Wednesday, May 25, 2016

2016 Chubb SHART by Scott Shaw

2016 Chubb SHART by Scott Shaw

Team Virtus came up with the idea of creating Shared Adventure Race Training courses or SH.A.R.T.s.  The first one was set up in Lost Valley and was designed to be a mountain biking course with very minimal bushwhacking.  It was a great idea, so I started thinking of doing a SHART too.  I have always loved the Chubb Trail for its difficulty and different terrains.  It is also fairly remote, so it doesn’t get a lot of use, until lately.  20 years ago I wouldn’t see more than one other person on it.  Now there are lot of people using it and they are a mix of trail runners, mountain bikers, and equestrians, but it is mostly used as a hiking trail.  Most people hear Chubb Trail and wince.  I wanted to try to get people out there, and it fit in with making my Epic Chubby course that I have dreamt of for years.  I set the course to be an advanced course that would take approximately 8 hours and travel a distance of 20-26 miles.  I wanted it to be a mix of biking and bushwhacking, but also be able to be completed by advanced trail runners.  Yes, you had to have orienteering experience or you wouldn’t be able to find CP1.

                The start was at the West Tyson Chubb Trailhead.  You were to travel up the trail by bike (or foot), to the second turn in the trail.  The circles on the map were pretty large so you should have been looking at the center of the circle for the CP placement.  The clue was boulder.  You should have rode through a boulder section of the trail, got off your bike and bushwhacked in the CP’s direction, down a small cliff, to another boulder with the CP tied to a tree, which was growing out of the boulder.  CP1 was easy unless you didn’t know what the CPs looked like or how small they were, which is why I posted pictures of the CPs beforehand, and each CP was double marked with green duct tape.  Collect the letter from CP1 and you have (I). 

                From CP1 you could either go back to the trail and ride to the CP2 area, or bikewhack across to the trail closer to CP2.  I did the course 3 times and each time I did the course I decided to leave my bike on the trail and walk back to it and avoid bikewhacking.  Counting the switchbacks should have landed you near a sharp switchback and a Southwest turn.  If you didn’t count the switchbacks or check your bearing on the trail, then you probably picked the wrong one and never found it, as Neil and I found out when we were taking the course down.  It took us three or four times to dead reckon from the switchback to find it.  CP2 was navigationally difficult so if you found this one, then kudos to you.  You were to find the correct switch back and bushwhack to large boulders, which the CP was tied to a tree growing out of the boulder.  CP2 gave you the letter (P). 

                From CP2 I bushwhacked back to my bike awaiting on the trail.  The first two times I either hid my bike or locked my bike to a tree, but the last time I just let it sit near the trail and when coming back to it we dropped too low and had to walk the trail back to them wondering if they were still there.  You were supposed to ride the trail and count the crossings until you got to the picnic table.  This was a super easy check point, but the map wasn’t totally updated to the new trail re-route, so it could have caused you problems if you saw two trails on your left and only one on the map.  Anyway you took the trail and found CP3 (O) tied to a tree in a pit.  If you had eagle vision you could see it from the trail.

                A short ride to a switch back took you down the “steps” and a short bushwhack back up towards the trail you just rode down would take you to a boulder field and CP4 (O).  This CP should have been easy, but I heard some had problems finding it.  Once you found the boulder field, the CP was placed on the largest one with a tree growing out of it.  Now for CP5, the mother bushwhack.  The first time I went to CP5 I locked my bike to a tree at the steps and bushwhacked across some serious elevation to the creek and up to the CP.  On the way I snapped my shin on a rock and nearly fell to my death.  I found out weeks later that I lightly tore my Achilles tendon in the process.  CP5 was supposed to be extremely difficult, which it was, but Neil approached it by riding alongside the prairie to the creek and then bushwhacking up the creek past the creek junction to the monstrous hill with the little cliff face on top.  The CP was atop the cliff face and gave you (P).  This was the best approach, safer and faster.  He then took the creek back to his bike waiting in the prairie.  I, on the other hand, had to climb all that elevation back to the steps to get my bike back.  The next time we took Neil’s way again.  If you took the creek back to the prairie and backtracked some to the next creek you could take that one to the water fall and find CP6 (E).  CP6 was supposed to be really easy, but the vegetation grew in and made the creek exit hard to find.  If you got to CP6 you got to walk on one continuous piece of rock that was slippery as all can be but amazingly long and was also part of the beautiful rock formation that was the waterfall. 

                CP7 was deviously laid out on an island.  WTH you say?  Well this is TeamBOR.  TeamBOR stands for Balls Out Racing.  CP7 on an island is BALLS OUT.  You may have gotten to the area and realized the only way to get the CP was to swim.  I think your heart either sank and you skipped it, or your adventurous spirit kicked in and you swam across.  I hope you did the later.  The current was strong and you had to swim hard.  If the water was low enough you could wade across.  I waded twice and swam once.  The island was full of Stinging Nettle and you were to find a boat abandoned on the island.  I was afraid the boat would disappear in high water so the CP was tied to a tree nearby; CP7 (D).  

                Swim back to your bike and ride to CP8.  The clue was, “this is where you store your clothes camping.”  You are riding along the trail and see a camper in the woods.  You can tell the flood relocated it here.  You now have to explore it.  You look through all the drawers, closets, and then remember that SHARTs revolve around pooping and look in the head and find the CP8 (M) hanging from the towel rod above the toilet.  The third time I went to it I was amazed that it was hit by high water again and was in way worse condition as it was before.

                Leave the camper behind and now make the choice to be the real deal, or a sissy, and decide to grab CP10 first (Sissy!), or ride to CP9 first (Balls Out!) and get them in order, knowing full well that you will have to ride back to CP10 and then back past CP9 to CP11.  I did this on purpose to make you decide whether or not you had the balls to ride the rock garden over and over.  Neil had the balls the first time and rode to CP9 first, making me proud.  The sissy way did cut a lot of miles off the course and would have made your time much faster.  If you skipped CP9 (Y), then you really screwed yourself because it was really easy and a beautiful little swimming hole with clear flowing water and a nice sunning rock. 


You then rode back the way you came and took the trail to a swamp and easily found CP10 (P).  You then had to ride back past CP9 to the Castlewood Loop through the “sand pits of hell” to get CP11 (A), which was under an elevated car tire.  CP11 navigationally was easy, but someone really buried it in a brush pile under that tire and you had to be pretty flexible to get it.  From CP11 you had to decide to ride back the way you came in the sand or ride on.  If you chose to ride on you found out that the trail is super muddy all the way to CP12 and the sand may have been easier.  I don’t think either way saved any time, but may have saved your sanity.  CP12 (N) was in a ruined barn.

                You then rode the rest of the trail to the Lone Elk Chubb Trailhead and bushwhacked down a small reentrant to CP13 (T).  It was placed here just to make you ride the entire trail.  After that you rode the entire trail back to the picnic table.  Hopefully you took the dry shorter High Water Route, but if it was dry the Low Water Route is more fun.  At the picnic table you should have turned onto the fast and dry Flint Quarry Trail and took it to Mimi’s Overlook Bench.  It was easier here to bikewhack carefully down the hill to CP14 (S) and then out to the trail and then take the trail to the road and the road to the finish at the West Tyson Trailhead.  Bikewhacking here did cut off some sweet single track, but saved you a terrible climb back up to your bike.  Your CPs spelled out, “IPOOPEDMYPANTS” and you probably did!

                In conclusion, I received many complaints that I made the course too hard and too long and people are afraid of Chubb Trail.  I thought this was adventure race training.  I wasn’t aware that adventure racing was easy and short.  I am also on TeamBOR and we are Balls Out, so it was supposed to be hard and long, no pun intended.  For you cry babies out there, maybe stick to golf.  The results follow.

1st place Neil Dickhaus

2. Lo’s Team

3. Amanda and Dave

4. The Barts

5. The Vohsens

6. Anyone else who tried and didn’t send in their results.

Last place. Losers that didn’t try.

                Stay tuned for the Grant’s SHART designed for beginners.  It will be a road biker’s introduction into finding CPs and may have a shorter family friendly course in between.  I may set up the Chubb SHART again in late fall and keep it up all winter as it will be easier without vegetation.  I will move the water CPs to dry land.  There will hopefully be a Chubb SHART Two that will be a summer course designed to be a water world nightmare and yes boats will be required. - Ahab.

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