Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Castlewood ride on 12-13-14

Castlewood ride on 12/13/14 by Scott Shaw.
Ever since the Castlewood 8, TeamBOR has been really quiet.  I think everyone has put more focus on family and work. I have been focusing heavily on working on my home and hadn’t trained at all what so ever.  I had even stopped my nightly dog walks, which resulted in a backlash of puppy bad behavior of destroying all our pillows and some of our bedding.  Therefore, I am pretty out of shape, I also have been sick and I wasn’t really looking forward to the ride Saturday morning.  I also had so much to do I didn’t even know if I would make it.  Each night I tried to accomplish something to free up the morning half of Saturday.  My wife kept urging me to get out and train, which is unusual.  I even mulched my entire yard twice in complete darkness with my head lamp on.  My neighbors probably think I am nuts by now.  I then debated on what to ride and decided on making it an even harder ride by bringing along my 26er 1x9.  That would end up giving me some regret.
We were originally going to ride Forest City in Saint James, but no one had enough time so we sent out a last minute change and invite for Castlewood at 8 am.  Kevin, Dave, Mickey and Imade an appearance and in typical BOR fashion we shot straight up Lone Wolf with no warm up.  My legs were immediately on fire and I could tell I was going to have a rough day.  We flew down Lone Wolf and to my surprise the log crossing was removed.  I love crossing that thing and was a little upset.  I could go into a long rant about making the trails too easy, but I will stop myself.  We next hit Grotpeter’s uphill where I went into a coughing spasm and couldn’t hack up my phlegm.  The more I tried the more I thought I was going to vomit.  I think the guys really wanted to see some projectile puking since they started encouraging me to throw up.  I held it back and dropped back in the group and slowly climbed Grotpeter.  We then hit the Roller Coaster and I was too weak to jump the log crossing and Dave reminded me of how last time I had cleared it on a fat bike.  I started complaining a lot about how I felt and decided that I would just complain all day; I am Ahab after all.  Coming down the far side of Grotpeter we found a bird dog that was running crazy with an extremely long leash attached.  We followed him to the road where we ganged up on him and caught him right before he would have got hit by a car.  I took him to the nearest trail head and tied him to a dead tree, which he promptly pulled out of the ground.  Mickey and Kevin rode back up Grotpeter to find the owner and Dave and I tried riding with the dog back up Grotpeter which was no small task since this dogs front end alignment was pulling to the right so hard.  We finally got him back to his owner and rode back down Grotpeter.  
Next we hit some of the River Scene Trail and Stinging Nettle to Cedar Bluff.   I was glad to see that some of the stupid logs that were put on Cedar Bluff as a deterrent to not ride the low side of the trees in the rock garden had been removed.  I can now ride the trail again without stopping to walk around the trees.  At the top of Cedar Bluff, by the bench, we put in a small amount of our required pushups, and headed downhill catching Mickey on video riding the trail as if he had a million times,even though it was his first.  We then made the last climb and descent out and headed to Bluff View via the Al Foster after saying goodbye to Dave.  On Bluff View my legs were screaming to stop but I just dropped behind and rode slow.  We caught a glimpse of “Senior” screaming as he went downhill and I again reminded myself not to do that anymore cause he sounds like an idiot even though I know he is having fun.  We rode to the bluff and took some pictures and then headed to the top trail head.  I was relieved for the return downhill and backtrack to Al Foster.  We said good bye to Kevin, and me and Mickey rode up the Zombie.  I was going incredibly slow now and had to start walking some as I didn’t have anything left in my legs to push the 1X9.  Mickey was still riding really strong and waited for me to catch up at the end of the trail.  The Zombie will be an awesome trail once it is finished.  Being short on time, and me being short on energy, we disobeyed the turnaround sign and bike-whacked back to the concrete Rock Hollow Trail.  We rode Al Foster back to the Nettle and back to the cars.  I had 32.5 miles on the odometer and my legs felt terrible.  The ride was a wakeup call to start training again. I stayed some time talking to a rider that just finished up a short ride and we discussed each other’s day.  He also reminded me that it is not about how far you ride; it is about getting off the couchgetting a ride in no matter how shortand having fun.  I wish I had caught his name to invite him out with us.
Please correct me on the new trail names if I am incorrect, as the signage isn’t up as of yet.
Note: There was no notable defecation in this blog…sorry...although my legs did feel like do-do. - Ahab

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

2014 Bonk Hard Castlewood 8...by Neil Dickhaus

Team BOR’s Race Report for Bonkhard’s Castlewood 8 Adventure Race

This race was different for me compared to all of the other races in which I have competed.  Not because of the usual differences of terrain, environment, and equipment, but because of my team mate.  This was the first real Adventure Race for Kyle, my son.  He had been to several orienteering meets and trained with me both on bike and foot.  The hardest part of the race was convincing Kyle’s mother, Theresa, that he was not only capable, but ready to do this race.  After getting the ok from Theresa, it almost felt as if we were in the final leg and the finish line was in sight, but we still had 2 months till race start.

Two nights before the race, Kyle and I get our gear and spread it out on the dining room table.  All I could think of is that’s a lot of stuff to carry around for 8 hours.  We each stuff our packs with our personal gear and I opt to take the team gear, with the exception of the cell phone.  Next we lay out our cloths in layer upon layer.  The high for race day is predicted to be in the low 30’s with snow around noon, so we wanted to make sure we would be warm enough.

The night before the race we met up the other Team BOR team (which consisted of Dave, Paul, Kevin, and Scott) at Alpine Shop to pick up our race packets and do some last minute shopping.  Upon getting the packet, the first thing I looked at was race HQ, the start and finish line.  I was please to find that it was only 10 minutes from the house, but my joy was short lived when I discovered the bike drop was at Castlewood and would cost us an additional 45 minutes of drive time.  At Alpine Shop It was friends and family night, so they were offering discounts and drinks.  Both of which encouraged us to find those items that we just could not live without.  We also ran into members of Team Virtus and Navigationally Challenged.  After a few adult libations, we decided to regroup at Kevin’s house and have a prerace pizza dinner and to do our route planning.  I think we spent a good 5 minutes planning and the rest of the time eating and harassing each other.  We departed Kevin’s around 8:30 and headed home to finalize our gear check and packing.

We got to bed a reasonable time and I woke up a few minutes before my 5:30 alarm.  I slowly got out of bed and started getting dressed.  I was happy to hear Kyle moving in the other room.  We were able to get the car loaded, bike rack installed, and on the road to 6:10.   We arrived at the bike drop at 6:40, a mere 10 minutes later than we discussed the night before.  True to our agreement the night before, BOR 4 left BOR 2, since we were already falling behind.  All I could think was, what a bunch of pricks and I’ll show them.  Kyle and I dropped our bikes and other bike gear.  As cold as it was, we opted to install our Bar Mitts.  We staged our gear and were headed back to race HQ by 7:00.

Once at race HQ, we layered up, did the prerace pics, and prepared our self for an 8am race start. It was decided that I was going to navigate and Kyle would handle punching the checkpoints.  We lined up at the starting line with nearly 70 other teams.  We found a little bit of humor when David Frei of Alpine Shop lost his team mates prior to start.  This just so happened to be the only time were ahead of them, but I’ll take it.  We had a few prerace announcements and then the playing of the National Anthem, to this day can’t believe that some people don’t take off their hats, which includes both men and women.

The countdown began and the race started at exactly 8am according to Gary’s watch, but I forgot to verify it with my watch.  We started on foot for a 3 km jog for the first 3 checkpoints.  I confirmed what I already knew, my running game leaves a lot to be desired.  As Kyle and I approached CP3, we grabbed a canoe and headed down to the beach where we encountered a bottle neck of people trying to get punched and get their bonus trekking map.  This was the only point in the race that needed work.  It took us at least 5 minutes to walk 100 yards with the canoe.  Once we got to the water, Kyle to the front position and I pushed off.  However, it was not a standard push off, the canoe started to get away from me and I jumped in at the last second and my hands slipped on the side causing me to land on my right shoulder in the bottom of the canoe.  Both Kevin and Scott saw my acrobatic attempt from a few feet away and got an early morning laugh as they saw my feet go over my head.  Not fun and pretty painful.  The 6 miles of paddling to come was defiantly slowed.  It took us a few minutes to get in a good rhythm of paddling, but after we did our pace and lines improved.  I am estimating that my shoulder injury added 10 minutes or more to our paddling time.

About 2/3 of the way through the paddle we came to the bonus trekking section and CP5.  We beached our canoe and headed to my nemesis of the day CP38.  I took a bearing and headed that direction, but with the trees and brush, I felt like I veered off course to the left.  I saw a CP off to my left and when we got to it, it just did not feel like CP38.  Looking at the map, I thought CP40, so we punched it and backtracked to try to find CP38.  We looked for at least 20 minutes and I realized it was CP38 that we were at before.  Back to CP38 to punch and then took a bearing to CP40 and found it with 5 minutes.  Next we headed to CP42, a 2 point control, which we found about 5 minutes later without a problem.  CP41 was on a knoll and it took me about 10 minutes to find it.  We got CP38 on the way back to the canoes.  My navigation was off and I broke my own rule about not listening to other racers.  Because of this, the bonus section took an extra 30 minutes longer than it should have.

On the beach getting ready to get back in the canoes, I rearranged the maps and put them in cargo pocket of my pants.  We got our life jackets on and shoved off with much less drama than our original departure.  When we were about ¼ mile from our final take out, I reached down to check the maps, but they were gone.  I checked under my seat and in the water near us, they were still gone.  I said a few choice words while Kyle gave me look of disappointment.  Hopefully they have spare maps at the next transition area I told Kyle.  Thinking to myself, I know where 3 of the 7 points are from that map and after that we get a new map.  I tried to justify to myself that we would be ok missing those 4 points.   We arrived at the transition area and told the volunteers about our map incident.  We received the very encouraging “dude your screwed” response and I thought to myself, thanks for stating the obvious.  We carried on with the gear check.  Blinky bike light, check, UTM, check, emergency blanket, check, cell phone, check, maps, #$%!*#!@$.  Not really on the maps, but that is what I was thinking.  Just then, another team arrived at the TA and overheard our map dilemma and someone called out “I just found your new best friend”.  They had found our maps in the river.  I did not catch their team name or number, but want to thank them again and may they have good trail karma.

Okay, we are off again with the maps tightly secured to my once one of a kind (till Scott copied it) bike map holder.  We found CP7 through CP13 relatively easily.  As I we were riding, my hands got warm, too warm.  The temperature had risen more than I had expected, so I decided to shed my Bar Mitts.  With no room in my pack (no Kevin, I am not kidding), I rolled them up and put them in my water bottle holder and rode on.  Over all the ride went well, I just did not feel like I was performing like I should, especially since Kyle was out riding me.  As we headed to the CP14, aka transition area, I knew there would be another set of maps for a trekking section where I could prove my navigational skills.

We arrived at the TA and Kyle punched CP14 and received our next map.  He handed me the map and proceeded to organize our bike gear.  If I could only have trained Scott that well.  Looking at the map, my first thought is the clue sheet on the back of the map is stupid.  I must have flipped back and forth 20 times trying to plot the 3 unmarked points.  I had to write the numbers on the front of the map in order to keep from transposing them.  This and the bottle neck at CP3 are my only complaints about the race.  Now in regards to my performance, I have a lot more.

Kyle and I got our shoes on and started walking and discussing which point to hit first CP18 or CP21.  I was leaning towards CP21, but Kyle started talking about CP18, so technically he made the decision where to start.  We hit the point in a semi-counterclockwise pattern.  We walked right to CP18, which was visible 100 meters away.  Then we were off to CP19, down a small hill, up a very large hill, and back down again.  No problem, we had found 2 points in 15 minutes.  Off to CP17, which was worth 2 points.  We had heard people had trouble with this one.  Our course went north till we hit the Groutpeter trail, then we followed it west zig zagging to it went north, where we left the trail topped the hill and went down the reentrant.  We walked right to it.  We contemplated CP15 or CP16 next.  I decided to skip CP15 altogether and get CP16.  CP16 was on a spur and we found it less than 5 minutes after CP17.  However, CP15 was nawing at me.  I looked at Kyle and told him we had to get it.  From CP16 we went west till we hit the road which we paralleled till it veered right (note: we were not on the road, but 3 meters off of it, unlike some other teams).  We crossed the road and searched along the hillside for about 5 minutes before we found it.  This was the hardest point on the trek for me.  From there we headed south to a trail which continued south.  When we spotted the road, we left the trail and headed toward it and crossed and found another trail that lead to the creek.  Just before we got to the creek we saw CP20 on the bank.  Another one down.  Next was CP21 at the top of Lone Wolf.  We hiked up Lone Wolf backwards from the way we ride it and it is amazing how different a trail looks going the opposite direction.  Once we made it to the Castle, all we had to do was find the saddle and drop into the reentrant and there it should be.  Famous last words.  We followed my plan an as we hiked down the reentrant, I saw it, I think.  We kept going, but we could not see it.  There it is, right behind a downed tree.  Back to the TA.  On our way out we passed a 4 man team that was looking for something around the Lone Wolf parking lot.  They misplotted and were looking for CP18.  I know how frustrating that can be, so I pointed out where it was on the map and gave them some brief directions and we continued to the TA, CP22.  1:33 on trek, not bad for walking the entire course.

At the TA we received a set of maps to finish out our day.  I think there were 4 maps, but it felt more like fifty.  I fumbled with the maps and plotted our course back to the finish.  I just could not find CP30 on any of the maps.  I looked at each of them 3 times with no luck and grabbed the clue sheet.  CP30 was on map “none”.  Huh?  Read the directions dummy.  CP30 was worth 3 points and was on an unmarked trail west of CP29.  Great now I know what to do, maybe.

Back on the bikes, we headed out of the park to CP23.  Immediately my hands got cold.  The temperature was dropping, so in less than a minute, I reinstalled my Bar Mitts.  I love those things.  CP23, CP24, and CP25 were cable punches attached to signs.  No problems with them, except for some of the hills.  Kyle was a climbing machine today and conquered every hill like it was nothing.  He had a little trouble keeping up on the flats, but lost me on the hills.  At CP25 we decided to skip CP27 and CP28 due to time constraints.  We left CP25 and headed toward Sherman Beach. We entered the Al Foster trail and road right to CP33.  In trying to find CP32, we almost missed in by not going far enough.  I knew within 10 meters where CP31 was located so off we went.  I asked Kyle if he knew where it was and he said yes, so I told him to pass me and go for it.  I called back “go ahead and pass” and 2 guys passed me, I looked back, but could not see Kyle.  He went down another path.  I called out to him and 2 minutes later he was back and we were off AGAIN to CP31.  When we got to it, it was in a ditch very close to where I had anticipated.  Being that it is the only ditch around, it was pretty easy.  We headed back to Sherman Beach on a different trail and got on the Al Foster.  Once on there, it was only a few hundred meters down to get CP26.  We carried on till we reached the Rock Hollow Trail, aka Zombie Road, and followed it up to CP29.  And there it was, a new trail.  Most of the other trails I have road before, but not this one.  The only question was how far back is CP30.  We had 1:45 before time penalties would be acquired.  Kyle and I decided to ride in for 30 minutes and if we could not find it, head back.  That would allow us 1:15 to ride out and back.  We started our ride in.  It was uphill with multiple switchbacks.  I am not sure what the elevation gain was, but I do know it was a fun trail.  It took us 20 minutes to get to CP30 and about 10 minutes to get back out.  Here I made another one of my mistakes.  CP27 was only 1.5km away on a fairly flat trail, but it was the opposite direction of finish.  Finish was 4.1km from us.  I should have made the call to go for CP27 and possibly for CP28.  So instead we went for CP34 (same as CP1), which was on our way back.  We finished strong and passed a team just before the crossed the finish.  They still beat us being they had more points, but it felt good to pass them anyway.

Overall it was a good race and topping it off, Kyle and I beat Teambor 4 man by 1 point.  I had a few tumbles, navigational issues, and loss of energy.  But Kyle and I finished his first adventure race in 8:06:12.  I estimate that we did 12.3km (7.5 miles) of trekking, 32.7km (20.5 miles) of biking, and 9.5km (6 miles) of canoeing.  Looking at those numbers, it does not sound too bad, but that is still an average pace 6.8km/hr (4.25mph) including transitioning.  Next year our goal will be sub 7 hours and all the points, but next year who knows what it what the course will look like.  I guess it time to put down my Blueberry Bonbons and start training.  Only 360 days till race start (plus or minus a few).

Monday, November 17, 2014

2014 Bonk Hard Castlewood 8...by Scott Shaw

2014 Bonk Hard Castlewood 8 Hour by Scott Shaw

The Castlewood 8 hour, which is normally in December, was held earlier in November this year.  TeamBOR was happy to hear the change as last year’s race was pretty brutal.  However, Mother Nature threw a curve ball and sent in winter weather anyway.  At least the snow held off until just after the race completed.  TeamBOR fielded two teams again this year, a two male consisting of Neil and Kyle Dickhaus, and a four male team consisting of Scott Shaw (me), Kevin Minton, David Cortivo, and Paul Frisbee.  However, this year we decided to compete against each other instead of staying together.

Since Neil normally navigates our races now, I have become extremely rusty, so the previous weekend TeamBOR ran the SLOC Creve Coeur O meet.  I had to have Neil show me some pointers again and then it came back to me.  I was very happy to get that refresher under my belt before the race.  I also remembered from two years past that I messed up a check point by not reading the clue sheet correctly so I tried to remind myself to pay more attention to it this year.  After picking up the maps and clue sheets at Alpine Shop, and talking with Team Virtus and Navigationally Challenged, TeamBOR took off to strategize and eat pizza.  I went home early, packed, and read through everything again.

Since I couldn’t sleep, I got up early and took off towards the bike drop at Castlewood.  I stopped for breakfast and was hoping to be first in line at the gate.  When I arrived there were two cars there waiting, but since they didn’t have bikes I figured it was Bonk Hard volunteers.  I sat, ate, Facebooked, blogged, and watch the line fill up behind me like any other Saturday.  When they opened the gate I was indeed the first racer in.  WIN!  I prepped my bike and laid it down on the beach, returned to my Jeep and waited for the team.  Luckily the team reminded me I needed shoes and a helmet at the bike.  So much for being early, but they were in the Jeep.  We headed off to race HQ and prepared to start (please note that it is now apparently tradition that my blogs have to include pooping, so please note I did go poo poo in the ladies restroom because the men’s room was full.) 

On the run from the start to check point 1, I noticed Dave was having trouble keeping pace.  Kevin punched at the CP and told me we would have to slow it down.  From CP 1 to CP 2 we ran in a flying diamond pulling Dave along.  I am pretty sure there is a picture of it and can’t wait to see it. 

We get to CP 2 and there is a line due to a broken punch.  When it is freezing cold outside the punches break.  I turn to run to CP 3 and feel a terrible pain in my left calf.  I drop behind the team but don’t want to tell them that I am in trouble.  I start thinking that I am only a few minutes in and I may not be able to finish, but as always I would rather naw my leg off than quit.  Kevin and I grab a canoe, gear, and a bonus map and rush to the water next to Neil and Kyle just in time to see Neil dive head first into the canoe.  I so hope there is a picture. 

Dave and Paul are stuck in traffic and get to the water slowly, but instantly shoot ahead of us.  Paul and Dave are killing the canoe as Kevin and I struggle, which is usually not the case.  I feel the boat is unbalanced and dragging the bow with me up front and everything I can do does not gain us speed.  Our tempers start flaring and Kevin orders me to swim.  My left shoulder feels incredibly weak and is in a lot of pain.  I think I must have neglected my push-ups.  I am normally strong at the canoe and feel disgusted with myself.  At CP 4 I decide to change to steering and Kevin motoring up front.  I also place the packs in the stern with me to raise the bow.  We instantly start gaining speed and the mood lightens.  At CP 5 we decide to beach next to the CP and Dave and Paul beach much farther back.  Neil and Kyle are far enough behind us that we can no longer see them.  We enter the woods and bushwhack to CP38, to CP 40, CP 42, CP 41, and CP 39.  We find them with ease and fairly quickly, but I am wishing we were running not walking and slow jogging, but Dave looks like he is in bad trouble.  My calf for some reason feels better when running than walking so I start worrying it is my Achilles.  I have the guys rip the duct tape from my ankle to relieve pressure, but the damage was already done.  We return to CP5 and to our disgust our boat is gone.  We search the bank and regretfully take some other teams boat, but make sure it has no gear in it.  We make it to CP6 against a head wind and quickly do a gear check and a transition. 

We get on the mountain bikes to ride Grotpeter backwards from how we normally run it.   This is our home turf and our strong sport so we should really make up some time, but Dave is hurting really bad.  I nearly miss CP7, pass CP 14, and head up Grotpeter to get CP8.  I climb everything even though my calf is on fire.  Kevin is riding strong, but keeps reminding me to slow down to help Dave.  Paul hangs back with Dave on the ride.  He also pulled Dave on all the trekking.  Paul has helped us all in races to keep motivated and moving no matter how slow.  He actually physically picked me up in the 2011 Castlewood 8 because I crashed and couldn’t get back on my feet without help.  It is always good to have his positive mojo and strength with us.  CP’s 9 -13 go much slower than what Kevin and I want.  I keep thinking we are overshooting, but Kevin keeps reminding me that we are much slower than normal and reminds me how well I have been navigating.  His reassurance really lifts my spirits and keeps me on my game.  Kevin just jumped in the 2nd navigator role without being asked because he knew Dave was in no shape to do it.  He mentions that now he knows how we felt when he bonked in the 2014 Bonk Hard Chill.  We hit CP 14 and grab the trekking map which had to be plotted with the information on the opposite side and they wouldn’t let us borrow a second map…how rude!  I write them down on the clue sheet and plot the points. 

We head up Lone Wolf and grab CP 21, then down the re-entrant to follow the power lines to the trail that led us to CP 20.  We use Grotpeter to pick up 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, and back to 14/22.  We walked pretty much the entire trek and bushwhacked very little to help Dave the most we could.  We see Neil and Kyle’s bikes at the CP so we know we are still ahead of them.  We transition back to the bikes.

On the bikes, the weather starts getting really cold, I put on my baraclava and zip up everything I can.  I thank Bar Mitts over and over again.  We hit CP 23 and CP 24 slowly but easily.  We turn up the hill and I hear Dave hyperventilating badly.  I have never heard him like this before and we have been buds since first grade.  I again mention to Kevin that dropping out may still be needed.  I climb the hill slowly while Kevin rockets up.  I think I may have to give Dave medical attention and pray that I don’t.  I know Dave is like me and there is no way he is going to quit, so I stay quiet and let him be.  Paul stays right by Dave’s side so I know he is in good hands.  We get to CP 25 and now I have to make a route choice.  Several teams start accumulating and I start getting anxious. I am having trouble with the multiple map overlaps and Kevin and I finally come up with a plan.  We hit CP 28 and head to the trail for CP 27.  I read the clue sheet and see CP 27 is on a bridge, but which one?  We check every one slowly.  I start thinking we overshot it, but we finally find it a lot farther than what I think the map showed.  I call Paul up to me and ask him when the point deductions start.  Is it at 8 hours or 9?  Paul thinks it is 8 and 4:01pm.  I thought there was a grace period and 5:01pm, but can’t remember.  I also don’t remember to read the clue sheet…Duh!  I decide that no matter what we are finishing before 8 hours and tell the guys we are going to have to decide to start skipping points.  I am really upset because I wanted to get every point in under 8 hours, but my teammate is ill and I am trying to hide an injury the best I can.  We hit CP 29 and race to CP 26.  We are finally going a little faster as is normal with Dave; as he always increases his speed at the end of a race, where I usually start slowing down.  We debate on whether to try to get all the Stinging Nettle points or skip some.  Kevin thinks we should leave the Nettle no later than 3pm.  I agree and think we should average 11mph to make what I think is 6 or 7 miles back to HQ.  I plan on being back at 3:30pm.  Riding through the Nettle my left calf is in pain and my right feels weak as it has been doing all the work.  I start having trouble concentrating, but we hit CP 33 and 32 quickly and decide to get CP 31.  This is our normal stomping grounds so I know right where they are.  I know the quickest way back to Al Foster and we start making good progress back with Kevin pulling us back.  My left leg is on the verge of locking so I tell the guys we have to stay under 15 mph.  I tell myself that this is nothing compared to the BT Epic and push on.  We get CP 34 and cross the finish line.  We are shocked when we are told we missed one, CP 30.  I failed to read the clue sheet yet again!  I also am shocked when we find out that we had another hour, but that didn’t matter because I already had planned to be back by 3:30 pm.  At least I calculated the time correctly as we finished at 7:23:32. 


I was pretty much upset with myself for missing that darn checkpoint and a trail in my playground that I have never rode.  I could have cared less that we were much slower than we usually are.  I think that through the difficulties of our health issues we still managed to remain a team and work together to do the best we could.  In times past we have had some in-fighting, but since we are all like brothers that happens sometimes.  We were happy to see that Neil and Kyle beat us, which proves good navigation and paying attention truly wins the race.  I want to train more with Neil on navigating, since he is the best navigator on our team.  I plan to punish myself by riding 30 out and backs from CP 29 to CP 30 for missing the check point.  I also think that the team needs to focus on running and less on riding this next year, but that won’t happen because we all love to ride.  If we could ride every day we would.  I still want my wife to give me permission to make a bedroom a bike room…hmm…selling point…I would sleep in there and she could have the master bedroom to herself…LOL!  Oops…now I will be in the dog house…dang it the bikes don’t fit in here!

Next year…how about all two man TeamBOR teams?

 - Ahab

Saturday, November 15, 2014

First racer at the bike drop - 2014 Castlewood 8... by Scott Shaw

I was the first racer at the bike drop (5:40am ish) so we can say we were first at something. It is about 6:20 am now and 19 degrees F. I have been up since 4 am.  I tossed and turned all night.  I really hope we don't tip the canoe. Well at least it is warmer than last year. Post race blog...I am thinking Dave needs to write one.      Random morning thoughts by Scott Shaw.
- Ahab

Thursday, November 13, 2014

2014 Bonk Hard Castlewood 8 Preview...by Kevin Minton

2014 Bonkhard Castlewood 8 hour Preview

The field that has already signed up looks tough indeed, with good teams in all the divisions, but the competition that everyone will be paying close attention to this year is the heated race between the two TeamBOR squads.  This has the makings of a legendary event, Neil and Kyle in the two man with Scott, Dave, Paul and Kevin in the four man, all with our sights set on being crowned TeamBOR CHAMPIONS! 

The two man team, Neil and Kyle, looks very strong indeed for this race.  Combining Neil's impressive navigation skills with Kyle's fearlessness and speed will make for a tough team to beat in the 2-person male division.  The only potential issues I see with this team are Kyle's inexperience and Neil being old.  And not necessarily that Neil is old in a physical sense, but I see him being ready for a nap and breaking out his old man chair at a TA to change his shoes.  Kyle is going to have to really try and push the pace where he can without going to fast as to loose his dad.  Remember Neil, 100 foot between the two of you at all times. 

The four man team is made up of four strong individuals, who I believe will draw upon there collective experience to form an even stronger unit.  Scott will be doing the navigating, which is a huge boost to the 4 man team as he has had much success in previous races and o meets and has not let them down yet.  Scott has the natural ability to not only get you to the checkpoint, but he can see the best route to the point and put you in good position on the following point.  They also have Dave, whose riding style is hands down one of the smoothest I have seen and has the unique ability to speed up as the race goes on.  Paul brings with him his natural abilities at everything athletic and really helps pull the team together by being the anchor point.  Kevin brings a good attitude, and a bike that is missing some gears. 

Expect to see some serious fireworks when these two teams go at it Saturday, Nov 15th.  If you haven't already made plans for that day make sure you are out there to cheer on not only both TeamBOR teams, but all the other teams out there as well!

2014 BT Epic...by Scott Shaw

I departed the house around 5 am heading west on Highway 44 towards Steeleville, MO, via Cuba, MO, to arrive at Bass River Resort for the 2014 BT Epic.  Ida, my Jeep, was running rough on stale gas, and the 70 mph speed limit over hilly roads taxed her completely, so I started getting concerned on my arrival time.  I had stopped for some new gas before leaving St. Louis and consumed chocolate milk and some Hostess cupcakes.  I figured I would burn that off quick.  In Cuba, I stopped for a pre-race dump since I didn’t want to reinvent the 2013 BT Epic Cortivo poop boycott.  I was relieved again when I made it in plenty of time for registration, breakfast, setting up Samantha (my 29er), and preparing a re-fuel bag.  I was also relieved that the parking was only $8 this year, but I still think that it should be included in the race registration price.  At registration, I get a beer glass, which comes in handy later, and I thought, “what’s up with another cotton shirt; haven’t they heard of synthetic?”  The pancake breakfast was quiet without my team members, so I ate quickly and went outside to stretch and pray some, and then I rode around a little to make sure Samantha was ready.  I picked a good spot on the starting line and stayed put since other racers started jockeying for position.  The shortest ever pre-race meeting occurred and the countdown begun, and at count one, and before the gun sounded, the front pack took off.  I heard the mis-fire of the gun and took off close behind the leaders.  I had a few pedal strokes in and the gun sounded.  The race was on.

Heading out on the gravel road there were so many riders abreast, jockeying for position, our handlebars were hitting each other.  My narrow WTB Nine Lines kept digging into the gravel and sending my front wheel sideways.  I started losing position quickly and cursed those tires.  I pulled as far to the right as possible to let faster traffic pass and some idiot tried to pass on the right and crashed in a water hole.  Climbing the gravel hill, I was still having trouble with that front wheel and noticed my computer wasn’t working at all.  My back was already hurting from the bouncing weight of my adventure pack, and my legs were already burning.  I cursed the Nine Lines some more, cursed the computer, my extra gear in my pack, and my lack of training.  I debated on stopping to fix the computer and bump air, but could only convince myself to fix the computer.  It started working but was incredibly slow.

 I entered the trail and felt a big relief, since I am much more comfortable on trails and I knew that the front tire would track better.  I was bouncing around like a pogo stick so I stopped and bumped.  With the bike tracking better, I started picking up speed and started to pass some racers, but I was still getting passed too.  I would get anxious when I heard someone coming up from behind and would just let them pass, and I had trouble with one guy who wouldn’t let me pass until he crashed in front of me.   I reminded myself that my goal was to come in under six hours and maintain a controlled pace.  My watch was working so I knew my time on course, but after asking fellow racers for mileage it was clear that my computer was no longer functioning correctly.  It was minus 4 miles, then 8 miles, then 10, it was useless.  I passed the first rest stop and saw water, pickles, and orange slices out of the corner of my eye, but a lot of racers were sitting there so I decided to take advantage of the easy pass.  I passed many broken down riders, offering help to all, but none took it thankfully.  I finally got into a good area by myself and just enjoyed the ride.  I started thinking about writing the blog, how I could do better next year, how my 650B Hermione might have been a better choice, etc.  I remembered last year mile 26 was a wall for me and since I didn’t know how far I was I decided not to worry about it.  I got to the second rest stop, grabbed my refuel bag, and headed out as quickly as I could.

Back on the trail I felt leg cramps coming on so I knew I had been at the very least pushing myself hard.  I still didn’t know how many miles I had left so I started using Zipp Fizz.  It didn’t kick in fast enough so I started walking up hills.  Other racers were complaining about the same thing.  I told them about how I hallucinated and saw an 8 foot tall Doberman Pincher last year, that it is 20 degrees hotter than normal, and tried to convince them to eat, drink, and keep moving.  “Just keep moving,” I told myself.  A couple racers asked me for any extra water, but I had none to give.  I told them the last stop was about 10 miles from the finish last year.  One guy sounded like he was going to quit.  I pressed on. 

Some of the single track looked familiar to me so I got back into a good grove.  I concentrated on eating, drinking, riding hard, but not hard enough to induce cramping.  I like to pray often, so I struck up a conversation with the Big Guy JC.  He decided to ride on my handle bars, so I told him not to get his robe stuck in the wheel, and he laughed and said he was wearing cargo shorts.  I asked him if he was wearing a chamois and he said those are for the weak.  I said I am thankful for mine and he responded, “you’re welcome.”  He taunted me to ride faster and try harder as he pointed out squirrels and rocks he created.  We had a good discussion for a while, laughed a lot, and then he took off to help someone else.  You may be thinking I was hallucinating, but I wasn’t.

I got out of the woods and saw the resort ahead, so I started passing some riders that I had been dancing with for the last hour or so, and then realized the course shot up a road hill and back into the woods.  I had to granny gear all the way up that crazy road hill.  I was so thankful I didn’t have a single speed and that I kept the 1X9 26er Sabrina at home.  I slowly passed some walkers, but other riders were pulling ahead of me.  I realized it was the riders I had just past on the flats.  I traveled down this gravel road slowly making sure I didn’t miss my trail turn and got aggravated at how long it was and how slow I was going.  I re-entered the single track and it was technical at first.  I was hot, tired, cramping, and out of water.  I was hungry, but decided not to eat to avoid further dehydration.  The riders with me complained about the same ailments.  I had to walk almost every hill to avoid cramping, but it got so bad I had to do some yoga.  Downward Facing Dog didn’t hurt, but Child’s Pose was unbearable.  I worked until I got it and headed off.  I felt much better, but I took it more slowly.  Down-hills I even took slowly to prevent crashing.  I felt my spirit starting to crumble, my anger rising as I knew I was not sub-6 anymore and started to worry about not beating last years’ time.   I only got passed by one rider though during an extremely long climbing series.  I slowly descended and noticed the resort ahead and the finish so I gave it all I had to finish strong.  My time was 6:43:12, which beat my 7:47:47 2013 finish. 
I stayed for a massive dinner,
 a cold 50 cent shower, ‘unattainable” awards, a “selfish” raffle, and then I was amazed at how fast Ida drove home with clean fuel.   If I do it again next year, sub 6, and to the sub 5 racers and sub 4 winner…wow congrats!  My only regret was…not winning that fat bike! - Ahab.

TeamBOR's Top Ten Mountain Biking Rules...by Scott Shaw

Protect yourself!  Protect others!  Protect the environment!

Rule 1 - Wear a Helmet! If you are in the camp of I'm too cool to wear a lid like I used to be and survive a bad crash hopefully you are smart enough to start wearing a bucket like I did. If not, then we will not be cleaning up your brains off the trail. If your old lid is banged up from a hard hit, then buy a shiny new bucket that matches your rig preferably.

Rule 2 – Be safe!  Wear safety glasses or impact resistant glasses, wear synthetic clothes to prevent dehydration and hypothermia, carry rain gear, cell phone, emergency blanket, first aid kit, prescription medication, sun block, bug spray, and pepper/bear spray if needed.  If you need it to protect yourself from the environment, then bring it. 

Rule 3 – Be prepared!  Bring bicycle tools, spare tubes, patch kit, pump or CO2 inflator, water, electrolytes, and food.  Make sure if you are going out that you can make it back.

Rule 4 – Don’t wear headphones!  Leave them at home and enjoy the outdoors and the sounds of nature.  You will also be able to hear your fellow riders.  Save the headphones for your trainer or rollers.

Rule 5 – Announce!  Since you can’t remove your hands from the bars to signal, then you have to use your voice.  Announce “on your left” when passing from behind.  Whether passing from behind or passing head on tell others how many are behind you in your group.

Rule 6 – Know when to yield!  Yield to hikers, runners, horses, and racers.  Downhill riders should yield to uphill and slower traffic should yield when being overtaken.

Rule 7 – Pass safely!  Pass on the left when overtaking any traffic in the same direction, pass on the right when passing head to head.  Make sure there is enough room to not make others crash.

Rule 8 – Offer Assistance!  If you see someone broke down, then offer assistance.  Guess what…your turn is next and you know what they say about Karma.

Rule 9 – Don’t litter!  Pack it in, Pack it out!  Leave only tire tracks and foot prints!  Animals live where we ride so respect their habitat.  If you see someone litter call them out on it and pick it up.  Be an example.  Mountain bikers should be known as the protectors of the forest.

Rule 10 – Don’t ride muddy trails!  Riding muddy trails causes erosion and destroys the trail.  When it rains hard find a rock based trail or break out that dusty road bike, but don’t become a roadie.  Pass the roadies with your muddy mountain bike, back pack, cargo shorts, and your hairy legs (men only)…Roadies hate that.    You can always go for a run too, the cardio will make you a better hill climber.



2014 Bonk Hard Berryman Adventure...by Paul Frisbee

Berryman Adventure Race 2014

Rolla Contingency – Paul Frisbee, Kevin Edwards, Tamara Falke Team BOR St. Louis –Neil Dickhaus

Pre-Race – Took Tamara’s yellow Pontiac to meet Kevin Edwards, who was staying at an All-Star Inn in St. Robert.  Talked briefly, headed to Wal-Mart Subway for Pre-Race subs – no pre-race meal by Bonk Hard. Meeting was at 8:00pm.  Shirt giveaways with everyone getting something.  Didn’t get Kuat rack.  Single map and cluesheet.  Went back to All-Star Inn and plotted points, got rough plan for next day.  Tamara, Neil and Paul headed home for last minute gear changes (no fleece hats or pullovers).

Race Day:

Up at 3:40am – out of house by 4:05 with Neil and Paul in Neil’s Trailblazer.  Picked up Tamara, headed to All-Star Inn.  Kevin waiting outside – quick pickup and headed to bike drop.  Bit of a long drive, but no nav errors…made it shortly after 5:30am.  Dropped bikes and headed to HQ – or start line.  Slept in Trailblazer until 6:30am, then took massive pre-race dump (thanks Subway!!), did yoga warmup, some quick CrossFit warm-ups, and started at 7:01.34am according to my watch.

First portion was trekking ~ 6 points in any order.  Kevin has GPS track of all of this….first it was on him, and then he put it on me since I was the one punching points.  This didn’t happen till middle O-section.  It seems this section went pretty smoothly.
Next paddling – with point 7 being acquired from trekking as a change.
  Apparently moving up the river was going to take a very long time.  Steep slope and wading across the river (waist deep) for quick punch.  Paddle was slow moving as the river was down and the Neil/Kevin boat was 45# heavier than the Paul/Tamara boat.  Average speed down river was approximately 4.6mph. Point 8.  Start of major trek.

This was discussed before the race as the make-it or break-it section.  The section that would separate the men from the boys….the leaders from the followers….the 3rd lap of a mile race….Seems we arrived about 9:40am and had a cut-off of 4:00pm.  Had a general plan of hitting each ridge to break the attacks up and reduce crossing too many contours.  Started the route as planned, and then changed after 3rd point to cut distance since we weren’t making good time on roads.  Hit second ridge system and Kevin had realization that we should have hit that point on the exit.  Oops!  Trouble on CP14, but hit the next CP alright.  Debate on which one to hit next with quick 4 mile run exit strategy, and opted for hitting CP14 from opposite side to at least head toward CP24/8.  Worked great, but the plan of going fast at the typical afternoon crash time failed.  I was bonking mentally (could have used a nice dark mocha from Giddy Goat), Neil was cramping and had stomach issues, Tamara was doing fine, and Kevin was really itching to get in quick, which was needed.  Ended up taking a shorter line, and had a nice road down a spur.  The hillside afterwards was crazy steep with lots of loose rocks…twisted ankles, etc.  Got to bottom and Kevin made a command decision to turn right and race for the cut-off.  Wrong way we found out later.  Went back the other way and found the canoe TA.  Team seemed demoralized at this point with longer transition time.  Got water from them…last team there, so they allowed us to have the rest of what they brought.  ALL of it was used.Paddle 2 – bit slower than first one.  Still seemed demoralized by last place and last canoes out.  Hit CP25 as trailer was filled with all but two boats…ours.  I punched and the person took the punch down directly after.  The boat trailer pulled out, and the car the guy was driving shortly followed.  We were basically the clean up crew….it was a long mile up the hill to the bike drop-off.
Punched and got another cluesheet.  There were a few teams still there enjoying their re-supply bags.  The TA people offered us some food and water too…leftovers from everybody’s stuff.  Very slow TA.  Plotted points, measured, transition to bikes.  Last ones out again.  Rode off towards the first bike checkpoint along a trail.  Right at dusk. 
Rode down and stopped at prescribed mileage.
  I suddenly realized that I hate trekking without my pants on…should have put them on and duct-taped.  Oh well.  Trekked around spur looking for point.  Went back out to road, rechecked distance, rode back in.  Searched more, as it was turning dark.  Kevin’s uber-light never picked it up.  Went over a couple more spurs treating it like a regular o-course point.  Talked with the owl a bit.  Headed back to road as re-finding the bikes was even questionable at this point.  Took trail back to bikes, and Neil spots another trail.  Neil and Kevin work together to triangulate positions….we walk past bikes on trail a bit further, and Neil calls out “Who’s got the Cluesheet?” – one of our code phrases for this race.  Also – someone took a massive dump over here!, and something else.  After punching this point, walked back to bikes and biked back to road.  Measured distance to next trail and headed towards HQ.

The next trail was a very long 0.5 miles down a gravel road.
  Again, the odometers had us short by quite a bit (or the measurements were wrong), but hit this one and headed down towards the point.  Headed further out for another one….screamed down a hill and missed our turn.  Kevin and Neil made a command decision to head back to HQ as the next points would take us further away, and they had to be punched in order.  Hit the gravel road and did a comparatively quick ride back.  Opted out of the additional map and headed towards food!!

FOOD – cold cut makings.  Roast beef and turkey, cheese, tomatoes, lettuce, mayonnaise and mustard.  Lots of junk food.  No beer, just soda and water.  Previous team mate, Louis McCarthy, gave a few of us beers.  Happy.