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A Fistful of Firsts on the Horizon

Good day to all of you Virtusites!  We hope you had a wonderful Halloween.  All of us had a blast taking our little ones trick-or-treating, but Adam really got into the Halloween spirit.  He terrified all of us by dressing up as a real member of Team Virtus!

Adam in Costume

A guy can dream, can't he?

With Fall in full swing and Old Man Winter lurking just around the corner, a lot of teams see this as the “off-season.”  Well, not Team Virtus!  We have to keep racing if we want to stay mediocre, don’t we?  So we just wanted to give you all a quick heads-up regarding some upcoming races for Team Virtus.

Next up is the Race of Hope Rogaine in Ohio.  I’ll be meeting Casey and Austin, my nephew, this weekend at Lake Hope State Park near Zaleski, OH.  Why such a last-minute addition to our race schedule?  Well, I still have Casey’s mountain bike that he left behind after this year’s Berryman Adventure Race.  So we decided to meet halfway so he could get his bike back.  Since we were going to meet halfway, we looked around for a race, and we found the ROH Rogaine.

Austin with a Stache

Just in time for "Movember," Austin sports a sweet 'stache.

This race is put on by NSF Adventures.  If you’ve been with us from the beginning, then you’ll remember that they put on the very first race that we ever officially did as Team Virtus.  They are also the same guys that put on the Shawnee Extreme 24-hour rogaine that we did last year.  These are top-notch orienteering races, so we knew we wouldn’t be disappointed like we were at the Lionheart AR.

We’re pretty excited about this race.  It will be Austin’s first ever 12-hour race.  It will be his first rogaine race.  And it will be the first time I’ve actually raced with Austin (we went to the High Profile Adventure Racing Camp together, but we didn’t race together).  Austin has become a very good navigator, so we plan on handing over the map and compass to him to see what happens.  Stay tuned for a report.  It’s gonna be fun.

4 Generations of Lambs

Unfortunately, my dad won't be joining us this time.

Next month, we will be heading to the Castlewood 8-Hour AR en masse.  Six of us (Yes. SIX!) will form two teams.  Bob Jenkins and Robby Brown are teaming up to dominate the Two-Person Male Division, and Rusty Sapp, Drew West, Adam Laffoon, and I will compete in the Four-Person Male Division.  Sadly, we couldn’t manage to find a way to do this race with Kage, but she will be teaming up with Orange Lederhosen in the Four-Person Elite Division.  We missed last year’s Castlewood AR, but Bob and I had a great time two years ago.  Hopefully, no one will have cracked ribs this year, though.

Castlewood 8-Hour Adventure Race

It was cold in '09, and, although it's hard to believe, I was even fatter than I am now.

Castlewood will be Bob’s first race as the lead navigator, and he’s been working hard at it to ensure he and Robby rock the course.  This will also be Robby’s and Rusty’s first adventure race, and Castlewood is a perfect choice for getting their feet wet.  And this will be Drew’s first AR of 2011 and our first AR together since last year’s “Buster Douglas moment” at the Berryman Adventure Race in 2010.  And it could be the first race where Adam doesn’t get fired from the team… But I doubt it.

Some other races that we’re throwing around as possibly doing to finish a great 2011: The XCX Cross Country Xtreme, the Turkey-O, and the Possum Trot Orienteering Race (a REALLY fun race that I did 2 years ago).

So, will we see any of you at any of these races?  We hope so!  Seriously.  You’d better be there, and you’d better come say hello.

Virtus Update – Non-Race Coming!

Bob Jenkins decided it was high time to get organized, so he called the first ever Team Virtus meeting.  It was tough to find a time and date that worked for everyone, but we did the best we could.  Those that couldn’t make it either called in or provided us with any important info before the meeting.

I was the first to arrive, and after Bob hit me with the super-secret callsign (“Leonard 5”), I of course answered with the super-secret countersign (“Quellish”) and was allowed to enter.  Bob was already cooking up some grub and had the place completely ready for the team.


Bob's Poker Table

Bob's new poker table complete with beautiful decorations... and flowers too.

Shortly thereafter, Robby Brown arrived.  After a short pause, Robby remembered the countersign and entered to find this waiting for him:


Team Virtus Food

Damn, Bob! You went all-out!

Our friend Adam, who is joining us at the High Profile Adventure Camp and Lightning Strikes Adventure Race (LSAR) in April, arrived.  Unfortunately, he didn’t know the countersign, but we let him in anyway.  Although, if we had known how hideous his shirt was, we might have refused his entry.  It was so hideous, that I can’t show it with good conscience on our blog.


Adam Lafoon

Trust me... I just saved your keyboard from a downpour vomit. You're welcome.

We even had a dry erase board that we used to keep us on topic.  It worked for the most part, but there were still many moments of off-topic hilarity that ensued.


Virtus Meeting Notes

How legit is this? Too Legit. That's how.

We went over our tentative race schedule.  It’s not official, but we managed to decide some of the bigger races in which we’ll be dominating this year.  Team Virtus, in one form or another will be attending The Bonk Hard Chill, High Profile Camp and LSAR, Dirty Kanza 200, Lionheart 24 Hour AR, The Berryman Adventure 36 Hour AR, and The Thunder Rolls AR.  While there are many other shorter races that we’ll be attending, such as the Castlewood Cup 15K and the Ava Brown Memorial 5K, as well as some other longer races that we hope to make it to, these are the big dogs we’re definitely shooting for.

Next up on the agenda was our upcoming Non-Race.  Bob and I have done some scouting, but Bob has been the true driving force behind this thing.  He has mapped out the entire bike leg of the race, and he has scouted most of the orienteering sections as well.  We both hope to get out there soon to finalize everything.  But here’s the BIG ANNOUNCEMENT: The Second Team Virtus Adventure Non-Race (so named “The Deuce”) will be held in the Jefferson City/Holts Summit area on… Drum roll please… March 13th!!! Mark your calendars, and be on the lookout for more details very soon.


Bob doing mapwork

Bob shares his evil plan... Muhwahahahaha!


Adam had to leave us at this point, but Zack managed to make it.  He didn’t know the countersign, though, but no one was surprised by this.  It’s rare that Zack can make it to this kind of thing, so we let him in anyway.

We then discussed sponsorships.  We have a few new sponsors, but I’d like to save that for a future blog post to give them the attention they deserve.  So stay tuned for that.

Team Jerseys was the next topic of discussion.  After throwing around some design ideas, we realized that we don’t know what the hell we’re doing.  We’re hoping to get Mindy from Dreaming Tree Creative to help us out again since she blew us all away by designing our super-cool logo.

We weren’t done with the Jerseys, though.  We needed to decide if we want to get a “race cut” (aka – Euro-style jersey for super-skinny dudes), or a “club cut” (aka – a more relaxed fitting jersey for your average everyman).  In the beginning, this would have been an easy decision since everyone on the team was… uh… shall we say, “Rugby-esque.”  Now, however, we have as many skinny dudes (Robby, Drew, Darin) as husky dudes (Casey, Bob, and myself), and Zack falls somewhere in between.

So, we got Bob’s “race-cut” jersey out (from the same company that will make our jerseys).  It is an XXL, and I decided to be the Team Virtus Model.  It wasn’t pretty…


Luke in Jersey

Any similarities to real events or persons are purely coincidental.


Yeah, I felt like a stuffed-sausage in that thing.  I’m not sure Casey could have even gotten that thing over his barrel chest.  So my vote is for the “club-cut”, but we’re going to see if we can get a mix of cuts.

All that was left to do to finish the evening was to reminisce about past races by checking out some old photos…

Bob, Robby, Zack

Good times.

And then we had to compare battle scars…  Robby won…


Robby's ankle

Robby's almost all the way back.


So, that’s the rundown of Team Virtus’ first officially official team meeting.  Thanks to Bob for hosting and providing the delicious food and beverages.  It was a blast and, believe it or not, very productive.  And remember… The Non-Race is March 13th!!!

Congrats and a Training Update

First, I want to congratulate Zack for kicking ass at the Leadville Trail Silver Rush 50 Mile Mountain Bike Race.  He said it was the hardest race he’s ever done, yet he still managed to finish in 7:08:54… on a single speed… with a shoulder he separated two weeks ago… Um… Yeah, he’s a stud.  So a huge congrats goes out to Zack.  Great job!  Up next for Zack is the daunting Flint Hills Death Ride this Sunday.  Good luck, bro.

Here we see Zack with his finisher's medal... and a huge, satisfied smile on his face

Here we see Zack at the finish with his medal... and a huge, satisfied smile on his face.

In other news, all of us on Team Virtus have been training hard for some upcoming races.  I might be going out to NY to do the Suicide 6 mountain bike race with Casey on Aug 15th.  I hope I can make that work.  Bob has a little race called the Leadville Trail 100 on Aug 14th.  There is also the Midwest Single Speed Championships on Aug 22nd.  Hopefully Zack, Bob, and I can all do that one.

Then Bob, Casey, and I will be competing in The Thunder Rolls 12 Hour Adventure Race in Oregon, IL on August 28th.  To simply say we’re excited about doing another race put on by Gerry Voelliger and High Profile Adventure Racing is like saying Bob kind of likes to partake in an adult beverage after a hard race.  We seriously can’t wait for this one.

Bob and I have teamed up with our friend, Brandon, to dominate the 3-man category at the Tall Oak Challenge 6 hour mountain bike race right here in our backyard at the Binder Trails in Jefferson City on September 4th.  I think Zack might enter this one as a solo as well.

Then Drew and I will be competing in The Berryman Adventure 36 Hour Race on Sept 24th-26th.  Yeah, we’re probably stupid for trying the 36 hour race, but it is the race that got us started in adventure racing 10 YEARS ago (Damn, I’m old!). We failed miserably at that first race, and we had no clue what we were doing (some would argue we still don’t have a clue).  We just felt compelled to give it another go for the 10 year anniversary of this race.  Darin was one of our teammates at the very first Berryman, and he truly wanted to join us for this one.  Unfortunately for us, he has the Lewis and Clark Marathon the following week, though.  I doubt a 36 hour race 7 days before a marathon is a good way to taper.

There may or may not be more races here and there, but the races listed above are some of the big ones.  We’ve all been training our butts off to get ready for these races.  Zack rides forever pretty much every day.  Casey is finally recovered from a bulging disc (I hope), and he has jumped right back into the running, paddling, swimming, lifting, and biking that he was doing before the back problem. Drew has gone from running 6 days a week, to lifting weights twice per week, running thrice per week, and getting a good, long bike in at least once a week. Darin has continued his grueling running regimen to ramp up for his marathon.  Bob and I have been doing a little bit of everything… TRX training, road riding, trail riding, paddling/swimming/caving, weight lifting, Prowler pushing, and of course trail running…  Here is Bob’s leg after a nighttime trail run to prove our commitment:

Bloody Leg Bob

Caution: make sure your headlamp works before running in the dark

So, will we see any of you at any of these races?  I hope so.  If you do make it to any of these races, be sure to come on over and say hello.  We’ll be the ones having a blast… Like we always do.

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