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SHART #1 Finishers and Photos

“All good things come to an end.”

Why start the post with a 1374 Chaucer quote?  Two reasons:  Because the first SHART has ended.  And because, it was a ‘good thing’ judging from the big cheesy smiles plastered all over the faces of these finishers!


Lukas Lamb

Luke at CP3 of SHART #1


Bob F’n Jenkins

Bob's Peninsula at the SHART


Lo Mattson, Alice Butler, Ted and Sandy Weiss (with a great photobomb!)



Cheri Becker



Mickey Boianoff



Kate Geisen



Sean Ross and Melanie Bateman

mel and sean


Jim Woodson



Susan Kubinak



David Beattie, Kevin Minton, Amanda Lappe, Scott Shaw, John Nass, Hunter Nass



Steve Fuller



Hope you guys had a great time playing in our SHART!  If anyone was missed in the finisher list let one of us know and we’ll get you added.

btw, Chaucer was full of shit with his “All good things come to an end”.  There is only a temporary pause and then the good things keep right on coming.  So don’t forget to follow the Virtus Blog and Facebook page for info on the next SHART to come splattering into the woods near you.


The SHART is Happening – RIGHT NOW!

You may have read the earlier post advertising an upcoming Team Virtus SHART.  Well, it is here!  Our SHART is now available for your pleasure, and just in time to brush up route planning and navigation skills for the Castlewood Adventure race.  We plan to leave the course set for a couple of weeks, but don’t wait too long. There is no guarantee the points wont be removed by other folks in the area or carried away by Sasquatch.


This first edition is intended as a Mountain Bike-O, don’t worry about the picture above – that kind of stuff never happens.  But feel free to do it on foot if you like that better, its short enough to do either way.  The course is a combination of mostly sweet single-track and a little double-track (if you end up on pavement, you’ve made a big mistake).  There are 15 checkpoints spread around the trails.

We intended the first SHART to be beginner friendly, so even though none of the CP’s are directly on a trail, all are within 50 meters.  Most have distinguishing features or a  handrail nearby.  Depending on your navigation skills and route choice they can all be found within an 18 kilometer ride/run.

 A quick reminder of how this works:

  1. Message one of our team members with the subject line: “I gotta SHART!”
  2. We’ll reply with a .pdf file of the pre-plotted 1:12000 map and a copy of the cluesheet.
  3. Print your map  – 11×17 paper works out great, or go paperless and just scan the bar-code into your phone.
  4. Complete the course – remember to record the letters written in each CP to complete the secret phrase.
  5. Message us back with the secret phrase and a photo of you (clothing optional) near your favorite CP.
  6. We list you as an OFFICIAL finisher.


You already know we aren’t into making a bunch of rules, so you can use map and compass, dead reckoning, sextant, phone, or GPS.  Whatever skills you want to work on, the course is available:  Adventure Racing –  Scavenger Hunt – Orienteering – Geocaching.


Come SHART With Us!

Team Virtus didn’t earn the title of Least Elite Adventure Racing Team in Missouri the World by simply cooking expired meat on campfires and drinking dark beers. No! We train. We train long and hard. And now we’re ready to share one of our top-secret training methods with all of you.

Sleeping Virtus at Thunder Rolls Adventure Race

Training paying off big in the 2015 Thunder Rolls Adventure Race

The SHared Adventure Race Training series ended up with an unplanned and entirely coincidental acronym that fits our middle-school level sense of humor so well, we stuck with it.

Here’s how the SHARTs will work:

We’ll set up a fun and challenging orienteering course that can be completed in a couple hours. We leave the course set out for 30 days. You come, play, and train on it for free!

How many times have you wanted to attend an organized ride, run, or O-meet but the calendar was already full with the kind of shit life throws your way, and you just couldn’t make it on that one-single-day?

Now you can pick a day, any day, out of the 30 or so days the course stays up. Bring friends or do it alone. Do it in the daylight the first time, come back after dark the second time. (Pay attention to the area rules wherever the course is set. )

High quality 1:24000 maps and a clue sheet will be provided in the form of .pdf files which will be linked on this blog and the Facebook page. You then print your own map from the file, as big (or as little) as you like.  Or forget about printing altogether by scanning the barcode with your phone for a paperless copy of the course.  Here is a sample of what the maps will look like with a couple CP’s plotted.


Each CP will have a letter to record.  For example, CP1 has the letter W written inside. CP2 has the letter H…. keep gathering letters from the 7 checkpoints until you spell the secret word – in this example the word might be “WHISKEY”. You will then message us privately with the secret word and we’ll add your name to the growing list of distinguished SHARTer’s. If you want to record your time or share a GPS of your route, send that too, we’d love to see it.

Keep checking the blog and FB. The first Virtus SHART is coming soon.  In fact, the first course design is already complete. The course map is made and verified by GPS. Once the controls (custom made by my amazing and beautiful wife) are hung, we’ll publish the course.

We’re kind of excited about this idea and would love to hear your comments. Do you love it or hate it? Think it will work out or suck completely?

If this does work out and more than 1 person thinks it’s cool, we’ll set up additional courses at different locations in the future and challenge other teams to out-SHART us by creating courses of their own!

Quick note: This is not a race or organized sporting event in any way, shape or form.  Consider it the cool version of Geocaching.  There are no waivers to sign, no entry fees to pay, and there will be absolutely no involvement with the governing bodies of cycling, running, or shitting of the pants while farting. There will be no chip timing, no number plates and no hot apple cider with pickles at fancy Aid Stations. This is strictly a “For-Fun” outdoor challenge at a time and date of your choosing.


Tour of Sufferlandria: Stage Five (The One with the Wreck)

I donated not only “Holy Water” to Stage Five of the Tour of Sufferlandria, but some blood as well. But we’ll get to that in a minute.

We’re now just over halfway through the Tour. The toughest stages are still ahead of us, though. You can read about Stages One, Two, Three, and Four if you want to see how those went down.

This morning my legs felt pretty damn good. They were a bit heavy and tired, but this is probably as good as my legs have felt since right before Stage One. I chalk that up to good nutrition, adequate sleep, foam rolling, and perhaps even gaining some fitness and strength (although I expected those gains to come after a recovery week or two).

So, I was pretty stoked with how I was feeling. I was ready to crush the first mountain stage of the Tour, The Sufferfest’s “Angels 2015” video. The short warm-up went well. Then the 10 minutes of Over/Unders (1 min just over threshold followed by 1 minute just under threshold) hurt more than I thought they would, but I still felt really good.

Then the first 8-minute climb hit me. It started to hurt, but it wasn’t terrible. Toward the end of that first climb, though, I stood up -as instructed by the video – and started climbing hard. That’s when this happened:

crashing on the trainer at the Tour of Sufferlandria

No, I wasn’t on rollers. I was on a Kurt Kinetic Road Machine Trainer.

Let me preface this by saying this is completely my fault, and I am a dumb ass. My wife has asked me (several times) to move my bike over out of the way when I’m done so she’ll have more room to workout. You see, my Bike Torture Chamber (BTC) is also my weight room in the basement where she also trains. But I always seem to forget to move the bike over. That’s probably because I can barely stand up after each Stage of this Tour.

Last night, my wife moved the bike over while I was at work. Today, I didn’t even think about checking it again. I just hopped on and started riding. Well, apparently, the bike was not completely secure in the trainer. Again, completely my fault for not checking it before the ride.

As I stood toward the end of that first climb, my bike fell out of the trainer and I went down hard (TWSS). I didn’t see it coming at all, and I was shocked when it happened.

How in the hell did I just crash on my fucking trainer?!

As evidenced in the photo above, my elbow took the brunt of the fall, landing on my weight bar next to me. I jumped up and paused TrainerRoad and the video. Then I tried to throw my bike back on the trainer, and that’s when I noticed that my bike did not go unscathed. A water bottle cage was destroyed.

destroyed water bottle cage

Honestly, I’m not sure how this bottle cage became so mangled.

I shoved the bottle cage up into the one in front of it so it would be out of my way. That’s when I noticed I had also broken a spoke. Sonofabitch! I quickly wrapped the broken spoke around the one next to it.

Broken spoke at the Tour of Sufferlandria

Yes, if you look closely through the spokes, those are drops of blood on the floor.

I turned the crank a few times and noticed the wheel was a bit wobbly. Damn it! But this was the effing Tour of Sufferlandria! So I hopped on the bike and continued the Stage. My elbow hurt a bit, but that pain was soon drowned out by the pain of the next two brutal climbs. They hurt so good.

Part of me worried that this ride wouldn’t count since some might argue I had a “break” during the video. But then I asked myself: Did I suffer? And my answer to that is: Hell yes, I suffered! So in my book, it counts.

angels 2015 at the Tour of Sufferlandria

Blue is the target, yellow is what I actually did.

Now, I’ll celebrate by filling up my brand new Championship Mug that just arrived for winning my 2014 Fantasy Baseball League. Mmm mmm! Beer is gonna taste so much better out of this bad boy!

fantasy baseball beer mug trophy

I have not yet received word from Robby or Adam about how their Stage 5 went. They both had to work today, so they probably have to do it later tonight.

Until tomorrow, suffer on, my friends.

(Update: Stage Six is done.)

Coffee Break

Sometimes , a hot cup of coffee and a quick trip into the woods is all you need for a short, pleasant escape from life’s bullshit. Yesterday afternoon’s hike was no epic adventure, but it was a lot of fun and I’d like to share the experience, so here goes.

Lately, most of us at Virtus HQ have been bitten by the bikepacking bug. The idea of strapping a ton of gear to your bike, riding great distances and camping under the stars with friends is overwhelmingly appealing. Thusly, we’ve been accumulating some untested gear.


One such item is the Vargo Hexagon Woodstove. I saw this thing on and had to have it. Its low weight, very packable, and there’s no fuel to buy…you simply load it with wood you find laying around. Win-win.

So like I said, I needed a coffee break. The plan had been to ride my bike to an undisclosed location and test out the stove. Unfortunately it had been raining all day, so I decided to go for a nice trail-friendly hike.


Arriving at the trailhead, I saw two shirtless men grappling in the parking lot. Awkward. I hiked past them slowly, avoiding eye contact.

With no clear destination, I simply followed the trail and tried to enjoy my surroundings. Barking squirrels and passing geese took over my senses and it just. Felt. Great. A pair of nearby deer were also fun to watch.


A small rock ledge overlooking the river seemed like a good spot to stop, so I set up shop and got the stove going. With all the recent rainfall, finding dry sticks was slightly challenging, but using cotton soaked in hand sanitizer, the fire was burning in no time.


Water was boiled, coffee was brewed and life’s bullshit was forgotten. I even brought almond milk and splenda for that extra something special. I sat there until dark, just stoking the fire, sipping the brew and listening to squirrels bark.
At first I was glad to be alone, but it didn’t take long before I was wishing there were friends to share the moment.


When it was time to go, all I had to do was pour water over the fire, pack up my crap and hike back to the truck. Thankfully there were no shirtless men wrestling in the parking lot this time.

If you’ve got a few hours to kill, you should treat yourself to a short trip like this. All it takes is a little bit of time and a little bit of coffee.

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