Sunday, March 28, 2010
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
The pre-race meeting kicked off at . The race director attempted to build some tension around the race start time by telling us it would begin between and 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, . 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 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
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
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.