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Shawnee Extreme Rogaine 2010 Race Report (Picture heavy)

Shortly after Drew and Luke had such a great finish at the Berryman 36, everyone on the team got the same email from Zack. It read:

All,

Luke and Drew’s impressive finish at the Berryman has rekindled some of my old  desires for AR and Orienteering.  We did the 12 hour version last year,  so this year let’s do the 24 hour!  Last year, it was a good time and kind of an ass kicker. Who’s In??????????????????????????????

And so began the banter on our armonkey.com account, with pretty much everyone wanting to do the race. I’ve put on about 30 pounds since my trip to Leadville, so I was reluctant . Climbing steep grades for 24 hours sounded horrific, as did the prospect of putting a damper on the team’s performance. Lucky for me, this team cares a lot more about having a good time than winning anything. It was the perfect way to get everyone together for some team building/orienteering practice.

Wives and girlfriends were bribed and the trip to the Shawnee Extreme was planned. It was a long drive to Ohio from Missouri, so Luke and I met EARLY for the drive, picking Drew up along the way. I think we were somewhere in Illinois when Drew announced he’d brought some of my favorite, (and now illegal), adult beverages….

Drew's first Loko....he looks so happy

It was love at first swig. I could tell Drew loved Loko by the way he said, “Oh my God this shit is disgusting!!” After a bit of peer pressure he managed to drink the whole can, but he definitely had to work for it. Before long, “The quiet man” was talking all kinds of smack and treating Luke and I to an amazing musical compilation of mid-to-late 90’s hip hop music (Vanilla Ice, Boyz II Men, Tone Loc, and more). Drew’s music collection is unparalleled. I heard some jams in the truck that day that I havent heard since high school.

I’m a pretty big fan of the”Loko juice,” but it really is an acquired taste. The effects can really sneak up on you too, which was evident from the silence in the back of the truck.

Energy drink, my ass. And apparently it makes your knees HUGE.

We finally hooked up with Casey, who made the trip from NY, and we all made it to the campground. Casey had brought some “real” bagels from New York, and they were phenomenal. He even brought strawberry cream cheese…I love this team.

The hammocks were hung and gear was made ready, leaving us with plenty of time sitting around an imaginary campfire swapping stories. Beers were consumed and much wind was broken. There was even some discussion concerning the race report for “The Thunder Rolls”, and hopefully we can all come to an agreement on the final draft. More on that later:)

Hey dude, take a picture of me taking a picture of you!

Here’s a shot of yours truly, (Bob), and “The Pace Center”. Note the shocked look on my face as Casey tells me about his swing. There’s no way I’m telling that story on this blog..

Yes, those are my pajama pants

I think we all slept pretty good that night. In fact, the only time I woke up was when Drew barfed up his Four Loko right next to my hammock. I guess Hennessy Hammocks are hard to see in the dark. He was kind enough to cover the evidence with leaves, but still no word on whether or not he intends to drink another Loko. Ah, the memories.

Race day greeted us with a beautiful, chilly morning. We made our way over to race HQ and started route planning.

As he’d promised, Casey was in excellent shape. The only time I’ve ever seen him in better shape was from one of his pro MMA fights:

Clearly the most ambitious of the group, “PC” wanted to get ALL of the CP’s. After looking at the map, the rest of us had other ideas. A few of them involved a bit more climbing than we wanted, and we didn’t see a clear way to create a decent loop to maximize our point gathering. PC wasn’t having any of that sissy talk, so there was a spirited debate. I’ve captioned the photos below to recount their conversation:

Drew: You wanna do what??? BWHAHAHA!!!!

MF'er, I know 487 ways to kill you with my bare hands...and I've got a world-class smile.

The race had a pretty solid turnout; Men & women, kids and even some older-looking folk toed the line that day, there were even some high school kids from a JROTC detachment. Seeing those ROTC kids was very cool, it reminded me of a simpler time when I had fatter cheeks, no facial hair and was completely terrified of women.

 

For a moment we thought we’d been graced with the presence of Sir Mason Storm of the STL, but it was only an imposter with a very strong beard.

Beard POWER!!

How disappointing.

After a quick pre-race team photo the race was on! First order of business: walk up a gradual hill to a slightly larger hill, to a gynormously long and steep hill until your lungs, legs and ass are ready to explode.  OooooRah!!

At this point it still seemed like a good idea

Midway up the initial climb Luke spotted a buck rub. Buck-rubs have been an ongoing joke between the two of us; I used to hunt white-tail deer quite a bit and have a knack for spotting rubs. Luke has only ever hunted “human-whitetails”, (that means girls with tan lines), so he often pretends to have seen or spotted a rub. We’ve been hiking together for 2 years now and he’s never spotted one before, so it was kind of a big deal.

Gratuitous Beaver-Stik shot

If the first 20 minutes was any indication of how things were going to be for 24 hours, we were gonna be in some pretty deep shit.  The way down wasn’t so bad, and since horrific knee pain hadn’t kicked in yet, Luke managed to get a quick glamour shot:

After that, we were on flat ground for quite a while and there was plenty to look at. The teams were all very much fanned out by now, so it felt like the 4 of us had the woods to ourselves.  Stories of past and present sexual conquests ensued, and much wind was broken.

The terrain was certainly not accommodating to the foot-mobile traveler, as we soon found out in a slippery, yet beautiful creek. I believe it was Casey who slipped and fell, nearly taking out Drew in the process. Close call.. after that we made sure to spread out a bit.

Here we see Casey and some huge wood he found.

One more reason we (almost) never win…ya gotta stop and take pictures. Here, I do my best impression of Frodo hiding from the Nanzguul in the movie Lord of the Rings.

aw shit.. ring wraiths!!

See the resemblance??

I guess I look more like Sam. Frodo is a pansy anyway, everybody knows that

We had agreed from the beginning that today would be used as a means for everyone to do some nav, instead of crutching on Luke all day. Casey went first, and we had very few problems.

All in all, things were going very well. Everybody was staying hydrated, fed, and we were all in good spirits. During the daylight, time seemed to fly by. It wasn’t until later in the afternoon that I felt my feet blistering like a mofo. I think Luke was having some knee pain, and I started getting a hip flare-up from my wreck in Springfield this year. Good thing we had ibuprofen, or we would’ve been screwed.

Some of these CP’s had us walking thru some seriously rough/thorn infested terrain. The following pics should give you an idea:

Dude, you comin?

Flippin ridiculous, right?

Oh yeah, that one was easy to find...

I remember watching the rest of the guys walk down into this hell hole and wishing I was somewhere else. It wasn’t even dark yet.

Shheeeeeiiiit.

Before long we came to a manned CP and were given additional UTM’s, along with some free ZANFEL and some kind of fancy detergent for your outdoor clothes. Very cool.

It was also a nice place to stop and eat some Rockit Fuel. If you’re not using Rockit Fuel yet, you need to get on board. I got a coupon for some free product from them about 6 months ago and was an instant fan. I also met the company’s owner while I was in Leadville and he was a very classy guy. I like to fill a water bottle with some of their Holy Pinole and just eat a pinch of it now and then. One water bottle-full will last a looong time, and it’s very light. I don’t like gels, so Rockit Fuel is perfect for me. Plus, I don’t get all sticky trying to keep track of empty wrappers.

Anyway, we plotted some points and got back in the game.

There seemed to be a great deal of long-distance navigation, which meant we did a lot of walking in between CP’s. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or not, but we had ample opportunity to get lots of photos.

Here at Team Virtus, image is everything. Go pro or go home.

Eventually it got dark and the nav became a bit more difficult. When it was my turn to lead, I thought I’d be the big hero and follow a contour line  instead of taking the obvious route along a trail. I felt right, and it was one of those situations when I “just knew” I was going to pull it off. Alas,  my ego was bigger than my brain and I led us pretty far off course. It was disappointing because I REALLY wanted to hit that CP, but I’m glad we made the attempt.  We talked about where I went wrong and I learned from it. You never know until you try, and there’s always next time. Trust me, when I get it right… you’ll know:)

As we soldiered into the night,  it became apparent that Drew and Casey were in much better shape than Luke and I. The pictures below are testament to that fact. Here, we see Drew and PC lounging at the top of a large hill:

"...Totally beautiful night, huh?--Oh yeah, perfect weather.."

Luke and I at the top of the same hill:

"FML, are we there yet?" "They better not be out of food at HQ"

At some point, I had been awake long enough that my mind simply wouldn’t function correctly. As far as helping the team with navigation, I was completely worthless. I went into zombie mode, just following along blindly trying to put my mind somewhere else. 

Most unflattering photo ever

It wasn’t long before I got my first taste of “sleep monsters”. I was walking along and all at once I saw Cheshire from Alice in Wonderland in a tree right in front of me. It was only for a moment, but it absolutely scared the shit out of me. It turned out to only be a large U-shaped leaf hanging from a tree, but I was still a bit freaked out. If I’d have been out there  alone and saw that, they would’ve found me the next day laying in a pool of piss sucking my thumb.

Hey Bob! How bout I eat your face?

I saw a few other things I’d rather not mention, but the point I’m trying to make here is that sleep deprivation will indeed make you see some really bizarre things.

Ever since Zack went vegan we’ve all been trying to think of ways to make ourselves a little more eco-friendly. Casey recycles all of Luke’s jokes, I started drinking Loko so there’d be fewer empty beer cans at my house, and Luke has almost perfected a new technique for bottling farts as an alternative fuel source.  Drew, however, decided to take “going green”  to a whole new level….

3 Words: Giant. Tree. Vagina.

Finally, (and I do mean finally), we made it back to HQ for some serious crushing of chili, baby red potatoes and biscuits ‘n’ gravy. This race is worth the price of admission just for the food and the cool shirt.

Usually he's quiet when we're eating...

We may have eaten a little too much, but the indigestion was worth it.

Serious business...little guys like to eat too.

Midway thru “happy-time”, Casey told a swing-story that nearly caused the rest of us to vomit…look how happy he was:

Casey calls for a toast to our gag reflexes.

Hanging out at HQ for a while gave us an opportunity to figure out why the hell my feet hurt so bad:

Hmm. I kinda wish I hadn't looked

I know, I know..it’s disgusting. Just do yourself a favor and learn from my mistakes. Prep your feet or you’ll be walking on fire for a while.

I don’t remember a lot of detail after that, but what I do remember is that it started to rain. The rain gained intensity until  we were mostly soaked and ready to get back to camp for a few hours sleep before the long drive home.

We, (meaning Luke), developed a route home and trudged back toward the finish line. Between Luke’s knees and my hip, we went thru a disturbing amount of ibuprofen. There was a short period of time when we may or may not have been lost, but I would have never known the difference. We wound up slashing our way through some super-nasty thorns until we found the trail and made our way back to camp.

TV....Checkin' out!

There was a mile or two of paved road before we officially made it back, and we passed the time the same way we always do: Laughing our asses off  recounting the day’s events and those of days gone by. Just like any other race report, this one has left out a multitude of details and I must ALWAYS point out that photos will never do justice to actually being there (For all of our photos, check out the slideshow at the bottom of this post).

The food station doesn't stand a chance

A huge thanks to all of the fantastic volunteers and especially to the great people at NSF Adventures for putting on an amazing event.  We did this race as a means of improving our nav skills and strengthening the bonds that hold Team Virtus together. Mission accomplished.

The only thing missing was you. You know you want to go, so leave a comment or click the contact link on our home page and we’ll see you on the trail. I’m talking to you, Travis Simmons, Robby Brown, Brandon Lepage, Sonya Tomes, and especially you…..Lurker.

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Do We Need Rogaine? Yes… Yes We Do.

Seriously… We’ve got a problem, and the only solution is rogaine.  No, not the hair-loss treatment.  The only problem with my hair is that it’s all turning gray in a hurry (as you’ll see if you look closely in the photos below).  I’m talking about a race – the 24 Hour Shawnee Extreme Rogaine.

Shawnee Extreme Rogaine Race 2010

“What’s that?” you ask.  “What exactly is a rogaine?”  Well, here is what I wrote in a post from last year:

“There are two stories behind the term rogaine.  I have read that it comes from the first two letters of the names of the three athletes who supposedly invented the sport.  Their names were Rod, Gail, and Neil.  Rogaine is also an acronym. The letters stand for Rugged Outdoor Group Activity Involving Navigation and Endurance.

A rogaine is an orienteering race usually lasting 12 to 24 hours where each checkpoint has a point value. Teams of two to five can get checkpoints in any order they so choose, and the team with the most points at the end of the race is the winner.  So, strategy plays a huge role in a rogaine race.  Do you try to get all of the low-value checkpoints that are closer and easier to find?  Or do you try to go for the high-value points that are farther away and more difficult to locate?”

Last year, the Brothers Lamb (Casey, Zack, and myself) all met up to do the Sleepy Hollow 12 Hour Rogaine in Ohio.  It was our first rogaine, and it was the first time we had ever officially raced as Team Virtus.  It was a brutally good time, so we decided we needed to do it again.

This year, however, NSF Adventures is offering a 12 hour AND a 24 hour rogaine at the Shawnee Extreme (which has replaced the Sleepy Hollow Rogaine).  So of course we’re doing the 24 hour, and of course we’re in way over our heads yet again.  Zack couldn’t make it this year, but Casey, Bob, Drew, and I are ready to go.  Whatever happens, I know we’ll have a blast in Ohio.

To prepare, Bob and I ventured up to Rock Bridge State Park for some Orienteering practice.

 

Bob with O-map at Rock Bridge

Bob studies the map and shows his movie-star smile (Seriously, he's a movie star now. He was in "Race Across the Sky" - How cool is that?)

To prepare myself to carry Casey’s pack again (you really need to read last year’s race report), I decided to carry my chubby son Otis on my back, although I still think Casey’s pack was heavier… Seriously, it was.

 

Carrying Otis as Training for a Rogaine Orienteering Race

Perfect Training for a Rogaine Race

Actually, I pray that Casey doesn’t suffer cramps like he did last year.  We give him a hard time about carrying his pack, but he was a stud to push through the pain.  We were happy (well, not happy but we were willing) to carry his pack, because that’s what a team does.  We pick each other up when we need to.  I know Casey would do the same for me (Seriously, Casey, you have to carry my pack this year).

It was a perfect Fall day for orienteering in Missouri.  We had a blast.  We even had some run-ins with thorns and brush of which there will be plenty in Ohio, I promise.

Bob Bleeding in the Woods

Let's hope this is the worst of our injuries at the Shawnee Extreme Rogaine

At one point, we had to decide if we should cross the creek or backtrack at least a mile to get to the next checkpoint.  Well, we chose to cross the creek, and obviously Bob decided to cross a downed tree, possibly the most difficult option for crossing the creek.

 

Bob crossing a creek at Rock Bridge State Park

Bob crossing the creek...

Bob almost falling in the creek

Bob almost falling into the creek.

Bob came really close to getting wet, but he somehow managed to save himself.  It was hilarious! He then came up with a new method to cross the creek – the Sit and Scoot.  He used his Beaver Stick to clear the brush as he straddled the log and scooted on his ass.  It worked beautifully.

As tempted as I was to cross the creek here as well, I just couldn’t risk falling in from that height with Ote Boat on my back.  So I took my shoes off, hiked my pants legs up, and crossed the creek barefoot where it was shallower.  The water was cold, but we made it.

We got some good orienteering practice in, and although we weren’t out there setting any speed records, we kept moving most of the time except for a few map-checks and potty breaks.

 

Bob peeing in the woods

Peekaboo Bob, We see you!

Otis loved being out in the woods… as long as we didn’t stop for too long.  He would get pretty pissed if we stayed in one spot for more than 30 seconds. As long as we kept moving, though, Otis was as happy as can be.  He must have gotten very comfortable back there…

 

Otis getting drowsy in the backpack

Going...

Otis almost asleep in the backpack

Going...

Otis asleep in the back pack

Gone.

I always love getting out there for some orienteering.  I wish there were more orienteering races in mid-Mo.  I know St. Louis and Kansas City have orienteering clubs, but it can be too much to drive 2 hours for an hour-long O-race.  Maybe Team Virtus needs to start a mid-Mo orienteering club… Hmm… Anyone reading this think that’s a good idea?  Anyone?

Anyway, we had a great time, and we’re now ready to dominate the Shawnee Extreme Rogaine this weekend.  Okay, we’re nowhere near ready to dominate the race.  The terrain is ridiculously brutal with crazy elevation gains/losses, and the brush, briars, and thorns are insane. Domination?  Probably not, but we’re ready to have more fun than anyone else.  And that’s what it’s all about.

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