Ever since I saw ROCK Racing put together multiple newbie teams at the 2011 Castlewood 8hr AR, I knew I wanted to do the same in 2012. The Castlewood 8hr AR, put on by Bonk Hard Racing, is the perfect event for aspiring adventure racers in the Midwest. First, it's short: 8hrs is the advertised time but the course is complete-able in 4-5 hours for the winners and 5-6 hours for a decently fit team. Second, it's designed for inexperienced racers - minimal UTM plotting, simple navigation with plenty of safe route choice options, and familiar terrain for anyone in the St. Louis area. Bonk Hard has done a great job at making this a "gateway race" for anyone remotely interested in adventure racing and I was excited to bring new faces to the start line. I teamed up three people associated with Pfoodman Racing: Young Ben, a totally rad newly-turned-17-year-old; Courtney, a supa-fast mountain bike/cyclocross chick who is extending her racing repertoire to endurance events; and Keith, a Pfriend of Pfoodman stoked for new experiences like running off-trail and paddling a canoe.
|Me teaching Young Ben how to use the electronic mapping wheel, while Keith supervises.|
|Courtney is serious about route planning.|
TREK 1 (4k redline, 0:40)
|Trek 1: CPs 1-10, any order. Which way would you go?|
|Typical AR start...people scattering in every direction!|
BIKE 1A (14mi, 1:11)
|TA from Trek 1 to Bike 1.|
TREK 2 (2k redline, 0:34)
As we approach CP21, we see a few volunteers and a few bikes. At first I think it's a gear check but then I realize we have a surprise trekking loop. This is confirmed when SuperKate hands us the "Bonus Map" and we quickly transition into running shoes. The points look similar either direction (clockwise or CCW) you take, so I confer with Ben and we agree to go counterclockwise (38-37-39). (PS read her volunteer report from the day here.)
|Courtney, Keith, Ben, and me in transition. Photo by SuperKate!|
BIKE 1B (4mi, 0:21)
|Courtney and I rolling out of TA. Photo by SuperKate!|
PADDLE 1 (10k, 1:58)
|The paddle, 22-23-24-25.|
|Courtney and Ben waiting just after the put-in.|
|Me and Keith waiting at a CP while Happy Mutants pass.|
Courtney has the passport and punches 23 and 24 with ease. As we are making our way towards the take-out at the Castlewood boat ramp, my favorite moment of the race happens. Courtney and Ben are ahead of Keith and I when I see a few Pringles chips float by on the water. I glance up and notice that Courtney is munching away.
|Courtney running for the punch at CP23.|
"Courtney, quit littering chips or we're going to get penalized!" I call up ahead in a joking tone. Chips are bio-degradable and therefore not really litter, right? "Oh, I'm not littering, those chips are for the fish!" Courtney cheerfully calls back. Oh. Of course. How could I forget? Fish need to eat too!
|Courtney and Ben punching CP24.|
BIKE 2 (5mi, 0:50)
|Last map of the day! With our route highlighted in orange.|
CP26: "bottom of River Scene"We hit all of these points cleanly. I am riding sweep (code for: I am the slowest on the team!) and often by the time I pull up to the CP, Ben has already found it and punched, and we are ready to ride again. We are machines! Courtney takes a digger on the log after the Lone Wolf switchbacks but pops up bravely and keeps on rolling. I share my mantra for whenever I crash: Jeff Sona would be proud. Because if you're not crashing every once in a while, you're not riding hard enough. When we punch CP32, I tell the team that it's our final CP and we just have to make it to the finish line. We're all a little surprised...done? Already? I'm thankful there are no teams behind us so we don't have to take any chances (side note: ask Alpine Shop about their sneaky bike-whack). We roll to the finish line as a happy team...The Pfast and the Pfurious!
CP27: "on the right just before the Dirt Crits field"
CP28: "left turn onto the connector to the back side of Lone Wolf"
CP29: "the ruin at the top of Lone Wolf"
CP30: "the bench at the top of Justin's"
CP31: "on the left at the end of the doubletrack after Ries"
CP32: "just before the switchback at the bottom of Grotpeter"
POST-RACE (5:34 total time, 8th division, 13th overall)
|Ben, Keith, Courtney, me.|