Andrei rolls into St. Louis on Thursday night and on Friday morning we take our time packing the car for the trip down to Bass Resort near Steelville, MO where the race check-in, meal, and meeting will be held. We get to Bass right as check-in is opening at 3pm and quickly collect our packets. Then, it's time to nap and wait for the better half of our team to arrive from Minnesota. I'm super pumped to race with Erl and Biz. They get to Bass just in time for the pre-race dinner and catching up with AR buddies from Bushwhacker and Alpine Shop. At the pre-race meeting, we receive 1 map (1:24k USGS) and coordinates for 46 CPs (everything up to the BIKE 3). Then we head to the Super8 in Potosi to plot and pack for the race. Judging from the maps, we make the decision to use race-provided canoe paddles instead of our personal kayak paddles so we won't have to carry them all through the race. Canoe paddles are slower, but we think that the minutes gained by using kayak paddles on the water will be less than the minutes lost assembling/disassembling/packing/carrying them for the rest of the race.
|Biz, Erl, and Dre at race check-in. How can you NOT be excited to race with these guys?!|
TREK 1 (CPs 1-4, 0:37)
|Pre-race chat. Notice my matching headband. So stylish.|
|Somewhere on that red line there were some checkpoints.|
PADDLE 1 (CPs 5-10, 1:36)
|Example of the trees sticking out of Council Bluff Lake. Photo courtesy
|Coming into the take-out in 5th place.|
|Post-race illustration of BIKE 1. We did not have this map during the race.|
Base map: http://www.gorctrails.com/trails/mcouncilbluff.asp
TREK 2 (CPs 1-11 on separate passport, 5:17)
|Artist's representation of TREK 2. Not to scale. |
Or accurate in any way besides start/end points.
BIKE 2 (CPs 12, 40? A? B?,2:00)
|First part of BIKE 2. We did not hav this map during the race.|
Base map: http://www.gorctrails.com/trails/mcouncilbluff.asp
|Artist's representation of the road riding on BIKE 2.|
Scale? What scale?
PADDLE 2 (CPs 14-19, 0:53)
|Approximate map of PADDLE 2. Can't really remember the CP numbers.|
BIKE 3 (CPs 20-21, 42? 41?, 1:34)
This leg is all that stands between us and our gear drop bags so we are super motivated finish it and get access to extra calories and water. I struggle here a little so Erl gives me some pushes on the pavement and Biz gives me a tow up a massive gravel hill. Dre's bike seems to have miraculously fixed its shifting issues so we are managing to move well as a team. We have to turn on our lights for this section since the sun is setting. We get to ride some parts of the Ozark Trail which is awesome, it's definitely in need of TLC but pretty rideable, and I always like meeting new singletrack. Biz leads us on a cool bikewhack and pretty soon we are rolling into TA, which is a key spot in the race. We don't know anything about the remainder of the race - this TA will give us information about the distances and disciplines remaining. Also, we learn that Bushwhacker left 10-15 minutes ago after a 30 minute TA. So that means we have gained a couple minutes on them from the previous bike and we will gain more if we can transition quickly. We have a lot to accomplish though - Biz and I plot 10 new trekking CPs, and Erl and Dre fill bladders with water and packs with calories. We all eat a ton - Erl made everyone sandwiches before the race and they are DELICIOUS. I have two, plus a Coke. We knock all of our tasks out in 15 minutes and hit the woods for a crucial night rogaine.
TREK 3 (CPs 22-33, 3:00)
Biz is leading the charge and we are all feeling pretty good after the information and calories we took on in TA. Honestly I don't remember much about this trek except...Biz nailing the navigation, Dre running hard for the punches, me drinking a Monster and feeling total body rejuvenation, and Erl carrying like 10 empty bottles of Coke in his pack that we all drank. We cross paths with Bushwhacker about half-way through the trek. Evidently they chose the same order as us, so we are still behind but we tell ourselves that we are gaining ground. This is confirmed when we see Kuat on the way to our last CP - they whoop it up for us and tell us that Bushwhacker is only 6 minutes ahead. Super motivating. We get back to the TA after completing the loop and Bushwhacker is still there. THIS IS A BARN BURNER!!! The volunteer gives us more CPs to plot which describe the remainder of the race - all that's left is a bike and a paddle. This is actually bad news for us, because it means we will have to gain the lead plus a time cushion on the next bike if we are to have any chance of holding Bushwhacker's kayak paddles off on the final paddling leg.
BIKE 4 (CPs 34-36, 1:19)
|We biked on part of this OT sction. http://ozarktrail.com/planner/maps/detailed/TraceCreek2mile54to63.jpg|
PADDLE 3 (CPs 37-39, 1:01)
Now our focus is paddlepaddlepaddle, and I am channeling every rabid hamster thought I can think of to make my cadence faster. As we shove off from the dock, we see Bushwhacker's lights roll into TA, meaning our gap is 5-10 minutes, depending on how fast they can transition. Oh, and remember those stumps from earlier today? They're still there, lurking beneath the lake surface, only now it's completely dark AND the lake is steaming so headlamps do almost no good. There's not much we can do except KEEP PADDLING. I try to call out stumps when I see them but more than once they rub under the boat and threaten to capsize us. Dre and Erl have the punchcard now so Biz is navigating, steering our boat, telling them where to go, and still reminding me to extend my reach and keep a good cadence. And trying to win the race with four kayak paddles breathing down our necks. At times I am hunched over completely in the front of the boat, trying to spot stumps through the steam and still paddle like mad - it is full-on RACING. We navigate everything really clean and pretty soon it's time to turn towards the finish line. There are some lights in the far distance but we can't tell what they belong to...fishing boats? A campsite? The finish line? Our minds are completely useless to make sense of it all at this point in the race so we just keep paddling on the correct compass bearing and hope that we don't hear any boat noises behind us. Or run into any stumps. As we get closer to the lights, we are convinced that they are fishing boats and we still have a ways to go. But then we get closer. And closer. And we see the lights illuminating the Bonk Hard inflatable arch. And no teams in front of us or behind us. And then we hear cowbells and know that we have arrived! All that's left is to carry the boats and all our gear up the short hill to the finish line. This portage is really painful but completely worth it to be able to celebrate winning the 2012 Bonk Hard Berryman Adventure!
POST-RACE (17:58 final time, 55 CPs)
|Andrei, Biz, me, Erl at the finish line!|
|Ride that paddle!|
|We love paddles.|