THE LONG POST!
The following is a play by play of our 2008 Castlewood 8+ Hour Adventure Race from memory. Yes...every Checkpoint is now etched in my photographic playbook...aka my mind~! I wrote all of this without the aide of maps or coordinates...why...because I can! ...oh yes and I had a few beers...
3:45AM WAKE UP!!! Get movin', Did I sleep? I don't think so. My adrenaline was already pumping. Get dressed, quietly.....keep moving, damn starting to sweat, peel a layer and finish packing Stella. Ahh 4:30 Stella is rollin down the street, QT in sight, gas, coffee, Chocolate Covered -Yummy yellow stuffed doughnut!, Check, good to go.
Where is Castlewood? Damn had to stop and ask directions to an Adventure race...that can't be good. Lost before the race starts....ok, back on track...Big Bend to Ries make a left.
We are right on schedule...got a sweet spot near the HQ and race start, perfect. Lets unload.
A few hello's around to faces we haven't seen in months. Ryan, Carrie (AMAZINGRACE), Mike (Mid Rivers Adventure Racing). Time to check in and pickup our passport for the day. Mr. Keevan is standing there with that "PermaGrin", always good to see an SS Icon (Single Speed). Excitement is building!
Ok, Checklist - Bikes yup, helmets, gloves, packs. - Nah, I don't need that much water....(Mistake Numero Uno!) Cold weather means more fuel, and yes water is fuel. Muscles need to be hydrated. I am not sure what I was thinking at this point. I just wanted to go. Wendy is going through her checklist, and starting to bounce. I think she is ready. Clothing check...the temp is in the mid 20's, its now 5:30AM. Pre-race meeting in 15 minutes. Pack the fleece, there is no way I can start the race with this on...I will burn up.
Clothing - Bib-Knickers, and Specialized Bike pants, Short-sleeve Fat Tire Jersey (Need the pockets), Starter - Dri-fit loose longsleeve, top it off with another loose longsleeve with a 1/4 zip. Ahh perfect - gloves, jersey and a my serius weatherproof in the pack. Checklist complete Lets go!
Whats that bus doing here...you can hear the crowd volumn pickup...more buses... can only mean one thing....we are going for a ride to start the race. 5:45AM Pre-race meeting. A few heads up regarding the course...Checkpoint 12-13 stay on the road its a private drive. BTW the race really starts at 7AM, we will be transported to the race start, at which time more instructions will be given. Load the bus, Team Trail Monster picks Buss one, sittin next to Team Control Freaks, AMAZINGRACE is just a couple seats up. 4 buses load up, we are rollin. Up Ries, to Big Bend, now South on I-44...cross the Meramec River, Make a left, cross the tracks, and left on W. Lead Bus overshoots the drop site....extra 10 minutes on the bus. I see a building, picnic tables, and more and horses. Hmmm? Group Announcement....1 person from everyteam will run down around the property, and gather 2 pieces of paper from the volunteers on the course and bring them back...then you can plot the first section of the course. Wendy chose to run. The run was sketchy, tall grass, ice on the gravel road, and its very cold. Wendy made it back, and no she was not last....close thanks to a fall. The wind keeps blowing my maps around...it took a minute to get situated and begfin plotting....Done! Close the map case and figure out where we are...ok got it...follow the crowd..LOL not really I think we are in the top 20 leaving the start. Run to the canoe put in...which way ...damn, myadrenaline is flowing so fast I think I am trying to run 7 min miles...grab a canoe, paddle, life vest. Damn life vest doesn't fit with a backpack on...or does it...just about knocked Wendy down with the canoe...let the cussin' of Jim begin. - Note our typical race start is ....I go way to fast, rail on Wendy for not going faster, and she cusses me...its how we race....we hit the water and the canoe feels like we are dragging and anchor...dman now we are taking on water...just enough to soak my shoes...Paddling is tough, flat water, Wind in our face. First Checkpoint is in sight...dosent seem like we will ever get there.
Pull up and get out. Punch passport, carry canoe up the hill to the parking lot, drop it and run to the next checkpoint around the road to the intersection at Route 66 State park. Orienteering section...There is Mr "Permagrin" Keevan handing out clue sheets. damn...take a heading and go....6 points - Its all flat running in tall grass and a little sparce woodlands. Team Trail Monster is not in synch. I am running to fast, let the arguements begin...then the cussin, and quitin' yup we must have quit 3 or 4 times already....I slow down and damn Wendy trips over a hidden log, Is she hurt? Dunno, she wont speak to me...Up she goes and we are off again. We make it back to the canoes and grab a better looking one. I of course knock her down again draggin the canoe out of her hands....gotta slow down. We clear the checkpoint and hit the water...man this canoe rocks...we can tell in the first couple feet this one will move. Off we go, gaining on the group ahead...slowly we reel them in...and a COED 4 person reeled us in...how are the doing it? Man they were quick in the water. Checkpoint on the left...go get it...I jump out and run up the bank..its muddy and slippery. Checkpoint cleared. I decide a quick route to the water is straight ...brush bustin and I bust my ass, and tumble down the river bank to the waters edge...did it work? Almost, we left at the same time as the other team. We pick an outside line and make a move in the fast water, we are out in front and moving away. Nice maybe we are getting in synch, the bickering has calmed some...we are in for a long day. Our paddle strokes seem to be in smooth now, and damn a cramp in my hammy....stretch it out, and lose time. Teams are catchin us. Looks like about a mile left on the water...6 all together....Checkpoint on the left. Its a gear check, Ok lets doit...we proceed to pull everything out, the organization in the clear bags is a great hit...Gear check complete in less than a minute. Repack is even faster, grab the canoe and carry it 100yards to the parking lot....drop it and run to checkpoint 6. We are are at Sherman beach, cp 6 is just off stinging nettle trail....easy enough, running behind a group we peel off on a side trail, they are going the wrong way. We swing toward the river and a quick search turns up a checkpoint...follow the river down to Cp 7. Easy enough, its on the river bank...tucked out of sight. We just crossed paths with Offroad Fixation, they are moving nicely, we are on their heels. CP 7 clear and on to 8, Tunnel to Cedar Bluff, Short cut go straight to the tracks and follow the road to the right. CP should be about 1/2 mile....run...run oh there is a tunnel...I remember it being big enough for a bike last year....in I go...3'X3' all the way through damn nothing its a storm drain. back through...run.....run....damn I think we missed it...ok into the woods...damn thats the river and the tracks meeting...we are way off...over shot it...turn back on the stinging nettle trail. There it is...Cedar Bluff trail...tunnel...CP 8 is on the other side...in we go...yes even claustrophobic Wendy is going through. CP 8 clear, follow the trail around to base of hill CP 9 is on the hill top...time for billy goat legs, up we go straight. Damn this a big hill. Legs are feeling it. CP 9 clear, down to the start and climb the bigger hill in front of us...straight up the face...legs are dying...we are on top and meet another team. CP 10 clear, We all head dwon the backside together, CP 11 is at the bottom. following an old road up to CP 12 on private prop. CP12 clear, Volunteers keep us pumped with their words of encouragement. Thanks Volunteers we needed it! Slow walk up the private road to recover from the hill, we start to jog and make our way down the hill to New Balwin road, dman which way....look at the map again...(Bonk starting) Ok left to the triangle then right...tirangle is the street by the firehouse. cp 13...is under the bridge, we are now in the company of Team Booger Butts, they proceed to drop us on the road run back into Castlewood SP. Ok on to HQ CP 14...now the Bike leg, we are pumped this is our thing right...refill water for Wendy, I have abottle on the bike, Chug some G2 Grape, yummy Ok lets go. Across the road and up Lone Wolf, make a left at the top to CP 15. Sounds easy enough...I take the lead on the climb, and 50 ft into it.."snap" top tube here I come...I am chain free and falling!Damn...Yup there is that $40 XTR chain piled up on the ground behind me...damn it. Ok lets roll back to the van I know for sure I don't have a link in my pack...note to self...pack extra chain. Ok, shorten the drivetrain, damn the chain is still to short since I destroyed a link. Anyone got a spare link? No, wait in my box whats this...yes, my chainwhip, take a link, insert and off we go, back up Lone Wolf....Snap more nads on the top tube, @%$^@ many bad words fly, I am quite sure this is a test, and I am failing. I quit! Wendy reluctantly follows, she knows I have had it with the bike problems. We roll to the start finish line and Jason from Bonk Hard ask whats up?...Broken chain..he points to the Bike Mechanic onsite. "Farrell" from Big Shark! He digs deep in the kit and pulls out a new chain, and then put it on. He ensures me this is not really a Grenada, or Momentum problem, but a shimano issue. He's right...I stop cussin both shops...Momementum for the chain, and Grenada for the Specialized headache!.....My adrenaline has regrouped, and now I we head off again up Lone Wolf.....2/3's of the way up...what where are my damn maps? Wendy do you have them? No! Damn it! back down, where did I leave them...with Farrell? NO, anyone haven't seen em...Honestly I think I had this section memorized but its manadatory for the course. Check Stella. Yes right there next to my Helmet, must have left them after the first chain issue. Ok, up we go trip number 4 on Lone Wolf, lets walk this one...CP 15 clear, down "River Scene" to LoneWolf lower section. CP 16 is on the hillside just off the trail. I ride the steep stuff on top of River Scene and then wait for Wendy, she is walking it. As we move on to the lower bench cut I lose the front wheel on a root and down hard. The bike slides gently narrowly missing a tree, same for my head...except not so gently...hard impact to the elbow...I know there is blood, but no time to look, we have to go...cAn yoU sAy BONK! Yup its coming on fast. We spin down to CP 16 and miss it...damn where is it? Back Track...damn its up the hill we should have stayed on top...I miss plotted this one by 1/16th of an inch which is a long way on a 1:15000 map. Ok up the hill we go...I do not have the gas to ride so I push. I now admit that I am bonked...Wendy suggests a Gel...good Idea and some water....ok lets go...slowly trudging up hill, I have no idea how we are going to make the rest of this race we are less than 2 miles into 12 on the bike, with lots of climbing. CP 16 Clear, with lots of encouragement from the 4 person female team that is kicking our butt now...(Team Your Mom). I can tell the Gel is now starting to help me come back to life...time for another...? Why not...tip up the Hammer Gel...Yuck! Tastes like dirt and honey, but I need it to recover. CP 17 is a creek crossing on the trail...easy enough. Clear, follow trail left up Cardiac Hill to Justin's...CP 18 is right there...nice walk up Cardiac..no legs left for the big climbs. CP 18 Clear, rip dopwn Cardiac...nice..refreshed with a downhill...hit the road go left to Ranger s cabin, turn left and go up the intermountain connector...half way up is CP19, then CP20 is @ the intersection...Passport check...wow...that is a muddy wrinkled up passport...(note to self-take better care of the passport) On to CP 21 which is a ways down rollercoaster...whaaahooo...love this trail...feeling great...cp21..now..off trail through the brush...this is where Wendy starts to question my sanity on the bike...straight into the trees and hit the next trail hard right...down hill to the road then left....to the Rail Road tunnel...2nd trail left to the river follow it right...look for the ruins...yes! there it is...large concrete walls cp 23 is inside. Clear, follow trail right upstream with river CP24 is on a bend about 1/2 mile, CP 24 Clear, CP 25 at the base of the stairs....nice rip through the flats...this is when I realize that cramps are for real...I caught a nice rick in the center of the trail and grabbed some air time...wham mid flight cramps on the inside of the calves. Damn that hurts! Keep going, Wendy didn't see the cramps, but the riders goin the other way knew something was up with the grimmace on my face. CP 25 Clear Now back to the RR tracks, follow the tracks to Kiefer Creek cross creek and climb bank (Short Cut to Grotpeter)...sorta ....its not ridable, Climb up to the hairpin corner, CP 26 Clear, now go on up to the Pits...on top of the hill. Major Cramps hit both thighs at the knees...this time I got off the bike and then Whammy, I hit the ground. I didn't have a clue as to how to stretch this time...calves, thighs, hamstrings...all in a massive cramps session, a couple sips of water and walked it out...on to CP 27 - Clear, turn- go back to trail and down to Love trail(I think thats the name)...went off tral in a step section hit trail turned left...nice sweep to the bottom CP 28 is at a bridge on a hard right.....now almost done...CP28 Clear, back to HQ...CP 29! What a Sweet feeling! a couple cowbells and now somebody wants to hand us another map...what...r u $%$ kiddin me? Laura Thanks for the encouragement...just go get one or two you have an hour and half.... Roagaine - 19 Checkpoints We decided to walk a couple of em'...good idea to stretch the screaming muscles. R-CP 19 at the ranger office, then on to R-CP 15 Creek crossing same as CP 17 from the bike....now follow the Kiefer Creek Road to Ries R-CP18 is in the woods along the drainage on the right....100yards further go back to the road and R-CP4 is on the left up the drainage, back to the road and up hill back into the drainage is R-CP6 top of the hill is R-CP8 the same as CP 27, ok now...decision time...Hit R-CP10 on Roller coaster then R-CP 12....Damn missed R-CP 10 trying to short cut Roller Coaster....Keep moving time is short, down to R-CP5 at the bottom of Grotpeter back across the creek to the under the tracks to R-CP3 now time is short 10 checkpoints on the Rogaine is much more than we had planned to do...believe it or not I was trying to run at this point...Adrenaline is Surging...Hand in Hand we run from the playground to Shelter 1 finish! Yes!!!!! We Did it...Lets have a beer, and Where is Farrell? Dude you saved our race, how about a cold one. Schlafly Imperial Stout....One sip and yuck...no-way that was going in this body...can I have a grape super chill?
What a race...How did you finish? I thought you would never ask...WE TOOK 3rd Place COED!!!! Slipped one postion from last year, but overall finish was much better...WE are inside the top 30 out of 85 teams! We were only a few minutes behind the leaders through the first few check points....could have been closer had we not stopped to argue... ;) Good news is we are still married.
Did I mention we did this on Single Speeds? 34x21 for me and 32x20 for Wendy. Btw, we are also 40 and 39 repectively...as Wendy put it...we kicked the ass' of a bunch of 20 somethings!
See ya next year @ Castlewood
For more information on Adventure Racing - Go HERE
Thank You Bonk Hard Racing, Team Subaru, and Big Shark!!!
Team Trail Monster - Jim and Wendy Davis
Ps.....If you would like to see Team Trail Monster race the Bonk Hard Chill in February.....Sponser US!!!!!