Bonk Hard Racing - Sunflower 24-Hour
David Shultz - Team WMS
The sound of a hand blender at full speed in the kitchen rouses me from a less-than-restful three hours of sleep. Mike, the consummate endurance athlete, is in the kitchen preparing protein & carbohydrate milkshakes at an exacting, time-tested ratio after staying up into the wee hours of the night plotting checkpoints and planning a race strategy. Formulating a nutrition and hydration strategy for a 24-hour race is no easy task and our strategy is pretty straightforward: eat and drink like emaciated cows. We quickly pack our gear, down a bagel or two, fill hydration bladders, stuff our backpacks with required gear until the seams are bulging, and rush out the door to first drop our bikes at a specified location and then head to the main transition area.
5:50 am - near Centennial Park, Lawrence, KS
Stay dry, don't get dirty, and don't do anything dangerous
posted Fri Mar 23 @ 12:23 PM by Mom
Our transition area is set - we're parked in a dark, beer can-riddled parking lot behind The Pool Room where many a schooner was quaffed and game of pool played back in our days as undergraduates at the University of Kansas. Temps are in the low 60s and a few scattered clouds are visible in the dark sky above. Across the street is the main transition area and the start/finish line; Centennial Park, conveniently located next to another late-night tradition for many KU undergrads - Bucky's Burgers. A double cheeseburger really doesn't sound all that bad at the moment.
After handing out punch cards we're loaded onto three busses; the race will start at Lake Perry, roughly 15-20 minutes by bus from Lawrence. We would start the race with a run through the Delaware Marsh to find our first CP before paddling some 16 miles from Perry Lake, down the Delaware River, into the Kansas River, and back to Lawrence. From there we will run approximately two miles along the levee to the bike drop where we would transition to bikes for 20 miles of riding on single track trails, gravel, and paved roads.
Take your salt tablets.
posted Fri Mar 23 @ 11:11 PM by Laura Mom
Please forgive my distraction for a second, but as I sit here typing this at 34,000 feet heading east-bound the gentleman next to me is watching original episodes of Wonder Woman on his video iPod (I really have to get one of these things...). Even though I can't hear anything I find myself getting sucked into the story line, making up my own script as I go along. I forgot how much Lynda Carter rocked as the invisible plane-flying, bullet proof bracelet-wearing superhero. But back to the story..
7:00 - race start - Perry Lake Dam
We're herded down a road to a point by Perry Lake near the dam. After a few comments by race director Jason Elsenraat, we're told that we would be the ones singing the national anthem today since he did not have the music system at the race start. And sing we did; 120+ adventure racers with wildly varying degrees of vocal talent belting out a warbling rendition of the national anthem on a dark, slightly windy, Saturday morning as we prepared to embark on a long, difficult, and some would say, crazy day of racing. It was a surreal moment to say the least.
Moments later we're off. From the start we had to run up to the top of the dam and then back down through the fields toward the Delaware Marsh where we would find our first checkpoint. We set out a decent pace running an approximate bearing toward the middle of the marsh. Some teams head further west, others east; we basically went with the middle of the pack. As we neared where we though the checkpoint would be we came to water crossing in the marsh. To go through, or to go around? That is the question. A few teams went around, a few jumped right in and wound up chest-high in the swampy water, so when I looked at Barry and Mike and their eyes said "screw that, we have 24 more hours of this" we decided to go around and stay dry for the time being.
Best of luck and remember to leave them a "trail."
posted Sat Mar 24 @ 6:55 AM by Red Dragon
We cruised around the marsh, spent a minute trying to figure out whether we should punch through the woods toward the CP or go around to the north. North it was so we ran along the eastern border of the woods until we found CP1 which was located on the other side of water. I generously volunteered Mike to take the first one for the team today so off he went, selflessly jumping into the muddy water and slogging his way across to the CP. While he was doing that I pulled out the kayak paddles and assembled the pieces anticipating the next CP just up-river. As soon as he was back on dry land the three of us took off for CP2 - the canoe put-in. As we approached CP2 a number of teams were already starting to haul the canoes down the steep bank to the river. I pulled out the portable canoe seat and tried to rig it up in the middle of the canoe. Clang! Metal pieces flew everywhere as the suspension system came apart. Lovely. No way in Hades that I'm sitting on the bottom of a canoe for 16 miles so I took a couple minutes rigging up an ad-hoc suspension system and knotting the rope so that it would hopefully hold my weight during the paddle.
Dave & Barry - the paddle
At last on the water we began the process of figuring out how to propel this canoe down-river with three people at a respectable pace. Mind you, we don't train for this part of the race. In fact, Mike and I have been in a canoe twice in the last 18 months - both times at the Bonk Hard Chill. This was Barry's second time in a canoe and none of us had ever paddled a canoe with three people in it before; in my experience the middle of a canoe was reserved for such key items as a cooler of beer or a lawn chair for a leisurely float trip with a group of like-minded individuals. At any rate, Barry and Mike tried to sync strokes with the kayak paddles while I improvised a semi-synced stroke with the canoe paddle from my tenuous perch in the middle of the canoe. We would pass a team here and there only to be passed again a bit downriver. What usually worked for two of us in a kayak worked only OK in a three-man canoe so we tried a few different techniques to increase our efficiency. Had all three of us had kayak paddles we certainly could have been more coordinated but over time we found a method that kept us moving forward at a reasonable pace while simultaneously avoiding a chance decapitation by paddle.
Go Barry, Dave, & Mike!! Be Safe!! Give it your best!!
posted Sat Mar 24 @ 8:39 AM by Mom & Dad
Reasonable, that is, until we started running into the sandbars. You would know when things were about to get bad when you saw teams in front of you out of their canoes, hauling them over the shallows. The bottom was sandy and resulted in a shoe full of sand each time you hopped out of the canoe. We hit a number of these while still on the Delaware; some we were able to power through from the canoe, others we had to portage. By this time we had found a good rhythm and began to pass more teams which bolstered our spirits. Many a story were told and some really bad singing surfaced. 70s, 80s, 90s, you name it - we hit it. Not the notes, mind you, just the lyrics. At one point I vaguely recall breaking into movie quotes, an area where my wife, family, and friends routinely make fun of what space must surely be wasted in head to remember lines from such bad movies.
We could see the power plant off in the distance but it seemed a long way away. I knew that once we hit the Kansas River we were more than a third of the way done, but it seemed like we were never going to reach it. At some point Mike pointed out that once you make it to the power station you were only a couple of kilometers from the take-out point. But how could that be? We hadn't even intersected the Kansas River yet? Or had we? Had we somehow paddled out of the Delaware into the Kansas River without even noticing? Perhaps when the barrage of sandbars ended? Apparently so, because we paddled past the power plant at a good click and shortly thereafter spied an apparition off in the distance - were those canoes being loaded onto a trailer? Sure enough, it was the take-out.
To call our "take-out" a piece of elegant teamwork might be a bit of an overstatement. As we hit the boat ramp sideways the current was fighting to take us downriver while simultaneously threatening to flip us. As I tried to get a leg out of the canoe it suddenly lurched, sending me waist deep into the 48 degree water. But I was the lucky one - as I gained my footing and turned around Barry was standing there dripping from head to toe with a "what the heck am I doing" look - he found himself completely submerged during his exit "strategy" and didn't look too happy. Nice way to start the day.
CP3 - canoe take-out - 11:12 am
Go Team 57! You're Super! Be tough all day!
posted Sat Mar 24 @ 9:07 AM by Mom & Dad
We quickly tried to get any sand out of our shoes that we could before setting off on a roughly two-mile run down the levee toward the bike drop. Besides the sand in my shoes I felt pretty good and wasn't suffering too many ill-effects from being crammed into the middle of the canoe for the past four hours. We saw one or two teams out running on the road - not sure why since the rules specifically said that you had to run on the levee to the next checkpoint. At any rate we ran into the transition area, punched our card, removed the sand-filled shoes and socks, put on bike shoes, and set out on the river trail system.
On my first pedal stroke I heard a frightening crunch/grind of metal coming from my bike. What on earth? I tried again, this time in a different gear. Same thing - no luck. I got off the bike and took a closer look and realized that the front derailleur had slipped down the frame to the point where it was literally resting on the big chain ring. Lovely. Perhaps we should have given the ol' bikes a test ride this morning? Out came the tools, I loosened the derailleur, slid it back up the frame, and tried to get it tightened in a spot that would allow the use of all my gears. In the process I managed to slice open my index finger which was now adorning my bike frame with nice streaks of red blood. We're only on the second leg of the race - what else could go wrong??
Go Barry & World Multisport!! YOU CAN DO IT!!!
posted Sat Mar 24 @ 10:54 AM by Biggest KC Fan :)
With a functioning set of gears I hopped back on the bike and we took off on the river trails, which were in surprisingly good shape considering the rain we've seen in the area lately. We wound through the hills and turns at a decent pace. At one point I pulled over to let a faster team get by, but other than that we didn't see too many teams on the trail. As we reached the far end of the loop we punched the checkpoint and then set back out toward the west, looking for an opening to the levee. The rules stated that you had to ride the trails from CP4 to CP5 but they did not say that you had to ride from CP5 back to CP6 on the trails so we cleared the woods and road back on the faster levee. This is where the newly made "bike tows" first came into play. Mike grabbed onto the tow on Barry's bike while I grabbed the one on Mike's bike. With the bike power localized in Barry, otherwise known as Thomas the Train, we could bump our average group speed by a couple of miles per hour. We flew back down the levee to CP 6, packed up the rest of our gear, and set out on the roads for the rest of this bike leg.
As we were heading toward CP7 the team that had passed us on the trails came biking past us. "Hey, didn't we pass you guys?" Yes. "How did you get in front of us?" We took the levee back to CP6. "You can't do that - the instructions said that you had to ride the trail." No, the instructions said that you had to ride the trail from CP4 to CP5; they said nothing of the reverse direction. Needless to say, they were not happy. However, having lost placement in races for our own lack of reading the rules in exacting detail, following them to precision, and, if need be, leveraging what's "not" said in the rules to our advantage, we've become better at interpretation and feel that our use of the levee was justified (in fact, the race director later said that we had done exactly what all the "smart" teams had done). But enough of my soap box.
Barry - tricky checkpoint
We continued to CP7, punched that near a railroad tracks, turned 180 degrees and motored back to CP8 before heading back toward the city. Although on gravel and concrete, the hills and stiff wind made this a tough ride nonetheless. We passed Johnny's, where students appeared to already be arriving early to hold tables for the NCAA tourney game that was starting in a few hours. Across the bridge, into town, quick right, and another right off Sixth Street a few blocks later and we found a few teams milling around while a team mate for each battled their way into the thick brush to find CP9. As I started into the woods I kept getting hung up on trees in light of the three-foot tall kayak paddles sticking out of the top of my pack. I handed the punch card to Barry and wished him luck; luck, because he had to sit over the edge of a drainage tunnel over a creek and try to reel in the checkpoint marker with his foot. It looked like it took some balance and dexterity, but he snagged it quickly then held it for another team that followed behind. Back on our bikes we made the four to five mile ride back to the transition area - a few more hills, increasing heat, burning legs - just getting warmed up!
CP10 - transition area - 2:05 pm
Dave, Mike & Barry Have a great race, have fun, be careful.
posted Sat Mar 24 @ 11:10 AM by Dad and Patti
We reloaded food and water, packed our climbing gear (or so we thought), filled water bottles, and set out on a jog down Ninth Street with a Rock Star (Mike's "Nectar of the Gods") in hand. By this time it was mid-day and we were starting to get some interesting looks and comments. A bunch of middle-age guys in spandex and backpacks running down the middle of a town filled with college kids. Normal, right? We hit Mass Street in quick time and turned north looking for Sunflower Outdoor & Bike where CP 11 would be hidden. We quickly searched both floors of the shop until Mike found the CP upstairs in the paddle section. Back out on the street we ran south along Mass. The students were really starting to show up in droves now - KU shirts everywhere as people shopped, ate, drank, and filed into bars to get a seat for tonight's game. We'd get a few people ask what he heck we were doing and even a few people cheering us on - it was pretty entertaining. It was, however, nearing 80 degrees, and the humidity was relatively thick.
A short way down Mass we reached South Park where Mike found the CP hanging from a tree. From there it was only a bit further until we reached an apartment building called "Babcock Place", no doubt named for our baked good-loving teammate of the same name. We checked in and the volunteer told us to put on our climbing gear. Check. And helmets. Helmets? All three of us looked at each other in confusion. How on earth could we have forgotten helmets? I think in our minds everything needed for the ropes segments were packed into little Velcro bags that were stuffed in our packs and the fact that we had to have helmets to rappel was simply forgotten in the heat of transition. So much for the checklist.
Go Multisport, use your Hawk Power
posted Sat Mar 24 @ 12:45 PM by Multi Mizzou
The rules stated that if a team chose not to do the ropes event or could not do the ropes event that they would incur a 15-minute standing penalty. OK, this isn't so bad - we just have to sit here and rest for 15 minutes. We were all angry that we couldn't do the rappel but at least this wouldn't hurt us too bad in terms of our finish time. So we sat and watched the other teams rappel. Sure does look fun. We're idiots.
Interestingly enough, the team that arrived at the rappel just before our arrival was just getting their climbing gear packed and starting back off onto the trek when our 15 minute penalty expired, so as we expected we didn't lose anytime here. Fair? Maybe, maybe not - we're the idiots that forgot our helmets so perhaps a 15-minute penalty was too lenient but at this point we weren't complaining.
So off we went - this time toward the University of Kansas Campus and the Campanile, a monument that sits atop the hill by the football stadium. We took what we thought was the most direct and least hilly course (no easy feat on this campus) and arrived at the Campanile a short time later. Off we went, downhill and up, by Barry's old fraternity, by Mike's and my old fraternity, past a few sororities (nobody looking at our spandex now…), and finally back onto Iowa and into transition.
CP15 - transition area - 4:18 pm
Way to go-1 leg done! Good biking guys! Keep trekking!
posted Sat Mar 24 @ 2:33 PM by Mom & Dad
Once back at the TA we checked in and got our second set of maps. The second set of the race looked to be epic - three bike legs, three paddle legs, three trek legs, and a 275 foot Tyrolean traverse across the Clinton spillway - much of which would occur in the dark! Things were just warming up and we weren't even halfway done with the race!
Barry ran in to the Pool Room to use the facilities while Mike and I took to plotting the second set of CPs and downing peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and whatever else we could get down. When Barry got back to the car he admitted that he nearly sat down in the Pool Room and had a schooner. Nice. But then again, 36 ounces of the brown and bubbly certainly does sound appealing right about now. OK…not now, but hopefully in, what, another 10-12 hours??
Knowing that we would not be back here until the end of the race we packed just about every bit of food and liquid that we could carry along with running shoes, climbing gear, and anything that we'd need at night. Heavily laden, we set off on our bikes toward Clinton Parkway and Clinton State Park.
CP17 - Clinton Lake - 5:16 pm
After snagging one checkpoint along Iowa street and hitting the endless trail of hills from Lawrence to the park we finally reach the park, hit a few more hills, and checked in at one of the boat ramps nearly an hour after leaving the transition area.
Keep it up! The wrong team is winning at half; 35 to 31!
posted Sat Mar 24 @ 8:01 PM by Red Dragon
Once again it was time to get back in the beloved canoes. We stuck our bike helmets and shoes into a dry bag and left it on shore with our bikes. Barry wasn't taking any chances with his shoes and sand this time so he stripped down to his bare feet, put his pack and shoes into a dry bag, and proclaimed that he was going to paddle this leg as the ancients walked the earth - shoeless. So off we went in our three-man boat, this time into a lake that was getting pounded with some good winds. We quickly ran into some current issues, some wave issues, and some wind issues, with the canoe nearly tipping half a dozen times in the first few minutes. It took a bit but we finally got things moving along on a steady rhythm and aimed across the lake to the first canoe take-out and trek leg.
When we pulled onto shore and got the canoe out of the water Jason and Airin Lee were there cheering us on and telling us that we're doing great and right in the thick of the competition. We thanked him, dropped our paddles and PFDs and set out along the shore toward a creek outlet that I believed would take us to CP19. After rounding a bend and crossing a shallow cove we hit the creek that we thought would take us to the CP. We started off along the creek, knocking our way through thorns and underbrush and mentally ticking off meters. At one point another team was inexplicably crossing our path from the west and we momentarily wondered if they were coming from the CP but we stuck with our original belief and continued up the creek. Sure enough, we hit the CP a hundred meters later and quickly set out on a path due east back toward a road that would take us close to CP20.
We jogged along a fairly worn path, passing a coed team along the way, and hit the road shortly thereafter, turning south back toward the lake. We clicked off a couple hundred meters an then left the road to the east in search of another creek and the next checkpoint. After a couple of minutes of bushwhacking we found the CP, punched our card, and headed west back out to the road before taking off on a run back to the lake. As we reached the shore and prepared to set back out onto the lake it looked like there were still six or seven canoes on shore; we may have just picked up another spot or two.
You guys are rockin'! Unfortunately the Jayhawks didn't.
posted Sat Mar 24 @ 9:23 PM by Red Dragon
This second paddle on Clinton was shorter than the first - perhaps a mile along the western shore and then cut across to the east into a deep cove. As we pulled into shore there was another team arriving and one that was setting back out in their canoe, having already completed the trek leg in front of us. The next checkpoint, CP23, was located at the Woodridge campground. According to one of our secondary maps the campground was located along a trail that circumnavigated the peninsula on which we were standing, the George Latham trail. There didn't appear to be any major shortcuts so we set out on a jog along the trail. The trail had its ups and downs and plenty of turns - we ran most of the trail while walking some of the steeper hills.
It took roughly 20 minutes to reach the campground and when we did an extremely exhausted volunteer punched our card and performed a gear check. By this time all of us had nearly drained our water supply and so it was extremely fortunate that there was a ground well and pump at this campground. We quickly filled our hydration packs and any bottles that we had with us and grabbed a bite to eat as we set back out on the trail in a counter-clockwise direction. The sun was setting and darkness began to sink in around us in the woods as we jogged/walked/jogged along the trail toward the tip of the peninsula where we'd find CP24. I asked Barry and Mike how long it would take us to cover the roughly two kilometers to the next CP and judging on our progress on foot I think one of them said that we'd hit CP24 at 8:00. At precisely 7:59 I spotted the CP along the trail. Nice work - our ability to judge distance on foot is getting better with each race.
Barry, Mike, Dave: Dig deep now. You can do it! Stay focused!
posted Sun Mar 25 @ 3:02 AM by Mom & Dad
We quickly continued along the trail back to CP22 where the canoe was stashed, spotting a team coming over the middle of the peninsula as we jogged. When we got back to the canoes it was apparent that this might just be the best paddle of the day. The wind had all but disappeared, it was dark, and the stars above were bursting with brightness. We attached glow sticks to our PFDs and to the canoe and set out through the cove. Mike worked the front of the boat by navigating through the trees and stumps that dotted the cove and this part of the lake. We had a couple of close calls and ran over a few trees just below the surface but all in all it was a smooth paddle. We were literally following the Big Dipper out of the cove before turning back to the east toward the take-out. We saw a few teams coming from the opposite direction - they were in for a long night of navigation on foot and paddling. We also saw a team heading in our direction but it seemed as though they were heading for the dam rather than the original take-out where our bikes were stashed. We paddled across the lake fairly efficiently and before too long we had reached shore for the last time in this race - four paddling legs and we were done. Time for a night orienteering leg!
CP25 - Clinton Lake - 9:20 pm
Mike - night nav in the canoe
We quickly checked in with the volunteers, punched our card, put on our trail shoes and set out along the single-track trail along the lake. There were five checkpoints on this orienteering leg - all accessible in roughly a counter-clockwise circle - before we would return to the boat ramp for our bikes. We switched to a 1:12,500 scale orienteering map and so I quickly readjusted my thinking and mental scale to match the map. It was critical that we judge turns and coves along the lake correctly as we progressed along the trail to ensure that we didn't pass the first checkpoint, CP26, which was located along a creek but not on the trail. Mike and Barry jogged up front and gauged the turns in the trail and our pace as I told them to look for the second cove. As we turned inland away from the lake we started to look for a creek crossing. When we found the one that I believed to be correct I shot down through the brush toward the lake and found the CP by the tree line.
Go Barry, Dave, Mike! You're almost done yea! Be Safe!
posted Sun Mar 25 @ 4:07 AM by Mom & Dad
Back on the trail we continued forward, again looking for another cove and a couple of obvious turns in the trail. CP27 was also along a creek but rather than taking the creek from the trail crossing we opted to follow a secondary trail which paralleled the creek. When we had progressed roughly 200 meters we turned east until we hit the creek and then fanned out to the north until we found the CP a few seconds later. Back on the trail we took the secondary trail out to a trailhead and then hopped onto the road and started jogging toward the park entrance. CP28 was also on a creek, this one centered in the cross-country area of Clinton State Park. Since the CP was a full kilometer or so from the road we didn't really want to bushwhack the full distance up the creek from the road so we hopped onto the cross-country trails, heading in the general vicinity of the creek. We passed a few other teams heading out of the woods and saw a few heading into the woods like us. We finally found a trail that crossed the creek in question and so we set out on a parallel course along the creek until Mike spotted the CP. He had to do some climbing to get to it and nearly fell into the creek, but back on foot with the CP punched we set out back toward the road.
CP29 was a tree located on a prominent hill on the way back to the boat ramp. We saw a few headlamps bobbing around on the top of the hill and climbed up toward the hill top. We snagged the CP and then headed back down the hill toward the road. Had it been daylight I would have known to go down the other side of the hill but in the dark, and with a lack of celestial navigation skills, I took us down a side of the hill that required a bit of backtracking before descending along the road toward CP30. As we neared CP30 we left the road for the trail system, along which we would find CP30. We jogged along the trail, watched another team or two fight their way through the brush, found the CP, and quickly jogged along the trail back toward the road. Once on the road we jogged to the boat ramp and checked in - all trek legs for this race are done!
CP31 - Clinton Lake - 11:07 pm
We changed back into bike shoes for the final leg of the race, got our lights up and running, and set out on the road immediately sending the heart rates sky high as we climbed the road from the boat ramp area. My mind was wandering and a little exhausted at this point and so the navigation that had kept us out of any major trouble for the past 18 hours was beginning to wane. I knew that we had to turn into the second major camp area to catch a trail to the next CP, but I failed to notice that we had one more major descent/climb across a creek on the road before the turn. We turned first down one road, realized it wasn't the right one, and then turned went a bit further, and turned down a second road. Again, wrong. Mike's gut told him that it was farther down the road so I took a closer look at the map and, sure enough, we hadn't passed the creek that would indicate our approach to the campground yet. Oops.
Off we went, climbing across the creek, before finally turning down the correct road and taking that all the way to the tree line near the lake. Even though the map indicated that there was one, I could not find an obvious trail head in the dark and so I told the guys that we would bushwhack with the bikes down to the trail. I vaguely recall my name being cursed as we fought through the brush and thorns but luckily the trail was only about 20 meters down the hill.
Go Barry, Dave, Mike! You're almost done yea! Be Safe!
posted Sun Mar 25 @ 4:07 AM by Mom & Dad
As we reached the trail and mounted our bikes I could see moonlight reflecting off the water down the hill from our position and figured that we hit the trail in about the right spot. We would ride until we reached the back of the cove where we would find CP32. After a couple of minutes it seemed as though the trail was winding further from the lake than it should have been. I hopped off my bike and ran down to the waterline in search of the CP. It wasn't where it should have been, or rather, where I thought it should have been. Oddly - Barry pointed out a few headlamps closer to the lake that appeared to almost be in the water in the middle of the cove. I ran back up the hill to our bikes and checked the map - sure enough, there was a lake behind the cove - we were too far inland. Mistake number two.
Back on the bikes we quickly peddled back toward the lake until we found an intersecting trail that crossed between the cove and the smaller lake. I spotted the CP, down a steep rock embankment, which proved tricky in my tired shape and in bike shoes. After carefully climbing back up the steep rocks we got back on our bikes. The rules stated that you had to stay on trails from CP32 to CP33 and the only trails that we were aware of or that were on the map were the white and blue bike trails. Mind you, these trails aren't a piece of cake when the sun is out and the trails are dry - I didn't relish the idea of riding them in the dark with the rain we've received all week, not to mention in our exhausted condition. At any rate, we hopped on the bikes and began the slow process of riding the bike trails.
To say that we were slow is an understatement. The trails were wet, rocky, rooty, very slippery, and essentially unrideable for large portions of the trail. We would slip, run into trees, dismount, remount, and push our bikes through the muck. I heard a lot of colorful words emanating from Mike's direction so I know things weren't going well for him either. We only had to ride the trails for a few kilometers but it felt like 20 miles. At one point we crossed a road and, while the temptation to take it rather than the trail was strong, we decided to stick with the rules and stay on the trail. Mike was literally shaking at this point, "I don't know whether I'm going to pass out or throw up." Barry offered him door number three, get back on the bike and push through, which he readily accepted.
Finally we broke out onto a gravel road that led down to the Sanders Mound lookout, on top of which we would find CP33. Just as we were nearing the bottom of the mound I saw Barry's lights do an odd dance in the night as he went over his handlebars. He landed on his hand and twisted an ankle and was in considerable pain. When we finally reached the bottom of the mount a few meters later we all had a quick break on the ground before walking to the top to get the checkpoint. Get us off these da$#ed trails.
With our team in battered but decent condition we biked back up the gravel road to the park roads where we started toward the dam. At this point one or two teams came barreling down the road, "yo, is this the way to Sanders Mound?" Well, yes, but you were supposed to stay on the trails, not ride the roads. Congratulations on catching up to us.
Barry - on the traverse
We biked up the road to the dam and then took the road down the backside of the dam and turned into the Clinton Spillway area where we found lights shortly thereafter. We were instructed to take our bikes, climb down into the spillway, cross the water, and climb back up the other side with our bikes where we would be rigged up for the traverse. After splashing through the water and pushing our bikes up an incredibly steep hill we got out our harnesses and prepared to go across the traverse. We would have to take everything; our bikes, our backpacks, and ourselves, across the 275 foot traverse. Barry went first and climbed the ladder to the rope while the volunteers strapped him and his bike to the pulley. I snapped a pic as Barry smiled like sliding across a traverse in the dark with all his gear at 1:00 in the morning after 18 hours of racing was something he did on a routine basis. Next off was Mike, who took off down the rope cracking a few branches along the way. Both went across the traverse like pros though Mike claimed that he almost couldn't pull himself up the other side.
Congrats! #57! You did great!! Be safe coming home!
posted Sun Mar 25 @ 8:53 AM by Mom & Dad
Finally it was my turn so I climbed the ladder, hooked onto the pulley, and then hooked the carabineer attached to my bike to the pulley. When I finally pushed off into the black void above the spillway it was an oddly relaxing sensation. As soon as I started to slow down I started pulling with my arms to leverage any momentum I had to make it back up the uphill side of the traverse. I got within a couple of pulls of the other side and then had to use the last of my arm strength to pull myself up to the dismount area where the volunteers un-hooked me. As I gathered my gear I found Barry packing his bag and Mike lying on his back, still not feeling well. He decided to get a PBJ sandwich down, which promptly came back up, but he felt better as a result so I chalked it up as a nutritional success. A few teams were making their way across the traverse so Barry coaxed us into action and we hopped on our bikes for the final push to the finish line.
We had about eight miles and two checkpoints between us and the finish line and we did our best to push on at a steady pace in order to finish strong. I carefully checked the computer on my bike since we had to make a specific turn to get CP 35; the road wasn't labeled and I didn't want to risk overshooting the correct road and wind up doubling back. Just shy of a kilometer after making the turn that I believed to be correct I found the CP hanging from a tree at the end of the road. Psyched that we only had one CP to go, one that we had found previously on the way out to Clinton, we pushed on yet again. We spotted a blinking team ahead of us in the dark, so Barry instinctively told us to rope up - we were going to take them. And take them we did - roped up we must have been flying at 20+ mph and so we passed a coed team like they were standing still. Our long race experiences have usually only witnessed the marquis teams fly by us at those relative speeds so it felt great to be the team passing other teams on the push to the finish this time around.
We rolled back into Lawrence, turned north on Iowa, snagged CP36 in the tree, and climbed the final hill to the finish. We climbed one, last, long hill along Iowa street as we approached the finish, crossed the parking lot of a grocery store, and rolled across the finish at 2:42 am - nineteen hours and 34 minutes after starting the race yesterday morning - we were done! It had been a long, difficult day but we had covered roughly 46 miles on bike, 21 miles on foot, and 24 miles in a canoe and had done so in a steady, consistent, and relatively accurate fashion, especially when you consider that busy schedules and illnesses had brought us to this race on little long-distance training. We all had ups and downs throughout the day but everyone put in a strong effort and finished strong.
Dave, Mike, & Barry, Great race guys! You did it.
posted Sun Mar 25 @ 9:43 AM by Dad and Patti
Kudos to Jason and Laura and their fleet of volunteers, friends, family, and cooperating agencies. As always you guys put on a well-organized, tough, and exciting race. We look forward to your return to Lawrence again in the future. Thanks to our friends and family who cheered us on and followed our progress via the internet during the race - wish you all could have been here, especially our teammates who joined us at the Bonk Hard Chill. Guys and gals, take away the six degree wind chill while paddling on a half-frozen lake and you all would have rocked the Sunflower. Until next time…