Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Bike Map Holder

My friends from Team-Virtus are clamoring for me to post some photos of my super high tech rotating bike map holder.

I used to be known on the team for great nav through the woods but you put me out on a road on a bike and bad things happen. A few examples include: During the Mission 18hr in 2009 we hop on our bikes and head off down a road through town to a river and the paddling section. We are cruising along and we run into the interstate!?! Oops, I had put the map away and went left when I should have gone right and 2 miles later we are at the interstate instead of the river. During the LBL Challenge in 2009 we transitioned to our bikes, headed off down a gravel road and down a huge hill. After about a mile I was thinking "hmmm.... we should have hit that blacktop road by now" so I pull out the map and sure enough, wrong way. Back up the hill we go.

As the teams navigator one of my least favorite things to do is say "Uh guys......I think that we went the wrong way down that hill......" Then everyone turns around and looks at the hill they just had fun flying down and starts silently cussing. No one ever says anything out loud, except for me. I used to be plagued by those moments until I made my bike map holder so that I could keep in contact with the map at all times during the bike section.

AR and Orienteering specialty gear websites sell these things for like $80, and no doubt they are superior to mine but mine costs around $1.50 and works for me.

It basically consists of a 12X12 notebook cover for the board, those big paper clip/clamp things to hold the map in place, a bunch of steel and rubber washers, and a round wood block to put some space between the handlebars and the board and a plastic round clamp thing that I got off a bike lock holder.

The clamp is the hardest piece of the puzzle, basically it could be anything that can clamp down on a round handlebar that you can put a bolt down into. I am sure there is lots of stuff at the hardware store that would work, I just happened to have a bike lock attachment on hand that fit the bill. Here is another look at it

I use one of those locking nuts on the bolt that goes down through the whole thing so that when you rotate the board, the washers just slide against each other instead of unscrewing the bolt. Putting a piece of rubber between the handlebars and the clamp is also essential to keep it in one place. Also, my handlebars are tapered instead of round so I used some electrical tape on the handlebars to build them up to compensate for the tapering.

For the board I used a binder notebook cover because it is a bit flexible and pretty water resistant. At first I used a fiberglass clipboard but after a pretty good wreck it shattered leaving jagged pieces everywhere and wasn't too safe. I used to just slip the map into the clear plastic sleeve, but I found that clamping it on with the paper clips is easier.

I have been using it for about a year now and since I have had it, I don't think that I have made any real big bike nav errors. In my opinion riding down a gravel road one handed while reading a map is just asking for trouble. For me the map holder works great, it keeps me in contact with the map and I don't have to take my hands off the bars to read it. Another benefit is that it keeps some of the mud from spraying up into your face.

There are tons of these homemade jobs out there. If you have a different design or suggestion, comment to the post and let us know about it.


Saturday, November 6, 2010

Photos from Moab

I've uploaded some photos that I took during the Checkpoint Tracker National Championships in Moab to Flicker. Check them out Here

Friday, October 1, 2010

2010 Berryman Adventure and a bit how it all started....

Ahhh it was two years ago that Forum Dental AR began with the 2008 Berryman Adventure. In that first ever race we finished in 14 hrs but cleared the course(the last team to do so). It is pretty funny to think back on the stuff we did on that first race. It all started when I had just heard of a thing called adventure racing and navigated to Bonk Hard Racing, showed it to Judd who grabbed onto it like a pit bull. We signed up and toed the line knowing only a few scraps of info about AR that one digs out of blogs like this and were off. We all probably had enough food in our packs to feed every team there for 48 hrs, we carried sandals and big heavy dry bags so we could cross the stream without getting our socks wet. I ate beef stew and a can of tuna while we were paddling (mind you it was only a 12 hr race not Primal Quest).

Like an idiot had told everyone "oh yeah I can find these CPs, I'm an engineer for the Forest Service so I look at topo maps all the time." We were off and I had no idea what I was doing, mostly followed the herd but every once in a while I would realize I knew where we were and would drop to the ground whip out the map and calculate a bearing. Meanwhile the herd kept running in the obvious direction of the CP. We figured it out as we went and by some miracle found them all, albeit very slowly with lots of going in the wrong direction. We had to cross the river to get to the canoes, so we went through the process of stripping down to our skivvies, donning our sandles, putting our crud in a dry bag, crossing the river and then put back on all our gear (at least a half hour process). For the float trip (not paddling leg) we meandered down the Current River coming in just before the canoe cutoff where the beef stew and tuna caught up to me so I dropped trou in some tall grass while Dave fulfilled his main roll on the team by attracting all the Chiggers away from me to him (to this day it his main roll). We hopped on the bikes and got into a pack of racers who then all started following me of all people, I guess I had them fooled. Then Judd, after not having removed himself from his couch for a good month or so nearly died. Metaphorically speaking, the Berryman ass kicked him right in the jewels and he bonked hard (the ass is the official mascot of the Berryman Adventure). He kept going although I never knew that a bike could go so slow and still remain upright. We coasted across the finish and were hooked for good.

Fast forward two years and we are preparing for both USARA and Checkpoint Tracker national championship races and sign up for Berryman 12hr for some practice. Chris couldn't make it down from Idaho and Kari had to stay back in WV with our kids, so we recruited Steve to run with us who had never run an adventure race before, but is an accomplished endurance athelete. Our goal was win, not our division, not all the 4-person teams, we wanted the overall win. We knew that it would be tough, the Berryman always draws a large pool of racers from far and wide so the competition would be good. We noticed Bushwacker had a team in the 12hr. Cyclewerx is a solid team, some teams with people from St.L Orienteering Club and a few others that we recognized. We knew the overall win was possible, but we were going to have to have a very clean race.

Dave and I attended the pre-race meeting where Dave gave an absolutely thrilling 2 minute speech about the Mark Twain National Forest and National Public Lands Day and.....OK that is where I stopped paying attention, but he had the crowd for a good 5 seconds at least. He would have to settle for catering to his true fans, the ticks and chiggers, during the race. We went back to Rolla, which was a first for everyone going back to their houses (except me of course) and plotted the course....Hmmmm...The overall win was not looking so attainable. The course was designed so that we ended on the paddle, which is our weakest discipline, and it was pretty apparent that it was going to be a track meet the whole way. The trekking section had plenty of CP's but they were pretty close together, many on trails and the nav wasn't going to be hard. My delusions of us running through the nav section like crap through a goose while everyone else wandered around in the woods, hours behind us, wasn't looking all that probable. Our strategy was to put as much time on the field as possible and try not to lose it in the paddle. I did my usually tossing and turning for hours in bed before a race until at 2 am I resorted to my last option and reached for my scriptures..zzzz...the next thing I know Dave is rousting me at 4 am to get up, two hours sleep, oh well good practice for the 24hr nationals.

In the morning Jason started the race and we ran up a big hill on the road and the track meet began. We got to an intersection and took a left, straight into the woods which took Steve by surprise. Come to find out that he thought it would be just trail running and stuff so he didn't bother to bring long pants or gaiters or anything to protect his legs. Luckily there was not a whole lot of thorns in this race, in fact none that I can remember, but then again I had on pants. There was a heap of poison ivy that I think had him a bit freaked out. He did a couple of funny things like follow Dave right up to the flag to watch him punch and stopped to get some debris out of his shoe when we were like 150 meters from the TA where we were all going to stop and change into bike shoes, but nothing compared to our first race. As planned, we did blast through the nav section and emerged in 1st but Bushwacker, Out2Play, and Lost but Found were only minutes back. We hopped on the bikes for plenty of gravel and single track fun and kept going back and forth with Lost But Found. Then Betis Construction came out of nowhere and caught up to us near the end of the bike. On the way to CP 22 Betis Const. and us took the paved road out of Berryman campground down to highway 8 and over to the trail intersection. The volunteers were perplexed and thought we should have taken the trail down. I remember the night before checking three times whether the clue sheet told us we needed to take the trail but there were no route restrictions. Frankly I had a pretty strong feeling that Jason intended everyone to take the trail and we thought it looked like way more fun but singletrack is never faster than pavement unless it is a LOT shorter. From reports from other teams the singletrack was a lot of fun, but when you are in a battle you're always going to go for the most sure, fastest route. We got to the canoes tied for the lead with Betis Const. We graciously offered to accept their surrender so we wouldn't have to humiliate them on the paddling leg but they weren't buying it. We mounted the canoes and they got a bit in front right from the get go. Then all of the sudden this 7 ft dude comes running up stream full bore, crashing through the shallows. Deranged, he batted a few river drunks out of the way, capsized one of those huge rafts loaded down with coolers, then reached down and bit the head off a snapping turtle. We recognized him as one of Betis Const team members and I think to myself, "no wonder they were so fast on the bike, this guy was on meth the whole race and now he is tweaking and has gone into a rage." We were as good as dead, he was going to kill us all for sure. At least Kari didn't race this one so she can care for the kids in my absence....Then we passed by his team mate in their canoe and find out they left the passport back at the TA. Wow! well after that display of raw power and determination we knew it probably wouldn't be long before we were seeing the back of them. We gave it all we had, but they caught us quickly and came in 10 min in front of us for the win. The rest of the canoe we spent feeling like sitting ducks, looking over our shoulders paddling away. No other teams were in sight for the remainder of the paddle, which was a lot of fun except for the feeling like sitting ducks part. I guess Dave was looking a bit worse for wear after gutting out the bike section with rubbing break pads because some river drunks threw him a jello shot. Turns out that psycho-7 ft-I workout running upstream in the Mississippi-guy qualified for the Ironman 70.5 world championships the week prior. So if your going to be beat, might as well be by someone good.

We are happy with second, especially since this race didn't really play to our strengths much. We are just not a powerful sprinting team and this race was a track meet. After the race I mentioned to Jason that the race was a little short, to which he gave me an annoyed glance which I took to mean "you know Scott, I do offer a longer race this weekend. I think it is time that you guys start racing with the big boys now." Which he would be totally right and we would have loved to do the 36 hr, but I had to be back in WV by Monday morning and I just didn't see that happening after finishing a 36hr race Sunday. I have to say though that all in all it was a terrific race, we got some great prizes (Bonk Hard Races are the best), and we kicked a little butt as well. It doesn't get much better than that....unless you take home the Kuat Rack, which the top team always takes and we have been salivating over for the past two years.

There were something like 10 or 11 teams from Rolla there this year and to my knowledge all of them cleared the course except one team that had bike problems. It has turned out to be a pretty big hotspot for adventure racing for such a small town. Nice job everyone.

Friday, July 2, 2010

I know, I know, I need to update the blog. We have heard from our fan... and so coming soon are our harrowing tales from the Mission 18hr, XTERRA Eureka Springs, Dave's dominance of the Volkslauf 10K and our first overall win at Planet Adventure 24hr. In the meantime enjoy the belated report of the LBL Challenge

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

LBL Challenge Map and Report

View Larger Map

Pics with comments are HERE

The LBL Challenge last year was one of Forum Dental’s favorite races last year, so we were all chomping at the bit for the race to come again this spring. Bonk Hard Racing just does an exceptional job at all their races, but in our opinion the LBL and the Berryman are the best. One of the best things about the LBL is the racing venue, the Land Between the Lakes is a HUGE Forest Service recreation area that is sandwiched between two lakes which is nearly all forested and with no private land. This means there are no out of bounds areas for the race director to work around and loads of logging roads, trails and lakes to work with. Jason (of Bonk Hard Racing) is not kidding when he says it is an adventure racer’s paradice. Also there are miles and miles of some of the most fun single track mtb trail that I have ever been on. Now on to the race report.
Thursday we got all of our crud loaded up and headed out. I think that there is some kind of strange and magical phenomenon that occurs with gear. It seams to just grow and expand and accumulate the longer you do races. Last year we took a Nissan Xterra to the race and didn’t have problems, this year we took Judd’s full sized Suburban and it was still packed full. At the race site we saw a team that had kind of Mercedes mini-bus pulling a trailer loaded with gear. At our current rate of gear accumulation we will need one of those setups before the end of the year.
One of our goals for this race was to get some sleep pre-race. For the majority of the races that we have done, Judd is the only one that gets any sleep. Dave, Chris, and I are usually up messing around with the map, analyzing the course on, and fiddling around with packs and gear till well after midnight only to wake up at 4:30. We hoped to take the advice of Jason Bourne and use “sleep as a weapon” Well it wasn’t meant to be, I was still up past midnight and when I laid down and tried to sleep I found once again that I was so jazzed up that I could literally hear my own pulse, so who knows what time I actually got to sleep. Come 4:00 a.m. my mind decided “enough sleeping for you, it is time to start thinking again about the race” and I woke up and that was it. Of course nature was calling, so I tried to sneak to the restroom but the beds were so creaky that starting up a chainsaw might have been a bit more quiet, and so Dave was bright eyed and bushy tailed a couple of minutes later. Oh well, sleep is one weapon that we would just have to leave in the holster today. We geared up and towed the starting line, the 12 and 24hr races started at the same time, so there was a huge crowd. Looking around it is intimidating to see all of these people all geared up and looking fierce, but our race strategy is to not worry about other teams, just do what we do, go as hard as we can, have fun and we will end up were we end up. It started with a four CP nav section through some really stickery brushy woods, and I was just not really on my game with the navigation. I didn’t really blow any points, but it wasn’t a super clean trek. As we headed back to the bikes at race HQ we passed a guy that had made the mistake of wearing shorts who looked like his legs had been sprayed with catnip and locked in a room with 100 addicted strays. At HQ we were told that we were in third place and both were four person teams so we headed out for a long bike section with a mix of single track, logging roads and a little pavement. We went back and forth with a couple of teams until CP 7 where everybody was stopped looking for the punch. It was plotted at a road/trail junction so it was pretty obvious we were in the right spot and we started to get a little nervous that maybe it had been stolen. After a minute or so Dave spotted it on a tree about 50m back up the trail, he punch and we told the other teams were it was as we mounted up and headed out. We fired up the after burners for the long stretch of road biking and didn’t see those teams again. It is funny because Kari hasn’t been biking long and claims that she is not good at it, but I bet if you asked those two 4 person all male teams who ate our dust after that CP they might give her a different answer.
We got to the Canoe put in and were still in third overall with two 4 person teams ahead of us. As we paddled to CP 9 we saw one 2 person team in pursuit after punching in a cove and coming out we saw that it was Team Brewer Science who are also from Rolla. We were excited for them because there were no other teams around so we thought that they had a great chance at winning the 2 person division. We could see the two teams quite a distance in front of up in a neck and neck battle for first. As we got out of the canoe the volunteer informed us that we were about 22 minutes back. 22 minutes is a substantial lead, but there was a lot of race to go and anything can happen. As we headed out on the second and longer trek section our legs were stiff and sore so we settled into the survival shuffle pace till we got to the woods. Then we got our nav groove on and just swept through the orienteering points about as clean as possible. I was seeing the terrain well and just we just flew through the course, Well we went through the woods as fast as our tired legs would go. Getting back to the bikes, Jason told us that the 2nd place team had just left. Unsure of how many minutes that entailed we transitioned and headed out for the bike back to the finish. Most of the bike to the finish was gravel road and just a bit of single track. Our legs were tired but we pushed hard. At cp 20 we crossed a creek and realized that the punch was on the other side. Let’s just say Dave was real excited to wade another creek. We cranked on and on, I felt like I was working pretty hard when I heard Judd and Kari behind me just chatting away about the value of vegetables and Dave turns to me and joking says, “You know, I don’t think that they are working hard enough if they can just be chatting away like that” I then tried to turn up the pace which had absolutely no effect on the chatter so I must not have turned it up much. I must say I was feeling the burn on every hill. As we headed down a last single track section with about a mile to go we caught sight of a team in front of us. Dave and I smelled blood in the water and went barreling down the hill after them and just about caught up to the girl at the back of the team and realized that the rest of our team was not with us, oops. We took a couple of breaths and told Judd and Kari that there was a team just up ahead. The team was Iowa Wolfpack so we came out of the single track and poured it on with about a ¾ miles to go. The Wolfpack saw us coming and cranked it up as well. There were two small hills to the finish and we were gaining. We dug in, with our legs on fire, our muscles swimming in lactic acid and seeing red but we ran out of road. They crossed the finish line 15 seconds in front of us. Imagine racing 7.5 hours and the finish comes down to 15 seconds! After we crossed we shook hands with the bewildered Wolfpack team members who wondered where we had come from. They had been battling team Follow No One the whole race who came in just three minutes in front of us and couldn’t have been more surprised to find us breathing down their necks in the end. We were actually pretty surprised to have caught up so much ground as well. So we finished in third place just three minutes separating the top three teams. Incredible! We were ecstatic with our performance and of course will be counting the many places where we could have made up three more minutes for weeks to come.
After reliving the race with the Wolfpack and Follow No One for an hour or so we went back to the hotel and got cleaned up for the awards ceremony. When we came back we found out that the other teams from Rolla all did extremely well. Team Brewer Science who had some nav errors after being only three minutes back from us off the canoe and came in 3rd. Teams Won’t Win and That’s Going to Leave a Mark from Rolla came in well under 12hrs although I don’t know how they placed in their division. Chris from That’s going to Leave a Mark decided that he was going to be sure to live up to the name and made the mistake of wearing running shorts through the trekking, yeeee ouch! At the awards ceremony Iowa Wolfpack left early so we got to pick from the prizes second and let me just say that NO ONE gives out better prizes than Bonk Hard Racing. I am talking a $250 Kuat rack, $100 North Face windproof fleece, $90 North Face Sleeping Bags, and bunch of gear from Alpine Shop. Bonk Hard puts on an amazing race and you can’t find a nicer race director that knows adventure racing than Jason and Laura. You don’t want to miss the awards ceremony, that is unless you finish before Forum Dental.

Monday, May 10, 2010

LBL challenge report from race director

Jason of Bonk Hard Racing gave the following report of the 2010 LBL Challenge in his newsletter.

The LBL Challenge 12-Hour and 24-Hour adventure races took place on April 10-11 at the Land Between the Lakes, in western Kentucky. The weather was absolutely beautiful with the high at 72 degrees and the sun was shining the entire weekend.

The 12-Hour and 24-Hour racers both started at 7AM on Saturday morning. Race Headquarters was located at Birmingham Ferry (on Pisgah Bay), and we had the entire backside of the campground reserved for the race.

Nearly 200 racers lined up at the starting line for the playing of our National Anthem and some last minutes notes. 24-Hour teams and 12-Hour teams were headed in different directions at the start, but they all had the same goal – to do the best they could and have fun doing it.

12-Hour racers started with a 4 mile running and orienteering leg, and had to find 4 checkpoints along the way, before returning to Race H.Q. The four CPs could be found in any order. The 4-Person team, The Juggernauts, finished this leg in a very fast 56 minutes! The were followed very closely by the team Iowa Wolfpack, who finished one minute behind them. It was a battle for first place, and with the top 3 teams finishing within 4 minutes of each other, it would be a battle the entire day!

Once teams returned to Race H.Q., they started a 15 mile biking leg. This biking leg included about 6 miles of fun singletrack. The rest was jeep roads, gravel roads and paved roads. This biking leg led teams to Taylor Bay Campground where canoes were waiting for them. The 4-Person team, FollowNoOne, and the 2-Person team, Brewer Science, recorded the fastest times on this biking leg, completing the 15 miles in 1 hour and 45 minutes. This put FollowNoOne in a dead-even tie for first place with Iowa Wolfpack at Taylor’s Bay. Teams dropped their bikes, grabbed their PFDs and prepared for the upcoming 7 mile paddle on Lake Barkley and Energy Lake.

Teams paddled south on Lake Barkley for about 4 miles, getting a CP in a cove along the way, and arrived at the eastern boat ramp of the Energy Lake Dam. Teams had to portage their canoe across the dam to the western boat ramp, and continue paddling another 3 miles on Energy Lake. Team FollowNoOne posted the fastest paddling time, finishing the 7 mile paddle in a time of 1 hour and 38 minutes, putting 7 minutes on Iowa Wolfpack. Teams would now face a 4.5 – 5 mile trekking leg back to Taylor’s Bay Campground.

It ended up that team Iowa Wolfpack finished the trekking leg 7 minutes faster than team FollowNoOne, in a time of 1 hour and 26 minutes, which put them – once again – in a dead-even tie for first place at Taylor’s Bay! But the big news was the 4-Person team Forum Dental, who finished the trekking leg in 1 hour and 17 minutes, and closed the gap on the top 2 teams. Forum Dental arrived at Taylor’s Bay a mere 7 minutes behind the top teams. They knew they would have to push extremely hard on the final bike leg to have a chance at catching the top 2 teams. They had no intention of slowing down on the upcoming 15 mile biking leg, and they had every intention of making FollowNoOne and Iowa Wolfpack earn it.

I can only imagine how hard these top 3 teams were pushing each other on this final biking leg. And in the end, crossing the finish line 7 hours and 31 minutes after the race started, was the 4-Person Co-ed team FollowNoOne! Three minutes later, team Iowa Wolfpack crossed the finish line taking 2nd Place Overall! Only one minute behind Iowa Wolfpack, team Forum Dental crossed the finish line for a very solid 3 Place Overall! A huge congratulations to Laura Scherff, William Scherff, Ken Debeer and Joe Perry, of the team FollowNoOne, on winning the LBL Challenge 12-Hour!

12-Hour : 4-Person:
1. FollowNoOne – 7:31
2. Iowa Wolfpack – 7:34
3. Forum Dental – 7:35
4. Guinness for Breakfast / Trace Bikes – 9:14
5. The Juggernauts – 9:22

12-Hour : 2-Person:
1. American Flyers – 8:41
2. Cuttahotha – 8:45
3. Moose Knuckles – 9:14
4. Team Brewer Science – 9:19
5. That’s Gonna Leave a Mark – 9:43

Sunday, May 9, 2010

St. James Missouri Mountain Bike Trail Map

A trail map and profile for the new (May 2010) St. James mountain bike trail is below. Click on the trail head for driving directions.

Nice work Route 66 Bicycles in Rolla and everyone who worked on getting this trail built and open to the public.

To get the full experience click View Large Map

View Larger Map

Friday, April 30, 2010

Bonk Hard Chill Report

Team Forum Dental did as well as we could expect for the 2010 Bonk Hard Chill at Lake of the Ozarks State Park!

The Thursday prior to the race I got a frantic call from one of our team members. “I’m sick on my deathbed – I can’t do the race”. WOW the phone lines lit up around the Midwest. EVERYONE we knew had something going on that weekend. It was almost comical.

We finally did the unthinkable. We decided to go coed. This is not a slight to our coed-ness, but it basically threw us into the mix with Alpine Shop and Bushwhacker. This is an arena that we were not prepared to compete in. As hansom as Dave is, and as chiseled as Scott’s physique is, 3rd is basically the best we could do.

Friday night - Pre-race meeting at 8:00pm
I spent a small fortune at the bike shop, and really liked my odds of winning the kayak. Didn’t happen. Fortunately it was not a precursor of our performance at the race. We got the location of bike drop-off, map and instructions. Jason was working on a pretty raspy throat, so the meeting actually was brief and to the point.

Hoping to get to bed early, Dave, Kari and I dropped bikes off in a park in Tuscumbia, MO, while Scott plotted our attack back at HQ. We had a new strategy for bikes this time. Rather than have water and Heed in the bottles, we went with Yoohoo. Yoohoo is the official post-race drink of Team Forum Dental. I’m working on some additional sponsorships from manufactures like Cheetos, Gogurt and Slim Jim – but I digress.

We decided to put the calories in liquid form and take them with us rather than wait for after the race. We figured the race was so long, that we needed multiple recovery drinks. I think this Idea was birthed from prior races when we would leave cans of Yoohoo at the bikes. We drank them and crushed and carried the cans. Jason was clear that we were not to leave anything with the bikes except bike gear. This produced the Yoohoo in the bike bottle idea. Simply Genious!!!

We set tire pressures to 38psi, adjusted seat height, and were headed back to HQ.

Our plan of being in bed by 11pm somehow got thwarted. It’s just not a race if we get in be before 1am.

Wake-up was 4:15. I’m the only one who feels it is necessary to take a shower prior to a race, so I jumped in the shower and woke myself up. Anything prior to 8:00am is rough on me. We got to the start point at Camp Clover Point, only to wait while the buss’ tried to find their way there – Good thing the drivers weren’t navigating for the race!!! Jason had to go find them and lead them to the right spot. We all loaded up and headed to the true start out east of Osage Beach.

So we get to race start, and there is a rush to the bathrooms. There tend to be more men than women at these races, so the line to the bathroom looks like the woman’s bathroom at a sporting event. After about 30 seconds, anyone not takes a duce winds up nourishing the local plant life. There was a large group of guys “admiring the view” at the riverfront. One girl was standing behind the firing line looking out over the river when a racer turned and mentioned to her that everyone was really just urinating, not looking at the river - she quickly turned away quite embarrassed.

Jason apparently forgot his iPod, which means we butchered the National Anthem. Still pretty cool that we do that before these races though.

So everyone has their rain top on, because a slight drizzle is coming down. There I am in my bright yellow Frog Tog top – thanks Scott. Everyone has these cool, lightweight rain coats on. Scott picked up some lightweight Frog Togs for us over a year ago. They are great to pack for adventure racing because they work, and they really are lite. But his is a casual tope color. Mine - Banana Yellow.

7:10am and we are off and running. We started with a 3 mile out and back run. Surprisingly, this really does spread the group out a bit. CP1 and CP2 down. Into the canoes we go.

We see several people we know. Say our polite hellos, but this is a race where we know the best we can do in our category is 3rd, so we become all business. I’ve lost about 25 lbs since Castlewood, so I’m about 15lbs heavier than Dave now. With me in the front, and Dave in the back with his an my pack, the boat is fairly balanced.

Canoeing is not our forte, but we busted it out during this section. We actually passed a few teams during the 11 mile 2 hour paddle. We reached CP3 and made a fairly smooth transition to the bikes. Plenty of bikes still there, so we knew the race was going well for us. By this point we had doffed our rain jackets, so I no longer looked like a giant bumblebee.

We started out by crossing a poorly maintained bridge over the river with plenty of traffic. I wouldn’t be surprised if a few teams looked at the bridge and decided to throw in the towel. It was long and uphill – the first of many. Our towing system – a dog collar with some surgical tubing – worked great, and thankfully we didn't stay on pavement very long.

Scott was taking us right to the CP’s. Many of which were just red cables wrapped around a pole or sign with the orange punch there. Tough to spot while flying down the road! We passed a few more teams here.

We were climbing up a hill to a CP, and saw a team up ahead. I’m a pretty lighthearted guy, and was jokingly going to ask if anyone had a cigarette. I opted not to, and then realized that one of their teammates was actually smoking a cigarette. That would have been the big foot in the mouth. But it does raise two questions. 1. What the heck are you doing smoking during an adventure race? 2. How the heck did you get in front of us after a run, paddle and bike section, with the lungs of a smoker? Maybe it was time to pick up the pace.

About 2 miles after CP5, and some fairly difficult climbs, a team asked us if we had found CP5. Sorry guys, it’s about 2 miles back. Ouch.

Scott’s $1.99 bike-map-holder-thing-a-ma-jigger worked great. During the whole biking section. I don’t really understand how people can wear the map and navigate at the same time. As an added bonus, it works like a fender, so while the rest of us have mud flung up in our eyes and mouth, Scott is looking as pristine as ever – Pretty Boy.

CP7 was at an Osage Beach gas station. Everyone had a $1.50 credit at the store. I was too focused on passing teams that were waiting for Gatorade, pizza, hot dogs and beer. I wanted to treat this like any old CP. What do I care about $1.50. Alas, the bathroom called out as a safe haven to a few of the teammates, and you couldn’t deny that a toilet seat was better than a squat in the woods. We busted out of the gas station, and realized that on the bike up to that point, we had passed about seven teams.

We passed our first strip club, next door to the VFW, promptly followed by several churches. “Where you going honey?” “I’m swinging by the VFW to hook up with some old pals, and then maybe catching sermon.” - Yea right. It reminded me of a Bar in Prescott, AZ named The Office, and one in Phoenix named The Library. “Where are you?” – “I’m at the Office.” “Are you going to be out late dear?” “Yea, I’m going to be at the Library.” It’s all about marketing.

CP8 was on a cabin at the top of a hill. At this point, those of us who read the directions knew that the paved road that did not rip your quads apart was off limits. You were supposed to attack this CP from the hilly gravel road. Needless to say, we saw other teams approaching the CP from the off-limits road. This sport has honest people in it for the most part. I’ve seen a few exceptions to this rule. Basically a limited number of folks who blatantly leave teammates behind to go a few miles and get a CP, or take easier routes that are off limits. These racers are few and far between. We knew the guys who approached on the road. Good guys, who obviously were not out to cheat, but just didn’t read the rules of travel. We mentioned it to them. Didn’t turn them in. Don’t know if they turned themselves in. It’s always nice to have a good reputation, so that people assume the best about you.

CP9 was the check-in for some single track. The people there had Oreos for us, and were really upbeat. It’s great to have volunteers that enjoy what they do. This was the trailhead, and CP's 10-12 were down some muddy trails.

This is not single-track that you love. More of a horse trail. Scott did us some favors here. We initially passed the proper turnoff on this trail. About 3 other teams of aggressive mountain bikers were right on our tails. We stopped to reorient, and they went smoking by us. Never saw them again, but they were going in the wrong direction. We walked our bikes back up a muddy trail and found our missed turn. Off we went, never to see the other teams again.

The route from 10-11 was basically un-rideable with extremely steep, rocky, muddy terrain. Dave probably could have handled it on his Specialized, but since the rest of us had Gary Fishers, we decied to push our bikes.

We picked up CP12 and then were off to Camp Pin Oak. “Scott, how far to Camp In Oak?” “It’s just down the hill, up the hill, down the hill and up the hill again.” - Thanks Scott

CP13 was at Camp Pin Oak where we received more points to plot. Kari and I took care of the incidentals of the transition, while Dave and Scott plotted. I dumped my water at this point, because I knew the end of the race was near, I wanted to cary as light a pack as possible, and my water was tasting quite foul. I must not have let the water run at our dive of a hotel, because it was nasty.

Off we ran. The rain was beginning to fall again, making the leaves on the forest floor quite slippery. However, with the leaves on the ground, rather than the trees, spotting checkpoints from 200 yards away, was much easier.

I’ve recently taken up the job of pace counter. I also have an altimeter that keeps track of distances. I have to say, I finally feel useful. 25 pounds liter allows me to get up hills faster, and move through the forest more quickly. That, and my pace counting duties really gave me a since of pride. I don’t really know if it helps that much, but it made me feel good. I think we move through the woods a lot faster now. For one or both of these reasons.

We busted through this section almost flawlessly. We botched one checkpoint, which cost us about 45 minutes, but otherwise this was a smooth run. Even botching just one CP was good for us. We headed back to our bikes, and saw a few teams just leaving. Some of us were not feeling 100% at this point (probably because the Yoohoo was gone), so we knew with the monster hill in front of us, that we would not be catching these two teams on our way back to Camp Clover Point.

Scott’s legs were shredded at this point from doing all of the towing. I looked over at him to offer words of encouragement, but realized I’d better be quiet, and let him focus. Then I hear Kari, his wife, say “you can go faster if you want to”. Smack!!! Get it move’n buster, this ain’t no night train.

It was daylight and we came up to the finish line with Cowbells, yells, air horns blowing with a time of 9 hours 7 minutes. About 2 hours behind Bushwacker and Alpine Shop – but a solid 3rd place in the elite coed division. I might add, that we finished a good 30 minutes ahead of the first place All-Male team. Double Smack!!

What did we learn.
1. Yoohoo and Ensure in the Bike Bottles – It’s all about the liquid calories!.
2. We can hold our own in the coed division. Not with the elite teams, but certainly with many teams.
3. We found a new war cry “you can go faster if you want to”

Friday, April 2, 2010

A bad influence

Ha Ha Ha.....After 10 years I am starting to have some success. All this time I have been tempting my wife ever so slightly to come to the dark side and I believe I have made some serious progress. Of course a few months ago she began mountain biking, then adventure racing and she keeps coming back or more which is excellent. Then a few days ago she asked me to fix a picture frame that she was having trouble getting to stay up. I take a look at it and find that she had applied a ginormous amount of duct tape (see pic above) to the back and I knew then that her journey to the dark side is nearly complete, it won't be long before I'll have her not bothering to throw the dirty clothes in the hamper (I mean why have so much floor space if you're not going to use it), hocking lugies during races, and just wiping her nose on her sleeve like every other adventure racer (Ok MALE adventure racers).....Ha ha ha

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Bonk Hard Chill 2010 race map

1 week after the whole missing CP fiasco at the AdventureMax we were able to redeem ourselves at the Bonk Hard Chill 12 hr. We placed 3rd in the 4 person Co-ed division and 3rd overall of the 4 person teams. The only 4 person teams that beat us were Alpine Shop and Bushwhackers who are both nationally ranked teams and are really in a different league all together. We originally intended to run it as a 4 person male team but one of our teammates was flat on his back with the flu on Thursday, so Kari had to sub in. Turned out great though, she really hammered the whole race and we feel we are really coming together as a co-ed team. It was kind of drizzly and cold the whole race, but we felt great the whole way. We feel that we have found a breakthrough in adventure racing nutrition. We have always loved YooHoo (that deliciously tasty chocolate drink) for post race recovery. Studies have shown chocolate milk to be the greatest recovery drink ever invented (google it). We always struggle to get in calories on the bike, so I thought "heck I am going to fill one of my bike bottles up with the stuff." It was like NECTAR FROM HEAVEN! so tasty and packed with just the right amount of carbs, and protein, we felt like we could go for days drinking the stuff. YooHoo is now the official bike fuel of team Forum Dental. We don't know if YooHoo sponsors any sporting teams but we would like to be first in line. Anyway, I think Judd is writing up a full report so stay tuned. Oh and if you are reading this and are in a future race against us, disregard all the YooHoo stuff, it really sucks, keep choking down Cytomax or Perpeteum YUM :-)


See the map below for the Bonk Hard Chill 12hr race map

To get the full experience click View Large Map

View Larger Map

Sunday, March 21, 2010

AdventureMax 8hr race map

See the map below for the AdventureMax 8hr race map

To get the full experience click View Large Map

View Larger Map

AdventureMax 8hr report

The Adventure Max 8 Hour was put on by Ultramax and it was their first adventure race. We weren’t sure what to expect, but we had high hopes. We arrived at the Innsbrook Resort and lined up for the gear check. The course designer laughed at Nav’s ball compass and asked if we were seriously going to use that compass. We assured him that we were and it worked great.

The pre-race meeting kicked off at 8:00 pm. The race director attempted to build some tension around the race start time by telling us it would begin between midnight and 10:00 am and there was a reason headlamps were on the required gear list. Then came the announcement. The race would begin at; you could feel the tension in the freezing air, 6:00 am. There was a collective gasp from the crowd, well not really. Pretty much all the races we have done start about the same time. This time of year the sun is coming up by then. So much for needing the headlamps. After listening to the usual “can I leave my bike shoes with my bike at the bike drop” questions we headed out to find a hotel nearby after figuring out the links on the Ultramax website put us about a half hour from the race when another town was much closer.

The next morning we dropped our bikes at 5:15 am and headed to the start. I picked up the passport and timing chip, we listened to the National Anthem and off we went at 0600. The first section was a long run that spread out all the teams. Thanks to our expert, Nav, we nailed the first orienteering section and cruised into the canoes in 3rd place overall.

Having Judd (the missing link) in the front of a canoe on an icy lake has its advantages. Even though he has lost twenty pounds doing P90XXX, he is still the big man on the team. That finely honed Demi Moore-like physique came in pretty handy for busting ice in front of the canoe. We had to do some icebreaking to get all the check points on the lake, but still came off the water in third. Holding our place was a stunning achievement for us in the canoe, where we are not always at our best.

We dashed back to our bikes with a couple of teams hot on our heels. The bike was going great until the first of what seemed like endless low water crossings. Every time we rode through water splashed on our legs and our shoes were filled with water. Invigorating on a frosty 30 degree morning.

We were cruising on the bikes when Judd decided to take a tight corner on a low water crossing. I was right behind him as his bike slid out from under him and he slipped gently below the surface of the water. I had to stop to keep from hitting him and soaked one of my feet while standing there waiting for him to get up and get going. He was fine, only wet on one side, so we kept going.

We didn’t fare quite as well on the bike as the canoe as we were passed by two 2 person teams and a 4 person co-ed team. We were right behind the 4 person team heading into the transition area from bike to orienteering when Kari snapped a chain on her bike. At this point Kari was given her one and only chance to say sorry, even though it wasn’t her fault. She was giving it all she had to stay with the team ahead of us and the chain gave up. She claims she isn’t much of a biker, but with power like that everyone else better watch out.

So, we have a broken chain and I know just what to do. I dig into my saddlebag and get out a quick link. This repair will take seconds, in theory. Judd gets his chain tool, we take out a link, I put in the first plate of the quick link and realize the other plate is gone. I must have dropped it in 6 inches of dried grass. Lots of profane words went through my head and a few escaped my lips as we searched for the missing link (not Judd this time). Missing half the quick link, I removed another link and in my haste to get going I pushed the pin all the way out. More profanity. The pin gets dropped and we try to get another one in when I realize, there is something hanging in my lips. I looked up and asked the team, “What is in my mouth?” There was the missing quick link. I was holding it in my lips so I didn’t drop it. After that screw up, I put both links on the chain and I got my only sorry of the race. We were off to catch those other teams.

We were off following Nav running on lead legs. In the time it took to get the chain fixed our legs tightened up. Then we realized we were going the opposite direction we had planned. We convened a team meeting to consider our options and decided to take the orienteering the opposite way we had planned. Nav nailed checkpoint 19 and we headed to checkpoint 18. We arrived at the narrow ridge and found a couple of other teams milling around looking for it was well. The clue was ridge and that was what we were on. No one could find it. Now, the race director had stated in the pre-race meeting that if you couldn’t find a checkpoint and you know you are in the right spot, don’t spend too much time looking for it. Skip it and move on. It won’t count against you unless another team after you finds it. We hear this in every pre-race meeting we attend. In the Mission 18 hour race there was a missing control and we got credit for getting there. Nav was 100% sure we were in the right spot so we decided to move on to 17 and skip this one. 17 proved to be a little more challenging than it should have been, but once we got it we blew through the other two and headed back to the bikes. When we got back we asked the guy at the TA if other teams had found 18. He said everyone had.

Well crap. We didn’t want to miss a checkpoint, which was a 5 hour time penalty, so we headed out to try again, this time attacking from a different direction. We passed another 4 person co-ed team headed back to the bikes and they said they had 18. Nav worked the map and we headed for the checkpoint. We ended up on the same ridge as the first time. Must have missed the checkpoint down there. Down the ridge we went and found nothing. When we came back off the ridge we ran into Team Cyclewerks. Their navigator also agreed we were in the right location. They had spent the last 45 minutes looking for the control and found nothing. We decided to bag this one and head back to the bikes. The guy at the TA put a big circle on our passport on 18 and we headed for the finish line with a much reduced sense of urgency.

We biked in to the finish and found out there was a challenge to be completed before we finished the race. We had to pick up bags, go to a beach about a mile away and fill the bags with no less than 30 pounds of sand and pack it back to the finish where we would crawl under ropes dragging our bags. We complained all the way to the lake, but once we got the sand and put the bags on our shoulders, it wasn’t too bad. On our way back to the finish we ran into Team Cyclewerks headed to the beach. They said they finally found 18, but it was not in the right spot. We dragged our bags to the finish line and ended the race in about 8 and a half hours.

At the finish we talked with the race director and told him we thought checkpoint 18 was in the wrong location. He told us that he had heard from some teams it might not be right, but others told him it was exactly right. As we dined on the post-race meal, which was a great potato bar with chili and cheese and all kinds of fixin’s, the race director announced there was some controversy on checkpoint 18, but 90 percent of the teams had found it and the first place team told him they nav’ed right to it. Nav talked to some other team navigators that also thought it was located incorrectly, but they found it by accident. We decided to leave before the awards since we knew we were out of the running, but before heading out Nav talked to the race director and asked if we could GPS the location of the actual control to establish if we were off or if the control was. He told us to go for it and if we were right he would give us half off next years race.

We headed out there and ran into the course designer taking down the controls. He had just pulled 18 so Nav hopped on his 4-wheeler and they went to check it out. When they got back, Nav was smiling and the course designer confirmed what we thought. Control 18 was located in the wrong location. It was on a hill, not a ridge and south of where we were looking. We had closure, until the race results came out and they said “After further review CP #18 was in fact placed the wrong location. It was very close, but still in the wrong location. We applogize (sic) for the mistake! In the end, we did have the far majority of the teams find CP #18.”

They still counted 18 and we got a 5 hour penalty for missing it. In the end, Team Forum Dental came in 23 out of 33, but we had fun getting there. Next time we get a five hour penalty we are going to bring a lunch, a couple of fishing rods and do a little more lolly-gagging so we feel better about earning it.


Thursday, January 7, 2010

A little extreme training

Special D - a.k.a. big boss man of the Mark Twain N.F. made me drag my sorry rear out of bed go to work today in light of the BLIZZARD conditions. OK, maybe just a cold wintry snow shower, but the kids were off school and since I didn't feel like going to work I thought I would "stick it to the man" and run to work in protest. So I donned some tights and wind pants on bottom, base layer, fleece and windbreaker up top, facemask, hat, gloves and woolly socks and headed out.

It was 7 degrees with winds steady at 20 mph and gusting 26 which made the wind chill a balmy -14 degrees. I have to say with temps and especially with wind that cold it soon becomes apparent where you are insulation deficient. I could feel the cold seeping though to my legs at the start of the run (3-4 miles) but I hoped that they would warm up once I started generating some body heat. As I rounded the corner and headed up Soest road by the middle school the wind just absolutely blasted me. With snow blowing all around, the wind blasting me in the face and trudging through the snow, I felt I was starring in some journey across Antarctica documentary. It was excellent!

As I was running up Pine St. to RMU I began to have a small problem. You see, my legs, by that time had begun generating heat and felt fine along with the rest of me except for one little thing...The Captain had began to get a bit of a shiver in the timbers. That's right, I had failed properly shield Captain Winkey from the Arctic conditions and he was starting to protest. In fact he was down right causing me pain. When I got to RMU and was standing there paying my utilities I found that if I held myself it felt quite a bit warmer. So I just said to heck with it and while I was waiting for my payment to be processed I stood there in front of a bunch of old ladies, with face mask, hat and sunglasses looking like I was ready to go on a covert-op, holding myself like a 1st grader who is destined to forever be known as Scotty Potty.

I headed back out feeling a bit relieved, crossed the golf course, made snow angels on one of the greens and in front of the office then went in to stick it to "the man." Who of course could have cared less about my protest and probably wished he came with me. I didn't really do it to protest, just wanted to have a go at it cause doing stuff like that makes me feel alive.

Is there such a thing as a Willy Warmer or am I going to have to put that to Forum Dental Adventure Racings R&D department?