Wednesday, December 6, 2017

2017 Alpine Shop's Castlewood 8 by Scott Shaw

2017 Alpine Shop Castlewood 8 by Scott Shaw

After a crazy amount of switching people around on the Team BOR teams (Sorry Emily and Erl), I found myself on a two person male team (Team BOR - Quadfathers) with Paul Frisbee.  Having raced with Paul several times before on 4 person teams I felt like we would have a really good fast race.  The Team BOR teams consisted of 15 members and one Off The Front racer, Lo Mattson.  Team BOR teams listed below.

Team BOR – David Beattie, Amy Crews, Alane Wolins, Jessie Brown – (the Team BOR name always goes to our fastest 4 person coed team, so no hyphen needed.) (– 4PC)

Team BOR – Oh My Quad – Cassie Bart, Robert Bart, John Naas, Tim Johanns (– 4PC)

Team BOR – Oh Quad Why? -  Jeremy Jamerson, Scott Herbst (– 2PM)

Team BOR – Quadfathers – Scott Shaw, Paul Frisbee (– 2PM)

Team BOR – 2Tops Racing – Larry Lazo, Karl Kilthau (– 2PM) Too cool to have quad in the name?

It’s BORing Off the Front – Steve Fuller, Loreen Mattson (– 2PC)

Still Married? – Reanna Person, Kevin Minton (– 2PC) Shouldn’t this be The BOR Minton’s?

                So after all this teammate / team switching I started changing my race plans.  Instead of going easy, I decided Paul and I could go flat out.  I also decided that since the start/finish venue requested no alcohol, I wouldn’t drink before or during the race.  I have been testing different medicines to alleviate the pain in my knees during races.  During training I don’t use any meds and just “listen to my knees.” If they feel good, I go hard, if they hurt, I go easy.  In the last few races I have tried aspirin, Ibuprofen, Tylenol (Acetaminophen), Alcohol, and Aleve (Naproxen).  I don’t consume caffeine at all what so ever, so I can’t try that; mainly because I have a crazy addiction to Coca-Cola.  I also don’t like using Western Medicine as I think Western doctors push too many meds, so at Berryman this year I used alcohol, which worked great removing the pain, but also made me very drunk during one portion of the race.  The effects caught me off guard some, but we still had a very good race.  On the med side everything seems to just dull the pain for a short time and have some serious side effects to the body’s organs, but Aleve has been working the best.  So I decided to pop two Aleve’s and give it all I had.  I also changed my plans of using tows as I didn’t think we would need them, but this decision was a bad one as I will tell later.  I tried to pack as light as possible so I could be the mule and Paul could be Check Point Charlie.  We didn’t really decide who would navigate as both of us can.  We met the Team at Alane’s, plotted the maps, picked a route, and crashed at my house.

                In the morning we quickly showered (separately), dressed, loaded the Jeep, and dropped the bikes off at Castlewood.  We then dropped Paul’s truck at the Learning Center (note: we were the only team that followed instructions).  We got some Mc’Ds and headed to the start.  After numerous pictures and the pre-race meeting we lined up for a team photo (thanks SuperKate).  Paul then made the comment that we should move up in the pack; we didn’t move up far enough. 

                We started running in a herd.  Paul ran like a stallion, breathing effortlessly, legs and feet graceful as if he were dancing.  His backpack small and light clung to his back like a jockey on his race horse, and then there was me, hoofs stomping, breath roaring, snot spewing, sweat dripping.  My back pack bounced around my back like kegs of Budweiser on the wagon, pulled by the old used up Clydesdale they don’t ever let you see.  We moved up the ranks after passing several teams, but that passing was taking precious time away from us.  We finally got into a good pace, well my pace as I grabbed on to and held on to Paul’s pack.  As we passed Mickey, he said, “Oh look, Paul is blowing up Scott early!” I thought, “Yes, yes he is!” We passed and passed as teams turned off to CP’s 1 and 2.  Our plan was to hit CP4 first to avoid traffic, back track to CP2 and then cut across to CP1, then 3, then 5.  I stopped a little early to look at the map.  Paul said we have to keep going a little to the trail.  I thought, “how does he know that, he has no map.”  I looked at the map and realized Paul was correct. We ran a little farther and could see the CP from the trail.  We ran up the reentrant to it with only one other team.  We then took the trail around to CP2 as planned and ran into a whole lot of BOR’s coming in the opposite direction.  With no time for photos we pressed on to CP1 and saw Lo and Steve. 

We then took the trail to CP3.  I noticed a lot of the teams were moving really quick.  Paul had a zippered glove to stow the passport, but I noticed it took him some time to get it out, unfold it, punch, fold it, and zip it back in.  Instead of taking the single track trail to CP5 we planned to take the asphalt back to single track.  This was a wise decision I think and we caught a lot of teams, but that meant a lot of traffic and we had to slow down in a single file line.  I thought about passing, but I am not a real fast runner, so I stayed behind a team that was running a little too slow for me.  The plan was to recover and then pass.  We picked up CP5 and then ran in the same line to CP6.  From 6 we had a slightly different plan than the others and we stayed on the trail and ran around the woods as most teams ran through the woods.  We ended up at CP7 at about the same time as the other teams.  We bushwhacked to CP8.  I started getting real tired as Paul was moving effortlessly up the hillside.  I asked Paul to slow down and then I grabbed on his pack again.  At least the pack allowed him to tow me some, but I wish we would have set up a running/trekking tow.  We found CP8 then bushwhacked to the trail that led to CP9.  That same trail took us most the way to CP10.  We whacked up the hill to the road, scaled the concrete wall, and then ran the road all the way to CP11. 
All this time Paul was calling out the turns and strategy by memory!  He then tells me he has a semi-photographic memory and I believe him because he is right on the money.  I think I should have let him navigate and I should have been CP Charlie, but as I listen to our breath I realize I still made the right decision.  We stop for a quick photo op at CP11 and move down to CP12.  Paul says, “I don’t have CP11!” I said, “Very funny! You’re f@cking with me right?”  He says, “No.” We head back up the trail and get CP11.  At least it was really close by.  Paul blames it on Emily, I blame it on Paul and tell him he can’t do that again.  We run back down past CP12 and I tell another team that all CPs are optional hoping that us passing it confuses them and they don’t punch it; sneaky right?  Extreme Electrical passes us in the confusion and we lose about 3 spots.  We run to CP13 and transition fairly quickly into the canoe.

                We get into the water and Paul makes a few strokes on one side of the boat and then switches and then does the same again.  I am confused on his technique and ask what he is doing.  He says he is counting 5 stokes on each side.  I ask if he is doing that because he is tired.  We have only been in the water a minute.  I tell him to try 10, 15, 20, 50, 100, the more the better.  The less you switch the more you have your paddle in the water, the more you have the paddle in the water, the faster you are.  I tell him that I am really good at the paddle.  I ask him to trust me.  I ask him not to steer the front of the boat unless I ask him to.  I ask him to never brace, just to J-stroke, and only if I ask him to steer the front.  I ask him to stay in the current at all times and tell him to avoid the “V”’s pointing at you and shoot down the “V”’s pointing away from you.  I ask him to stay in the outer turns as that is where the current is.  I ask him to watch the paddlers ahead, paddle consistently until you see their strokes wain or get sloppy, then their boat will veer to one side, and then we will attack on the opposite side.  I tell him to “hug” obstacles and avoid canoes.  I forget Paul really likes to hug and hug is a bad description of what I am asking.  I say, “hug is a bad description as it implies touching; don’t touch, get close as possible, with no touching, “intimidate” will be our word.”  Paul likes to get really close to the other canoes.  I tell him that is bad when passing as the paddles get intertwined.  I tell him to follow one side of them in their wake and then pass wide, “Shake and Bake Ricky Bobby!” We get our paddling in sync and I tell him that I am the Captain when paddling and he is the Captain in everything else.  We pass team after team and I know we are flying.  To intimidate the other teams I watch their strokes and when I see a weak stroke I tell Paul to attack and I start singing Gilligan’s Island or Jimmy Buffett’s A Pirate Looks at Forty, which I pretty much know the entire song by heart.  I see the teams looking back and as they do their strokes get worse, so I sing louder.  We pass everyone we see!  We are killing it!  I tell Paul that even if he gets tired to keep digging as after the canoe we don’t need our arms again, but to hang on to the bike handlebars.  I tell him to use his core and burn his arms.   Paul is a great sport and did well listening to all my barking orders and my terrible singing, even not being able to understand me saying “J-stroke.”  Another team agreed with Paul that it sounded like I was saying, “Help, joke on the right” (I actually can’t remember what they said I was saying, but I believe them that it was crazy nonsense).  I told him no waving to anyone as it took away a paddle stroke and he smiled and said there is always time to wave at kids.  I said that’s creepy and no waving allowed, but then he caught me waving to a photographer.  We brought the canoe in to Castlewood beach and threw it on our shoulders and walked into transition.  We had passed so many teams that I didn’t want to lose the spots to transition, so I hurried Paul along in changing shoes and eating.  He said he needed to eat and I said me too, but let’s eat while we move.  Larry and Karl were there in transition, Mickey’s team had just landed, and I really wanted to beat both of them. 

                As soon as I we got on the bikes, with a mouth full of food, I realized I missed a CP. Paul’s photographic memory kicked in just as I was finding it on the map and we agreed it was just down the trail and we had barely missed it.  We picked up CP15 and headed to Grotpeter.  I started to follow another team instinctually, but Paul quickly corrected me to go to the trail head.  Here we had planned to go straight up Grotpeter, but being familiar with the trail I decided to change our plan and take the long switch back around.  As we did, I realized it was a lot rougher going uphill as it is going down and thought I may have just made a bad decision and may have hurt some of Paul’s riding power. We climbed to CP16 then descended Rollercoaster to CP17.  We easily found CP18 off the trail junction and took the direct path trail cut off to the road.  I noticed Paul wasn’t moving very fast on the single track, but he doesn’t ride single track often and is more a runner.  I think on the road we will move fast again, but on the way to CP’s 19-24 I notice Paul is struggling and I wish I would have had a tow because I feel as I am moving very slow and have a ton of energy.  I keep reminding him to shovel food in when he can.  I try to hold his bike as I eat and check the map and he punches CP’s.  Our team work is still solid and we are passing teams and not getting passed very often.  I just keep kicking myself for not having a tow.  We move slowly to CP24 and grab the bonus map.  I look at the bonus map and take off.  Paul is getting an Extreme Electrical whisky hand out and he asks if I want some.  I hear SuperKate ask Mickey if he wants to strategize and I tell Paul to move!  I want to get the CPs pretty much in reverse.  I know these trails well and take the trail directly to Cedar Bluff CP42, then CP40, then CP41, then CP39.  I tell Paul to not let me forget CP39.  We see Adam Rybar, a non-racer this year, but a friend, and quickly say hello.  This slight interruption messes me up and I say I don’t want to ride the sand traps.  I say we have to go West to avoid them and Paul looks at me like I am a mad man and says, “you mean East.” I say, “sorry I have my map upside-down pointing in my direction.”  Paul is right again and we avoid the traps and make it back to CP24.  I am confused as whether to stop here or not and they tell me we can move on to CP25.  I had almost lost Paul a few times back in the Stinging Nettle, so I slow down a lot down the Al Foster and curse myself for not having a tow.  Paul falls farther and farther behind and I start worrying that he is bonking.  He says he is cramping up and I tell him to eat and drink and spin until we get back to single track.  I notice he is eating mostly sweets so I give him some salty pretzels.  We move up Rock Hollow to Zombie and get CP25.  Here we had planned to avoid the single track and take Rock Hollow up, but I change our plan to stay on the single track as I don’t want Paul climbing hard at the end of the race.  We hit tons of traffic and Paul drops behind and teams start passing us a lot.  On the way up to CP25 I see teams bikewhacking and tell them riding is faster.  I come around the switch back and their female team mate says isn’t that the guy who just told us it was faster and easier to ride?  I say, “Yes, that was me” as I fly by.  I round the next switch back and giggle as I pass them again and their navigator laughs too.  We ride on to CP26-29.  I can see Mickey just around the switch back, but Paul just doesn’t have the gas to get to them.  I see Larry and Karl and Paul gives them an ass chewing for leaving their bikes behind, since that is the mode of travel.  I listen to Paul and notice a lot of teams don’t have bikes.  We ride on and Larry goes the wrong way, so I know we have beaten them as they are backtracking to a missed CP.  I really really want to catch Mickey’s team and beat them, but Paul is seriously falling behind.  I stop leading and pulling away and ride behind him, thinking it will be better for his mental state.  I keep telling him we are almost done.  One last big hill climb and we are done.  He says, “There is no beer!” He says it and I feel his heart break and his will to race is over.  There is no reason for him to ride hard anymore and I feel his disappointment.  We ride up Rock Hollow and I try to stay side by side with him or slightly behind him and tell him spin until the last steep part and then push until you cross the line.  I get in position and push him up the hill the best I can.  We finish and Mickey rubs it in that he beat us, I congratulate SuperKate, and I think we are the first BOR team in until I see Jeremy laying relaxing in the grass. 

                Paul and I had a great race, but we would have moved so much faster with running and riding tows set up.  Our effort in the canoe got us the third fastest paddle split, with Jeremy and Scott getting the fastest! GO TEAMBOR PADDLERS!  Paul and I made small mistakes, which added up over time.  I thought about if I were a stronger runner, I should have been the CP Charlie, and Paul have navigated and been the mule.  I wish I could memorize the map like he did.  I have never seen someone do that before.  It was amazing!  Our strategy of going to CP4 first seemed like it backfired on us some.  I think going around Grotpeter was a bad decision on my part.  I think Paul’s zippered glove took some time and Jeremy’s retractable lanyard would have helped a lot.  I am thinking of having a mule bag with team gear that can be passed along during different modes of travel.  Paul could have navigated the trek and muled, while I punched CPs, then on the bikes I could have navigated and muled, while he punched CPs.  We should have eaten in the canoe and early in the canoe.  I think the effort we put out in the canoe is what led to Paul’s bonk.  On the bikes, Paul said he never had time to recover from the cramping, and if I would have towed he probably would have recovered.  I know grabbing on to his pack as we ran helped me tremendously.  He probably felt that 220 something pounds latch on to him like a leach, but just holding on steadied my pace.  It was a great race, no navigation really, but fast, real fast!  Writing this is making me want to do it again. 

                We hung around, ate, met our sponsor Dr. Brian Laiderman of Optimal Performance Center, showed him Amy’s butt, took some pics (none of her butt), and cheered our Team BOR teams as they crossed the finish line. 

What great weather, fun race, and great friends!  I skipped the post-race party to go to my wife’s company Christmas Party, got really hammered, got sick, screwed up my recovery massively, and was sore for 3 days after, and contracted someone’s illness and missed a day of work to feeling just plain poopy; so is an Adventure Racers life!  God Bless and I love all you crazy bastards; except Mickey and John…I hate those guys!  – Ahab

Friday, November 10, 2017

The 2017 Fig 12 Hour by Scott Shaw

The Fig 12 hour 2017 by Scott Shaw

Robert Bart, Amy Crews, Dave Beattie and I got a late start driving to the Fig in Eastern Kentucky.  Roberto Black Heart Bart, Crazy CP Pusher Amy, and A-hole Ahab (Scott or me) would race, while Broken Arm Beattie would sit this one out and volunteer.  We left the driveway over an hour later than we expected.  Loading up 3 kayaks, 3 bikes, and gear is a lot of work.  We stalked Team Off the Virtus, I don’t know if that was their team name, but it sounds right to me, (Chuck and Lo) for lunch,
then dropped the bikes and the boats at their respective drop points.  The night before I had started to bring my gear upstairs when I noticed my rear wheel rubbing the frame of the bike I use for adventure racing.  I saw that I had a broken spoke nipple from the Berryman Adventure.  It must have happened late in the race and I didn’t even notice it, or Robert Bart broke it loading it on my crap rack (just kidding Robert, but you did rip my grip, yes you will never live it down, yet another joke).  I spent most of the night, when I should have been sleeping, fixing a wheel, realizing it was bent, and then moving my tow, computer, map board, and other gear to my other bike.  Needless to say I was very tired the following day.  I was starting to crap out after the long drive and at the pre-race meeting I was wishing we could just go to bed.

  I started plotting, my head started spinning, and I quickly gave it up to Robert and Amy, which was a good decision to let myself rest some.  It seemed like it took us forever to plot and route and then I had trouble falling asleep even though I was so tired; mainly because Beattie snores almost as badly as Neil. 
Race morning I think I looked like a zombie with only 8 or less hours of sleep in the last 48+ hours. 

We started at 7am and ran directly to the St Helen’s Post Office to mail postcards, which I thought was weird, but it was the prologue to separate the pack before the boats.  We ran, and walked, back the way we came to get to the boats, and at this point we were making relatively good time as I think we were in the front portion of the middle pack.  We hit our kayaks, mounted glow sticks, and got into the water as fast as we could get Robert to move through his transition’s multiple mental checklists.  We had to paddle upstream to CP#2 and we moved like turtles.  I wanted to hook up the tows, but they wanted to wait until we were going downstream.  Canoes started passing us and I realized individual kayaks were probably a bad idea because one person is propelling one boat.  The canoe would have had 3 people propelling one boat.  I started doing weight, water line length, paddle propulsion calculations in my head until my head hurt a minute later.  I concluded 3 kayaks equaled a bad idea.  I kept pulling way ahead of them, especially because I was surfing a canoe’s wake and barely putting in any effort at all, so I had to slow and let them catch up a couple times.  Once we finally got CP#2, I gave them no choice and hooked up the tows. 

We then flew by every boat we saw, but I felt my strength waning after a while.  I need to do that more often as that was an awesome workout.  I started looking at the next upstream leg to CP#4 and started thinking it wasn’t worth the time it would take to get there and I really didn’t know if my arms would hold the tow that long.  Amy piped up that she thought we should skip it.  I thought we are thinking the same thing, so that was an easy decision.  We hit CP#3 downstream, skipped CP#4, and then landed quickly at the TA.  We did a pretty quick transition, but we started loading our gear up in the boats like we were driving home and then I said, “We can do this later, let’s go.” 

We ran into town to get the multiple points that earned you CP#5.  We ran first to a monument and for some reason I was looking for a CP flag and ran right past it.  We had to write down what war it represented and it was the Civil War.  We then ran to another monument and find out how many people lost their lives in a fire, which was 7 if I remember correctly.  The story goes that Dave Beattie’s great great grandfather was bootlegging Fireball whisky into dry county and accidentally started the fire by spilling some of it on to his map, so he quickly changed his last name from Beatty to Beattie to allude the coppers.  Those Beattie’s are ninjas like that!
Next we ran to a museum and counted military rifles.  The old man on the front porch told us it was 15, but I said “not that I don’t trust you, but we will count them”…15.  We then ran to a church to read the cornerstone and of course the front of the church was opposite of what I thought so we ran around the entire building to find the 1896 cornerstone. 
We then ran to the coffee shop and found Afghanistan on the map.  We ran / walked out of town, stopping periodically to stretch Amy’s groin (not as sexy as you think), to the bike drop where we saw Beattie waiting for us. 

We transitioned to the bikes and quickly took a wrong turn as I was looking for a gravel road and it had been asphalted over.   I had to keep reminding myself that the map was old.  We corrected quickly and traveled down the road until it did turn into gravel.  We hooked up the tow for about 10 seconds and I realized that the road was too bumpy and turned too often for me to be in the tow reading the map, so I released and rode on my own.  Robert continued towing Amy only on uphills I believe.  The ride was slow going.  We found CPs 6 and 7 easily. 
I looked back at Robert a few times and he didn’t look so great. 
I asked if we all towed if we could move faster.  Amy mentioned Robert’s rear tire needed air and she needed to adjust her saddle height.  We rode for some time until we hit asphalt after walking a monstrous hill.  Robert filled his tire and Amy adjusted her saddle.  We took off and I told Robert to do his thing since we were on asphalt.  I thought we could all get in tow and fly, but Robert didn’t look good.  I asked him how he was doing and if he thought we could speed up and tow.  He didn’t think we could go much faster.  I knew he wasn’t feeling good so we just rode on.  Finding the road to CP8 was tricky.  We took a few minutes to study the cliffs in the distance in the power line cut. 
I then realized it was just farther up the road and may be asphalt again.  Once we got near CP8 it took a few minutes to find, but wasn’t that bad either. CP 9 and 10 were easy too, but getting out of that area took some walking up some hills to get to asphalt.  The gravel roads were rough.  We were briefly on asphalt before turning back to gravel.  We stopped at the gate, climbed under it, climbed the hill and studied the topo, picked a road and followed it to the TA.

We came into the next TA, dropped the bikes, and changed into trekking gear.  We ate while we made a plan to attack 11, 12, 13 and then bail so we could be back on the bikes at 5pm.  Amy wanted to get more CPs, but I roughly estimated that it would take us two hours to get back at our current riding speed and if we traveled faster, then we would attack a couple CPS in the twenties. 
We walked down the gravel road to a certain point shot a bearing and pace counted directly to CP11.  We tried the same to CP12, but realized there were things called cliffs that we didn’t realized existed.  Cliffs to us are small and can be quickly walked around.  These “Cliffs” were massive 300+ feet tall, sheer drops, miles long, no way around, no way down!  We kept trying over and over to find a Jeep trail to drop down to the creek and neighboring Jeep trail, but we kept overlooking massive cliffs.  Although it was beautiful, it really started pissing us off.  I finally saw another Jeep trail that would take us down, but it was all the way back past CP11.  So we back tracked, found the gravel road and traveled forever down a steep ass rugged road that I told them I wouldn’t mountain bike and it would give my Jeep a workout.  When we were at the bottom we saw Chuck and Lo and Chuck said to go grab 12.  They said they got one in the lower section of the cliffs (I don’t even know what to call this…canyon is all that comes to mind) and were bailing.  Our plan was to grab 13 and if easy then 12 on the way out.  We made our way to CP13, but I got antsy and checked a reentrant early even though I knew it was too early.  I don’t know why I do that sometimes.  It’s like, “I’m here, it’s here, I don’t want to come back, so look, damn it why did I do that?”  I take us to CP13 and dag nabbit it was super freaking hard to get to!  It was like walking on the moon of Endor and I was a fat little Ewok.  Where is my Wookie to carry me? 
Amy got all super pumped up, the adrenaline started coursing through her veins, and she said she wanted 14.  I said I think we should bail, but she said she wanted 14, the veins in her neck started popping out, her muscles started tearing her green jersey, she said, “you won’t like me when I am angry” and I heard her call me a FN P@ssy, and I gave in to her peer pressure out of fear.  I said we have to go fast and can’t waste time.  I started feeling mentally exhausted.  We moved quickly and got CP14.  Then Amy’s excitement got the best of me.  I felt her adrenaline in my veins, I got all super crazy and said we were going to get CP12.  We went for 12, we walked forever, the map wasn’t lining up anymore, and I told them we should bail.  I asked for a team vote and got no response, so I said I am making the decision to bail.  I thought I could head across the creek to the road that brought us in, but it was blocked by a cliff.  We tried a couple more trails and roads that weren’t on the map.  I then started looking at the distance we covered, the time, and realized we just blew the race and there was no way we would get to the finish in time.  I saw a hiker and asked if he knew where he was on the map, which he didn’t.  He told us the trail we were taking was a dead end.  He took out a GPS and I said, “we can either look at it and get back faster to eat and drink disqualified, or we can find our way out, take longer, and possibly have search and rescue come for us.”  We figured out where we were on the map with confirmation from the GPS.  Somehow we had traveled up a different canyon.  Amy thought we could take a reentrant out.  I told her we should back track to the parking lot where we last knew where we were.  She called me the P-word again and I gave in again and we traveled forever by broken trail, creek, and cliff side to where the creek was literally coming out of the cliff!  Beautiful, but damn really?  “Cliff-f@cked! TM I handed Amy the map and followed the creek to the broken trail, to the creek, to the broken trail, over and over until we found the trail we came in on.  I could only think of the team that stopped for a smoke break just beat us and it pissed me off.  Once I knew we were on the road on our way out, I decided we would call the RD at 7pm to let him know we would be late, but not to send search and rescue.  I also decided we would just have a nice night ride back. It was a slow climb out of that canyon and back to the bikes.  By the time we transitioned it was after 6:30 pm.

On the bikes we moved downhill the whole time making good speed.  My bike was spun out and I couldn’t go any faster.  The sun went down and my bike light wouldn’t work.  We called the RD as planned and I put my headlamp on.  We decided to skip the last mandatory TA and just get back to eat.  It was actually a nice easy pavement ride.  One of the searchers came up behind us in a pickup and said he had our 6, but Robert told him to check on the team that was behind us, which was a great idea.  We crossed the disqualification “finish” line and I told the RD that we were DQ’d.  He asked why and I said for many reasons.  He said he would finish us and remove all CPs for time penalties.  It didn’t really matter to me; DQ, DNF, Finish with no CPs, all the same to me.  I wanted to find the boats, load them up, shower, eat and drink, and go to sleep.  We quickly ate and did all those things.

The next morning we went hiking to the Natural Bridge which was awesome, drove home with broken egos, licked our wounds, cursed the cliffs, and agreed we would come back to redeem ourselves next year.

In retrospect we were disqualified for looking at a GPS, trying but failed to turn another GPS on, bike without a headlight, I noticed Amy and I didn’t attach glow sticks to our life jackets, skipped a mandatory TA, and used the phone to call the RD. 

We should have skipped CP2 as it was upstream and slow.  We should have towed the boats earlier.  We should have skipped CP5, although it was fun, it was a lot of work for one CP.  We should have towed more on the bikes.  We should have tried out the trekking tows.  We should have stuck to our plan and grabbed CP13 and then quickly scanned for CP12 and then got out of the canyon.  We should have watched the time better and stuck to our bail out hour.  I should have remembered to correct for declination.  I should have handed the map to Amy when I felt fatigued going to CP14.  If we would have done those things we would have had more time to get the last TA and some of the CPs in the twenties.  We would have actually had a good finish, or we could have possibly fell off a cliff and died…Cliff-F@cked!– Ahab.

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.