Wednesday, December 2, 2009


Well it is official, Chris and I will be traveling to St. Louis this weekend for the Castlewood 8hr Race. We are looking forward to it, even though we haven't done as much training as we normally would have. It looks like the weather is going to be cold too! We will have to wait and see how it goes. Full report to follow.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Sand Springs River Race

On the 31st of October, Sheldon and I once again teamed up to tackle the Sand Springs River Race. We did this race together last year and had a lot of fun. We had high expectations for this race, this year Sheldon had a better idea of what to expect, and we had trained together some this year when we could.

Race day arrived and the weather looked nice, with a good forecast. 40's in the morning with daytime temps in the 50's. I met Sheldon at the gas station, loaded his gear and we were off. We arrived and checked in. Soon the announcement was made that the start of the race would be delayed to some changes in the mode of transport for the river due to high water levels. This year we would be using rafts instead of canoes. As we would arrive at the river we would need to team up with another team to go down the river. This was pretty exciting, though we knew this would probably be slower than canoes.

We boarded the buses and rode to where the run would start and anxiously awaited. It was a shotgun start and we were off. We knew this run would be approx. 2 miles, and it was the same route as last year. We had decided on the bus ride that if we got there around the same time that we would team up with Chris and Jeremy , my co-workers who were also competing in the race. Both teams covered the run in about 20 minutes and we piled into the raft. The river was up, but it still wasn't as fast as we thought it would be. We came to the technical run a couple miles down the river and hit the trail. We all stayed together through this part until right at the end and Chris pulled a little ahead. When they arrived at the rafts there was a twosome waiting for another team and they jumped in leaving us to wait for the next team to go with us. Lucky for us there was another team only about 20 seconds behind and we were back on the river for the rest of the paddling. We maintained our distance and pulled out right behind Chris and Jeremy. Now it was time to hit the bikes, and I was feeling good. I always seem to excel on the bike and thought we might be able to get ahead in this area. We ran and jumped on the bikes and were off, suprisingly enough we got out ahead of a couple of teams that were changing into their bike shoes. I took off quick knowing that Sheldon could eventually catch up. I kept looking back but it seemed that they just were not catching up. I eventually came to where we would do our mystery event, and at this point it was mandatory to wait for both members to be present. The mystery event was to split a block of wood and carry the pieces up the hill and put them by the outdoor furnace. I have to hand it to Jason and Amanda this worked out good for them, and it was neat for a mystery event. I had gained several minutes on my parter and my co-workers and took the opportunity to have a little water and watch some of the other teams split their wood. Some of the people had obviously never split wood and it was rather entertaining. Chris and Jeremy came and went and Sheldon arrived soon after and we split our wood and hit the trail again. We completed the rest of the first lap and then the second without any notable problems and covered about 7 miles on the bikes. We crossed the finish line in 3hrs 16 minutes, just minutes behind Chris and Jeremy at 3hrs 14minutes. It was a fun race with the rafting and though the trail was muddy and challenging, a good time was had.

Sunday, October 18, 2009


Wildcat Sprint Duathlon

Chris and myself attended the Wildcat Sprint Duathlon on Sat. October 17 in Rogersville. This was my first duathlon, Chris had done a few in the past. Check in was at 0700 with the race starting at 0800. The race started with a 2 mile run followed by 12 miles of biking, and then concluded with a 2 mile run. We knew going into this event that we wouldn't be placing high in the rankings due to the fact that we would be riding our mtn. bikes, but saw this as a good opportunity to train for the upcoming Sand Springs race. Our only hope was that maybe we could win some of the good giveaways.

My wife and I met Chris in Marshfield and he followed us up to the race which was located at the high school in Rogersville. The weather was clear, but a little chilly with temps in the low 40's. We arrived and checked in and received our race bibs, t-shirts, and race packets. We unloaded our bikes and layered up with what we thought would be the appropriate amount of clothing, and hurried to stage our bikes before the start. Chris ran the first two miles in 18:40 and I ran it in 20:02, we were both quick in the transition and took off on the bikes. The race flyer had said that the bike route would be flat and scenic with "ozark inclines". Well there were a few flat portions, and there were definetly some "inclines" as they were called. Lol. Chris finished the biking in 1:00:29 and I finished in 1:03:29. We felt pretty good about these times since our pre-race goal had been to cover the 12 miles in about an hour. We transitioned and were back out to run. After climbing off the bikes it took a little while to get the legs going again, though we didn't post a fast time on the bikes, we had still pedaled hard riding the mtn. bikes. Chris completed his second 2 miles in 20:37 for a total time of 1:42:26. I completed my second 2 miles in 23:54 for a total of 1:48:38. Overall a pretty satistfying race, completed within our goal of around 1hr 45min. We enjoyed some post race gatorade and snacks and called it a day.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


Greenways Adventure Race

Still under the affliction of adventure racing fever I dedided to put together a team for the greenways race. Racing with Chris would not be possible as he already had a team from previous years. So I set out to find some teammates. I needed a four person team and it had to be coed. It isn't that easy to, convince people that have never done a race that going and tromping around in the woods for 12 hrs is going to be a good time. I ended coming into contact with female personal trainer from a fitness center here in Lebanon through a co-worker. I met with her, she was really excited and her fiance was even going to do the race as well. I had three people now, so I just needed one more. Chris came through in the pinch and put me in contact with his pastor whom had done the race before. Sweet! The team was set, and it seemed as it would be good. Everyone had some conflicting schedules and getting together to train just never seemed to happen. I met with everyone and got the waivers signed, things still looked good.

Time passed and the race came around. I sent a message to my team to remind them of necessary items for race day, ie. bike, helmet, hydration pack. I din't receive a reply from anyone and thought this a bit strange, but knowing that people get busy, and the reliability of cell phones I didn't get to worried. On the day before the race I decided to call everyone and make sure that they knew what time to arrive. I soon found out that my female and her fiance had decided not to do the race and had never elected to tell me. I had paid the entry fee and had agreed to collect from everyone on race day. Big mistake! I frantically began to call everyone I knew to try to locate some people to do the race with me. I was desperate and agreed that anyone that would do the race could do if for free, because I was going to be out the money one way or the other. Not having any luck, I headed up to Richland to check-in and pick up our race packet. I called the remaining team member to explain what had happened, and found out that without a full team he would rather just sit it out as well. I explained my dilema to race officials and was told that there had been some other teams that had somebody drop. I came back early on race day and waited to meet with one of these teams hoping to join up with them and make a team. I was soon approached by a team that had heard of my situation and needed a person to make a full team. We agreed that we all had the same goal, finish the race and I joined up with team OZAIR. I was just happy to be with a team. With the rains the night before, the canoeing portion of the race had been taken out due to safety reasons, so a few last minute changes were made and maps were passed out. We headed out on the bikes and eventually came to the technical run and then the orienteering/trekking portion of the race. This was the first time that the entire race had been map and compass based. Even though my navigating experience was very limited, it was soon discovered that compared to the rest of my team I had a lot of knowledge. With my navigating and their pacing we made our way through the orienteering section and found all the checkpoints.
We made it back to our bikes and headed out for the technical bike portion. The trails were very muddy and did make for a challenging ride. About midway through this, while waiting for some of the team to catch up I discovered that my left pedal and crank arm was very loose. The bolt holding it all on had stripped out. I made several stops and tightned it using a multi tool from another team that had been keeping pace with us. We eventually made it back to the highway and had about 7 miles back to the finish. At about one mile into this part of the ride I was riding along, the bolt fell out and bounced into the grass and tall weeds on the roadside. I knew that I would probably never find it and didn't want to waste the time looking for it. I don't know if you have ever tried to ride a bike with only one pedal, but it is probably almost impossible. I soon gave in and would push it up the hills and ride it down, coasting as far as possible. This cost the team a considerable amount of time, but everyone took it in good spirits. We made it to the end and sprinted across the finish line as a team. We ended up 49th out of 57 teams with a time of 10hrs 35mins. Thanks to Mark and Debbie Burgess, and Brandon Franklin for letting me race with them.

Bonk Hard Chill

Bonk Hard Chill Feb. 09

After the Berryman Chris and I both wanted to do another race with Bonk Hard to make ourselves feel a little better about our last performance. Time passed and we decided to go to Lake of the Ozarks for the Chill. The race would be on the 7th of February, my birthday so it would have to be a good day. We spent more time training for this race since we had a little better idea of what to expect. The weather leading up to the race was brutally cold and I must say that we were a little nervous about race day temps. I made arrangement for our room and my wife and I arrived at the Quails Nest Inn, Chris arrived shortly after and we headed off for check in and the pre-race meeting. There was a mandatory gear check, which included pretty much everything except for our bikes. The meeting went off without a hitch. There were some pretty cool give-aways, Chris won a beer glass but that was it. No shoes or any of the other good stuff for us. Eventually we are bound to win something cool if we attend enough races. We received our maps, coordinates, and clue sheets. We headed back to our motel and plotted the coordinates and made the necessary route choices.

We awoke early on saturday morning, indulged in the continental breakfast and headed off to drop our bikes at the designated site. Crystal followed us so she would know where she could see us later to take some pictures. We arrived at headquarters, donned our headlamps and anxiously awaited for the race to start. The race fired off and everyone took off on the same route since the first several checkpoints had to be done in order. The crowd spread pretty quickly though after only a couple checkpoints. We made it through the first checkpoints with only one small navigational error and realized that with some patience and practice the compass might not be that bad to use. We arrived at our bikes and had to ride a short distance down to the beach where the canoes awaited. We headed out across the lake, remembering that the night before we were told the water temperature would be around 40 degrees. Nothing like the thought of near instantaneous hypothermia to keep you on your toes. We hadn't made it very far when we saw some teams that had brought their own paddles, kayak paddles. Teams with kayak paddles were able to really make some good time with no wasted effort on their stroke. Note for the future: If there is lake paddling involved, brink kayak paddle. We found all our checkpoints via canoe and were glad to get back to the beach to retrieve our bikes. We weren't quite done paddling yet though. We had to load our bikes into the canoes and paddle about another mile to get to the beginning of the biking portion. We arrived at the beach, parked the canoes, unloaded the bikes and were off on the road.
It felt good to give the arms and shoulders a break and work the legs. The biking portion went good we made it to the halfway point, located at a church, which is where we received a sheet with the rest of the trekking checkpoints. High point of this was that the volunteers at the church had prepared delicious snacks from fruit to sandwiches as well as lemonade. Chris and I snacked, plotted the points, and headed back out on the bikes. We hit the next few checkpoints and made it to the transition to the rest of the trekking checkpoints. We knew that there was a cutoff for returning from the points , so before heading out we confirmed the time and headed out. We had decided before the race that if it came down to it, we would cut some checkpoints off in order to finish the race. We headed out and hit a couple checkpoints before getting slightly off track. Not too bad, we made it almost all day without any big blunders. We spent a little time looking for the checkpoint and decided to just head in and give ourselves plenty of time to get back before dark. We made our way back to the bikes, rode back to the beach and loaded the bikes back into the canoes. Once again we paddled with our bikes across the lake. One would think that the bikes might throw off the balance of the canoe, but it wasn't really too bad. We got back to dry land and pedaled our way back to the finish line.

We finished in 10hrs 46min with 34 of the 42 checkpoints. We ended up 5th in the two person male teams and around 19th overall. We raced under the team name of The Shockers. Overall the weather was beautiful, 60-70 degrees, we finished the race and had a great time.

Sand Springs

Sand Springs Sprint Race Oct. 08

Well after the Berryman the idea of a race that would only last 2-4 hours sounded very appealing, especially one that required no navigation using a map and compass! I had recruited my childhood friend Sheldon Smith to be my teammate. We were both very excited about the race even though neither one of us really knew what we were in for.

Race day arrived and the weather was cold, but clear. The race started off with approximately a two mile run down to the river where our canoes awaited. We were able to keep a steady, but not necessary any speed record pace for the run. We made it to the canoes and were off. Sheldon and I have spent many, many hours paddling on the river growing up so it didn't take long for us to get in a rhythm and we started to make up some time. We passed a few teams and came to the mystery event of the race, a zip-line. It was a lot of fun, Sheldon stayed in the canoe and I waited in line and zipped across the river, got back in the canoe and we were off again. Next up was the technical run, or at least that is what they called it. I would describe it as more of technical climb or hike the only time that we ran was when we might have tripped on something or slid down the hill and had to run to avoid falling. We eventually made it through it and back to the canoes, paddled a couple more miles and made it to the bike transition. Having never been to this race before we weren't sure how to get to the trail, but eventually found our way up the hill to where we needed to go. The biking portion consisted of approximately a 3.5 mile lap that we would go through twice. The trail was very rough and pretty steep in places. It was very trying for those who were not experienced in riding trails or navigating through the rocks or stumps.We eventually made it through the biking, though it was a challenge. We crossed the finish line with a smile in 3hrs 40mins. Prior to this race I had been trying to convince Sheldon of how much fun these races were and that we should try a 12hr race. Well needless to say after this race, which he described as one of the hardest things he has ever done, he really had no desire to do another race for a while. Overall it was a good experience, and it was nice to have a finish under my belt.

In the beginning.....

Well let me start by apologizing because I am going to try to give a little report on all the past races that I have attended. Reports in the future will be much more in detail.

In May of 2008 I had the opportunity to do the Standby at the Ozarks Greenways Race while working on the ambulance. I really had no idea what adventure racing was even about, but I must admit after seeing it in action a person has to think one of two things.... Look at all these stupid people punishing themselves or Hey I think I would like to try that and I chose the latter.

Berryman Adventure Sept. 08

As summer progressed I discussed with my co-worker Chris my desire to do an adventure race. He had been reading about some of the races put on by Bonk Hard Racing and we made the decision to attend the Berryman Adventure. We recruited another co-worker, Jeremy and Chris' brother-inlaw Scott, and the team was set. We would have a 4-person male team, Chris had opted to name the team The Lost Boys and little did we know how true that would become. Well the training began and seemed to go well. We ran together and biked together and the only apprehensions were about the concept of navigating solely using map and compass and the plotting of UTM coordinates. I undertook the task of learning to plot the coordinates and left the navigating with a compass to the rest of the team, seeing as how they did have a little prior experience at this task.

Finally race weekend arrived, we all rode down together and enjoyed the ride. We arrived in Van Buren and found our lodging and continued on to Big Spring, checked in and enjoyed a wonderful spaghetti dinner.The pre-race meeting was held on the gravel bank behind The Landing which was convenient since this is where we were staying there. There were some awesome raffle prizes given away, which no one on our team won, but we were just excited to be there. Maps and clue sheets were given out and we headed to our room to plot. Chris and I did the plotting while Scott and Jeremy took a drive to Poplar Bluff to get some stocking caps, we all had synthetic caps, which actually were not approved gear. We took our time and methodically plotted our UTM coordinates onto the map and the guys were back shortly after we finished. We called it a night around midnight, knowing that we would be up early the next morning to do the bike drop before heading to HQ for the start of the race. The National Anthem played and the race was off with a bang. Crowds of people ran together and everyone pretty much ran to the first checkpoint together. However it was after this point that everyone started to spread out and we realized we were not as sure as we had thought about this whole concept. We experienced a few small blunders and fumbled our way throught the first seven checkpoints, made it to the river crossing at which we would receive our life jackets and would need to swim across the current river. I can honestly say even though it was starting to warm up, the water was still pretty cold. We made it across and found the road that would lead us to the field we would find our next checkpoint in. We found it with relative ease and thought we were starting to get the hang of this stuff. Key word there, thought! We left the pond and decided if headed in what we thought was the general direction we would find the trail we needed. Keep in mind we just went in the general direction, no compass heading or anything. Not a good idea, we ended up well away from our intended destination and found trails that the map didn't even show. We ultimately found our way back to something we could recognize and made our way back to the field where this fiasco started. It was at this point that needed to decide to either skip a few checkpoints so that we could just run the road and make it to the canoes so as to be off the water before the cutoff time. Well the team decided that we didn't want to give up on checkpoints already, so we would regroup and try again. We shot a heading with the compass and were able to find the next point and felt pretty good about it. This feeling was short-lived however, due to some type of extreme navigational mistake that ultimately took us on a rather long and painful journey to places that were not where we wanted to be. Simply put we got lost, and I don't mean a little bit. We spent the next few hours wandering around before ultimately happening upon a mansion of a house in the middle of nowhere. Luckily the nice gentlemen there were able to send us on the right track, and they were also so nice as to let us fill our camelbacks, which was good cause we were pretty much out of water and energy at this point. By the time we got back to where we needed to be, we were faced with another decision. Call it a day or continue on knowing that by the time we could reach our bikes we would be destined to ride the highway back to headquarter. We made the decision to just call it a day and hike back to HQ and call it a day. I think on the long walk back we proceeded to eat all of the food in all of our packs. We went and retrieved our bikes from the bike drop and headed home.
I will say one thing, it was one heck of an experience for my first adventure race. When they say the Berryman is "a real ass kicker" they mean it.