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Monthly Archives: November 2011

The Hammons-Jenkins Express Rides Again at the Berryman 12 Hour Adventure Race

 

This year’s Berryman was a race I’d looked forward to for a long time. Berryman seems to bring people from all over, and it sure is nice to see all of our dirt-loving friends in one place. Kage, (formerly referred to here as Kate),  and her brother Jim were gonna be there for their first 12-hour race. Jim & Wendy Davis, The “Lederhosens” and the Wahoo crew were gonna be there too,  just to name a few. Casey flew in from New York to do the 36 hour race with Luke, and I partnered with Travis Hammons to do the 12. Adam was probably at home masturbating. To each his own.

I was first to arrive at Bass River Resort, and made short order of getting the camping spot closest to the Start/Finish line. There were going to be a lot of friends at this race, and I really wanted to be there when everyone finished.  I’ve only recently begun learning the intricacies of tarp-hanging. In an effort to redeem my previous failures, I went for something elaborate.

Who's laughing now, Anchorman?

It wasn’t long before Travis showed up and we started drinking beer getting our gear in order for the next day. It felt really good to be at a race early enough to be ready and relaxed.

 This is probably a no-brainer for everyone else, but I recently started marking my drybags so I know what the hell is in them.  It helps a lot at gear checks and prevents last minute panic-attacks when I think I’ve forgotten something.

                       

I’ll have to admit, I felt very well prepared. Travis and I really hadn’t discussed which of us would be navigating, but I’m pretty sure we both thought it would be the other guy. Everything was ready to go, all we had to do was suit up the next morning. The only thing left to do was plot some points and drink a few carbs.

"Dude, we're totally gonna own this shit tomorrow. " -"Hell yeah, pass those chips"

Since Luke and Casey were running behind, we helped get their bikes ready for the race-start. I actually had to go get their passport since they were running so far behind, but I’m sure you already read about that in their report. Well wishes were exchanged and we prepared to send the “Alpha Squad” on their merry way. Somehow, a fist-bump was caught on film:

Noelle Amick, photo-bomb extraordinaire .

 Travis & I were pretty jealous to not be doing the 36 at this point, but we were still pretty pumped for tomorrow’s race.  We had one or two more rounds of PBR carbs and headed off to bed. It sure was nice to be sleeping next to Travis’ tent while he coughed, wheezed and hacked up snot all night. There was a shower or two throughout the evening, and I couldn’t help but wonder how far Luke and Casey would make it before they realized their clue sheet was still at the campsite.

The morning came quick, but we were up and ready to go with time to spare. We even had time for a pre-race photo.

Still just a bit too damn confident

I think we were both feeling pretty strong at the beginning of the race. We started out in a massive pack of riders on a fairly hilly stretch of gravel. The stream of red tail-lights was pretty awesome. Every now and then someone would get too close to the shoulder of the road and wipe out, so that was entertaining. It was a bit difficult to get decent photos with all the people around, but I did alright.

I think the other racers really appreciated the camera flashes

Despite a series of horrible coughing fits, Travis and I somehow managed to weave our way through the crowd and pass a few teams. It was a bit comical how easily some of the 4-person teams were getting separated. Racers lined the road waiting for their teammates. We got to a place in the road where it was pretty obvious that most people were turning into the woods for CP 1.

The trail was muddy as shit, so we decided to drop the bikes, make the 100 yard dash to the CP and come back. Along the short trek to the CP, we leap-frogged a team with one person who rather rudely informed us that this was a bike leg and we needed to be on our bikes. We just kinda brushed it off, I mean it’s not like we had some sort of strategic advantage from having to walk right? And after all, we were only trying to prevent riding our bikes through this:

Yeah, this is a pretty poor photo, but you can see that it's a muddy road,right?

So anyway, as we’re once again leap-frogging this same team, Captain Dingaling pipes up and decides he’s gonna lay down the law about “this is a bike leg”. He and Travis exchanged a few heated words and we all parted ways. I’ve decided not to elaborate on this incident as it seems only fair to assume he was the only douchebag of the group. As I said before, we had clearly not put ourselves in any sort of advantageous position by walking.

On with the race. By now we had figured out that the muddy road we were trying to avoid wasn’t even the right road. So, nav error # 1 was already in the books. By the time we got CP #1  and made it back to the bikes, we were…near the back of the pack.

Whatever.

I guess this was right about the time Travis threw up once or twice. He said the mapcase choking him and asked if I’d take over nav duties. (It seemed like a good idea at the time). From what I can recall, the gravel went on for a few more miles and we found our way onto the Berryman trail. I had only ridden Berryman once before, so I’m very unfamiliar with the trail-system. We both felt pretty good on the singletrack, and it wasn’t long before we were catching a few people and passing them. We were very close to CP 2 when we ran into Kage and Jim.

You kinda have to look for her, but she's back there.

 Travis and I were having a pretty good time flossing the singletrack, and I have to say that I was feeling way too confident. We came to the bottom of  a descent and saw the artesian well, (natural spring). Neither of us needed water, so we didn’t stop. I saw some trail in front of me, assumed it was the Berryman, and off we went. I never realized there were like 3 other trails that all converged at the Artesian well. 

Completely unaware of this enormous mistake, we rode ahead thinking we were still on the Berryman. There were LOTS of other people going the same way, so we stupidly assumed we were going the right way.

The "Berryman" Trail was no longer fun at this point.

Bear in mind, I had no idea there was ever an option to take a different trail. We were on the Berryman and that was that. The trail didn’t match the map for shit, so I could only assume that the trail was improperly marked on the map. Trail conditions had gone from awesome to shitty in a hurry, and we were now doing lots of hike-a-bike.  We both felt like the trail was going the wrong way, but had no clue where we ever could have gone wrong.

Well, there’s a ton of bike tracks, so I guess we’re going the right way”  I was so stupid. 

I’ve heard Luke talk about what he calls “bending the map.” This is when you falsely convince yourself you’re going the right way. At this point, I was bending the map into positions that would make Gumby scream.  I promised Travis that at the top of the next hill we’d see a gravel road and there would be trail on the other side. Lo and behold..we came to a gravel road. Only problem was, there was no trail on the other side.

Travis keeps his cool while I look for a trail that isn't there.

There was no denying it now…we were butt lost. Neither of us wanted to go back the way we came, so we elected to follow the gravel road southward. In doing so, we would either come to an intersection that’d be on the map, or we would eventually run into the highway. The gravel road was mostly downhill, and that always means one thing…you’re going the wrong way.

Lost, but not giving up.

When we got to the bottom of the hill, there were several other teams there standing around looking pretty unhappy. After a bit of discussion, we knew exactly where we were… and the news was not good. Somehow, we had found our way to a place known as the Four Points. I’m too embarrassed to post a picture of the map, you wouldnt believe how far off course we  were.

 I felt like I’d just been kicked in the nuts. The fact that so many others had made the same mistake did absolutely nothing to make me feel like any less of a moron. There was no coming back from this. Clearing the course would not happen. This was a catastrophic failure.

Other lost folks at the Four Points.

We had to get back on course, but there were differing opinions on how to do it. Going back the way we came was not an option, but it was the only “legal” way to get back. Any other route would involve a certain amount of tresspassing and the prospect of dodging gunfire.

We asked a landowner for permission to cross his field…..

…He said no.

So…..we tresspassed. I mean to say we tresspassed our asses off.  We just wanted to get back on the course, finish in last-place and eat some porksteaks. Go ahead and judge us if you want.

At least we got a cool photo

I realize it’s completely wrong to feel this way, but this section of the race was actually my favorite. We bike-whacked through some serious shit out there, sped through open fields, and capped it all off by carrying our bikes up a super-steep muddy climb. This was the most serious orienteering I had ever done and I was juiced. There was no trail to follow and no footprints to cloud my judgement, it was just us and the map. We slashed our way through vines, thorns and trees as we worked our way toward a fire-road I could only hope still existed.

"Uh, hi sweetie...I just wanted to call and say I love you....and I'm lost in the middle of nowhere."

The terrain was horrible, but we were making progress. Thorns and vines grabbed at every part of us and tangled in our bikes, making this a  particularly exhausting effort. Along the way, we had a quick conversation that went like this:

Travis: “I frickin hate you”. 

Me: “What?”

Travis: “Nothing man, I really like racing with you.”

Me: “Oh, I could’ve sworn you said you hated me”

Travis: *silence*

Yup, we were making some memories out there.

After what seemed like an eternity of bike-whacking, we finally came to the fire-road we were looking for and it lead us back to the Berryman Trail. I can’t even describe the relief I felt when we got back on that trail. I was so happy, in fact, that I decided to take a picture of myself.

*witty caption here*

About .08 seconds after that picture was taken, I hit a rock and flew off my bike into the woods. That put an end to my photo-taking while riding the Berryman, but I did manage to get a decent action shot of Travis later in the day:

It felt so good to be back on the REAL Berryman trail.

I’m a bit ashamed to admit it, but I don’t remember very much of the race after this point. I think we were both so tired and defeated that we just did what we had to do to get across the finish line. I can recall that the remainder of the bike-leg was a torture-fest and that the paddle was alot of fun.

I also remember that I left our maps on the beach when we shoved off in the canoe. By the time I realized this colossal mistake, we were far enough downstream that turning back was out of the question. Travis was calling me “Bobby Let-down” once about every 15 minutes, and  Iwasn’t arguing one bit. When we reached the canoe takeout, (with no maps), our only option was to walk in the ditch next to the highway until we found the Bass River Resort entrance, then hike/jog our way to the finish. Travis pushed through a lot of knee pain in those final miles, but we eventually made our way across the finish line. 

All of a sudden, things were looking up.

Baked potatoes and beer were consumed until the world was right, then we fired up the grill and looked for Kage and Jim. They finished a while after we did, and I had a GREAT time spraying them with champagne as they crossed the finish line. Sadly, I have no photographs of this.

This will easily take first place as my greatest navigational blunder-fest, but I count the experience as a solid victory. I learned a lot of hard lessons out there and made some SERIOUS mistakes I’ll never make again, (like following other people’s tracks).  I think we packed about as much failure into one race as is humanly possible, but at the end of the day we were laughing about it and already talking about getting some redemption next year.

I thing the sport is called adventure racing  because the adventure should always come before the race. I think Travis would agree that we had one hell of an adventure out there. Maybe next time we’ll race too….maybe not:)

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Round TWO of the ABC’s of Adventure Racing Gear – Part 2

Welcome back to all of you ravenous Virtusites!  If you missed our last post, you can go back to Part 1 of this series to get caught up.  You can also check out last year’s series for more adventure racing gear recommendations and reviews as well.  Now it’s time for part 2.  Enjoy, and let us know what you think.

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F is for Foosh Mints

Foosh Caffeinated Energy Mints

This was one of our best discoveries this year, and it’s one of our secret weapons (although it’s not so secret anymore, huh?).  You may have read about Team Virtus using Foosh Mints at several races, and you may have been wondering what the heck they are.  Well, I think they should be called Life Savers since they’ve saved me on more than one occasion, but I guess that name is probably trademarked.  When I ran out of them at the Berryman 36 Hour AR, the Sleep Monster nearly destroyed me, and it got ugly in a hurry

So let me enlighten you to the ways of Foosh.  These little mints are basically Altoids on Steroids.  Maybe they should be called SterAltoids, but I understand the “Foosh” name, too.  Each caffeinated mint is the equivalent of one cup of coffee, and you can feel the energy boost hit you in a hurry – FOOOOOOOSH!  Not only does the caffeine kick in quickly, but the taste and the icy-hot burn in your mouth really perk you up as well.  Delicous!

The mints come in handy little “blister packs” holding 6 mints in each sleeve.  They’re the perfect size for tucking into a pocket of your pack or jacket.  These things are mandatory gear for Team Virtus, especially on longer adventure races and rogaine races.  I love these things so much that I keep a pack in my drawer at work and in each mini-van (yes, I own two mini-vans… With four kids it was either that or a short bus).  If I need a little pick me up, I just pop a mint, and I’m good to go (with minty-fresh breath, I might add).

You can get 18 packs (108 mints) for 28 bucks and free shipping right here.  That comes out to roughly 26 cents per mint which is actually cheaper than a cup of coffee.  They’re a heck of a lot easier to carry in your pocket than coffee too.  I flat-out love these mints, and I think you will too.

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G is for Garmin 305 GPS Watch

Garmin Forerunner 305 for Adventure Race trainingAre you tired of driving your running/biking routes to see how far they are?  Are you tired of planning your route using online services?  Do you travel a lot and run/ride in different cities?   Then you, my friend, need a Garmin 305.

This thing will track your route, distance, speed/pace, elevation gain/loss, and heart rate.  You can customize the screens to display exactly what you want to see during your training (total time, lap time, heart rate, distance, pace, speed, calories, etc.).  If you wanna use it as a watch to track your indoor workouts, you can even turn the GPS off to conserve the battery.You can also upload your workouts and routes to help you keep track of your training or to share them with friends.

Making the Forerunner 305 even more useful, there is also a bike-mount kit (which I use and love) and a bike speed/cadence kit (which I haven’t used, but it looks pretty sweet) that will allow you to seriously dial in on your training.

Yes, it’s a bit clunky for a watch, but it’s not bad at all.  And yes, it’s a bit expensive, but the price has come down quite a bit recently.  And I really do believe that it is worth the price.  There are more expensive models like the waterproof 310XT (which Casey has and really likes) and the 405 (which Robby has and really likes).  If you don’t want or need the heart rate feature, you can save 30 bucks by getting the 205.  I think it’s worth the extra money for the heart rate monitor, though, since I use that feature all of the time for interval training.

In my opinion, you definitely get the most bang for your buck with the Garmin Forerunner 305.

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H is for Hydration Bladder – The Camelbak Omega Hydrotanium Bladder

Camelbak Omega Hydrotanium

Camelbak pretty much revolutionized the way we stay hydrated in our outdoor endeavors.  While many companies have caught up to and even surpassed Camelbak with regards to backpack design, they are still the leader when it comes to the hydration bladder.

There have been several improvements over the years, and the Omega Hydrotanium Reservoirs are simply the best.  They come in a wide range of sizes to fit any of your backpacks.  And even if your pack came with a different hydration bladder, then you’d be wise to switch to the Omega.  Why?  Just take a look at this video right here.

These bladders are seriously indestructible.  I’ve witnessed Bob crash or trip (several times) and land completely on his backpack with one of these Omega reservoirs inside.  The Omega was perfectly fine, and it has saved Bob from a few scrapes an bruises as well.

The wide-mouth opening with the easy-to-fill handle is a great feature.  The bite-valve with the shutoff switch is the best I’ve ever used.  And get this… There is a lifetime warranty on these babies!  You just can’t beat that.  I love these so much that I actually have two – one for my small pack, and one for my bigger pack.  I won’t use anything else.

You can pick a bladder ranging from 35 oz to 100 oz by going right here.

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I is for the Innovations Ultraflate Plus Tire Inlfator

Bike Tire Inflator

I don’t go on a ride without my CO2 inflator.  I always keep it tucked under my saddle with my Awesome Strap (reviewed in Part 1 of this series).

Yes, there are smaller inflators out there, but I really like this one.  There is a locking switch to make sure you don’t accidentally release the CO2.  It fits both Presta and Shrader valves easily. It’s durable, and it’s never let me down.  It’s also compatible with both threaded and non-threaded CO2 cartridges, making it easy to find new cartridges.  You can get the threaded cartridges or save some money and get the non-threaded variety at Walmart (which is what I do since I’m cheap).

The last thing you want to do in a race is waste time and energy by using a tiny hand pump, so be sure to grab the Ultraflate Inflator for your next ride or race.

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J is for Journal

Training Journals for Adventure Racing

My actual training journals from 2007 through 2011

This might seem like an odd pick for a list of Adventure Racing Gear Recommendations, but stay with me.  I’ve used journals to track my training and racing for the past several years, and they are invaluable.  I can look back to see when I was at my fattest (246 pounds on 1/2/07 – Yikes!) or when I was at my strongest (December of ’08 – I won’t put up my numbers since they’re pretty pathetic compared to most people).

I can also look back and see what I wrote about regarding the first ride I ever did with the one and only Robert L. Jenkins III on 1/3/09:

“Lots of fun, lots of tough uphills & very fast downhills.  I was slow.  Had beer afterwards at the winery.  Then ate a lot of pizza.”  Bikes, beer, and pizza – that was the beginning of a beautiful relationship.

Or what I thought about our first race together on 2/7/09:

“Racing w/ Bob was great – Team Boats ‘N Hoes!!”

I can also look back and see how my training (or lack thereof) leading up to a race affected the outcome of the race.  For instance, a cracked rib on Thanksgiving in ’09 led to very little training and a 31st-place finish at the Castlewood 8-Hour Adventure Race.

I also learned that I tend to sabotage myself by slacking off with my training in the 6 weeks leading up to a big race.  I have no idea why I would completely drop the ball during the crucial month and a half before a race, but looking back through my journals allowed me to clearly see this pattern.  Realizing my weaknesses led to me refocusing my efforts in the weeks leading up to the 2010 Berryman Adventure 36-Hour Race, and that turned out with a VERY unexpected win in our division.

I know there are many online tools and apps that allow you to track and plan your training.  I guess I’m just old-fashioned.  I love being able to actually flip back through the pages and see what was going on with my training and my life – Like this entry from 1/15/09:

“Found out we’re HAVING A BOY today! Great news on my birthday.”

So you can do the online thing, and I think it can be a great way to do it.  Or you can rock it old-school style and pick up a journal at your local Walmart or office supply store, or you can go right here to get your training journal.  It’ll be the best buck or two you’ve ever spent.

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That wraps up Part 2 of our gear reviews and recommendations for adventure racing.  Let us know what you think, and stay tuned for Part 3! (Part 3 can be found right here.)

Round TWO of The ABC’s of Adventure Racing Gear

Well, it’s that time of year again, boys and girls.  Time to dust off our aluminum poles, air our grievances, and perform feats of strength.  That’s right!  Festivus is right around the corner.  What’s that?  You don’t celebrate Festivus?  Well, that’s okay.  Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and Boxing Day, to name a few, are some holidays coming up quickly as well.

So I thought it was time to update our ABC’s of Adventure Racing Gear Reviews and Recommendations.  We still use most, if not all, of the gear we recommended in last year’s ABC’s, but we thought it was time to update the list with some of the other AR gear, clothing, and accessories that we use and love.  So, here is part one of this year’s series.  And if you have anything you’d like to recommend, let us know in the comments!

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A is for Awesome Strap

Awesome Strap Race Gear Review

I was fortunate enough to win an Awesome Strap (made by Backcountry Research) at the 2011 Dirty Kanza 200, and I have to say that this little guy is aptly named… Awesome.  I still love and use my Simple Straps (which actually made our gear-of-the-year list in 2010), but I really like the awesome strap for carrying a tube, CO2 cartridge, and an inflator under my saddle.

The Race Strap seems to hold everything in one bunch a little better, whereas I needed two Simple Straps to hold everything I need before I got this guy.  I’ve never had anything come lose using the Race Strap, and it never makes a sound or jiggles around at all.  The Race Strap is durable, it’s affordable at only 10 bucks, and it comes in all kinds of colors and designs (mine has a cow pattern, but you can get camo, argyle, chili peppers, flames, tie dye, and many more).

They offer a beefier version called the Hitch, and for a limited time, they are offering the “Whammer Deal” where you can get any 3 straps for just $24.  That sounds like a perfect idea for stocking stuffers… Especially if you have 3 sons that love to bike (Mom and Dad, are you reading this?  Hint, hint…).

Trust me.  You’ll make any cyclist or mountain biker in your life very happy for just 10 bucks (or 8 bucks if you go with the Whammer Deal).  How can you beat that?  Pick up a strap or three by clicking here.

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B is for Battery Charger – Lacrosse Technology Alpha Power Charger

Wait… What?!?!  A battery charger as a recommendation for adventure racers?!?!

Absolutely.  This thing has saved me some serious cash over the last couple of years.  If you train and/or race at night like we do, then you know you go through batteries like crazy.  This thing is waaaaaay better than any other charger that usually comes as part of a bundle with a digital camera or other electronics.

It has 4 modes: charge, discharge, refresh, and test.  It will charge AA batteries as well as AAA batteries.  You can charge between one and four batteries at a time in any configuration of AA/AAA batteries (see my recommendation below for batteries) unlike a lot of other chargers that make you charge batteries as pairs.

It is a bit pricey, but over the long haul you’re going to save money.  It has kept me running, riding, and paddling in the dark for the last two years, and it’s still going strong.  Plus, if you have a Wii (which eats through batteries pretty quickly) or children with tons of battery-powered gadgets like I do, then this thing will more than pay for itself within the first year.  Grab one right here.

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C is for Compass – The Suunto Arrow 6 Thumb Compass

Okay, I’m a convert.  I used to rely solely on my clip-on wrist compass, but I have since changed my ways.  Yes, I still use the wrist compass for my “dirty navigation” when all I need is to double-check my rough direction of travel, and it’s a great deal for $5.  However, when I’m doing more serious navigation (like during an orienteering meet or a rogaine section of an adventure race), my new go-to compass is the A6 Thumb Compass from Suunto.

Bob is actually the one to bring me to my senses after he spent some time with Scott Fredrickson of Team Bushwhacker while volunteering at Checkpoint Tracker Nationals this year.  If it’s good enough for the navigator of an elite team like Bushwhacker, then I figured I’d better see what using a thumb compass was all about.  I used this compass at a Rogaine Race a couple of weeks ago, and I fell in love with it.  I’ll be using it again at an O-meet this weekend, and I can guarantee you’ll see it on my thumb at any adventure races I’ll be doing in the future.

This little compass is suh-weet!  For me, the best part of the compass is how steady the needle is and how wickedly fast it settles when you’re moving.  This is crucial for navigating on the fly.  The A6 Compass stays attached to your thumb so you can always have it right where you need it while you’re holding the map.  The bezel even rotates to take a direct bearing if you really need to.  No, there are no numbers around the bezel, but I have never (literally – never) needed to know exactly how many degrees my bearing is while adventure racing.

It’s a little expensive compared to some other compasses, but you’ll be blown away by how quickly and steadily the needle finds north.  Once you try it, you’re going to love it.  I promise.  Go here to pick one up.

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D is for Duct Tape – Travel Rolls of Duct Tape

Duct Tape for Adventure Racing

Whether Duct Tape is on the mandatory gear list or not, you should always take some with you.  You don’t need to (or want to) take an entire roll of tape, though.  It’s too big, bulky, and heavy for adventure racing.  In the past, I used to make my own “race rolls” of duct tape by wrapping a few feet of the tape around a pencil and then breaking off the ends of the pencil.  You can also make a “flat race roll” by wrapping the tape around an old credit card or hotel key-card.

However, it’s a real pain in the butt to wrap your own rolls.  You have to be very careful to make sure no adhesive is exposed, and it’s really tedious.  Sure, you can save some money by rolling your own race rolls, but the convenience of these rolls more than makes up for the difference in price.  I think it’s definitely worth $6.50 for two 50″ rolls of duct tape.

We all know how useful Duct Tape is, so make sure you take some on your next race.  Throw a roll in your first aid kit, and keep the other roll in your gear box or foot-care kit.  You can thank me later.  Grab some race rolls of Duct Tape right here.

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E is for Eneloop Rechargeable Batteries

Eneloop Batteries for Adventure Racing

If you burn through batteries like I do, then do yourself a favor and pick up some Eneloop Rechargeable Batteries to go with the Lacrosse battery charger (mentioned above).  These are by far the best rechargeable batteries I’ve found.

I’ve tried the Duracell and Energizer rechargeables, and they are… Meh… okay.  They just don’t have as much juice as Eneloops, they don’t hold a charge as long as Eneloops, and they wear out a lot faster then Eneloops (The Eneloops can be recharged up to 1500 times vs. just “hundreds” for Duracell and Energizer rechargeables).

Compared to regular batteries, the Eneloops may seem expensive, but in the long run these rechargeable batteries are waaaaaaaaay cheaper.  You can get an 8-pack of AA’s for less than $2.50 per battery, and you can get and 8-pack of AAA’s for less than $2.40 per battery.  You can also buy them in 4-packs or 16-packs. Seriously, go get some.

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Well, that does it for part 1 of this series.  Have you used any of the above items?  Do you have any other gear recommendations for adventure racing?  Let us know in the comments section, and be sure to stay tuned for the next installment of gear reviews (Part 2 can be found here).  You can follow our blog on the right side of this page.  Or you can follow us on Twitter and Like us on Facebook to stay up to date with us.  Oh, and one more thing…

Have a happy, happy Festivus!

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Just for Fun Friday – Team Virtus Greatest Hits (and Crashes) Edition

In case you haven’t seen some of our videos, I thought we would share some or our greatest hits with you to brighten your day as you head into the weekend.  All but one of the clips are between 8 and 36 seconds, so it won’t take very long to view them.  And as always, let us know what you think in the comments section.  Here you go…

Take a gander at this clip of Bob getting “caught from behind” at Syllamo:

And here’s my failed attempt at riding the same rocks at Syllamo:

Here’s a clip of Bob just having fun blazing his own path at Castlewood State Park, and note my encouraging words convincing Bob to go for it:

Back when Zack was on the team, he provided a ton of entertainment.  Here’s a clip of Zack trying to bunny-hop a log on the Bittersweet Trail down at Lake of the Ozarks:

Here’s a second camera angle of the failed bunny-hop, and it’s worth watching just to hear Bob laugh his ass off:

This is perhaps the funniest video we’ve ever shot (also of Zack at Bittersweet), and if this doesn’t make you laugh, then you really need to seek psychiatric help right now.  Bob’s reaction and my triumphant “YESSS!!!” at the end are just icing on the cake.  Enjoy:

And like any good Greatest Hits Compilation, you have to add some new material.  So here is a never-before seen helmet-cam clip of Bob crashing for no apparent reason at the worst race ever:

Well, we hope you enjoyed that stroll down memory lane as well as the new clip of Bob’s crash.  We really need to start filming more of our escapades, don’t we?  Until next time, Ciao!

A Fistful of Firsts on the Horizon

Good day to all of you Virtusites!  We hope you had a wonderful Halloween.  All of us had a blast taking our little ones trick-or-treating, but Adam really got into the Halloween spirit.  He terrified all of us by dressing up as a real member of Team Virtus!

Adam in Costume

A guy can dream, can't he?

With Fall in full swing and Old Man Winter lurking just around the corner, a lot of teams see this as the “off-season.”  Well, not Team Virtus!  We have to keep racing if we want to stay mediocre, don’t we?  So we just wanted to give you all a quick heads-up regarding some upcoming races for Team Virtus.

Next up is the Race of Hope Rogaine in Ohio.  I’ll be meeting Casey and Austin, my nephew, this weekend at Lake Hope State Park near Zaleski, OH.  Why such a last-minute addition to our race schedule?  Well, I still have Casey’s mountain bike that he left behind after this year’s Berryman Adventure Race.  So we decided to meet halfway so he could get his bike back.  Since we were going to meet halfway, we looked around for a race, and we found the ROH Rogaine.

Austin with a Stache

Just in time for "Movember," Austin sports a sweet 'stache.

This race is put on by NSF Adventures.  If you’ve been with us from the beginning, then you’ll remember that they put on the very first race that we ever officially did as Team Virtus.  They are also the same guys that put on the Shawnee Extreme 24-hour rogaine that we did last year.  These are top-notch orienteering races, so we knew we wouldn’t be disappointed like we were at the Lionheart AR.

We’re pretty excited about this race.  It will be Austin’s first ever 12-hour race.  It will be his first rogaine race.  And it will be the first time I’ve actually raced with Austin (we went to the High Profile Adventure Racing Camp together, but we didn’t race together).  Austin has become a very good navigator, so we plan on handing over the map and compass to him to see what happens.  Stay tuned for a report.  It’s gonna be fun.

4 Generations of Lambs

Unfortunately, my dad won't be joining us this time.

Next month, we will be heading to the Castlewood 8-Hour AR en masse.  Six of us (Yes. SIX!) will form two teams.  Bob Jenkins and Robby Brown are teaming up to dominate the Two-Person Male Division, and Rusty Sapp, Drew West, Adam Laffoon, and I will compete in the Four-Person Male Division.  Sadly, we couldn’t manage to find a way to do this race with Kage, but she will be teaming up with Orange Lederhosen in the Four-Person Elite Division.  We missed last year’s Castlewood AR, but Bob and I had a great time two years ago.  Hopefully, no one will have cracked ribs this year, though.

Castlewood 8-Hour Adventure Race

It was cold in '09, and, although it's hard to believe, I was even fatter than I am now.

Castlewood will be Bob’s first race as the lead navigator, and he’s been working hard at it to ensure he and Robby rock the course.  This will also be Robby’s and Rusty’s first adventure race, and Castlewood is a perfect choice for getting their feet wet.  And this will be Drew’s first AR of 2011 and our first AR together since last year’s “Buster Douglas moment” at the Berryman Adventure Race in 2010.  And it could be the first race where Adam doesn’t get fired from the team… But I doubt it.

Some other races that we’re throwing around as possibly doing to finish a great 2011: The XCX Cross Country Xtreme, the Turkey-O, and the Possum Trot Orienteering Race (a REALLY fun race that I did 2 years ago).

So, will we see any of you at any of these races?  We hope so!  Seriously.  You’d better be there, and you’d better come say hello.

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