Tuesday, June 13, 2017

2017 No Sleep Adventure 24 & 8-Hour Race by Scott Shaw

2017 No Sleep Adventure 24 & 8-Hour Race by Scott Shaw

I wasn’t planning on competing in the No Sleep race.  Frankly, the last couple years I have fell into a slump and haven’t wanted to race much.  I heard that TeamBOR was fielding a 2 person coed with Dave Beattie and Jessie Brown and a 4 person coed with David Cortivo, Robert Bart, Amy Crews, and Steve Fuller.  I asked my daughter if she wanted to sign up for the 8 hour and she told me no.  I am still hoping my daughters will race someday, but anyway my hopes of racing were dashed until I saw a post that Amy needed to drop out.  I quickly said I wanted in.  Next I heard that Steve needed to drop out and we gathered up Alane Wolins.

 I somehow bullied my way into being navigator, or I had pulled the shortest straw unknowingly.  We left St. Louis around 1pm and drove to Shawnee National Forest and incorrectly set up camp (the biggest damn tent vacation home ever) at the race start.

We ate dinner and attended the pre-race meeting.  I always find the meetings long winded and I really just want the map so we can get back early to plot and sleep, but it never seems to go like that.
I started to think sleeping was going to be shortened especially once I heard there was ropes practice at the start until 11pm.  There was supposed to be a full moon, and I don’t sleep well in the light, but luckily our massive tent blocked the moon and all was dark.  Since we had slept at the start we allowed ourselves to sleep until 6am, but other teams woke up earlier for the bike drop.  I am a pretty light sleeper, so I was really happy that I actually fell asleep again.  We slowly got up at 6, dressed, ate, dropped the bikes off, and had plenty of time before the 8am race start.  I love being early and not rushing!

The race started by having everyone remove a shoe and the volunteers threw our shoes out into the field.  We had to run, find our shoe, get it back on and run to the canoes.  We then carried our canoes to the water and launched.  Friday night we had planned to go either clockwise or counter-clockwise around the lake depending on wind direction, but since at race start they told us we had to cross the lake to the swimming beach, beach the boat, and pick one person to swim to the platform to get our passport, we threw that plan out the window.  We hadn’t picked a person to get wet as we were told the night before, because we really didn’t know what to expect, so as we hit the beach I decided to just go for it.  I dropped the map, compass, and my hat, and hit the water.  I ran first, then walked to the first set of buoys.  After that I had to swim to the platform.  I first noticed that I had my sunglasses on and couldn’t put my face in the water.  I then noticed that my shoes were sinking my legs, but luckily they made us wear life jackets.  I climbed the platform, grabbed the passport, and zipped it up in my pocket against the director’s instructions to put it in my mouth.  I jumped back in and thought, “Why the hell isn’t Robert doing this, he is the swimmer?”  I swam and rolled on my back to kick my shoes off, but then decided it was really important to keep my shoes, so I rolled back over and swam back to the first set of buoys and walked in exhausted.
We then paddled to CP3, then to 2, then across the lake to 4, then to a lily pad stricken area of CP1 where we had to wade through stinky muck that was sometimes neck deep.  We damn near lost Cortivo to a lily pad hole, but luckily the swamp gases being violently expelled lifted him back to the surface, or he was so scared he farted so hard he lifted himself.  Either way I got a nose full of foul odor and a mouth full of bugs and Cortivo lived to tell the tale, which you all will definitely hear, but his version will be much much better than mine.  It will probably have swamp monsters and aliens in it.

We then canoed back to the start, which was the TA, dropped the canoe and switched to trek.  We thought we had a solid plan to CP5, but after taking the trail to the first gate, we failed to find the second gate mainly because we followed the herd.  I said we are going the wrong way a few times, and then said we overshot a few times, while we walked a creek forever, but Dave wanted to keep following and told me a few times it was,  “just around the bend, just one more bend, just one more bend, just one more bend.” I had no idea where we were anymore because the map didn’t match the topography at all.  I told Dave we had to go back to the gate and shoot a bearing.  We walked back up stream and I looked for a side stream we had investigated earlier.  Not finding the side stream I felt doomed that we were so far off we were going to get lost.  Dave said he could take me to the gate.  Walking back to the gate I was very skeptical and told him if he was 100% sure I would trust him, but I thought he was guessing.  He pointed out the gate way down the field and I still wanted to go back to it and see if the road we took in was there, but I trusted him and we shot a bearing and went back to the creek.  I noticed we walked off bearing and called “bullshit,” but when we compared all three compasses it seemed one out of three was always swinging.  We chalked it up to iron in the soil and aliens (Klingons on Uranus aliens).  We walked into the creek and I really felt it was the wrong way again, so I stopped us and asked both Robert and Dave to compare the map to the land topography and we all agreed to turn around and found it.  We lost around an hour looking for it, but I needed it to shoot to CP6.

I gave Alane a very quick pace counting tutorial and read the bearing to Dave and Robert.  We followed three compasses and every time one person veered off we followed the two that agreed.  Alane counted and I estimated the distance and kept track of meters traveled with my ranger beads (I said RANGER BEADS!).  We found CP6 exactly as expected and very quickly after crossing a few barb wire fences.  We also found Team Noah and hugged and humped some.  Alane re-set and I had her count down the reentrant to the creek and again we were spot on where I wanted to be.  I had her re-set again and we traveled by creek in the direction of CP7, but she gave me a count that passed the CP and I had only moved one bead so I knew somehow her count got off.  Just in case we back tracked and checked for it.  I re-estimated and had her start over and we found it almost perfectly again.  Dave and Robert had a nice break from following the bearings and I know personally that counting gets tiring, but I wanted her to count to CP8.  We followed the trail and found the CP exactly on her count.  Team Noah cheated and followed us most the way, but I tricked them with a sneak attack “orange Gatorade” that was actually Fireball!  Kevin and Mickey smelled a trap, but didn’t warn poor Larry and he fell victim to my sinister plot.  They past us, but we heard later that the Fireball slowed and angered Chief Larry Firewater.  On the other hand, our team work of me reading the map, giving a bearing, and an estimated distance, Dave and Robert keeping the bearing, and Alane counting, really paid off.  There is a few things we could do to even get better at this, but that is some secret shit we are not gonna tell you freaks.  We then traveled to the bike TA watching Team Noah and some other 24 hour teams lolly gagging along like they had all the time in the world.

On the bikes my legs were a little grumpy at first and we slowly made it to a “road,” I use that term loosely, that took us right to CP9.  When we got back to the real road to go to CP10 we met up with a trio of beautiful young Sirens that missed CP9, but they tricked Dave into revealing its location.  I stopped us where I thought CP10 was, but quickly changed my mind and wanted to go down the road farther, but Robert had traveled at least 10 miles down the reentrant looking for it.  The Sirens caught us and realized it was farther down the road and left us.  Robert traveled at least 20 miles back to the road and we caught the Sirens as they were leaving the CP and they were nice enough to return the favor and reveal its location.  We started climbing hills and Dave needed a little tow, so he attached his bike to my tow and I stood and climbed past the Sirens walking their what appeared to be straight out of Walmart bikes (NO OFFENSE). We then had to find a point in the road where it turned sharply, which marked the point that we would bike whack to the trail, but when we got there the whacking looked too long and hard (no pun intended).  We decided to find the secret road to the trail that Dave heard stories of, but we tried every one we saw and they were all dead ends. Luckily I knew where we were, and we decided to go back and look for the secret road again.  We finally found it and it led us to the trail.  I then asked Robert to investigate a rock face to see if it was a short bypass trail, but his Tricorder malfunctioned and he told me, “No.” We therefore rode down this terrible stupid trail that headed in the exactly opposite direction and finally found Tamara and Joe at the turn around.  I said a whole lot of cusswords and then prayed we would find the correct trail.  We then rode the lower section of trail along the bluffs, and although they were beautiful I hated them for making us go around and lose more time, so I cussed them too and thanked the Lord for their beauty, but told Him that it would be great if He could move them out of the way.  As we left that trail I pointed out the bypass to Robert and scorned him for not calibrating his equipment better.  We took the trail system past CP19 to the TA and dropped the bikes with no mechanicals, minus some intense frame rub on Robert’s bike.

We then had only 40 minutes out and 40 minutes back to complete the race and we knew there was no way we could clear.  I figured we could get one or two more CPs.  We shot for CP13 and took the wrong road the first time, and then the wrong trail the second time, but got to see the guy that got impaled and also got to see the lovely Sirens again (I'm really hoping for a team invite).  Those tricky devils navigated past us probably when we were searching for the secret trail.  A solo racer gave us a hand by putting us on the correct trail and we had to run up the hill to CP13.  We then ran back and I thought about CP11, but Dave said he was done.  We went back to the TA and Alane said we should bike to CP19 since we knew where it was, but I said, “No Dave is done,” and we finished with 50 minutes to spare.  Tamara snuck off and got CP19 and beat us.  Joe slammed that down Dave’s throat as he grinned ear to ear.  I actually was pretty happy for Joe.
Minton photobombing TeamBOR Lost Souls

We got cleaned up and then I got kidnapped by Black Bart.  He took us all the way to Metropolis Illinois while threatening Kentucky if we were bad.  He forced Sonic ice cream upon us and made us walk amongst some sketchy superheros and villians.  I didn’t see SuperKate there so I felt it was survivable.  He forced his camera upon a stranger to capture us in front of a villain named Superman.  I prayed Batman would come and save me as I knew I had forgot to stop my Garmin tracking the race and it was sitting in my pack laying on the ground near our campsite.  Black Bart then forced us to look at a mini boar named Piggy.

 Piggy squealed in disgust that we didn’t have our BOR gear on.  Then Black Bart set a 20lb bag of ice on my balls and snickered all the way back to the TA as I threatened to jump to my death.  We also saw some hoodlums putting an immense amount of trash in Kevin Minton’s truck bed, which we shammed them and told them they weren’t being nice.  Probably the same hoodlums that spun gravel on a J-hook U turn.

After a few shots of whisky and a few beers, we watched the sun set and listened to Cortivo Radio Live.
He spun tales so tall that the only one that believed him was me; well because 90% of the stories involved me and I was there.  We fell asleep spooning like the Three Stooges; wait that’s a lie.  We fell asleep individually and were awoken at 3ish AM by the dreadfull sound of Mickey’s voice, which sounds like a young boy kicked in the nads, while scrapping his nails on a chalkboard.  He wanted a bike since Chief Firewater had broken his derailleur in a mad Fireball rager.  Dave fell out of his hammock, Robert jumped out of his shuttle craft, and I leapt to my feet on the portico, tripped over the tent rope, and took the map board and tow off my bike.  Alane stayed silently in her reading room.  We checked on vomiting Kevin and made sure they had fluids, and food.  Chief Firewater yelled at me a few times that he didn’t like my orange Gatorade and they disappeared into the darkness.  You could hear a high pitched boy yelling demands, vomiting, and a crazed Feather not Dot Indian (Native American) screaming Fireball fading into the distance.

We asked the race director about TeamBOR’s location and they said, “they are here.”  I thought that is us, and asked about Team Virtus as we were concerned about losing Chuck and losing his whiskey for future rides.

 They said they hadn’t checked in yet because SuperKate made a detour to Metropolis (Something about a mandatory meeting).
 I asked about our other TeamBOR and I got a funny look and they said, “they are here.”  I asked for clarification and they said, “they have been here for an hour.”  We looked around confused and then Jessie literally walked right between all of us like a zombie making a b-line for the human fecal troughs, aka pooping facility.  We yelled at her and asked where was FN Dave Beattie? She said that she had no idea and thought that she was gonna quit.  We told her to go to the bathroom and wake up.  Apparently, Dave told her that he was going to change his shoes and snuck off for a nap and she fell asleep in her trunk waiting on him.  We went looking for Dave and found him in the parking lot.  We got the two back together and made sure they were ok and gave Dave a smack in the butt and they were back out racing.

  We then went back to bed and awoke to the finishers coming in.  We stayed for the awards, stole the 24 hour racers breakfast, and found out that Dave and Jessie took 2nd place in their division with a one hour mid race nap.

We made a caravan of cars home,
we past Chief Firewater’s tribe riding slow and in war formation as I ducked down behind Beattie, and the rest is just a memory.  – Ahab.



Thursday, May 18, 2017

2017 The Epic by Scott Shaw

2017 The Epic by Scott Shaw

I signed up for The Epic early and immediately regretted my decision because I knew I couldn’t take it easy on training.  Last year the Epic or “Ogre” was the challenge of the year for me.  I trained hard, finished, and dropped off most of my racing shortly after.  This year I didn’t train half as much and was recovering from injuries that took me out of my running training.  I knew going into this year’s event that my cardio was in bad shape, and I hadn’t had a chance to get in a long ride, so I would be in pain.  I also hadn’t been weight training, but my legs felt strong to me, so I thought I would try my best and if all else failed, then just finish.

It pretty much rained solid a few days before the event, so the course was shortened to take out the highest water crossings.  I was happy to hear that I no longer had to ride 150 miles soaking wet and only would have to ride 130.  Tanya (my wife) and I drove down to the event in the rain, checked in, ate dinner, went to the pre-race meeting, and crashed at the hotel, all the while it was still raining.  Tanya started telling me it would be nice to stay in the hotel for the weekend or go home early.  I told her I had pre-paid the hotel and I had driven all the way, so no matter what I was starting in the morning.  We met some out of town racers that asked me questions about my bike set up and what clothes I was going to wear.  One of them didn’t think tights were necessary, but I told him I wouldn’t be riding fast enough the whole time to keep warm while soaking wet.  He almost changed my mind to wear shorts, but I stuck with my plan.  Wear a water “proof” jacket over my jersey and let my tights get soaked over my shorts.  I planned to ditch the jacket and tights if I got hot.  I chose to wear my summer mountain bike shoes because I knew my feet would be wet instantly and my boots don’t drain.

Larry Lazo told me we had to crush the start and stay ahead of most the pack, but I knew that meant me too.  I knew I wouldn’t be able to hang with him for long.  We started and instantly soul crushing realities started coming into my mind.  My legs were already burning, I was overheating, I couldn’t see due to the rain and gravel crap, and I couldn’t hold Larry’s pace.  I realized that to finish I had to slow down and recover and find a pace I could live with.  I had an extremely hard time of recovering.  I don’t think I ate enough that morning and I didn’t eat enough at check point one, even though Tanya was trying to get me to eat more.  I felt like I was drinking enough, but since I was soaked through I couldn’t really tell if I was sweating (my jacket was not water proof).  I found a pace I was comfortable with and I kept my clothing as it was because I feared getting hypothermia.  I knew there was nothing I had to change into that would keep me dry, and wet and warm is better than wet and cold.  The hail pinging off my helmet made me laugh until it hit me in the face and went through my helmet vents.  It was short lived, but the wind, rain, and lightning were fierce.  I decided it was safer to keep riding and keep my rubber tires on the ground instead of my metal shoe cleats.  That meant there would be no hill walking.

Eric Reber caught me struggling before check point one and I told him that I was having trouble recovering. He was sore from well over 200 miles the previous week, so he said he would ride with me.  It was nice to have someone to suffer with that didn’t mind the slow pace.  We rode quite a bit with Jeff and Carrie Sona on their tandem and I got to witness their insane downhill speed and subsequent splashing and parting off the waters at the crossings.  I’d follow them down and take Jeff’s lines and then pass them uphill and then repeat.  It felt safer following them at speed through the water crossings than doing it on my own.  I figured if they survived, then I would.  I still was very concerned about the crossings after last year.  Eric and I stayed together until CP1.  At CP1, Tanya started talking to me about quitting again and I thought Eric left before me, so I took off in a hurry avoiding Tanya and looking for him, but as I got off to walk a water crossing I saw him coming up from behind, so I waited for him to catch up.  We rode a pretty chill pace, but even at a slower pace we still had to walk crossings as they were getting much deeper. 

While descending, along came up a bunch of riders going the wrong way.  They were all telling us to turn around and go back to CP1 because the road was flooded so bad it was unpassable.  I think this was somewhere around mile 40.  Eric wanted to ride down to look, but a lot of riders said it was a long way back up, and I saw Emily Korsch and Erl in the group, so I immediately turned around and told Eric that if they didn’t cross, then we weren’t going to cross.  Later, I told Eric I was concerned that a herd mentality was happening as no one knew where we were going, so we stopped and looked for an alternate route.  We didn’t find one so we caught back up to the herd stopped at a road talking with race officials.  The group rode back to CP1 together.  Standing at the gas station/quickie mart I was starting to shiver.  I noticed others shivering and a large mass taking over the gas station and eating all their food.  The gas station floor looked like it had flooded from all the racers walking around in it.  I managed to shoot a couple texts to Tanya to let her know I wouldn’t be making CP2.  The cell reception was terrible.  At this time the race officials told us the race was over due to unsafe conditions.  They gave us three choices; one, call and get a ride back, two, wait for them to shuttle us, or three, ride back.  I saw about a dozen riders talking about riding back.  I knew it was about 28 miles back.  Eric said that didn’t sound like a lot, but it would be in the extreme conditions.  I felt bad, but made sure he had a ride back, and then I left him there.  I decided I paid too much, spent too much time, and drove too far to quit.  I shot Tanya a text to meet me back at the Start/Finish.

We took the asphalt back to gravel.  The asphalt had me thinking I was feeling better, but once back on the gravel I started feeling bad again.  It continued to rain and the wind and lightning picked up.  The miles were slowly ticking off.  I pretty much had to walk every water crossing and one or two had almost swept me off my feet.  My legs started cramping and I cursed myself for not buying water, Gatorade, and food at the gas station.  I rode on without any fuel and water, thinking if I get desperate there is plenty of rain to drink.  The gravel started getting eroded off the roads from the down pouring rushing streams that were now on both sides of the road.  It was neat to see, very loud, but very hard to ride when the streams crossed the road and made tons of potholes.  My legs started cramping really bad, which made me walk a hill, but the lightning convinced me to jump back on the bike quickly.  I could feel my skin chafing on the seams of my shorts on the top of my thighs and I thought, that’s a first.”  Around 3 miles to go the front tire flatted.  I quickly changed it and didn’t feel anything sharp in the tire, so I chalked it up to a pinch flat from hitting all the potholes.  About a mile later the rear flatted.  I found a long skinny sharp rock that pierced and stuck into the tire.  I was riding through standing water almost constantly, hitting potholes, and a million sticks, and a piece of gravel flatted me.  As I was changing the flat, trying my best to keep gravel out of the tire, the wind and lightning became incredibly fierce, so much so that I started thinking about shelter.  I looked around for twisters, didn’t see any, looked around for shelter, and decided the thick woods was my best bet, but stayed put, and continued the flat repair.

                With the flat fixed I got back to riding and knew I was really close to the Start/Finish.  I started to pass a truck and the guy kept waving to me.  I thought he was directing me to turn, which matched my Garmin, so I started to turn and he jumped out of his truck and acted as if he was going to stop me.  I then could hear him yelling that the power lines were on the road.  I asked him what the other racers did and I told him I would step over them like they did.  After crossing two down lines and a tree I was on my way again. I started to feel the back tire going flat again, but I could see the Start/Finish so I kept going.  A lake stood in the way of the finish.  I thought, “This will be cool and get some cheers” as I plowed into the water and rode through at about top tube depth, but no one noticed my efforts.  I turned to finish and the finish line was destroyed, most people were already gone, some people were huddled under the shelter, and Tanya was standing there saying, “Thank God, you are crazy!”  I think she meant that she was thankful I was back and not so thankful I am crazy.  I checked in so the race officials knew I was alive and then Tanya told me all about the storm that knocked everything over and flooded the grounds.  I managed 72 miles, so I didn’t even complete the 80 mile course.  I hated cutting it short as I really wanted to see if I could recover and ride the rest, but by the look of things, the race director made the right call. 
Before it blew over.

                We had another night in the hotel pre-paid so we stayed and chilled out. In the morning I changed my tires back to heavy duty CX tires and found a half inch thorn in the rear gravel tire.  We ate breakfast and did a little shopping, but it was still raining, and I thought we better get home before roads close.  Tanya likes highway 70, so we took that.  It was packed with traffic, but I may have done some off-roading to go from highway to service road to avoid it.  When we got home we started to hear of all the flooding and road closures.  Good thing we took 70.  It was an Epic wet adventure. – Ahab.
Highway 44