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Monthly Archives: April 2012

Pushing Onward – The LBL Challenge Adventure Race Report Part 3

***NOTE: This race report was written by Luke and is presented in black text.  Casey added some comments and are presented to you in Red, Bob’s comments are in Green, and Kage’s comments are in Navy Blue.  Luke added a response or two in Purple.  If you need to get caught up, you can read part 1 here and part 2 here.***

Paddle Leg #1 – 1:13 PM Saturday Afternoon – 5 Hours 43 Minutes Racing

Somehow, through all the mistakes and mishaps, we managed to make it to the TA at CP8.  We ditched the bikes and our bike gear, and we readied ourselves for the paddling leg.  We all grabbed a bite to eat as we donned our PFD’s and put our paddles together.  We only had 3 kayak paddles, and since Kage had little to no experience using one, we decided we’d let her just use a canoe paddle.

Transition to Paddle at LBL Challenge Adventure Race

Even with the not-so-perfect start to the race, we were still smiling and having the time of our lives, and THAT'S what is important.

After a fairly quick transition (although we could have been faster), we carried the canoes down to the lake.  Kage got stuck in a canoe with me, and Bob and Casey filled up another one (Bob: Is this a fat reference?).  With storms in the forecast and clouds in the sky, we were a little worried that the water was going to be pretty rough.  We were pleasantly surprised when we shoved off and headed out on a silky smooth lake.  This was going to be easy.

Paddling at LBL Challenge

We were so happy that we weren't in those yellow, tippy POS canoes!

On this paddling leg, we had to get 3 CP’s (9, 10, & 11) in any order before heading back to the TA.  We decided to get CP10 first since it was closest, and then we would either portage the canoes across a peninsula to get CP11 before getting CP9 on an island OR we would paddle around the peninsula to get CP9 followed by CP11 if the portage looked too gnarly.

The paddling was easy and we made good time… until we left the bay.  Once we were out of the shelter of the bay, the lake was much rougher.  It wasn’t the worst I’ve paddled on, but it wasn’t exactly a cakewalk either.

Bob: The pictures do absolutely no justice to the size of the waves. Coming back to the canoe takeout, Casey and I had several waves crash right over the front and sides of the boat. I was soaked to my ass….balls first.

Casey and Bob paddling at LBL

Rougher waters and dark clouds

We stayed close to the coast and found CP10 easily.  There was a team here, “For the Run of It” I believe, that was convinced this was CP11.  I was 99.99% sure that we were at CP10, but a small seed of doubt had been planted in my brain.  With the rocky start to the race and several navigational blunders, I started to second guess myself.   We couldn’t afford another mistake.

We decided to paddle on and not portage the canoes since the brush and trees looked pretty thick.  I also knew that Kage was dreading portaging a canoe, but I’m sure she would have done just fine.  I mean, we all know that she has more upper body strength than Bob does, but then again, that’s not saying much.

Bob: Wow.

Kage happy in the boat at LBL Adventure Race

"Yesss! No portage!"

Anyway, we decided to paddle to the island to get CP9.  On the way to the small island, I kept looking toward the coast.  The little seed of doubt about CP10 began to grow.  Did we somehow paddle too far and miss CP10?  Was that actually CP11 instead?  I looked at the map, and I tried to convince myself that there was no possible way that could have happened.  There was, however, a bit of doubt remaining in my mind.

The water was getting more choppy and the wind picked up as we made it to the island.  It looked like it was raining to our east, but other than a few errant raindrops, we had managed to avoid the inclement weather.  We beached the canoes and Bob punched the passport.

Bob with sealskinz socks standing in water

Bob pretended his e-Fuel was whiskey so he'd be sure to drink enough.

Bob: Actually, I was just trying to look like Scott Fredrickson. If he had a beard, we’d look exactly alike.

We paddled into the small bay to get CP11, and I was once again worried that I had led our team astray since that other team was so sure that what we thought was CP10 was CP11.  I was still 99% sure I knew where we were, but it was a huge relief when we paddled right to the CP and confirmed that we had indeed gotten it right.

At this point, we could have portaged across the peninsula or paddled around it again.  I know Bob really wanted to portage, but the rest of us voted to paddle around it.  In hindsight, I think it would have been faster to portage, but I guess we’ll never know.

Kate: In retrospect, I feel bad that I argued against portaging.  Wimpy move, especially since we didn’t have bikes in the canoes or anything.  Next time, tell me to man up.

Casey:  I was on the fence and would have been fine with the portage.  It didn’t look too far but I think we made the right decision.  I have a feeling the portage would have taken us longer.

Bob: I think it would’ve been faster. By the time we would’ve gotten there, the trail would have already been blazed.

Luke: Like I said, we’ll never know.

As we paddled around the peninsula, the waves seemed to have gotten MUCH bigger.  It was really rough out there.  It was so rough, in fact, that we had to make sure we didn’t get sideways to the waves.  We had to hit the waves straight on or risk being tipped.  Hitting the waves head-on was a rough ride, though, and Bob said that several times they took on water over the bow of the canoe as they came crashing down over each wave.

Kate: I was definitely nervous during this part of the paddle, especially being as someone had already almost tipped the canoe in calm water. 

Bob: I’m so glad Luke lost the bet.

Kate: Still stinging from that upper body strength comment, huh?

Casey:  It was pretty rough out there.  Bob and I had a hard time not pulling away from the other canoe (we had 2 kayak paddles) with the rough waters.  We’d try to coast and wait for them, and we’d get tossed around and had to paddle to keep our bow into the waves.  We eventually decided to paddle a little ahead and get into the cove and wait for them there.  We kept an eye on them and hoped they’d join us safely in a few minutes. 

We eventually made it back to the TA after roughly 2 hours of paddling, but the last half of that paddling leg wasn’t exactly fun.  Well, that’s not true.  It was actually a lot of fun… now that it’s over.  We were definitely glad to be getting off the lake without tipping.

Canoe take-out at LBL Challenge AR

See? Kage is carrying the canoe better than Bob in this photo, isn't she?

Kate: Thanks for putting in that really flattering picture of me.  Now I’ll never be selected for America’s Next Top Model.  Jerk.

Luke: Kage, there can’t be a more flattering shot than a woman carrying a canoe in the middle of a 24+ hour adventure race.  Right?

Casey:  I guess we didn’t get any pictures when it was really rough, we were too busy trying to survive.  The pictures we have don’t do it justice.  However, according to people who raced LBL last year, it was nowhere near as rough as it was last year.  Last year, they cut the paddle short because it was too rough and too many people were dumping their canoes (they were the yellow P.O.S. canoes, however).

We transitioned to the bikes for a short ride (roughly 2 miles) to the big orienteering leg of the race.  We were really looking forward to getting to our first food drop, too.  As we pulled up to CP13 and the start of the O-course, we were shocked that there were so many bikes still there.

Food Drop #1 / CP 13 – 3:56 PM Saturday Afternoon – 8 Hours 26 Minutes Racing

As we rode down the gravel road to the manned-checkpoint, we could see a team of four getting ready to get back on the bikes.  It turned out to be Team Tecnu, one of the best teams in the country.  Oh, crap!  If it took a team of their caliber that long to finish the O-course, it must be pretty damn tough.  We dropped our bikes, swapped our bike shoes for trail shoes, and started to go through our food bag as Tecnu took off on their bikes.

Then another team came out of the woods.  It was Wedali.  Double crap!  Another top team was just now finishing the orienteering section.  And then as we were going through our food, switching from biking gear to trekking gear, and just taking way too long at the TA, another team came out of the woods: One of the two Bushwhacker teams.  What… the… hell?!?!

Transitoin Area with Drop Bags at LBL Challenge Adventure Race

Casey:  Thanks for putting in that really flattering picture of Bob and me.  Now we’ll never be selected for America’s Next Top Model.  Jerk!

Luke: Casey, there can’t be a more flattering of two husky dudes with half-beards. Right?

Clearly, this orienteering leg was a big, fat female dog, if you know what I mean.  As we ate some food, restocked our packs, and got ready for the O-course, I studied the map.  It was pretty clear that we were not going to clear the course.  So the question then became how many CP’s we should try to get before the 9:00 PM (?) cutoff.  Should we use all of that time to get as many CP’s as we can?  Or should we just grab a couple of the close ones in the daylight and come back to the bikes and hope we can use that time to get more CP’s later in the race?

Since the top teams obviously had some issues with the orienteering course, I figured we just might have some issues as well – especially once it got dark.  So I wanted to get 3 or 4 CP’s, skip the rest, and make our way back to the bikes before dark and hope that saving a couple of hours would help us later in the race.  Casey disagreed.  He’s the kind of guy that never wants to concede anything until absolutely necessary, and he always wants to push the envelope, for better or worse.  So we planned on getting a couple of CP’s and then we would reevaluate.

Bob: You forgot to mention that he does it all with a million-dollar smile, dazzling facial hair and an endless supply of mind-bending flatus.

Casey:  I think you should use all the time you have to get as many CP’s as possible, especially if you don’t know what is coming later in the race.  I don’t like to ASS -U-ME anything.  You know you have these CP’s to get and can’t assume there will be more later (undisclosed at this time).  I would hate to leave early, saving time for later, only to find out that there were no more CP’s and finish with time to spare and CP’s left un-punched.  Hell, I want to get all the CP’s every race.

Luke:  Every team needs a guy like you, Casey.  You always push us to do more than we think we can, and that’s a very good thing.  Sometimes, however, it’s better to skip CP’s early to get more later.  It’s a tough decision sometimes, though, because (like you said), you just don’t know what the rest of the race has in store for you.

As we were finishing up our (way too long) transition, the other Team Bushwhacker came out of the woods, our friends Scott and Frederick.  We asked how it was out there, and they said it was pretty rough.  That’s not what we wanted to hear.  We said good-bye and good luck, and then headed into the woods.  A few minutes later, we crossed paths with Team Alpine Shop, another top contender, as they were just finishing the orienteering leg.

Man, it was going to be a rough O-course.

To Be Continued…

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CAC Results and Split Times

The CAC Adventure Non-Race has come and gone.  A full non-race report will be coming soon… Or will it?

I had a really great weekend (other than giving myself an ulcer by worrying about every single person out on the race course until everyone was finished and accounted for).  I hope everyone involved, from the non-racers to the volunteers to the friends and family, enjoyed themselves as well.

Below you will find the non-results for the Carnage at the Creek non-race.  Teams are non-ranked by time if all 13 CP’s were gotten, and then by total # of CP’s.  In a couple of instances, teams are ranked behind another team with less total CP’s because of a missed time-cutoff.  If you want to argue the results, you have 30 seconds from the time you read this to file a formal complaint.  Seriously, though, if I made a mistake, please let me know about it, and I’ll try to make it right.

With the boat situation at the end, we had a couple of solos use a kayak.  Yes, they are indeed faster than a rowboat.  We tried to make the most out of what we had to work with.  I made a note for those that used a kayak.

Okay, I think that just about covers everything.  So, here you go.  Just click on the image to enlarge the CAC… results (Oh, and just so you know, the race started at 9:10 am):

CAC Results and Splits

 

Last Minute Update on the CAC

The time has finally come!  Tomorrow, 13 teams will descend upon the Mid-Mo area for the greatest Adventure Non-Race in the history of adventure non-races produced by Team Virtus on April 21st, 2012.  Be excited.  Be very excited.

Tomorrow Bob and I will place the last 22 CP’s in the woods and finalize setting up the course.  Everything should be ready to go by the time anyone gets to the Pine Ridge Campground.  I just wanted to give a few last minute details to all of you non-racers and any other Virtusites out there.

First of all, for all of you that can’t make it (or are too scared to make it) to the CAC this weekend, we’ll be tweeting updates as often as we can, provided we have cell phone service which is hit or miss out there.  If you want to follow along, be sure to follow us on Twitter and/or like us on Facebook.

Now, on to the info regarding the actual non-race…

There is an area that Bob and I like to call the Bermuda Triangle of Cedar Creek.  If you’re not very careful, you will become completely lost.  This part of the trail is not marked very well at all.  Nor is it maintained very well… as in, not at all.  Bob and I have marked the worst part of the trail with small strips of bright pink tape.  And where the trail has been re-routed, we marked it like this:

marking an adventure race course

You can't possibly miss it.

For the rest of the CAC, though, you’re on your own.  This will be the only help you’ll receive.  We just want to make sure that nobody’s race is ruined because of a poorly maintained trail.

One other thing about the trail.  There are a lot of fences out there.  You may cross almost all of them.  You see, even though you will be non-racing through Mark Twain National Forest, cows are allowed to graze in the area.  Most of the fences you will see are not on property lines.  They are simply to prevent the cattle from, oh say… drowning in a deep pond… or doing a header off of a cliff.  So unless you see a “private property” sign or a blaze of purple paint, assume you are indeed on National Forest land.

Keep Out Sign

Keep out to the right, but straight ahead is okay.

The above photo shows part of the “Bermuda Triangle” area.  The “Keep Out” sign is a bit misleading.  At first glance, it looks like you’d be trespassing if you continued on your way, right?  Well, you’d be wrong.  To the right of the sign is private property.  To the left of the sign is public property.  And if you look closely, you’ll see the pink tape that we used to mark the trail.

One last note on the non-race.  Your feet may get wet.  I just thought you might want to know that.

I think that was all I really needed to share with everyone.  The forecast looks great as of now, so keep your fingers crossed on that front. Get it?  On that “front”… Get it?  I was talking about weather and then said something about a “front.”  I know.  Pretty hilarious.

We’ll have more info for you at the pre-non-race non-meeting on non-race morning.  If you have any non-questions between now and then, feel free to email us or post a comment for us.

I hope you’ve all been training hard, and I hope you’re ready for the time of your life.  See you soon, friends.  See you soon.

 

 

 

 

The CAC Is So Close, You Can Almost Taste It!

Get excited, everybody.  The CAC is only a few short days away!  What’s the CAC, you ask?  Well, if you don’t know what the CAC is, then you really need to get out more.  You can get caught up here, here, and here. All caught up?  Great.  Let’s continue.

Bob and I have been working really hard on the CAC.  Day in and day out, we’ve been slaving over this CAC.  Why?  Well, to bring you the best non-racing experience ever, of course!

Map Work for the CAC Adventure Race

Gettin' ready for our epic, week-long journey setting up the CAC course.

Scouting for and planning the course for this year’s adventure non-race has been a ton of fun.  Setting the course up, however, has been a struggle.  It took us just a wee bit longer than we thought it would.  Bob and I were in the woods for seven days straight just placing all the CP’s in the correct locations.  We battled heat, rain, cold, hunger, thirst, wild animals, and each other over the last week.  Don’t believe me?  Well look at this:

Now do you believe me?  After all the hard work and several near-death experiences, we only have a few control markers left to hang, and we’ll take care of those in the next day or two.  And in case you missed it on our facebook page, the control markers will look like this:

Homemade Control Marker for Orienteering

It'll give you fresh breath, too!

After we were finally done, Bob and I finally got to reward ourselves with a long-awaited packrafting trip down storm-swollen Cedar Creek.  It was the perfect ending to a long, hard CAC preparation expedition.

Pack Rafting in a Flytepacker

Way too much fun.

What else could possibly make the CAC better?  How ’bout a potluck?  Rumor has it that Todd from the Hoosier Daddies is going to bring some brats, Kage is bringing some cookies, and we’ll be providing some baked potatoes and toppings.  If you wanna bring a dish too, that’d be fantastic, but definitely not mandatory.

Anyway, I hope you’ve been training hard.  This just might be the best adventure non-race of all time, and I’m not exaggerating at all.  It’s going to be amazing.

So, Luke’s Running a Half-Marathon Tomorrow

Let’s hope he brings home some quality photos like this:

woof.

 And none like this:

 

 Good luck, Buddy. Don’t shit your pants.

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