Sunday, February 27, 2011

2011 Bonk Hard Chill Map

Below is Forum Dental's route at the 2011 Bonk Hard Chill along with a vertical profile. There were a few bike route choices and we always chose the routes with the least amount of hill climbs even if it was a bit longer. I am not sure we saved a ton of time with those routes, although we did seem to get in front of a few teams that we were behind at the diversion. It is always funny to see the "where did those guys come from" looks on faces as you come in from a different direction. Forum Dental is a "down and around" style team instead of an "up and over" team. The Marines can keep the latter strategy.

2011 Bonk Hard Chill report

For the Bonk Hard Chill this year we were back to searching for a fourth teammate for Forum Dental since my wife and I moved to WV. I was able to coordinate my work schedule to be in Missouri for the race but of course Kari had to stay back in WV and hold down the fort. I have to say that one of the hardest parts of AR sometimes is filling out a team. At the Forest Service Dave and I work with Shawn who is a former army paratrooper, is in the air national guard, has quite a bit of outdoor experience, is tough as nails and is a super nice guy, all the makings of a good teammate. When I asked him to do it he refused on account that he didn't think that he was in good enough shape, hasn't done much biking and just didn't think that he had it in him physically, blah, blah, blah... Well if I couldn't find a fourth teammate, I was going to have to sit out and watch Dave and Judd run the race since 3 person teams are not allowed at any Bonk Hard events. So I told Shawn that an adventure race is probably run at a slower pace than what he is thinking, there is not much running, the biking isn't so tough....... So after checking to see that his life insurance was paid up and that at least a few of us knew CPR, he decided to give it a go.

We packed up, attended the pre-race meeting got the entire course map and checkpoints and headed to Steak and Shake to plot where we paid an obscene sum for some milkshakes which turned out to be gut bombs and some nasty radio active cheese frys which, were they not ingested by Dave, would most likely have sat in a landfill for the next two hundred years with nary a color change to the unnatural pale yellow hue. You know that the milkshakes are sub par when Judd later complains that he wasn't sure that the ice cream was such a good idea. I mean have you ever seen Judd eat ice cream? Well actually me neither because I am pretty sure that his rate of consumption is faster than the human eye can detect. But I have seen the empty DQ blizzard containers before you even pull away from the take out window. So if Judd says that the milkshakes were not a good idea, they must have been poor indeed. We finished plotting, strategizing, analyzing and everyone hit the sack and I kept on analyzing, strategizing, planning. Then I hit the sack and kept right on analyzing, strategizing, trying to sleep, analyzing.....I probably netted about two hours of sleep, so pretty decent I'd say.

The weather forecast looked terrific for the race, mostly sunny highs in the 50's, we got up went outside and what!?? Rain?? Argggg and I was thinking that this years Chill isn't going to be chilly. Oh well. The rain stopped, we bussed to the start, played the national anthem and go. The race started with a 3.5 mile road run and of course everyone headed out with their pants on fire. I could tell Shawn wasn't really enjoying the brisk pace so I asked him what motivates him, does he like positive encouragement or the kind of in your face motivation like a drill sergeant. He responded that what motivates him when he is struggling is Schadenfreude or taking pleasure in the misery of others. So long as someone else is feeling the pain, he is fine with his. Well ok, must be some weird paratrooper thing.....

We are trucking along and Judd stops because his pants are soaked. Judd is past 40 but I figured he had at least a couple more decades before he has to hit the Depends isle but who knows, I mean Dave has already attained grand puh bah status in the Rotary organization so maybe 40 is the new 70??? (I am sure that those last comments will deserve a reminder of exactly who came in ahead of who at the Murder Rock half marathon last year, and it wasn't a member of Forum Dental in their 30s) Anyway Judd's bladder had sprung a leak (not the anatomical one). We stop, like a true enginerd I try to throw some duct tape on it but no luck, so Judd empties the thing. Lucky for us Judd is like a camel. I have seen him go a 24 hr race and still have half his bladder full at the end without refilling.

Now lets review, Shawn is motivated by taking pleasure in the misery of others and Judd's bladder that he filled the night before suddenly springs a leak, hmmmm......

So we charge back into it but are now in the back of the pack, but a couple of minutes are not going to lose the race. However it is kind of frustrating to be at the back so quickly. We hit the canoes and paddle about 5.5 miles down the river which has tons of logs and rootwads to negotiate and is pretty fun but hard to make time on anyone because the river is kind of congested. We get out and hop on the bikes for about a 10 mi bike on gravel roads. We navigate cleanly and head back to the TA where we get a small break from the bikes for a quick 3 cp 2.5 mi trek. I urge everyone to transition quick because it is a short trek and we need to make up time where ever we can, so we blast through the transition as if we were never there......

We head on and nail the first two CPs when Dave comes back to me and says hey we punched 9 and 11 and are headed to 10 but where was CP 8. I say "oh 8 was the TA" and I see the realization come across Dave's face as he whips out the passport with a big old blank in the #8 box. We were in such a rush to transition fast that we forgot to punch. The rules are that you have to get the points in order unless otherwise specified and anyone missing a CP will be ranked below any team that gets all the checkpoints. On the one hand we figured that we might be hosed since we didn't follow the CP in order rule, but on the other hand the passport is just there to prove that you visit every CP and since it was obvious that we were at CP 8 being a manned CP and since we didn't get CPs 9, 10, and 11 on our bikes maybe Jason would give it to us. So we proceeded on like we were still in the hunt.

We transition back to bikes for a 7.5 mile gravel road ride. I can tell Shawn is pretty well sick of the bike by now, but he knows that Judd is out of water and Dave is deeply immersed in self loathing about CP8 so his schadenfreude scheme is working perfectly and doesn't complain a bit. We head off on the 13CP orienteering section where we can skip a checkpoint (I have never come across that before) and have a pretty clean run when the skies open up and start dumping on us. We all throw on the rain jackets, but we are soaked in no time and now wet and with lower temps we are frozen when we go to get back on the bikes for the nearly 6 miles to the finish. Our hands are so cold that we bumble through the TA at a snails pace and it takes a yoda-esque force of will to get our thumbs to operate the shifters. It is a short ride mostly on pavement with no real monster climbs and we get that burst of energy that comes when you know you are heading to the finish and we truck along pretty good and cross the finish line in 8:45. A pretty respectable time, so I try to bribe Jason, the race director, with his favorite bag of chips, but to no avail since he didn't give us credit for CP 8 and we are therefore ranked last in our division. We have no problem with the decision since those are the rules and it was our own dang fault for not remembering to punch in the TA. Dave is still kicking himself, but to be honest all of us usually remind him to punch at TAs and NONE of us remembered so in reality it was a team mistake and no one is mad about it. In fact Dave is always so rock solid at every race, he never bonks, never feels like poo, never leads us astray when I need help with the map, never gets pissed or grumpy or whiny, has the aerobic capacity of Lance Armstrong on meth.... In short he is just about the best teammate anyone could have, so in a weird sort of way it was kind of a relief have Dave mess up for once. All in all it was one of my favorite courses that Bonk Hard Racing has put together in some time and we had a great time running it.