Category Archives: Adam gets fired from the team

High Profile Adventure Camp 2014: Couples Edition

I’ve heard that racing with your spouse can ruin a marriage. I’ve heard horror stories of couples nearly killing each other out there. But I’ve never had doubts about my marriage, and the High Profile Adventure Camp only made me realize how fucking lucky I actually am to be married to Becca. The weekend in Mount Carroll, IL only confirmed that my wife is indeed my soul mate… even though she literally wished she was with another man at one point, but we’ll get to that in a minute.

The original plan for Team Virtus was to all go to camp together and bring our significant others. It was to be an epic battle (and party) with all of us there. Unfortunately, this thing we call life got in the way. Work, children’s sporting events, medical procedures, and perhaps a touch of Antisocial Behavior Disorder kept many Virtusans and their partners from attending camp. But nothing would stop Adam, Michelle, Becca, and I from going. (EDIT: There was one more Virtusan there. Kate, as she pointed out in the comments below, was also there. She volunteered, and she kicked ass as the camp’s social media guru and helped clear the orienteering course.)

We saw a lot of our AR friends as we made our way through the painless check- in at Camp Benson, and we got our fantastic swag bags (worth well over $100 at least). Then we hauled all our gear down to our orgy love shack cabin before heading back up to the lodge for burgers followed by Gerry Voelliger’s opening talk on all things Adventure Racing.

Cabin at Camp Benson for High Profile Adventure Camp

The ladies in front of our cabin.

After Gerry’s talk, I headed over for the advanced orienteering lecture (although I am anything but advanced). Adam stayed with Michelle and Becca for the beginner orienteering talk, and our friend and camp volunteer Dave Huntley promised he’d help out if Becca needed it. Big thanks to him.

It was great sitting next to our friend Scott Frederickson from Team Bushwhacker at the advanced orienteering lecture. He chimed in with some great pointers a few times, and anything I didn’t quite understand was easily explained by Scott.

After the lectures, we hiked back down to the cabin for some group love shut-eye. The flatulence was somewhat disappointing without our friends from WTFAR there and no Bob Jenkins, but Michelle almost made up for their absence. She can really rip ’em!

The next morning we practiced our orienteering skills at Palisades State Park. Unfortunately, the Mississippi was partially frozen over, so there would be no paddling practice for us. That’s probably a good thing since Gerry still uses this damn photo of us from our first year at camp in his opening lecture. That also meant we had more time to practice our navigation and, later, fixed ropes.

We decided we’d stay in a group of four for the orienteering practice. We headed straight up – and I mean straight UP – to our first checkpoint. On the way, we had to stop off at one of our favorite views, a spot we’ve visited every time we’ve gone to camp.

lookout point at palisades state park

Aw… Isn’t that – BARF!

luke and becca at the lookout point

So beautiful. And the view ain’t bad either. (I apologize for the hard nipple in this shot. It was cold.)

We were mostly successful, although I led us astray on one point that other teams swore was not there. So of course Adam and I had to try and find it. That was stupid. We spoke with our friend and camp volunteer Kim Heintz later, and we figured out where we went wrong. Even though I’ve been doing this for over 10 years, I still have lots to learn and a ton of room for improvement.

Although we didn’t have a perfect run of CPs, I thought we were all having a blast. But then, as we were hiking, Becca turned to me and said:

“I wish Bob Jenkins was here. He’s way more entertaining.”

Ouch. That one hurt. I tried to hide the tears, but everyone knew I was crushed. She’d rather be with my BFF than her own husband? Damn! That just killed me.

Becca claims that she thought she was boring me and that I’d rather have Bob with me instead of her. Don’t get me wrong. Bob always makes everything fun, but there was no one else I’d rather have by my side than Becca. (Cue the sappy music all you want, but it’s true.)

Becca and Michelle are brand new to adventure racing and orienteering, so it was good practice for them as well. They even lead us to one of the CPs without any help. For real! Check it out:

Orienteering at Adventure Racing Camp

They were excited. Can you tell?

Being new to adventure racing, Becca tried to avoid using the woods as a bathroom (maybe we should get her a Go Girl?). She tried to hold it, but eventually had to succumb to nature’s call. Adam was a gentleman and turned the other way as Becca went behind a tree to take care of business. About 30 yards down the trail – literally – we found an outhouse which Michelle gladly used.

After another CP or two, it was time to go back to the Virtus Van and head back to Camp Benson. We stopped at McDonald’s on the way back, because there was a line at Subway. Believe it or not, we were running behind – shocker, I know! – so we opted for the quicker and much greasier burgers and fries than to wait in line at Subway.

Back at camp, Gerry gave the Ropes Safety Talk which terrified me the first year we went to camp. Then the one and only Robyn Benincasa gave a brief talk about paddling followed by some great, quick-hitters on AR gear, strategy, navigation, nutrition, and more. It was a short but jam-packed session as the knowledge bombs kept raining down on us.

Gerry Voelliger at High Profile Adventure Racing Camp

Hey Gerry, quit playing with your dinghy! Oh wait, that’s just a carabiner.

Robyn Benincasa Paddling Lecture

With 3 world records in paddling, I’m pretty sure Robyn Benincasa knows her shit.

And then it was time for the fixed ropes practice: rappelling, zip lining, tryolean traversing, and ascending (we skipped the rock climbing to practice more of the skills we’d encounter at the race the next day).

The first time I ever rappelled was at High Profile Adventure Camp, and I was flat-out petrified. I was nauseated and sweating profusely. I wanted to chicken out badly, but I didn’t. Even today, I get a little nervous, so I was expecting Becca and Michelle to be quite scared. Well, they weren’t.

After watching my wife give birth to our four amazing kids and pass kidney stones as easily as Bob passes gas, I already know she is way tougher than I’ll ever be. Watching her crush all of the fixed ropes proves she’s braver than I’ll ever be as well.

Rather than bore you with words, I’ll just show you how much fun we had on the ropes.

Rappelling

Michell Rappelling at Adventure Racing Camp

Michelle had rappelled before, but it was a LONG time ago. She rocked it!

Becca rappelling at adventure racing camp

Becca’s first rappel ever!

Becca's rappel at High Profile Adventure Camp

Becca on her second rappel.

Ascending

Becca ascending at Adventure Racing Camp

Becca struggled just a bit to get started ascending, but once she found her rhythm, she crushed it!

Adam ascending at High Profile Camp

Adam is an OLD pro at ascending by now.

Ascending for Michelle at AR Camp

Michelle made it up too!

Zip Line

Becca on the Zip Line

Becca coming down the Zip Line.

 

Michelle at the bottom of the Zip Line

The Zip Line was a bit slow at the bottom, so you had to pull yourself down the last half or so.

Tyrolean Traverse

Michelle opted to conserve her energy for the race in the morning, so she decided to skip the Tryolean Traverse. It’s not too bad for the first half since you’re going slightly “downhill.” But then you have to pull yourself the rest of the way, fighting gravity. It can be very tiring.

Becca on the Tyrolean Traverse

Becca at the midway point. It’s all “uphill” from there.

Dave Huntley and Becca at the Tyrolean Traverse

All of the volunteers at camp are top-notch. Dave even gave me a bouncy ride on my traverse, but he was kind enough to let Becca have a steady rope.

Later that evening, Robyn Benincasa gave her world-class talk on what makes winners win, what makes a good team, and what makes a good leader. This talk alone is worth the price of admission.

Then Gerry gave the pre-race briefing, and we got our maps. The Lightning Strikes report will come out soon – sometime within the next two years.

As you can probably tell, we had an amazingly good time the first day and a half. The High Profile Adventure Camp is hands down the best way for beginners to get started in adventure racing, and it’s also a great place where veterans of the sport can continue learning and expanding their skills.

For what you get – the top-notch instruction, the lodging, the awesome swag bag, some food, the super safe environment, the fun, the adventure, the laughs, and then a  4- or 8-hour adventure race – it is an absolute steal. You’re crazy if you don’t go at least once.

We’ll definitely be back (a fourth time for me), and hopefully we’ll have more Virtusans and spouses with us.

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An Ode to Adam

Does one of your teammates have a face that just makes you want to smash it with a fist? For us, that’s Adam.

Have you ever known a guy that just gets on your last nerve all the time? That’s Adam.

Would you rather ride 100km alone on a trainer staring at a brick wall than ride some sweet single track with a certain person? Yup. That’s Adam.

This is Adam.  See what I mean?

If you’ve been a Virtusite for more than a day or two, then you may know how much we hate our teammate Adam.  He has been fired from the team innumerous times, he is the butt of endless jokes, and he just can’t seem to do anything right.  Seriously, if you tried to make a worse teammate than Adam, you couldn’t do it.  He’s just that horrible.

However…

Adam Laffoon turned 40 years old today!

To honor him on his birthday, we thought we should set the record straight.  It seems like too many people don’t know how we truly feel about Adam. For those that don’t know how the non-stop firing of Adam got started, I’ll fill you in.

The one and only Tenacious D has a bit on one of their albums about firing a band member.  I don’t even remember when it was, but it was very early in Adam’s adventure racing career when Bob and I jokingly used the same bit and fired Adam from the team.  And for whatever reason, it stuck.

Ever since then, every time Adam does something wrong (or even when he does something right), he gets fired from the team.  Hell, even if someone else screws up, Adam is the one who gets fired.  And it doesn’t even matter if he’s never been re-hired to the team. He still gets fired.  It has become Team Virtus’s running gag and somewhat of a tradition.

But that’s all it is: A gag, a goof, a joke.  You see, we fucking LOVE Adam Laffoon.  And since he has officially become a distinguished gentleman at the age of 40, it’s about time the whole world knows how much we love him.

So happy together.

The truth is, Adam is a fantastic teammate.  He never complains (even when I get us lost… a lot).  He’s always willing to do what’s best for the team.  He obviously has a great sense of humor since he puts up with so much ridicule.  He’s strong in all disciplines, and he definitely makes us a better, stronger team. He’s a true Virtusan through and through.

Team Virtus Adventure Racing

Strength and Honor indeed.

As great as Adam is at being a teammate, he’s an even better friend.  I know that if I got stuck on the side of the road in a downpour at 3:00 AM and needed help, Adam would be there.  If I needed help moving, Adam would be the first to volunteer.  If I broke my leg and needed a sponge bath… Well, I’d probably ask my wife.  But you get the idea.  He’s the kind of friend we’re lucky to have.

I’m proud to call him my teammate and even more proud to call him my friend.

With that said, for Adam’s birthday, we all decided that he has been…

PERMANENTLY RE-HIRED TO THE TEAM.*

That’s right, ladies and gentlemen.  You read that correctly.  Adam is now, and forever will be, a Virtusan**  And nobody can take that away from him.***

This picture, like our team, wouldn’t be complete without Adam. We can’t quit you, Adam.

So please join us in wishing Adam a happy 40th birthday today.  Leave him a happy birthday wish as a comment here on the blog or on our facebook page.  Let him know that you, too, love him. Happy birthday, Adam!

*Unless he does something stupid again at which time he will be fired.
**And by forever we mean until he is once again fired.
***Except us.

Well, this is disappointing.

Good afternoon, my friends. It is with a tattoo-free lower back that I announce  my quest to run 100+ miles from June 20th to August 15th has been a successful one. Read ’em and weep:

Graph

Actually, I hit 100 on August 7th, which was a private goal I kept to myself and one other person. As one can see from looking at the graph, there was an 8 day stretch where I literally did nothing. I had a lot of lower leg pain and running any more than about 50 feet brought on a lot of calf/shinsplint pain. I finally broke down and ordered a pair of Hokas, which cured about 90% of all those problems. More on that later.

Best purchase of 2013

Best purchase of 2013

The  embarrassing thing is that I truly believed running 50 miles in one month was a monstrous challenge. Almost insurmountable. The truth is..it really wasn’t that hard. I just put my shoes on and dedicated between 10-60 minutes of my day to completing the goal. Using the Beeminder was a huge benefit, but I’d have to say most of my motivation came from my lovely wife when she asked me “what kind of pink panties are you going to wear when you lose the bet.” I ran an extra 2 miles that day, and for the record I would’ve went with boy-shorts. 

As per luke’s part of the bet, he has handily doubled my mileage and dwarfed me in the process. He’s in Colorado as we speak, probalby on a mountain doing something awesome.

His cardio should be other-worldly next weekend.

His cardio should be other-worldly next weekend.

So, this is one of those odd bets where we both win, and you, the reader, loses. I’m honestly torn as to how I should feel about this, but I think there’s a solution.

Robby, Travis and Kate are also going to Thunder Rolls. It only seems fair they have to duke it out somehow, and I’d like to hear your thoughts on how we should make that happen.  Or maybe you want us to do another running bet “to the death’ for the Castlewood race later this year; I don’t know..let your imagination run wild.

Either way, let your thoughts be heard. I’ll be at work all weekend and likely bored out of my mind.

Follies at Ray’s Indoor MTB Park

It might take me awhile to express how amazing our weekend at Ray’s Indoor MTB Park truly was.  Even when I get around to writing about it, I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to describe just how much fun we had – kidnapping Bob, the laughs, the road trip, the jokes, the great food, the laughs, the new nicknames, the laughs, and of course the riding.  It was a weekend by which all other weekends will be measured, and in measuring, all other weekends will pale in comparison.

In the meantime, however, here is a video of some of our “outtakes” from Ray’s.  Just remember, this video doesn’t even compare to how it really was, but you can tell we had a blast… even when we were screwing up (which we did A LOT!).  Enjoy…

 

As you can see, there were no videos of Kage crashing her bike.  That’s because her skills are far superior to ours… Or it’s because she is a crash ninja and only crashed when no one was there to witness it.  You decide.

I’d like to thank my teammates for joining the celebration of Bob’s upcoming wedding.  It couldn’t have happened without you guys.

And I’d like to tell Bob that we really do love you, man.  Seriously.  Good luck in your new life.  Please don’t forget us.  We’ll never forget you… And we’ll never forget this weekend.

The Tour De Donut is this Weekend

*Photo taken from race website

For those who don’t remember, Team Virtus put on a disappointing performance at last year’s Tour de Donut. Between Luke, Adam and Rusty only 22 donuts were consumed. Though I was unable to attend, I’ve heard varying tales of dauntingly thick, cake-style donuts and how hard it was to stay hydrated and still eat them. Still, one has to wonder what the hell happened out there…

Oh, what could have been.

Things must be set right beteween the Tour de Donut and Team Virtus. The world demands donut domination, and that responsibility appears to have fallen squarely on the shoulders of Kate and I. The other guys are too ashamed of themselves to try again, and that’s totally understandable. Excuses abound; Adam even went so far as to make up a story about “job-shadowing” at Pauline Potter’s gyno clinic:

“Sure is dark in here..”

At any rate, I’m throwing the gauntlet down right now and pledging to the world that NOT ONLY will I consume more donuts this year than each of them did last year, no, that wouldn’t be enough. I will eat more than they did combined.  I’m gonna go the distance… to redeem what has been lost.

23 donuts or death!! See you there.

Kate: Lucky for Bob, I wasn’t a member of Team Virtus at last year’s Tour de Donut, or he’d be stuck eating an additional 9 donuts (one more than Adam choked down, for those who are keeping track).  After 2010’s second place donut-adjusted AG victory, I had high hopes for 2011.  Unfortunately, I fell flat, placing 6th in my AG and spending the next month or so working off those donut calories.  This year, I’m still deciding on my strategy, but leaning towards a very un-Virtuslike donut avoidance.  After all, I’d kind of like to finally check out the RibFest after the race…without having to throw up first.

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