Friday, September 22, 2017

2017 Berryman Adventure 6 hour and 18 hour races by Scott Shaw

2017 Berryman Adventure 6 and 18 hour races by Scott Shaw

Robert Bart, Jessie Brown, and Captain Ahab (that would be me), set off to destroy the 3 person coed 18 hour Berryman Adventure.  We would be accompanied by Dave Beattie and Amy Crews on the 2 person coed 18 hour, and Dave Cortivo, Alane Wolins, and Neil and Luke Dickhaus on the 4 person coed 6 hour.  Robert and I started out by meeting at my house to rig a tow on his bike and to get there early to set up camp. 
We had to make a detour to pick up Robert’s 4 part kayak paddle before heading to Bear River Ranch. 
Jessie pretty much showed up at the same time as us, checked in, and then we drove far down the gravel road to set up Robert’s massive tent on rock hard ground.  After a few failed attempts we managed to get the tent up and drove back to headquarters, but we were stopped and told we couldn’t drive back and forth to camp.  We met the other BOR’s for dinner and a toast, checked out the ring tailed lemurs, and after the mandatory meeting was given by Kevin Edwards, we plotted our maps, and hitched a golf cart ride back to camp to get some sleep.

We awoke at 4:30 AM and drove Jessie’s car back to HQ since it was down at camp anyway.  We then took the bikes with Robert’s truck to the (4:45AM) bike drop which was a good half hour away.  We started noticing we were going to be real close on time to make the 6 AM start, so Robert drove as fast as he could and avoided killing both a deer and a skunk.  We made the bike drop as fast as we could and then started our way back to HQ. We saw Dave and Amy coming in as we were headed out and knew they would be late for the start.  We arrived with like 3 minutes to spare.  We were given coordinates to plot and Dave and Amy showed up.  We plotted and started in second to last place.  The BOR’s were bringing up the rear. 

I shot a bearing to CP1 and we entered a reentrant fairly quickly in the dark.  Robert was holding the bearing as I navigated and I figured we had over shot, but knew a road was ahead and when we hit the road it confirmed my suspicion that we overshot.  We went back up the reentrant a little bit and found the CP.  Traveling back down the same reentrant we got to the road at dawn and basically took it all the way to CP2 that was behind a house in a cave. 
We took the same road back some, passed a lot of teams on their way to CP2 (including Virtus), which made me feel like we made up some time unless they had already picked up CP3 since they were in any order (but that route would have been a terrible idea since it was on the way to CP4).  We then took a fence line that separated the public land from private and a 2 person male team hopped the fence and entered private property.  Not wanting to cheat we backtracked some and found the fence that went to public land, jumped it and quickly within 3 steps jumped the same fence again as it was the corner of the land.  We followed the same fence up to the road and got CP3.  I figured if we would have just taken the road around the private land that we would have moved much faster.  As we walked down the road we saw Dave and Amy in the distance behind us.  I figured they took the road and made some ground on us.  We then noticed the bastards were running!  WTH right? We kept walking for a while until we could get into shouting distance, heckled each other some and then we started running flats and downhills.  We barely beat Dave and Amy and another coed 2 person team to the canoes (CP5) after picking up CP4 along the road on the way.  Now we were using CP’s and routes that we had previously plotted the night before.

Jessie jumped in the middle of the 2 person canoe and set her butt down in the water that Robert was violently paddling into the boat.  I steered our way terribly up stream zig-zagging to CP5, which was on an island.  A female racer told me we would do better with the two kayak paddles in front and the canoe paddle in the back, so I decided that I would eat the bullet of sitting in the middle the rest of the race.  We trekked to CP6 on the island while passing and repassing Dave and Amy.  Amy declared that it wasn’t a competition between us and I knew that was complete bull crap because I have raced against Dave a few times and knew he was out to beat us.  I’m sure he knew I was out to beat him. 
Going downstream in the canoe we kept this same passing repassing madness up with them, but we noticed a white water turn ahead and I told Jessie to slow and not to enter with the other canoe.  Dave and Amy also slowed and I shouted that if they didn’t shoot it, we would, and that we both didn’t need to be in the turn at the same time.  I didn’t want both of our boats going over since I would rather have one TeamBOR team do better than both going in the drink.  Dave and Amy shot first and made it with no issues.  We entered at a bad angle, too slowly, and hit a log.  I had done the same exact thing in a previous paddle and knew we were going over, so I instantly jumped to the left and watched water come in and hit Robert’s hip.  He jumped to the left and Jessie must have also because we saved it from going over.  I couldn’t believe we saved it.  We had some catching up to do to CP7 and some bailing. 

We transitioned to the bikes and decided to follow our route to CP14 first which was the hillier of the two possible routes.  The thinking there was to get the hard part over first.  All 5 of us rode together.  Robert towing me and me towing Jessie.  Dave towed Amy. 

 I mentioned we needed another tow so we could do a 5 person train.  The tows worked out really well and allowed us to pass several teams.  We got near CP12 at Clifty Hollow (Park name eludes me) and decided again that it was trespassing to bushwhack from the road although another team went ahead and did it in front of us.  The 5 of us dropped our bikes in the park parking lot a little farther up the road and traveled to CP8, which the night before Beattie showed us that we mis-plotted it (thanks Dave!).  We took the trail using the available park map to the creek (Amy showed us that nifty trick...thanks Amy!)  Next we took the creek to the CP while seeing a lot of teams.  It’s a good feeling when you see a lot of teams because you know you are still in the pack.  We agreed we would take turns navigating and finding CPs, but Amy was sniffing them out like a bloodhound.  We took the creek to the reentrant that led to CP9 and then took the trail/creek to the hillside for CP10.
  We shot a bearing and pace counted to CP11.  Jessie took on her new pace counting training.  I checked Robert’s bearings a couple of times and Jessie’s pace count a couple of times, but once I knew they had it I trusted them fully and just navigated.  It is so helpful to split the navigation duties up like that.  So I navigated with the map and gave bearings and estimated distance in meters and I was also the mule carrying all the team gear.  Robert held bearings (and bike towed us) and Jessie pace counted and kept track of eating and drinking.  We continued the same jobs the rest of the race.  Well back to the trekking now.  From CP11 we navigated our way to the natural bridge and stopped for pictures and a discussion on trespassing via a creek. 

 I stated that the creek was not trespassing legally, but Amy stated that the boundaries and the rules of the race were clear.  We agreed taking the creek to the CP was race illegal.  We then voted to skip CP12 as it was a long hilly bushwhack to it and back to get to the trail to the parking lot.  A two person coed team came out of the creek from CP12 and we knew they had cheated.  We took the trail back to the bikes and ate a snack.
Back on the bikes we met up with Chuck and Kate from Team Virtus, Kate yelled something to the effect that we were riding too hard.  That was true as I had to tell Robert to slow down a few times climbing the hills in tow.  It would come back to haunt me later.  We split up from Virtus as we needed CP13 and I believe they went to CP14.  Back at the canoes CP15 we saw our 4 person coed 6 hour team and stopped to take a group photo, which I ruined by having my life jacket on. 

We then paddled to CP16, which was on a stinging nettle island.  We had to trek to it and back to the boat, it wasn’t long, but it was painful.  I tried washing my legs off in the river to soothe the sting.  I heard Amy say she was covered in seed ticks too; stupid island.  I usually enjoy the paddle, but I was very uncomfortable in the middle.  I had to keep switching from sitting in the bottom, which hurt my shoulders, to kneeling, which hurt my knees, to sitting on the bar, which hurt my butt and made the boat tippy.  I think I spent most the time sitting on the bar and kneeling.  We finally got our paddling team work down with Robert keeping the water in the river and paddling less with his superior strength left arm dig, me synching my paddle with Robert’s and not tipping the boat, and Jessie steering and paddling in synch with our paddles.  The only times we veered off course is when Jessie took pictures, but I’m happy she did.  Our new paddling teamwork allowed us to leave Dave, Amy, and Virtus behind and we passed two or three more teams.  We picked up CP17 on another island that was simple to see from the boat and Robert jumped out and got it and we were able to pass two more boats that took longer than Robert to get the CP.  We hit CP18 at the take out right before the transition area and Robert noticed a spigot and we filled up our water.  Our transition was pretty slow and Dave, Amy, Chuck and Kate caught us again. 

Back on the bikes we again took off towing each other, except Robert, he doesn’t need to be towed, never, like never ever.  We picked up CPs 19 & 20 along the road on the way to 21 which was a parking lot to another park (name escapes me).  Robert and Jessie plotted points 22-33 while I shoved my face full of food.  I had been drinking “orange Gatorade” Fireball Whisky since CP19 when my knees started hurting.  We again made good time, but Virtus and 2p BOR caught us again at transition.  BOR and Virtus discussed our evacuation plans to be out of the park.  I was thinking 8pm, Chuck said 8pm, and Dave said 7pm.  I changed out of my wet chamois and threatened racing in my underwear and Jessie took some sketchy pictures. 

We grabbed the park trail map and set out after transitioning with Chuck, Kate, Dave and Amy.  As we headed down the trail to CP30 I felt incredibly drunk and I started sweating profusely.  I started my usual drunken obnoxious taunting of people and decided to pick on Kate some.  I had a lot of fun, but I don’t think Kate did.  Dave and Amy disappeared, or I was too drunk to remember them.  We climbed up a steep fallen tree covered reentrant and got CP30. 

At this point I started sobering some and we had previously planned to hit CP29, but Jessie being of sound mind and strategy said we should try for CP27 first.  Since the map was still slightly blurry I decided that sounded like a good idea and going back down that reentrant would be no fun. So we left Virtus and bushwhacked down the side of a massive hill to the creek and up a spur looking for CP27.  We walked up to the trail and must have just walked right passed the CP, confirmed my suspicion with another team, which for some reason they didn’t believe me and set off in a different direction and we went right to the CP…their loss.  Now being totally sober and feeling much better minus some dehydration we shot a bearing, pace counted, and bushwhacked to CP25.  Robert led us through a maze of downed trees and we popped out in the creek about 15ft from the CP.  A 2person male team met us at the CP and I could hear them talking about evacuating the park.  I heard their navigator saying there wouldn't be a chance to find CP26 by dead reckoning, so I told them to follow us.  We shot the bearing and pace counted right to it and I told their navigator he owed me a beer.  They were going to start heading back and I talked him into going to CP24 with us. 

They followed us to Cedar Creek and up a hillside to the CP.  He asked if I like Blue Moon to which I responded was my favorite.  I tried talking him to going to CP33 with us.  It looked really easy, but they left and started heading back.  We should have done the same, but instead we walked and walked and walked the creek forever never finding the CP.  I started to get into the mindset that it’s just around the bend, but I knew we neglected pace counting and we may have overshot.  I figured we were getting close to CP23 and a creek junction ahead would help me confirm that, but I had went up a small creek looking for CP33 and noticed Robert and Jessie didn’t follow.  I came back to the creek to find them both sitting.  I figured I may have pushed them too much and felt a mutiny coming, so I told them we were leaving and gave Robert the duties to find an escape trail on the park map while I used the map to navigate the creek.  It was a super long way back walking in the large rocks of the creek bed.  It was superior ankle training.  It was also getting dark and we were approaching our transition time we had previously set of 8pm.  We donned headlamps and finally met up with some other teams also trying to find a quick way out, so we joined them in the hunt.  They had cleared the trek, which was impressive.  As we walked I told Jessie I was almost out of water and very thirsty.  She told me to drink everything I had and promised me she had enough for both of us.  I told her she didn’t know how much I drink.  I kept looking at the creek thinking I am finally going to have to drink creek water.  We walked along with about 2 to 4 teams still trying to find the trail out of the creek.  I heard another team talking about their water situation and I piped in that I was thinking of creek water.  They agreed and we found a small clear pool.  As I filled my camelback trying not to disturb the bottom I noticed many minnows and crayfish.  That made me feel better about the water, but I still put one iodine tablet in Robert’s 16oz bottle and 2 tablets in my 100oz bladder.  I didn’t want to take the time to read the instructions and getting the tablets out of the bottle was a chore in itself that was accomplished using Robert’s glasses.  Robert is an Eagle Scout and I was a Boy Scout and we both have used the tablets as children and knew we had to wait a half hour before drinking.  I figured my “orange Gatorade” would offset the possible lack of tablets in my water.  The other team filled up quickly and we found the trail out and Team Virtus, who told us they had found 4 CPs.  Knowing we had 5 CPs, I knew we had beaten Virtus, but where was Dave and Amy?

We transitioned back to the bikes after a gear check of headlamp, headlight, and taillight.  We rode with Chuck and Kate and I am glad we did because I think I would have rode much slower without them as Kate kept pulling ahead of everyone.  TeamBOR towed some up the hills to conserve energy and we found CP34 together.  I noticed Chuck had a suspect route planned and I showed him my route that used all roads.  His had a portion of unknown and he agreed that they would follow my route.  I was hugely shocked and rode off.  They didn’t follow us at first and I thought Chuck had some master deception going on to get to the finish faster.  Then I thought, “well we have more points so it doesn’t matter,” and I had to find and try to get in front of Dave and Amy.  We rode on, and as we rode on, I would feel like we were dropping Jessie and then she would fly by me like I was standing still.  Then Kate flew by and I knew Chuck and Kate must have just taken time to mark their route.  We found the rest of the points mostly together, which was a lot of fun because I had never had the chance to race with Virtus before.  Getting close to the end we saw Dave and Amy and knew they were ahead of us and all I could do was hope we had more CPs.  Even though I knew we were getting close to the end I could feel a bonk coming on.  Ever since we got back to the bikes I felt weak so every chance I got I would eat, but just in case on the very last hill I thought it was better to ask Robert for a tow instead of cramping up.  The finish was basically right around the corner and we finished with Team Virtus.  Dave was waiting there to see how many CP’s we had gotten and I was relieved that we had found more than them.  TeamBOR is a team but we do try to beat each other and Dave has been known to take out other BORs at finish lines on purpose; like he actually tried to kill John Naas once. 

We finished well under 18 hours, 48 minutes under, and I kind of wish we would have tried for another CP, but we may have risked a time penalty.  The race was a hard 18!  I estimated we rode 43 miles (my bike computer showed 47, but it actually wasn’t working for a short time, so I think we rode 50 miles).  I estimated we trekked 12 miles and paddled 10 miles…thoughts?  We Found 31 out of 39 CPs, and only couldn’t find one out of all that we attempted.  We worked very well together and I think we had some of the best team work that I have ever experienced in an AR.  I was very proud of the effort that Robert and Jessie put in.  We achieved 1st place 3 person coed.  If I had to do it over I would have liked to had another teammate to make a 4 person coed just to avoid 3 people in a canoe, I would have ate and drank earlier and more often, and I wouldn’t have drank as much “orange Gatorade.”  Hmm…that last statement is most likely untrue.  I also probably should have written this immediately after the race instead of a week later so my memory was clearer.

In the end, my new navigator friend brought me an ice cold Blue Moon at dinner.  We got our awards and bummed showers from my nav buddy.  We then broke the rules and drove to the campsite to sleep, and sleep we did.  We awoke, struck camp, went to breakfast, drove home, re-set up the tent in my backyard to dry, and then went through all of the unpacking and cleaning while my legs blew up in seed ticks, chiggers, and stinging nettle blisters.  I then scratched and scratched and scratched for about a week. – Ahab.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

2017 No Sleep Adventure 24 & 8-Hour Race by Scott Shaw

2017 No Sleep Adventure 24 & 8-Hour Race by Scott Shaw

I wasn’t planning on competing in the No Sleep race.  Frankly, the last couple years I have fell into a slump and haven’t wanted to race much.  I heard that TeamBOR was fielding a 2 person coed with Dave Beattie and Jessie Brown and a 4 person coed with David Cortivo, Robert Bart, Amy Crews, and Steve Fuller.  I asked my daughter if she wanted to sign up for the 8 hour and she told me no.  I am still hoping my daughters will race someday, but anyway my hopes of racing were dashed until I saw a post that Amy needed to drop out.  I quickly said I wanted in.  Next I heard that Steve needed to drop out and we gathered up Alane Wolins.

 I somehow bullied my way into being navigator, or I had pulled the shortest straw unknowingly.  We left St. Louis around 1pm and drove to Shawnee National Forest and incorrectly set up camp (the biggest damn tent vacation home ever) at the race start.

We ate dinner and attended the pre-race meeting.  I always find the meetings long winded and I really just want the map so we can get back early to plot and sleep, but it never seems to go like that.
I started to think sleeping was going to be shortened especially once I heard there was ropes practice at the start until 11pm.  There was supposed to be a full moon, and I don’t sleep well in the light, but luckily our massive tent blocked the moon and all was dark.  Since we had slept at the start we allowed ourselves to sleep until 6am, but other teams woke up earlier for the bike drop.  I am a pretty light sleeper, so I was really happy that I actually fell asleep again.  We slowly got up at 6, dressed, ate, dropped the bikes off, and had plenty of time before the 8am race start.  I love being early and not rushing!

The race started by having everyone remove a shoe and the volunteers threw our shoes out into the field.  We had to run, find our shoe, get it back on and run to the canoes.  We then carried our canoes to the water and launched.  Friday night we had planned to go either clockwise or counter-clockwise around the lake depending on wind direction, but since at race start they told us we had to cross the lake to the swimming beach, beach the boat, and pick one person to swim to the platform to get our passport, we threw that plan out the window.  We hadn’t picked a person to get wet as we were told the night before, because we really didn’t know what to expect, so as we hit the beach I decided to just go for it.  I dropped the map, compass, and my hat, and hit the water.  I ran first, then walked to the first set of buoys.  After that I had to swim to the platform.  I first noticed that I had my sunglasses on and couldn’t put my face in the water.  I then noticed that my shoes were sinking my legs, but luckily they made us wear life jackets.  I climbed the platform, grabbed the passport, and zipped it up in my pocket against the director’s instructions to put it in my mouth.  I jumped back in and thought, “Why the hell isn’t Robert doing this, he is the swimmer?”  I swam and rolled on my back to kick my shoes off, but then decided it was really important to keep my shoes, so I rolled back over and swam back to the first set of buoys and walked in exhausted.
We then paddled to CP3, then to 2, then across the lake to 4, then to a lily pad stricken area of CP1 where we had to wade through stinky muck that was sometimes neck deep.  We damn near lost Cortivo to a lily pad hole, but luckily the swamp gases being violently expelled lifted him back to the surface, or he was so scared he farted so hard he lifted himself.  Either way I got a nose full of foul odor and a mouth full of bugs and Cortivo lived to tell the tale, which you all will definitely hear, but his version will be much much better than mine.  It will probably have swamp monsters and aliens in it.

We then canoed back to the start, which was the TA, dropped the canoe and switched to trek.  We thought we had a solid plan to CP5, but after taking the trail to the first gate, we failed to find the second gate mainly because we followed the herd.  I said we are going the wrong way a few times, and then said we overshot a few times, while we walked a creek forever, but Dave wanted to keep following and told me a few times it was,  “just around the bend, just one more bend, just one more bend, just one more bend.” I had no idea where we were anymore because the map didn’t match the topography at all.  I told Dave we had to go back to the gate and shoot a bearing.  We walked back up stream and I looked for a side stream we had investigated earlier.  Not finding the side stream I felt doomed that we were so far off we were going to get lost.  Dave said he could take me to the gate.  Walking back to the gate I was very skeptical and told him if he was 100% sure I would trust him, but I thought he was guessing.  He pointed out the gate way down the field and I still wanted to go back to it and see if the road we took in was there, but I trusted him and we shot a bearing and went back to the creek.  I noticed we walked off bearing and called “bullshit,” but when we compared all three compasses it seemed one out of three was always swinging.  We chalked it up to iron in the soil and aliens (Klingons on Uranus aliens).  We walked into the creek and I really felt it was the wrong way again, so I stopped us and asked both Robert and Dave to compare the map to the land topography and we all agreed to turn around and found it.  We lost around an hour looking for it, but I needed it to shoot to CP6.

I gave Alane a very quick pace counting tutorial and read the bearing to Dave and Robert.  We followed three compasses and every time one person veered off we followed the two that agreed.  Alane counted and I estimated the distance and kept track of meters traveled with my ranger beads (I said RANGER BEADS!).  We found CP6 exactly as expected and very quickly after crossing a few barb wire fences.  We also found Team Noah and hugged and humped some.  Alane re-set and I had her count down the reentrant to the creek and again we were spot on where I wanted to be.  I had her re-set again and we traveled by creek in the direction of CP7, but she gave me a count that passed the CP and I had only moved one bead so I knew somehow her count got off.  Just in case we back tracked and checked for it.  I re-estimated and had her start over and we found it almost perfectly again.  Dave and Robert had a nice break from following the bearings and I know personally that counting gets tiring, but I wanted her to count to CP8.  We followed the trail and found the CP exactly on her count.  Team Noah cheated and followed us most the way, but I tricked them with a sneak attack “orange Gatorade” that was actually Fireball!  Kevin and Mickey smelled a trap, but didn’t warn poor Larry and he fell victim to my sinister plot.  They past us, but we heard later that the Fireball slowed and angered Chief Larry Firewater.  On the other hand, our team work of me reading the map, giving a bearing, and an estimated distance, Dave and Robert keeping the bearing, and Alane counting, really paid off.  There is a few things we could do to even get better at this, but that is some secret shit we are not gonna tell you freaks.  We then traveled to the bike TA watching Team Noah and some other 24 hour teams lolly gagging along like they had all the time in the world.

On the bikes my legs were a little grumpy at first and we slowly made it to a “road,” I use that term loosely, that took us right to CP9.  When we got back to the real road to go to CP10 we met up with a trio of beautiful young Sirens that missed CP9, but they tricked Dave into revealing its location.  I stopped us where I thought CP10 was, but quickly changed my mind and wanted to go down the road farther, but Robert had traveled at least 10 miles down the reentrant looking for it.  The Sirens caught us and realized it was farther down the road and left us.  Robert traveled at least 20 miles back to the road and we caught the Sirens as they were leaving the CP and they were nice enough to return the favor and reveal its location.  We started climbing hills and Dave needed a little tow, so he attached his bike to my tow and I stood and climbed past the Sirens walking their what appeared to be straight out of Walmart bikes (NO OFFENSE). We then had to find a point in the road where it turned sharply, which marked the point that we would bike whack to the trail, but when we got there the whacking looked too long and hard (no pun intended).  We decided to find the secret road to the trail that Dave heard stories of, but we tried every one we saw and they were all dead ends. Luckily I knew where we were, and we decided to go back and look for the secret road again.  We finally found it and it led us to the trail.  I then asked Robert to investigate a rock face to see if it was a short bypass trail, but his Tricorder malfunctioned and he told me, “No.” We therefore rode down this terrible stupid trail that headed in the exactly opposite direction and finally found Tamara and Joe at the turn around.  I said a whole lot of cusswords and then prayed we would find the correct trail.  We then rode the lower section of trail along the bluffs, and although they were beautiful I hated them for making us go around and lose more time, so I cussed them too and thanked the Lord for their beauty, but told Him that it would be great if He could move them out of the way.  As we left that trail I pointed out the bypass to Robert and scorned him for not calibrating his equipment better.  We took the trail system past CP19 to the TA and dropped the bikes with no mechanicals, minus some intense frame rub on Robert’s bike.

We then had only 40 minutes out and 40 minutes back to complete the race and we knew there was no way we could clear.  I figured we could get one or two more CPs.  We shot for CP13 and took the wrong road the first time, and then the wrong trail the second time, but got to see the guy that got impaled and also got to see the lovely Sirens again (I'm really hoping for a team invite).  Those tricky devils navigated past us probably when we were searching for the secret trail.  A solo racer gave us a hand by putting us on the correct trail and we had to run up the hill to CP13.  We then ran back and I thought about CP11, but Dave said he was done.  We went back to the TA and Alane said we should bike to CP19 since we knew where it was, but I said, “No Dave is done,” and we finished with 50 minutes to spare.  Tamara snuck off and got CP19 and beat us.  Joe slammed that down Dave’s throat as he grinned ear to ear.  I actually was pretty happy for Joe.
Minton photobombing TeamBOR Lost Souls

We got cleaned up and then I got kidnapped by Black Bart.  He took us all the way to Metropolis Illinois while threatening Kentucky if we were bad.  He forced Sonic ice cream upon us and made us walk amongst some sketchy superheros and villians.  I didn’t see SuperKate there so I felt it was survivable.  He forced his camera upon a stranger to capture us in front of a villain named Superman.  I prayed Batman would come and save me as I knew I had forgot to stop my Garmin tracking the race and it was sitting in my pack laying on the ground near our campsite.  Black Bart then forced us to look at a mini boar named Piggy.

 Piggy squealed in disgust that we didn’t have our BOR gear on.  Then Black Bart set a 20lb bag of ice on my balls and snickered all the way back to the TA as I threatened to jump to my death.  We also saw some hoodlums putting an immense amount of trash in Kevin Minton’s truck bed, which we shammed them and told them they weren’t being nice.  Probably the same hoodlums that spun gravel on a J-hook U turn.

After a few shots of whisky and a few beers, we watched the sun set and listened to Cortivo Radio Live.
He spun tales so tall that the only one that believed him was me; well because 90% of the stories involved me and I was there.  We fell asleep spooning like the Three Stooges; wait that’s a lie.  We fell asleep individually and were awoken at 3ish AM by the dreadfull sound of Mickey’s voice, which sounds like a young boy kicked in the nads, while scrapping his nails on a chalkboard.  He wanted a bike since Chief Firewater had broken his derailleur in a mad Fireball rager.  Dave fell out of his hammock, Robert jumped out of his shuttle craft, and I leapt to my feet on the portico, tripped over the tent rope, and took the map board and tow off my bike.  Alane stayed silently in her reading room.  We checked on vomiting Kevin and made sure they had fluids, and food.  Chief Firewater yelled at me a few times that he didn’t like my orange Gatorade and they disappeared into the darkness.  You could hear a high pitched boy yelling demands, vomiting, and a crazed Feather not Dot Indian (Native American) screaming Fireball fading into the distance.

We asked the race director about TeamBOR’s location and they said, “they are here.”  I thought that is us, and asked about Team Virtus as we were concerned about losing Chuck and losing his whiskey for future rides.

 They said they hadn’t checked in yet because SuperKate made a detour to Metropolis (Something about a mandatory meeting).
 I asked about our other TeamBOR and I got a funny look and they said, “they are here.”  I asked for clarification and they said, “they have been here for an hour.”  We looked around confused and then Jessie literally walked right between all of us like a zombie making a b-line for the human fecal troughs, aka pooping facility.  We yelled at her and asked where was FN Dave Beattie? She said that she had no idea and thought that she was gonna quit.  We told her to go to the bathroom and wake up.  Apparently, Dave told her that he was going to change his shoes and snuck off for a nap and she fell asleep in her trunk waiting on him.  We went looking for Dave and found him in the parking lot.  We got the two back together and made sure they were ok and gave Dave a smack in the butt and they were back out racing.

  We then went back to bed and awoke to the finishers coming in.  We stayed for the awards, stole the 24 hour racers breakfast, and found out that Dave and Jessie took 2nd place in their division with a one hour mid race nap.

We made a caravan of cars home,
we past Chief Firewater’s tribe riding slow and in war formation as I ducked down behind Beattie, and the rest is just a memory.  – Ahab.



Thursday, May 18, 2017

2017 The Epic by Scott Shaw

2017 The Epic by Scott Shaw

I signed up for The Epic early and immediately regretted my decision because I knew I couldn’t take it easy on training.  Last year the Epic or “Ogre” was the challenge of the year for me.  I trained hard, finished, and dropped off most of my racing shortly after.  This year I didn’t train half as much and was recovering from injuries that took me out of my running training.  I knew going into this year’s event that my cardio was in bad shape, and I hadn’t had a chance to get in a long ride, so I would be in pain.  I also hadn’t been weight training, but my legs felt strong to me, so I thought I would try my best and if all else failed, then just finish.

It pretty much rained solid a few days before the event, so the course was shortened to take out the highest water crossings.  I was happy to hear that I no longer had to ride 150 miles soaking wet and only would have to ride 130.  Tanya (my wife) and I drove down to the event in the rain, checked in, ate dinner, went to the pre-race meeting, and crashed at the hotel, all the while it was still raining.  Tanya started telling me it would be nice to stay in the hotel for the weekend or go home early.  I told her I had pre-paid the hotel and I had driven all the way, so no matter what I was starting in the morning.  We met some out of town racers that asked me questions about my bike set up and what clothes I was going to wear.  One of them didn’t think tights were necessary, but I told him I wouldn’t be riding fast enough the whole time to keep warm while soaking wet.  He almost changed my mind to wear shorts, but I stuck with my plan.  Wear a water “proof” jacket over my jersey and let my tights get soaked over my shorts.  I planned to ditch the jacket and tights if I got hot.  I chose to wear my summer mountain bike shoes because I knew my feet would be wet instantly and my boots don’t drain.

Larry Lazo told me we had to crush the start and stay ahead of most the pack, but I knew that meant me too.  I knew I wouldn’t be able to hang with him for long.  We started and instantly soul crushing realities started coming into my mind.  My legs were already burning, I was overheating, I couldn’t see due to the rain and gravel crap, and I couldn’t hold Larry’s pace.  I realized that to finish I had to slow down and recover and find a pace I could live with.  I had an extremely hard time of recovering.  I don’t think I ate enough that morning and I didn’t eat enough at check point one, even though Tanya was trying to get me to eat more.  I felt like I was drinking enough, but since I was soaked through I couldn’t really tell if I was sweating (my jacket was not water proof).  I found a pace I was comfortable with and I kept my clothing as it was because I feared getting hypothermia.  I knew there was nothing I had to change into that would keep me dry, and wet and warm is better than wet and cold.  The hail pinging off my helmet made me laugh until it hit me in the face and went through my helmet vents.  It was short lived, but the wind, rain, and lightning were fierce.  I decided it was safer to keep riding and keep my rubber tires on the ground instead of my metal shoe cleats.  That meant there would be no hill walking.

Eric Reber caught me struggling before check point one and I told him that I was having trouble recovering. He was sore from well over 200 miles the previous week, so he said he would ride with me.  It was nice to have someone to suffer with that didn’t mind the slow pace.  We rode quite a bit with Jeff and Carrie Sona on their tandem and I got to witness their insane downhill speed and subsequent splashing and parting off the waters at the crossings.  I’d follow them down and take Jeff’s lines and then pass them uphill and then repeat.  It felt safer following them at speed through the water crossings than doing it on my own.  I figured if they survived, then I would.  I still was very concerned about the crossings after last year.  Eric and I stayed together until CP1.  At CP1, Tanya started talking to me about quitting again and I thought Eric left before me, so I took off in a hurry avoiding Tanya and looking for him, but as I got off to walk a water crossing I saw him coming up from behind, so I waited for him to catch up.  We rode a pretty chill pace, but even at a slower pace we still had to walk crossings as they were getting much deeper. 

While descending, along came up a bunch of riders going the wrong way.  They were all telling us to turn around and go back to CP1 because the road was flooded so bad it was unpassable.  I think this was somewhere around mile 40.  Eric wanted to ride down to look, but a lot of riders said it was a long way back up, and I saw Emily Korsch and Erl in the group, so I immediately turned around and told Eric that if they didn’t cross, then we weren’t going to cross.  Later, I told Eric I was concerned that a herd mentality was happening as no one knew where we were going, so we stopped and looked for an alternate route.  We didn’t find one so we caught back up to the herd stopped at a road talking with race officials.  The group rode back to CP1 together.  Standing at the gas station/quickie mart I was starting to shiver.  I noticed others shivering and a large mass taking over the gas station and eating all their food.  The gas station floor looked like it had flooded from all the racers walking around in it.  I managed to shoot a couple texts to Tanya to let her know I wouldn’t be making CP2.  The cell reception was terrible.  At this time the race officials told us the race was over due to unsafe conditions.  They gave us three choices; one, call and get a ride back, two, wait for them to shuttle us, or three, ride back.  I saw about a dozen riders talking about riding back.  I knew it was about 28 miles back.  Eric said that didn’t sound like a lot, but it would be in the extreme conditions.  I felt bad, but made sure he had a ride back, and then I left him there.  I decided I paid too much, spent too much time, and drove too far to quit.  I shot Tanya a text to meet me back at the Start/Finish.

We took the asphalt back to gravel.  The asphalt had me thinking I was feeling better, but once back on the gravel I started feeling bad again.  It continued to rain and the wind and lightning picked up.  The miles were slowly ticking off.  I pretty much had to walk every water crossing and one or two had almost swept me off my feet.  My legs started cramping and I cursed myself for not buying water, Gatorade, and food at the gas station.  I rode on without any fuel and water, thinking if I get desperate there is plenty of rain to drink.  The gravel started getting eroded off the roads from the down pouring rushing streams that were now on both sides of the road.  It was neat to see, very loud, but very hard to ride when the streams crossed the road and made tons of potholes.  My legs started cramping really bad, which made me walk a hill, but the lightning convinced me to jump back on the bike quickly.  I could feel my skin chafing on the seams of my shorts on the top of my thighs and I thought, that’s a first.”  Around 3 miles to go the front tire flatted.  I quickly changed it and didn’t feel anything sharp in the tire, so I chalked it up to a pinch flat from hitting all the potholes.  About a mile later the rear flatted.  I found a long skinny sharp rock that pierced and stuck into the tire.  I was riding through standing water almost constantly, hitting potholes, and a million sticks, and a piece of gravel flatted me.  As I was changing the flat, trying my best to keep gravel out of the tire, the wind and lightning became incredibly fierce, so much so that I started thinking about shelter.  I looked around for twisters, didn’t see any, looked around for shelter, and decided the thick woods was my best bet, but stayed put, and continued the flat repair.

                With the flat fixed I got back to riding and knew I was really close to the Start/Finish.  I started to pass a truck and the guy kept waving to me.  I thought he was directing me to turn, which matched my Garmin, so I started to turn and he jumped out of his truck and acted as if he was going to stop me.  I then could hear him yelling that the power lines were on the road.  I asked him what the other racers did and I told him I would step over them like they did.  After crossing two down lines and a tree I was on my way again. I started to feel the back tire going flat again, but I could see the Start/Finish so I kept going.  A lake stood in the way of the finish.  I thought, “This will be cool and get some cheers” as I plowed into the water and rode through at about top tube depth, but no one noticed my efforts.  I turned to finish and the finish line was destroyed, most people were already gone, some people were huddled under the shelter, and Tanya was standing there saying, “Thank God, you are crazy!”  I think she meant that she was thankful I was back and not so thankful I am crazy.  I checked in so the race officials knew I was alive and then Tanya told me all about the storm that knocked everything over and flooded the grounds.  I managed 72 miles, so I didn’t even complete the 80 mile course.  I hated cutting it short as I really wanted to see if I could recover and ride the rest, but by the look of things, the race director made the right call. 
Before it blew over.

                We had another night in the hotel pre-paid so we stayed and chilled out. In the morning I changed my tires back to heavy duty CX tires and found a half inch thorn in the rear gravel tire.  We ate breakfast and did a little shopping, but it was still raining, and I thought we better get home before roads close.  Tanya likes highway 70, so we took that.  It was packed with traffic, but I may have done some off-roading to go from highway to service road to avoid it.  When we got home we started to hear of all the flooding and road closures.  Good thing we took 70.  It was an Epic wet adventure. – Ahab.
Highway 44