"For an occurrence to become an adventure, it is necessary and sufficient for one to recount it." ~ Jean-Paul Sartre

Thursday, September 30, 2010

From the Archives

This one is from way back in the day when I mostly ran by myself.  The two guys I refer to in this post are none other than Jim D. and Jeff S.  Jim had to leave, and Jeff was killing me out there.  "Who is this guy?" is what I was thinking.

Saturday, February 23, 2008 Trail Run or Trial Run
    Well I went out to the trails and ran for about an hour.  I ran into a couple guys and ran with them for a while.  They were really familiar with the trails so now I know which way to go.  I tried running with my small back pack since I will probably use it when I do Berryman, it worked out pretty well.  I hardly even noticed that I had it on.  Next time maybe I will add some more weight to it.  Trail running is more difficult than road running, and hills are still a weakness for me but I'm getting better.  I still think this year is going to be a great year for running.

The Berryman I referred to is the 50miler.  Hope you enjoy this flashback while I work on my RR.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Some Thoughts Before The Race

So the day has finally come.  The Berryman 36hour Adventure Race starts today, not sure what time but the countdown clock on the Check Point Tracker website seems to indicate a midnight start.  Looks like we  will be getting to experience extreme fatigue and rain at the same time on Saturday night.  I'm glad it won't be raining at start time though, overcoming our inexperience and settling into a groove will be difficult enough without have to deal with the rain also.
Our main focus will be to find the first check point and then go from there.  I have picked up many pointers along the way and received much wisdom from more experienced racers, that I know will save our team from making some rookie mistakes but when it comes down to it pointers and wisdom don't run the race.  It comes down to "boots on the ground".
Having a team makes a race like this much easier.  There are people who do races like this solo but I just don't think that is for me.  If I want to compete solo why not run another foot race?  The team aspect of adventure racing appeals to me for the simple fact that when you are unsure you have someone to turn to, if they are unsure at least you are in it together.
It is currently 0551hrs and I pretty much have everything left to do before I leave.  I started to get everything ready last night but, didn't want to leave everything in the truck overnight and didn't feel like staging everything in the living room only to have to move it to the truck this morning.  I have time to get everything ready plus we aren't leaving until sometime around noon anyway so this will keep me from being bored waiting around to leave.  In another hour or so I will start getting my gear together.
Food.  I have some. Not as much thought went into this as should have.  I have plenty of Rokit Fuel, and Honey Stinger, but I should probably bring something else.  PBH sandwiches, soup, chips, maybe a 2liter of Cherry Dr Pepper?
Whatever happens this race will be awesome!  It is by far the biggest and most intense race I have ever entered.  The only other race that comes close is the Berryman 50mile.
This could go on forever so I will end with a quote from Hometown Hero, IronMan (woman), Sometime Teammate, and Friend Robin Rongey "...sometimes you have to get in over your head to realize that you're not really in over your head at all." 
Thanks Robin, and I'm glad you are going to take your own advice and do the MR340 with us.

One more thing:
You will be able to track our progress at the following link http://www.checkpointtracker.com/events/43 we are team POW/MIA (in case you haven't read any other posts).

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Goodbye Old Friend

Adventure Van in action.
I have known this day was coming for a while now.  Adventure Van has been officially retired.  Initially we purchased Adventure Van to be Family Van, our children had outgrown the back seat of our Chevy Cavalier and we needed something bigger.  Family Van was great while it lasted but then the kids got older and could drive themselves places and we just didn't travel as a family unit as much.  It was around this time that Family Van became Adventure Van, no longer needed to haul around young people it was perfect for hauling around all of my gear.  It was Beth's daily driver, and she really didn't want it anymore but kept it so I could have a vehicle to transport my "toys" around (I really am lucky she agreed to marry me).  Over the past few years Adventure Van has had its share of problems but it has never let me down.  It has been loaded up with my mountain bike, road bike, kayak, camping gear, etc. and has performed admirably.

So why is it being retired? You ask.

My daughter Sarah who is afraid to drive decided to get her license.  She learned to drive in the van and was most comfortable driving it because sitting up higher gave her a better view of the traffic around her.  She also in an attempt to get over her fear of driving registered this semester to attend school at the Lewis and Clark campus in Godfrey.  When Beth had the van the schedule was always predictable and we could trade cars if I  needed the van during her working hours.  With Sarah driving the van and only the van it has created some real scheduling problems.  More than a couple times I have worked overtime taking the next day off planning on taking the kayak out for some paddling only to realize that I had no way to get it where I needed.  It has been possible to work things out but the writing was on the wall.  Adventure Van was no longer in service.  Thus began the search for a suitable replacement.

Adventure Truck at the ready.
Since I was out looking for an adventure vehicle I had a few criteria.

  1. Had to be a truck, or SUV with a hitch.
  2. 4WD winters are getting worse.
  3. Had to be able to haul all my gear.
  4. Price had to be right. I did not want to spend a fortune.
I searched the internet and found several likely candidates.  Slowly they were whittled down to one, "Adventure Truck".

Adventure Truck is a 2003 Chevy S10 ZR2 that met all of the above criteria.  After a few modifications it will be outfitted to haul the bikes and kayak.  The equipment I need to accomplish this is surprisingly affordable.  I found a ladder rack to carry the kayak (one of the reviews for this said "great for hauling my kayak"), and nashbar carries fork mounts  for the bike pretty cheap so I can pick everything up for a little over $100 which is way cheaper than say, a kayak specific rack by itself.

I am really looking forward to all of the adventures ahead, now that I have my own full time adventure vehicle.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Downtown Bike Center

I ran across this article last week in the Post Dispatch.  Apparently the city is planning on opening a bicycle center for commuters this Fall.  It sounds like a really good idea.  There will be showers, and places to store your bike.  Future plans include a bike and coffee shops.  I have often thought about riding to work, and I think it is great that the city is adding this option for people to take advantage of.  Technically I don't need this because I could shower at work, but many people are not as lucky.

Books I Have Read So Far This Year

Just so you know I do have interests outside of endurance sports, and hating elevators.  I enjoy reading very much but I am a VERY slow reader.  The first app I downloaded for my iPhone was Kindle from Amazon.  This app is awesome!  It allows me to always have my book with me so any time I have a spare moment I can do a little reading, which translates into reading more.  It also breaks me away from page numbers that only reinforce how slow I read.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

It's So Crazy It Just Might Work

Team POW/MIA Adventure Pt. 2

Day 2 (8/29/2010) of our training weekend was very different from day one.  We arrived early at the Bird's Nest Lodge.  This place is owned by Jason, a friend of Mark's.  He had told Mark that we could come down and paddle at no cost which was very much appreciated.  He wasn't there when we arrived so we grabbed some breakfast from the buffet while we waited.  It wasn't too long before he showed up and we talked for a while about the race and what we were doing.  He also told us that the canoes were ready so whenever we were someone would take us up the river.
Ryan showed up right on time and we talked about how the previous day had gone.  He was sorry he couldn't make it the previous day but sometimes more important things come along.
Megan and Ryan enjoying the day on the river
Now that the team was all together we hopped on the short bus and were taken up river.  We were dropped off 8miles from the Bird's Nest.  I haven't had much experience in canoes so I wasn't sure what to expect out on the Meramec.  I was in the front with Mark in the back, and Megan was in the front with Ryan in the back of their canoe.  We arranged ourselves this way for better weight distribution.  We might want to rethink this for the race because Mark and I were much faster so we ended up getting far ahead and waiting for Ryan and Megan to catch up.  This allowed Mark and me to rest, but Ryan and Megan weren't so lucky because when they got close we would take off again starting the cycle over again.  In the end that's why we were out there, to find out what works and what doesn't, and that arrangement definitely did not work.
Mark in his best "River Guide" pose
Mark has the most paddling experience out of all of us having grown up on the river.  I probably have the least.  He was showing me a little bit how to read the river (stuff I had never thought about before), and I was trying to remember as much as I could.  When we came to a tricky section I would choose the route I thought was correct and see if it matched up with what he thought, most of the time it did.  How the river can change based on water level is very interesting.  Most of the paddling I have done has been in lakes or major rivers like the Mississippi where the water level doesn't change much.  So just because you've been down the Meramec before doesn't mean you know the river.
Cave and spring 
We stopped for a while at a cave with a spring bubbling up out of the ground in front of it.  The cave didn't go back very far but it was still pretty cool.  The water coming out of the spring was very cold and refreshing.  Had our legs been sore from the previous day's ride the cold water would have relieved the soreness (nature's ice bath).  Some other paddlers showed up at the cave reminding us that we weren't there for sight seeing.  This was a training day.
We climbed back in the canoes and headed back down the river.  This would have been a good time for Megan and I to switch but we didn't (hindsight).  We paddled and paddled and eventually we made it back to Bird's Nest.  We hauled all of our borrowed gear up the shore and put it away to show our appreciation to Jason for supporting us in the race and training.  He also offered to be an alternate on the team if one of us would get injured before the race.
The take out at Bird's Nest
All in all I still like kayaking more.  Canoeing is a necessary evil though so it would behoove me to get better.  Does this mean I am going to buy a canoe?  I don't know, maybe.
The Berryman 36hour is fast approaching, I hope we will be if not ready at least prepared.  It turned out to be a great weekend of training and we all learned things that we wouldn't have otherwise.
Wish us luck we are going to need all the help we can get.

Thursday, September 2, 2010


Hey everyone!  I just read most of that last post for the first time and noticed there were several spelling errors.  I will try to be more vigilant in the future when it comes to proof reading.  When I was finished typing and adding pictures is was so happy to be finished I put it up without actually reading through it.  My bad.
I am still working on part 2.  I am trying to get it done and up by Friday.  There is a link to all of the pictures from our Berryman Adventure on the right side if you haven't seen them already.
I have some other fun stuff planned that I will want to post about and I don't want to get back logged.

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