Monday, November 17, 2014

2014 Bonk Hard Castlewood 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

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