyss.

The earth was completely saturated in this area, basically turning it into a spongy sloppy mess. We blew out of the TA on to our first CP, only to be slightly lost. Here we were thinking that we needed to do this with pin-point precision, and we could not find the first CP. Delusions of grandeur were washed from my mind, quickly replaced by an overwhelming sense of failure as we listened to another team admit that they had already been out in the wood for 2 HOURS and only found 1 CP. I had already started trying to figure out how I was going to explain such an epic failure to my friends and family.

Seriously. Think about this. We are 10 minutes into this ROGAIN portion of the race and can’t find our CP. We hook up with a husband and wife team named Little Debbie & the Snack Cake that has been adventure racing for 7 years and has already been in the wood for 2 hours and only found 1 check point – the one we can’t find. This is our second race, not our 7th year. We just got here, they somehow got here 2 hours prior to us, so they obviously are some real butt kickers and actually know what they are doing. We are way out of our league.

So we soak in the fact that the scale of the map has thrown us off our senses, and we are a ridge or more away from our intended CP. Rather than go back, I suggest that we move on and get it on the way back if we have time. The team agrees. It’s all about Time Management at this point.

Then Nav. points to what seemed like the North American Continent’s answer to K2 or Everest. “We’ve got to get to the top of that” he says. I’m thinking “surely you jest”. I looked at the map, looked at the mountain, looked at the time and thought. No way in this lifetime are we doing that in the next 2 hours. Not only that, but surely the race directors did not intend for us to go that far away. We must be reading the map wrong again. I don’t even know if I could see the top of the peak through the cloud bank.

Well, off we trudged with Little Debbie & the Snack Cake in tow. Our new found friends and coconspirators. The thought process was that more eyes on the map would certainly make things go faster.

We quickly learned that Little Debbie & the Snack Cake were 2 parts of a 4 part team. Their Navigation guy was nursing a cold back home in Kansas. This revelation made things clear for us. Rather than become discouraged, we realized that we actually had a chance at this. With the scale of the map firmly under control, and the knowledge that while Little Debbie & the Snack Cake had plenty of experience and were endurance animals, their being lost in the woods was perfectly understandable.

This lit our fire. Now that we were feeling confident, it was time to do something bold. In order to save time and distance we decided to make a straight line to the top of Half-Dome, by crossing a creek and going up a steep embankment. This part was truly epic, we were basically grabbing small trees and roots and climbing the embankment like a ladder. This was the real deal, and it felt good when we got to the top.

We located CP29, checked the time and decided to move on to the next CP. With surgical precision we found several checkpoints and expertly managed our time. At one point Team Alpine Shop – our heroes – went cruising by. WOW, maybe that lady back at the TA was being serious about no one being back yet, surely if anyone would be done with the ROGAIN, it would be Alpine Shop (the eventual winners). In truth, they were probably on the way back after having finished this section, and we were just hoping to get a few checkpoints and get back by 5:00pm, but it was still inspiring.

We are now about 9.5 hours into the race, and it was beginning to take its toll. Right before Crack hit ground Zero, we pulled out the special weapon. The 5 hour energy Shot........and some drugs. With a handful of pain-relievers and a hefty dose of caffeine he was a brand new man.

With a renewed spirit, a fully healed mangina, and a mouth full of "Sport Beans" we began our assault on our next checkpoint. Nav. pulled some Macguyver maneuvers and whipped out his handy dandy watch-o-compass-o-matic. We would slash our way thru the woods for a while and then he would shoot another bearing. We repeated this until we found ourselves at the next checkpoint. It was soon clear to me that Scott Young is the Michael Jordan of orienteering....maybe not as bald though.

We had to be back by 5:00pm, and we were several miles away in some thick bush. We put the moves on, and made haste. Along the way back to CP39 we passed several teams. Some looked lost, some looked beat, and most were probably wondering why they didn’t take the time to put some pants on after the bike before heading out into the woods. Seriously, what were these dudes thinking heading out into some serious bushwhack country in bike shorts? Serious lack of IQ there. That darn rump pad ride’n up like it was an elevator at the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Legs that looked like they lost the battle with about a dozen alley cats with razor sharp claws.

Back at CP39 it was 4:36pm. We were on our bikes with no time to chat, so we rolled off on our way back to the canoes.

We were kick’n some serious Bahooki at this point, passing yet more teams. We could see that unless we wanted to be on the water in the dark, it was time to pull some serious MMA and Kung Pow Chicken this leg of the Canoe. We got the Mercedes Benz of Canoes. I had no idea that they had canoes with actual butt formed seats. Somehow I accidently grabbed a paddle that worked. I thought back to Special D’s statement and felt like Obi Wan Kenobi was with me “Use Your Core Luke”.

We were firing on all cylinders at this point. Forget the tie downs, the bikes were on and we were gone. We really embrace the pain, covered a lot of water in a short period of time. What took us a slothful 34 minutes in the canoe on the way to this point earlier in the day when we supposedly had more energy went by in a blistering 21 minutes.

We beached the canoe and climbed onto our mtb's one last time. No time for fiddling around, we needed to get out of there and up the road. I was certain my sidewall would give way any moment. Maybe even 100 yards from the finish – but it didn’t. Amazingly it held up, only to go flat on the trip back to Rolla – thank the stars.

The path leading out of the transition area that had been such a pleasant downhill earlier in the day was now a steep-uphill carnival of pain. A 4-person team about 40 yards ahead of us had begun the climb and were looking pretty haggard. By way of mental telepathy, we as a team decided to crush these punks. We reached down to places that no one likes to talk about and began mashing the peddles. My bike had decided not to shift at this point, so I was basically single-speeding it up this hill and all the way home. No time for sissies in this race. We swung around our prey and easily overcame them.

Basking in the glory of our triumphant destruction of yet another co-ed team, we sighted another 2-man team struggling with the next climb. These jokers would be next. Everyone clicked up a few gears (except for Mr. Singlespeed) and began the charge.

Restricted to my singlespeed, I ramped up the rpm's and we took turns pushing the wind. In no time we were right next to them, but they weren't giving up too easily. We decided it was time to pull another "Scott Maneuver", so I leaned over to the guy up front and said something about how "we were just using him to draft". When the dude turned to look at us, all I could see was hate and fatigue in his eyes. He seriously looked like he was on day 5 of a cocaine binge w/ no food or water. I knew that at any minute he would either keel over and die or pull out a machete and start killing people, so we simply passed them and mashed the pedals until we had enough of a gap that they would not be a problem later in the race. I don’t know if they ever finished, or if he is up on manslaughter charges.

Reality was beginning to set in that we were going to finish the Bonk Hard Chill in less than 12 hours. The finish line was getting closer; we could already hear the cowbells and smell the spaghetti & baked potatoes. No one could be seen behind us, we passed a few more teams along the way. Including one team that deserves a shout out. We came up on this team of 2 men and 2 women. The guys were holding on to the girls backside and kind of pushing her along. Very awkward. As I cruised by I told them if I had a tow rope that I would give it to them, but I didn’t. They said they had been doing this since about 5 miles into the first bike section. Doing what I wondered. Then I realized that the girls peddle had broken off. How do you do that???? Frig’n do 30+ miles on a bike with no peddle on those hills??

Our sympathy ended there and on we flew. There was no one to be seen ahead of us. I thought, "Jehoshaphat Trigger, this is really going to happen."

And it did. We crossed the finish line and our race was over. 11 hours and 5 minutes had passed since we had first begun that morning. We found/had time to find 37 of 42 checkpoints.

At the awards ceremony we were shocked to find that our team finished 2nd behind Wounded Warrior Project. We were totally shocked to say the least. But the best was yet to come.

A few days later, the Final results show "Forum Dental" as finishing 1st of 9 in the 4-man team division, and 13th of 52 overall. Wounded Warrior Project, actually ended up 6th of 9 in our division, and 34th overall. We surpassed our own expectations by far, and had an awesome time doing it. The race may be over, but the feeling of pride for finishing this race will remain with us indefinitely.