25 September 2013

Ready, Set...

OK I sort of already posted about this here, but since I can't hardly think about anything else I'm going to write some more. The next three weekends are going to be the magic. Why? Three great races, four great teams, lots more great friends, I just can't wait!
hehe...I just had to use the old race logo! 
FIRST UP: Bonk Hard Berryman 12+hr Adventure Race
aka The Return of Carrie Sona!!!!!!!!!!
September 28, 2013
Mark Twain National Forest near Rolla, MO
For anyone outside of the midwestern AR/MTB scene, Carrie has been rehabbing a complicated knee injury all year, which is the reason I've been racing with her team Alpine Shop. The Berryman is her return to adventure racing and we couldn't be happier! This is perfect timing for reasons you'll see below, but the Alpine Shop regulars (David, Jeff, and Doug) are teaming up with everyone's favorite SRAM/ZIPP rep Brad to create 2 teams. Jeff and Carrie are Alpine Shop - 2P and David, Doug, Brad, and I are Alpine Shop - Not 2P (see what we did there?). The Berryman AR always draws a large field of talented teams and this year is no different. Because Jeff, David and I have USARA Nationals the next week, we are just going to cruise through the race instead of kill ourselves in the battle for the podium. I'm so excited to spend a day in the woods with my friends! Look for 34 Down and Team Fusion/Kuat to battle it out for the 4-person coed category. In the 2-person coed category, Tiny Trail Ninjas, Out2Play, and late-entries Bushwhacker 1 and 2 are sure to lead the pack. The 2-person male category has a bunch of good teams too so it's gonna be a huge party in the woods! I can't wait!

USARA Adventure Race National Championship

AND THEN: USARA National Championship 30hr Adventure Race
October 4-5, 2013
Brown County State Park near Nashville, IN
Just 6 days after romping through Mark Twain National Forest, Alpine Shop will be hitting up Indiana's Brown County State Park for some national championship adventure racing action. The team list for this race has got me literally shaking in my trail shoes - I've never participated in a field stacked this deep with talented athletes. Just go here and look at a veritable who's-who of American adventure racing.
2012 USARA National Championship podium. Photo by Vladimir Bukalo.
Top contenders from the Midwest include our friends at:
  • Bushwhacker - recent champions of Thunder Rolls 24hr and all three are killer navigators! 
  • Rev3/MK Midwest - had one of their best races at Thunder Rolls and are on... a roll!
  • GearJunkie/WEDALI - defending USARA champions are bringing TWO teams, each capable of pulling off a win! unbelievable!
From the East Coast, we've got:
  • TeamSOG - last year's third place finishers and racing with the indomitable spirit of Scotty P!
  • Checkpoint Zero - both the Coed and Masters look tough to beat, especially with Joe on the maps!
  • Odyssey - both Coed and Masters (featuring our dear friend Sara and ace navigator Mark) look really fast!
And in the West Coast corner, we have:
  • Team Tecnu - 2nd-place finishers for three years running, will this be their year?! 
  • DART-nuun-Feed The Machine - expedition race veterans are throwing down on the "short" course!
If you include Alpine Shop in this list (sentimental favorites around here, obviously), then we have 10 teams each capable of hoisting the championship trophy on October 5th. That's not to mention the host of other teams (53 total!) who I'm not as familiar with, but are at Nationals for a reason and will be chomping at the bit to race hard. But the biggest unanswered question is, will I finally get to meet Abby Perkiss???

BUT WAIT THERE'S MORE: Checkpoint Tracker National Championship 30hr Adventure Race
October 11-12, 2013
somewhere around Knoxville, TN with an urban finish line!
Oh, what's that, you didn't get enough championship adventure racing last weekend? I didn't either. A mere 6 days after turning ourselves inside out at USARA Nationals, team Alpine Shop is picking up Doug and heading to Knoxville for Checkpoint Tracker Nationals. Why two Nationals Championships? I'll to that in a second, but bottom line is the field is also stacked for this event. Checkpoint Zero, Team Tecnu, and GearJunkie/WEDALI (again....two teams...seriously!) are also going for the double along with us and it should be another barn burner!

Weeeeeeeee are the champions! 
Welllllll, it's sorta hard to explain. GearJunkie had a go at it back in 2011, read it here. Basically, there are two private organizations competing to be the national governing body for the sport of adventure racing. United States Adventure Racing Association (USARA) is the older of the two (existing since at least 2000) and organizes a series of regional qualifying races for their national championship. Checkpoint Tracker is the newer (since 2010?), flashier organization which accepts all-comers to its national championship. Both organizations attempt to keep/update national rankings, and in my opinion both do an equally horrible job. Both organizations attempt to provide live broadcasting of races, including nationalses, and both have seen only limited success. From the general public's perspective, it's confusing. But from a racer's perspective, it's awesome to race against two stacked fields to close out the season! And, to make things simpler, let's just ask WWWD? (what would WEDALI do)? Answer: win them both.

1. Yes I will be missing Burnin at the (singular) Bluff. I am really sad about this, especially since I rode what may have been my fastest lap ever last weekend. But I'm leaving it up to my Team Noah teammate Maria to keep the women's 12hr solo buckle in the family! Go get 'em honey badger! Everyone else, please GTF in my absence.
2. I'll post live-tracking info for the Nationalses when I have it. Check my twitter or facebook. No guarantees it will actually work. But don't worry, you can expect long-ass thorough race reports for each of them!
3. I am so excited to show everyone what team Alpine Shop can do at all of these races. We've been training and racing together all year now, ever since freezing our fingers off at LBL in February. These people have been my rock all year long, we've gotten fitter and faster together, and we're ready to throw down! Yeah! Lately I've been reminded of a throwback quote from the 1998 World Cup Champions, France:
"This team possesses a wonderful joie de vivre and a will to win as well."
--Midfielder Emmanuel Petit, who scored the final goal in France's 3-0 victory over Brazil. And who has stunningly beautiful hair.
That's what I've been lucky enough to experience as a part of the Alpine Shop team - a joie de vivre. Undying enthusiasm for the outdoors, for working hard, and for being kind. And laughing. We do a lot of laughing.

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  1. I'll be there Thursday afternoon and will be volunteering out on the course and hanging out at the banquet with the GOALS gang afterward, so we better cross paths at some point! :)

  2. (Also, in the past I've done the live blogging from USARA. If I'm on the job again, I promise good tracking, at least during the awake hours :) )

    1. yay! i'm so excited! i didn't realize there was live blogging before!

      what are your thoughts on the east coast teams? i don't really know a lot of them. who did i miss? or who can be faster than one of the teams i did list?

    2. I think you've got most of the big guns on there. The one group that I'd add are the two Untamed New England teams. They went 1-2 at Nationals in Texas a few years back and I think were in 4th and 5th last year. They're one of the strongest and most consistent groups of racers around - I expect them to be in contention as well!

    3. oh yeah! i didn't really know about them because I've only heard of Jason from attackpoint, but never met anyone in person. just a geography issue. ahhhhhhh too many fast teams!

    4. It's going to be an interesting race - there's part of me that's disappointed not to be participating, but it'll sure be fun to watch :)

  3. Ugh...I still can't believe I signed up for a half marathon on Nationals weekend and am missing out on volunteering there AND missing meeting Abby. :(

    But YOU have an amazing few weeks ahead of you! Best of luck to you guys, and I can't wait to hear all about it!

  4. We are among the host of those 53 other teams who I think you are familiar with and from St. Louis..Off the Front. ;) See you there and good luck.