Wednesday, October 14, 2009

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.

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