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).
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.