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Monthly Archives: March 2012

Flytepackin’ on a Sunny Day

I realize LBL is still fresh on everyone’s mind, but today I want to talk about the CAC. Luke and I have been hard at work selecting CP’s for this year’s non-race, and yesterday we went out to see how the course flowed. Since he couldn’t get there until later in the day, I took the opportunity to hit Cedar Creek in my Flytepacker. Hiking upstream afforded me the opportunity to take in some of what I think is a beautiful landscape.

For those who just want to get out and walk in the woods, the Cedar Creek area has a lot to offer. It’s easy to get carried away taking photos.  I’d say this one is postcard-worthy:

First person to send me a postcard with this photo gets into the Cedar Cross for free

A game trail lead to a low-lying area where woodland critters cross the creek:

This photo shows one fully inflated Flytepacker, one inflated bedroll for an ass-pillow, and all my other stuff, (including backpack), in the drybag attached to the back of the boat. I made sure the water was deep enough to float, then headed downstream:

Looking downstream

 There are few things more relaxing than floating downstream in a packraft. I bet you’re wondering what I used for a paddle..

Super fancy packrafting paddles are available at your local Dollar General for about $3

I was nearly back to the truck when Luke and I made contact. I sent him up a re-entrant to checkpoint “waterfall” and found a place to take the boat out. Most of the creekbank is mud, but I got lucky and found this beach-type area to use for a takeout.

I'm pretty sure this is the rock face locals refer to as the "Redneck Waterpark". I'm told that people jump from it when the water is high.

Luke and I spent the next 1-2 hours scouting the first O-section of the CAC. I don’t want to give away too many CAC details, but in the interest of recruiting more non-racers, I’ll offer a couple photos:

Wet weather waterfall

Even the best photos don’t do justice to how gorgeous these areas look in real life. For example, you probably can’t tell from looking at this photo that I am INCHES away from a vertical drop that would mean certain death for anyone foolish enough to take another step:

Don't miss the CAC

In the very-near future, we’re gonna be ordering maps for the CAC. Expenses add up pretty quick when you’re putting on a free race, so we’d REALLY like it if you would RSVP in the comments section or send us an email. Do it quick, cuz this is one CAC you’ll never forget. And if Don Daly show up, it’ll be the cheapest CAC he’s ever gotten. (Couldn’t resist)

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Just for Fun Friday – The Boone-Doggle Gravel Grinder Video Edition

While we’re busy licking our wounds finishing the race report for the LBL Challenge (here’s part 1 or you can read Kage’s report right here), I thought I’d share the video from a gravel grinder we did back in February when Casey was in town for a visit.  If you want to read the recap of the ride, you can find that here.  If you’re lazy, you can just watch the video below.  Enjoy…

The Calm Before the Storm – The LBL Challenge Adventure Race Report Part 1

Last weekend, Casey quit the team.

Seriously.  I’m not making that up.  That’s how awful the LBL Challenge was.  Now, I don’t mean it was a bad race.  In fact, it was a fantastic race.  I just mean that things went terribly wrong for us from start to end.  Things just spiraled out of control, mistake after mistake, mishap after mishap.  It was as if we were in quicksand, struggling to get out and back on track, but no matter how hard we tried, the more we struggled, the more we sunk into the depths of despair.  At our breaking point late in the race, my brother threatened to beat my ass (something he could easily do), and then he quit the team.  But I’m getting ahead of myself, aren’t I?  Perhaps I should begin at the beginning.  Buckle up. It’s going to be a bumpy ride…

Pre-Race Friday Night:

Things started a little rocky right from the beginning.  Bob and I were supposed to meet Kage at the Cracker Barrel on Exit 9 off of Highway 64.  Unfortunately, she meant Exit 9 off of Highway 64 in ILLINOIS!  Bob and I went to the Cracker Barrel on Exit 9 off of Highway 64 in MISSOURI!  Who knew there were TWO Exit 9’s with Cracker Barrels?  Well, now we all know.

So we soon found Kage at the correct Exit 9, and we made our way south to meet Casey in Tennessee.  It was a fun ride down.  We chatted, joked, laughed, and had a jolly good time.  Just before we crossed the state line into TN, we passed through the “Art District” and found this amazing homoerotic sculpture:

Homoerotic Scuplture in the Art District

I believe this piece was called "Bumpin' Uglies"

Then we decided to stop at a Gander Mountain store for Bob to pick up a dry bag.  While we were there, though, Bob found something for Kage.  We wanted to make her feel like one of the guys, so Bob got her a “Go Girl” of her very own.  She seemed much less thrilled with the idea than we did.  She never used it, but I know if she would she would no longer “take life sitting down.”

We eventually pulled into the lot at the Inn at Paris Landing State Park, and it was a perfect spot for race headquarters.  There were great rooms, nice cabins, a large conference room, and a restaurant which provided a terrific buffet on Friday night and early Saturday morning as well.  After finding Casey, we piled into the Virtus Van to drive the long way (200 yards) to the conference hall where we could check-in.

Hairy Men

Too many people, not enough seats. Reminds me of this photo from Berryman but with more hair.

We checked in, got our sweet race shirts, bought some Swiftwick socks and a Bonkhard Racing hat for a friend (Shout out to Kim Chou!).  Then we hit the buffet – Spaghetti, bbq chicken, potatoes, grilled veggies, frog legs, shrimp, crayfish, ham & beans, coconut pie, chocolate pie, and probably even more.  (Thank God, Bob and I weighed-in BEFORE this trip!)  Then we checked into our room with a view of the Lake and started going through our gear before the pre-race meeting.

View from Inn at Paris Landing at the LBL Challenge

So peaceful and calm... Pretty much the opposite of how our race would go.

At the pre-race meeting, Kage had to go get the maps since she isn’t nearly as skilled at the “Not It!” game as the rest of Team Virtus.  Kage also got to pick the ticket for the winner of the Kuat Bike Rack.  None of us won it, and the guy that did win it acted like he must have already had two of them for each of his cars.  He let out a little “Woo!” and sort of half-raised his arms.  If I ever win a Kuat Rack at one of these races, I’m going to go flippin’ nuts!  I guarantee it.

We chatted with Scott and Frederick from Team Bushwhacker for a bit, and let me tell you… They’re two of the nicest people you’ll ever meet.  These guys are elite-level racers, and they went out of their way to give us some last-minute pointers on route-planning and map-prep.  Big thanks to those guys, and if they ever decide to put on a navigation/AR clinic, I’ll be the first in line.

We then went back to our room to get our gear in order and to pack our gear-drop bags.  Since the Land Between the Lakes area is so remote, we were allowed to pack 4 sacks with food, gear, and water.  Two bags would be dropped at a point during the first half of the race where we could access it twice, and the other two bags would be dropped at a point during the second half of the race where we could access it twice as well.  I’ve never done a race with gear/food drops like this, so it was a bit tricky deciding how much stuff to pack.

Kage and I plotted the points and went over some route options while Casey and Bob spooned each other in bed.  Well, that’s not entirely true.  While we plotted, Casey and Bob aired up the bike tires, put the bike lights on, and got other last-minute things in order.

Plotting UTM Points for the LBL Adventure Race

Although just a newby, Kage is quite savvy with plotting UTM's.

We finally felt like we were as ready as we were going to be, and we ended up going to bed around midnight.  I slept on an air mattress on the floor.  Now before you think I did this to be chivalrous, in all honesty I just didn’t want to sleep with Bob or Casey in a full-size bed.  Having slept near Bob more times than I’d like to admit, I can identify his snoring quite easily.  He was definitely the first one to fall asleep.  I’m not sure when Kage or Casey fell asleep, but I know I had a hard time drifting off.  Eventually, though, I think we all fell asleep and got 3 to 4 solid hours of sleep (something we did not get at the Berryman 36-hour AR last year).  Although we’d always like to get a full 8+ hours of sleep before a race, just getting any sleep is HUGE.  But would it be enough?

Race Morning Saturday:

The alarm went off WAY too early at 5:00 AM.  Casey seemed to be the only one not affected by the lack of sleep, but that’s usually the case.  Casey is always enthusiastic and ready to go on race morning.  We quickly got dressed and packed up as we scarfed down some bagels and other goodies for breakfast.  We posed for a team photo:

Bearded Team Virtus

Beard Power x 4!

Casey and Bob decided to do something a little different with their beards, and since they destroyed the sink, I’m really glad that I had already brushed my teeth.

Half-Beards

I always knew these guys were two-faced.

Since this was our first-ever coed Team Virtus, and since this was Kage’s first official race with us, we wanted to make her feel as welcome as possible.  Kage is known for many things: awesome cookies (which she didn’t bring on this trip), braided pigtails, wicked-fast race reports, never ever complaining, general bad-assery, etc.  She is also well-known for her fashion sense – especially when it comes to her fancy, argyle socks.  So we, the manliest of men, sported these:

Argyle Socks for Adventure Racing

Do you know how difficult it was to find non-cotton, argyle socks to match our jerseys? Incredibly difficult.

We reloaded the Virtus Van, dropped our bikes at the bike drop, and then drove to the starting line under overcast skies with plenty of time to spare.  It was actually pretty weird since we weren’t rushed at all.  Usually, we are one of the last teams to drop the bikes and make it to the starting line.  This time, however, we had enough time to just chill, use the port-a-potties, and talk to the Bushwhacker guys some more.  We dropped off our gear/food bags, and we waited for the start of the race.

Gear Bags for gear drops at LBL adventure race

Team Virtus was #185, but we know we're #1 in your hearts, right?

We grabbed our passports, sang the National Anthem, and we suddenly found ourselves toeing the line, finally ready to start the LBL Challenge 24-hour Adventure Race.  It was finally here, and we were ready.  Nothing could stop us.  Not even the thunderstorms that were all but guaranteed to ravage the Land Between the Lakes over the next 24 hours.  Not even the stiff competition in our division.  Not even cramps…

To Be Continued…

Read Part 2 right here or you can read Kage’s perspective right here.

ALPO Challenge Update – Who Has to Eat Dog Food?

Well, Bob and I finished our ALPO Accountability Challenge today.  Bob needed to drop from 257 down to 245 in just over 5 weeks.  Originally, I had to drop from 218.5 down to 205, but then our “friends” from Whiskey Tango Foxtrot sent us a little care package.  In response to that, I went and shot my mouth off and said I would be below 200 pounds.  That was really stupid of me.  Anyway, for better or worse, here is the video of the weigh-in.  Be warned, though.  I make an appearance in my underwear.  Here you go:

 

Who’s the Underdog at LBL? Oh Yeah… We are.

Okay, so we are guaranteed a top ten finish in our division… as long as we finish, that is.  There are only seven 4-person coed teams signed up for the LBL Challenge 24 Hour Adventure Race this weekend.  And that might make you think our odds of finishing on the podium are pretty good, right?  I mean we “only” need to beat 4 teams, right?  Well, let’s take a look at all the teams in our division:

Teams for LBL Challenge Adventure Race

For those of you that don’t follow Adventure Racing closely, here are abridged run-downs of each team’s accomplishments.  Let’s start with the teams that I already knew about…

GearJunkie/Wedali:

  • 1st Place at 2011 Checkpoint Tracker Nationals
  • 3rd Place at 2011 USARA Nationals
  • 1st Place at 2010 USARA Nationals
  • Ranked 1st in the country in Checkpoint Tracker’s 2011 Year-End Rankings
  • Ranked 6th in the country in USARA’s 2011 Year-End Rankings
  • Too many other accomplishments to list

Tecnu:

  • 2nd Place at 2011 Checkpoint Tracker Nationals
  • 2nd Place at 2011 USARA Nationals
  • 2nd Place at 2010 USARA Nationals
  • 12th Place at the Adventure Racing World Championships
  • Ranked 10th in the country in USARA’s 2011 Year-End Rankings
  • Too many other accomplishments to list

Alpine Shop:

  • 4th Place at 2011 Checkpoint Tracker Nationals
  • 6th Place at 2011 USARA Nationals
  • Ranked 7th in the country in USARA’s 2011 Year-End Rankings
  • Domination of Adventure Racing in the Midwest since I can remember
  • Too many other accomplishments to list

*************************************************************************************************************

The rest of the teams are unfamiliar to me.  Now, that does NOT mean they aren’t top-notch teams.  It just means that I had to do a little digging to find out about them, and for some of them, I didn’t find much.  Here you go…

Milton Basement Racers:

  • 7th Place at 2010 Untamed New England
  • Competed in the 2011 Adventure Racing World Championships in Australia
  • 6th Place at 2010 Huairasinchi Adventure Race in Ecuador
  • 5th Place at 2009 Untamed New England

Cumberland Trail Connection/ARMD:

  • 12th at 2011 USARA Nationals
  • Ranked 8th in the country in USARA’s 2011 Year-End Rankings

Team Punisher:

  • I couldn’t find a thing about this team, so it could be their first race, or they could be Adventure Racing Ninjas.  I guess we’ll find out.

*************************************************************************************************************

And then that leaves us…

Team Virtus:

  • Um…
  • Let’s see…
  • Well…
  • We have more fun than anyone else?
  • We won a fart war once?
Team Virtus is the Underdog

Underdog would look GREAT in a Team Virtus Jersey

So clearly, we will be racing against some of the best teams in the country, and that’s pretty exciting.  It’s also a little intimidating.  Obviously, we are the underdog here.  But everyone loves an underdog, right?  Except for Norfolk State since they upset my alma mater, Mizzou.  Besides, we always have the same goals going into a race, and where we finish is never one of them.  Here are our goals for this (and every) race:

  1. Be safe and come back in one piece
  2. Have more fun than everyone else
  3. Minimize mistakes and race our best race
  4. Clear the course
  5. Finish if at all possible regardless of how much it sucks (even if we have to cut out some CP’s)

To say we are excited about this race (our first coed race now that we signed Kage to a long-term contract), would be the understatement of the century.  I’m trying really hard to tone down the anticipation, though.  The last time I felt this way about a race, we got kicked in the pills repeatedly (read about the worst race ever right here).

Unfortunately, there is no online coverage this year, but be sure to check out our facebook and/or Twitter page for updates if we ever get a chance to do so.   And wish us luck.  We’re gonna need it!  LBL here we come!!!

 

 

 

 

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