24 July 2016

Summit Adventure Racing/Team Commie Bar finishes Adventure Racing World Series Cameo Cowboy Tough

Commie Bar successfully completed the ARWS Cowboy Tough on a hot, windy, and looong course from Caspar, WY down the North Platte river and back through the Medicine Bow range in 3 days, 4 hours and 46 minutes.  In an extremely competitive field the team placed 1st in their division (4-person male) and 22nd overall of 36 teams.



The route Commie Bar took started on Day 1 with a 30 mile road bike ride to the North Platte river.  In our planning we thought we'd go fast on this, but had no idea how fast!  The leaders took off at a blistering pace and Commie Bar hung in there travelling around 20 mph for a good chunk of the ride.  A 75 mile paddle on the North Platte river and Glendo reservoir was waiting -- and it was everything and more (much more) of a grueling experience. The river was running well and we averaged about 7 mph on the river portion - about 60 miles.  Along the way we got out twice for some foot challenges that included hauling buckets of water up a hill, and stopping in Douglas, WY to get a few foot-O points.  One of which was a shot of Wyoming whiskey at the College Inn (a historic bar).  Just before the reservoir there was another foot-O course and we got out and nailed all 5 points, then settled in for what we thought would be a 15 mile flat water paddle on a clear moon-lit night into the TA. In our hubris we even considered digging out some speakers and playing tunes from the iPod to accompany the team -- but the mix of rock and punk would have soon been be out of place and in need of a switch to Wagner's Flight of the Valkyries (Apocalypse Now reference ...).  This was one hell of a crossing ...

At about midnight we noticed the wind was picking up and some ripples were forming in the water.  We were within maybe 5 miles of the TA.  Another 30 minutes and the ripples had become waves, but the canoes were handling it and we were making progress -- we were on azimuth for the final stretch and in daylight we would have been able to see it, but the reservoir became much wider at this point and the waves really struck.  3-4 foot with a strong headwind meant it took all we had to just keep the boats in the same place and upright.  After what may have been 2 hours of struggle without the ability to eat or drink as we had to keep paddling, we headed to the nearest shoreline.  This turned out to be a 'sunken forest' of trees submerged by the high-water, so not ideal, but gave us some time to eat, drink, rest and prepare for another push to shore.  Fortunately a beach campground was within a short paddle beyond and with great relief we made dry land, pulled up the boats, changed into some dry-er clothes, and debated next steps. After a fruitless search for a road to get us to the TA, we resolved to wait out the wind and make another attempt at the crossing in the morning.  Maybe 30 minutes of rest and then we were back in the boats at 5:30am.  This time there was still wind and waves but we managed to push across the final stretch to the take-out.  Day 2 begins ...




The TA offered some options -- had we been able to make the Glendo crossing unmolested we would have had time for an optional Bike-O course and another 25 mile paddle - but we had lost too much time and energy on the crossing and opted for a 35 mile direct route (but still on full course) by bike to the next TA.  This took us across the flats of WY from the reservoir to the Eastern edge of the Medicine Bow Mountains National Forest. Here we switched to the only real trek of the trip -- a 13 miler along a gnarly river bed thick with undergrowth.  After a false start on the trek the team headed on target to the next TA.  It was a tough slog and in the end no one wanted to ever see the South Roaring Fork river (creek really) again, but we made it into the TA about 1 am, got 90 minutes of 'sleep' (if you can call a cold windy place on the ground with a space blanket 'sleeping') and hit the next section (a 40 mile bike) while still dark.  Day 3 begins ...

The bike was pretty fast along hard-packed dirt roads in the open range of WY.  Along the way we saw some wildlife and lot's and lot's of cattle, and then suddenly an ATV appeared with a woman flagging us down frantically.  It seems we were headed right into a real-life cowboy's-on-horseback round-up!  She told us to hop the fence immediately and settle down for awhile as their ranch was bringing in their stock for branding.  Within 10 minutes hundreds of cattle came storming down the road and we sat by and got a true taste of WY ranch life as about 10 cowboys whooped and rode around the rowdy herd and corralled them on by us.  A truly unique experience anywhere - much less for an Adventure Race!  Getting back on the road the team sped through the miles of road covered in what cattle do when they are scared and with slightly soiled bikes, clothes and grins we pulled into the next TA for another foot-O section with a ropes course.  It was full daylight now and very hot and windy - the hottest and windiest day so far.  The team found the ropes area right away and each member did a 140 foot ascension on 70-80 percent grade cliff faces, then rappelled down.



From there we picked up one optional foot-O point up a high draw and moved back to the TA.  By now it was 3 pm, burning hot and windy, windy, windy and we were looking at a long 45 mile bike across open range and then through the western portion of the Medicine Bows.  We decided to wait out the sun and wind and start the ride at 6 pm.  We watched as the other teams headed out on the ride while we rested.  Turned out to be a good call, as the next bike ride was grueling up and down ride that took us 9 hours to complete even with slightly favorable weather conditions. We caught up with several teams and saw others camped out on the side of the road.  This section took several teams out of the race and left others drained - 11 teams did not fully complete this race.  We made it to the next TA at 1 am and after a very brief rest headed out on bike again for the second to last section of the race --- 45 miles for the start of Day 4 ...

This bike ride was surreal.  Pitch dark in the middle of the WY wastelands.  The monotony of the ride was literally putting the team to sleep on their bikes so we called a 30 minute safety stop and curled up peacefully on the side of the road nestled among the sage brush and rodents.  After that on again through the night to day-break where we came to the 'final' turn-off before the next TA.  This was the ride that wouldn't stop going uphill.  On Day 1 or 2 this would not be an issue, but by Day 4 this was a gut-tester.  The team made it with a lot of support for each other and got to the TA with 3 hours to make it to the finish line - a 15 mile bike ride with one more climb to the top of Caspar Mountain and then a screaming descent into the city.  We blew through the TA in record time, then saddle-sore and weary pushed up the hill and down to the finish!

Individual highlights:

Mark 'bull dog' Bolyard keeping everyone focused on getting the most points possible and guiding the team through the difficult trek along the Roaring Fork River.

Darren 'freight train' Steinbach hauling ass at every stage and actually riding faster towing than when on the bike alone!








Mike 'true grit' Flanery gutting it through the last two days with a pair of feet wracked with pain from a rash, but actually getting faster as the race went on in spite of it.

Jon 'white boy' Gamm stripping down to his jersey to escape the heat of the last day and push over the final climb to the finish.

This was a team of four people who had never raced together, with different ages, experience levels and personalities -- and they completed one of the toughest endurance events out there together.  A true testimony to individual character and determination.

10 July 2016

Team Commie Bar heads to Wyoming for Cowboy Tough World Series Expedition 3.5day Adventure Race.....

Summit Adventure Racing/Team Commie Bar toes line at the Cameco Cowboy Tough Expedition Race this 14-17 July in Casper, WY....

Proud to introduce the team that will be racing........

Summit Adventure Racing & Team Commie Bar is a nationally ranked adventure racing team based in Deep Creek Lake, MD in the epicenter of adventure sports.  The team competes in expedition and multi day adventure racing both in the U.S. and internationally in Europe, and is composed of athletes from MD, NY, CO, PA, MI, NC, SD, WA and France.  Team Commie Bar’s Cowboy Tough 2016 team is a four-person male from all over the US:  Mark Bolyard (NC), Darren Steinbach (WA), Mike Flanery (SD) and Jon Gamm (CO).   

Mark is an Adventure Racing veteran completing four 72-hour events and with several USARA Nationals appearances.  He is also an aspiring American Ninja Warrior with multiple obstacle course races under his belt.  








Mike is an outdoor enthusiast who took the AR plunge last year at RAID Gasp├ęsie and is back for more this year as part of Team Commie Bar.  Mike’s day job is instructing South Dakota National Guard Blackhawk helicopter pilots.  





Darren lives in his Sprinter van traveling around the country in search of climbs, whitewater, and events to test his mental and physical endurance. He is a strong runner, mountain biker, paddler, and climber, and has a positive attitude when things start fall apart... which is good, considering he likes to get lost too.  


Jon is team captain, and in addition to numerous Xterra and traditional long-distance triathlons he has completed Equinox 48, Sea-to-Sea 72, and RAID in France 90 hour ARs.  He is also team medic and morale officer with a ready supply of medicinal Grappa on hand at all times.  We are all new to Cowboy Tough, and looking forward to sharing a fantastic experience in the wilds of Wyoming!




27 June 2016

Garrett County Gran Fondo!!

Always fun to have a great training ride in your backyard with about 1000 other riders!!!
That's the Garrett County Gran Fondo!!


I had signed up for the 100 miler but because I was working with Race Across America the whole weekend I only had time to go out and knock off the metric century.  And not having the time is a big excuse because trying to do the full century with 12,700 feet of elevation gain would probably not have been in the cards.  That said the 8,400 feet on the metric was plenty.....  I felt pretty daggone good the entire ride even though I had only gotten about 1.25 hours of sleep the night prior because of the riders coming through Time Station 47.  The ride took me about 5hours and 20 minutes which was less than what I was forecasting.  So a pretty straight forward race/ride report.  See below for more on the action at Deep Creek Lake this weekend.

I live in the most beautiful place in the world for adventure sports.
This weekend alone we had Race Across America come through our town.  We hosted the Gran Fondo for 1000 cyclists and on Sunday we had the world's toughest 400 meter foot race up The Face at Wisp  Resort.

You can check out all our action and posts and pictures from RAAM by visiting our Facebook page at
Race Across America Time Station 47

Here's some shots from RAAM.
















12 June 2016

Cradle of Liberty 14hour Adventure Race Report - Team Commie Bar

Team Commie Bar/Summit Adventure Racing
Race Report
Cradle of Liberty 12hour Adventure Race
Author:  Dan Bait/SWAT Schaefer.....

4 June Cradle of Liberty 14 hr Adventure Race 
bait (Sorry for the delay--been a busy week and every time I want to use the computer, someone was doing homework...)


Here Goes: Coming off a runner's high from the Dirty German 50K, I focused on getting in a few MTB rides before the Cradle of Liberty and it certainly paid off. This race was shrouded in mystery. We registered over a month ago but they didn't tell us the start location until about a week before we needed to be there. The roster for Team Commie Bar was me, DJ and Chris. The instructions were simple: Show up at 0500 with all the gear you'll need to run, mountain bike and canoe for 12 hours. 


At 0600 we boarded a school bus and headed out--still with no idea of where we were going! The RD told us that we would receive maps and instructions once the clock started. I really enjoyed the lack of info--that meant every team would start the race in the dark and would not have time to plan routes (generally we get our maps the night before so we have time to plan). An hour later we got off the bus in a park along the Lehigh River in Northampton, PA. The rules and maps were spread randomly on a baseball field and when the RD yelled GO! we had to find our and the race began. The first leg of the race was a prologue--we had to plot three points on the map using UTM coordinates. Usually this is simple but the grid for the first point was cut off and we made plotting this point a little tricky. We figured it out and next thing I know I'm swimming across the river. It was surprisingly deep, and cold, and swimming while wearing shoes really sucks...I got the first point and swam back to the team. 

Next DJ ran to a point that was downstream, but on land. Finally all three of us met at the final prologue point which was the beginning of the Canoe section. We appreciated the current and made fast work of the first 5 miles, grabbing two checkpoints along the way. Although parts of the Lehigh are designated as 'scenic' this section is decidedly not. We passed sewer plants, steel mills and old factories in Allentown. There must have been a hundred rusted out shopping carts along the entire section. We made good time on the paddle and worked well as a team--sometimes paddle sections can be really miserable but this time it was great. After 10 miles or so we hit the transition area and picked up our bikes.

 We dropped all of our paddle gear but were required to bring our PFD's. We rode through a section of town and then paralleled some railroad tracks. There was a little dispute among us and other teams about when and where we could cross the tracks--the rules were a little vague so we made the best call we could. After crossing the tracks we did a MTB section on some pretty decent trails. It was very humid so some of the rocks were super slippery so we rode conservatively. We worked our way up the side of the mountain to the very top and then bombed straight down to the next TA. One thing that was awesome about this race is that we all took turns navigating and everyone did well. At the bottom of the mountain we put the PFD's to use during the Swim section. In the middle of the river were a series of islands with checkpoints on them. We swam from one to the next and really had fun with this part. The water felt great and it's not often we swim this much in a race. At this point we'd hit nearly every point offered, expect for a couple we intentionally skipped as part of our strategy. We made our way back to the TA and spoke to the RD. He gave us a couple suggestions about upcoming points and sent us on our way. 

Back on the bikes sans PFD's was nice and we headed into town. First stop was 7-11 where we grabbed some water and a coke and a pretzel and some peanuts and I think someone even had ice cream--that's the fun of self-supported racing!! Too bad they don't sell single cans of beer in PA!! 

We headed out through town and even rode through a drainage tunnel under an interstate highway. At this point we'd been racing for about 6 hours and we were heading to another wildcard--the Hide and Seek section. In adventure racing usually all the checkpoints are on the map and you use your map and compass skills to collect them. Checkpoints are usually orange and white kite like flags that have a hole punch attached to them that you use to mark your passport. Well, the Hide and Seek section turned all that on its head! 

The first point was marked but from there on each point was just a compass heading and distance to the next. Amazingly we were only one of three teams to nail every point of this section!!! The points weren't far apart but the terrain was challenging--lots of rock piles and old mining holes and a couple of small cliffs. Really cool area. Next up was the final bike section. After a road ride through town we hit the trails. This part of the course was tough to plan because of the placement of the mandatory points. They were all in a corner and once we got there there was nothing close. We ended up dismounting from the bikes and running up the side of the mountain to grab our final point. We ran down, got on the bikes and headed back through town to get to the finish line. We finished with 10 minutes to spare!!! We were soaked and muddy but had a great race. This was definitely the most urban adventure race I've ever done and it was a blast! We came out in first place in the three man division and secured a spot for USARA Nationals! Lookout Roy--The Commies are coming to town!!! 

Blue Ridge Adventure Race - The challenges of Adventure Racing

Quick link to Val Hardin's recap of the Blue Ridge Adventure Race
Photos courtesy of Blue Ridge Adventure Racing and Florida Extreme.

From Val Hardin/Team Commie Bar
The day started out great, good weather, about 30 teams, and we were bused about 45 min to an unknown location.  Mark and I were racing as a C2.  We started out with a 15 mile run/trek up a mountain and then across a ridgeline where we ran over several peaks, then back down to cross a waist high river to a TA.  

We were with 4-5 other leading teams.  Next leg was mountain biking on mostly double track, up and around the mountains.  Again, staying with lead teams until the first of many challenges presented themselves.  About 8-9 hours in to race, Mark got a flat, his tire had a huge hole in it.  After that was fixed, his bike map carry case on the bike broke.  This could not be fixed.  We had to give up some CP's on this section.  We made our way to the next TA, where we got on the river....now a bit behind all leading teams.  It was about 7:30 pm when we started the paddle.  The river was very rocky and challenging in some spots.  We ran head on in to several large rocks, had to back paddle furiously to keep from going over a fall, navigate more white-water at night,  and ultimately lost a paddle which got sucked in whitewater.  Luckily, we only had about another 1/2 mile on river.

  We were happy to get off at about10:00.  Off on a trekking section, we did really well, and got to the next TA for more mountain biking.  Another challenge when Mark had a fall that seemed harmless, but it knocked his seat out of alignment.  When trying to knock it back in place, he knocked it right off the post.  He fixed it using those plastic tie downs.  Mark was definitely having a rough race, but kept positive and we just kept moving on.  The last section was a flat water paddle to an O-Course.  We were able to get a few more CP's then had to head back on a 7 mi bike to finish in time.  We ended up 7th out of 30 teams.  We thought we would place top 3, but were happy with our result after dealing with all our mishaps.  Mark did a great job navigating, and we were one of very few teams that did not get dunked in the river.


13 May 2016

Team Commie Bar/Summit AR to the Blue Ridge 24 Hour Adventure Race 21 May

Team Commie Bar tackles the next in the 2016 series of ultra endurance and adventure racing circuits at the 24 hour Blue Ridge Adventure Race in Blue Ridge Georgia on 21 May.  Heading up the team will be Mark Bolyard and Val Hardin
Mark Bolyard....  destroyer...
Val Hardin
Both racers recently completed the Shenandoah Epic 26 hour race in April.

Check out the website for the race here:  Blue Ridge 24 hour Adventure Race

You can check out a trailer video for the race here:

04 May 2016

SAVAGE ADVENTURE RACE

RACE REPORT
SAVAGE ADVENTURE RACE
AUTHOR:  DJ ANGELONE

80 degrees and sunny.  That was the weather report a week before.  But as we got closer to race day, the temperature (and rain forecast) seemed to suggest otherwise.  When I checked the GOALS website the night before to confirm our gear, they reminded me why this is called adventure racing and not a “tough” mudder.  Of course the race was still on, “just wear long pants and long shirt,” they recommended.  No sweat, we did the NYARA Shag a few years ago during a hurricane after all, so this seemed relatively easy.

When I joined TCB, I had two goals: 1) take my skills to the next level and 2) race a 24-hour event. After racing with Bait in the inaugural Crooked Compass, he helped me with goal 1 by introducing me to “pace counting” that I immediately practiced back home.  My neighbors must have thought me odder than normal when I busted out a tape measure in my front lawn and proceeded to walk/run multiple times back and forth while diligently taking notes.

This was easily our 6th Savage, so we knew what to expect.  But Hibernia?  How can you roll 20 miles in that park.  Team meeting, 1030.  Mark and Becca, the race directors, explained how.  This, of course, in 40 something degree heavy drizzle as all teams huddled together for warmth under the pavilion.

Basically, we would be split into 2 groups after the opening event.  Group 1 would do the paddle portion then the foot section. Group 2 would do the foot then the paddle.  All teams would then get on their bikes and decide which CPs to hit in the park and/or out of Hibernia and into another park.  As we perused the maps, I took the notes from my front lawn tape-measuring episode and translated the ground distance to my pace.

As luck would have it, we nabbed paddle first.  A quick jog.  Ahemm, unnecessary bushwack, led us to the canoe put in.  While I have been serving as team captain since we started this adventure racing endeavor, I was feeling some pressure to keep up with all the success that TCB has had in the last 2 months.  So a boundary line looked a little like a marked trail.  I also hoped that the President and founding member of the “Ladies Auxiliary TCB “ would be up to task given this was her first race for the season and coming off a broken back this winter.

Im not sure why, but paddle has always been one of our more consistent legs.  We purchased kayak paddles immediately after fumbling with the canoe oars during our first race 7 years ago.  Our speed, direction, and general consistency have never been better.  Bonnie navigated and we blasted past a few all male teams and kayakers.  Felt good and reaffirmed our strength on the water.  After hitting 1.5 miles, we returned to put in and received a second paddle map.  Back on the lake for another 1.5.  This time, they added a few checkpoints to hit on foot.  Bonnie took both while I drank some water and watched the drizzle.  All Paddle CPs nailed and well within our time budget.

We returned to TA, this time on trail. Next up, Foot.  We changed our wet gear as much as we could.  Jumped on our plan and hit the trail.  I remember running with Bait when he gleefully noted how accurate his pace appeared.  I recall thinking that was cool, but it didn’t actually hit me until it was my turn.  248…249…250…turn north and bushwack…wait a second, there’s the CP.  Holy crap, Pace counting rocks!!! (THANKS BAIT).

So we allocated about 2 hours for foot and hit all but 2 CPs.  Not very typical for us given that this is probably our least favorite event.  We often get it last and are exhausted by that time.  But we did well.  Navigation was solid and felt strong blowing through the course.

Back to TA.  Time for the bikes.  This would be my inaugural race with my new 29r.  Editors note, if you have not experienced the joys of a 29r, then you are missing out on life my friends.  But I digress.  Bike course was muddy.  Did I say muddy?  I mean sloppy.  Sort of like quick sand in places.  We started out on an area with wooden bridges directly on the mud.  I was trying to speed a head and read the map (note to self, get a new map holder for my bike).  The wood was extremely slippery and I took a hard fall about mid way through.  Bonnie was also huffing a bit, so I decided to walk-a-bike until we got out of the muck.

When things cleared up, the course looked completely doable on the Hibernia end of things.  There was an option to leave the park and hit some additional bike and foot CPs.  Despite overhearing that these would be “easy,” the distance to get to them didn’t seem worth the time. Instead we decided to hit everything in the park and just skip the “outside the park.”  Plan successful and returned to TA at about the 5hour 47minute mark.  Another successful finish of a 6-hour adventure race!

After changing our wet clothes, we headed to the scoring area and saw that we logged a 2nd place finish for coed 2.  My second 2nd for the season.  Steady navigation, stellar team work, the only negative is that Bonnie forgot to pack the beer!

Epilogue: Goal 2 continues to be elusive as many of the 24 hours have been reduced or omitted this year.  I’m looking forward to the Cradle next month and the Krista in August and learning some more tools and tricks on the course.  If you know of anyone looking for a 3rd or 4th on a 24, lemme know…

19 April 2016

Team Commie Bar at the Rev3 Shenandoah Epic 26 hour Race

RACE REPORT
TEAM COMMIE BAR/SUMMIT ADVENTURE RACING
Rev 3 Shenandoah Epic 26 hour Race
Bentonville VA

Coming off of last weeks frozen snow laden race in Deep Creek, the team got ready for a hot race in the Shenandoah Mountains of Virginia.  For this race we decided to field two teams.  Team Commie Bar #1 would be a two person all male and Team Commie Bar #2 would be a two person coed….




The Team:
Todd Copley and Michael Scott – Two Person Male
Val Hardin and Mark Bolyard – Two Person Coed
For this race we also decided to race side by side/together.

The Race
I drove down to VA late on Friday and met the team down there for registration.  We had rented a little chalet that was perfect for race prep.  We got the maps and all the briefings by 2100hrs on Friday which allowed us to get in bed by midnight or so after having plotted the points and decided on our strategy and route plan.  Had beef brisket, coleslaw and beer for dinner!

The next morning we had a fairly leisurely start to the morning.  We drove over to race HQ and had some time for last minute prep.  The race started at 0900.  Here’s the flow.

Prologue:  This was pretty straightforward.  One person from each team was required to run about a mile circuit down to this shed and get an item to bring back.  Okay…. Done.

After the prologue teams were free to pursue the course however they wanted.  In the park there were about 20 or so checkpoints.  You could stay and do all of those or you could do nothing and move on to the paddling section.  Although the points were optional it was obviously you would need all of them to be in contention.  It was apparent most teams wanted to get on the river paddling and save the park for the last as they returned towards the finish.  We decided the same strategy except we did elect to get two points up on the hill by the finish before heading to the paddle.

We got on the canoes probably about an hour into the race after having done the prologue and got the two points up high in the park.  Now we were going to start picking up points along the river.  I forget how many but they were pretty easy and we would paddle a section then pull off to get a point and repeat.  About 5 miles into the paddle we decided to attack back into the park and get a couple of points at the far end of the park that would make it much easier to clear the other points in the park when we returned at the finish.

From there it was another long pull for an hour and a half to the take out point.  When we arrived there we had to unload all the gear out of the boats and one person had to then paddle down stream about 100 meters and drop the boats on the opposite shore then hike back up the opposite shore then swim across the river.  About 100 meter swim and the water was COLD!!  Felt pretty good though.
From there it was on to the trek.  The first 5 miles or so were mostly on roads till we hit a trailhead that would take us up onto the ridge in the George Washington National Park.  The hump up the mountain wasn’t too bad and the trail was pretty good till we started getting way up.  The day was hot and the water from the hydration bladders was going down very quickly.  Our destination was a very pointed ridge for the ropes section and a 100 foot rappel.  We hit the rappel late afternoon and it was a very high rappel but very fun.  After the drop we had to make our way back up on a trail where we collected our packs and continued on.  We had a decision to make.

CP7 was an optional point and was pretty much only accessible via a long butt busting bushwack straight down the Cliffside.  We made sure we cleared the pure cliffs and Mark and I picked a point to begin the descent.  We made our way down a significant drainage staying to the right and slipped and slid down the mountain for about a kilometer till we bottomed out on the bottom next to the river.  From there we followed the river to nail CP 7 and then had to continue bushwacking till we could cross the river south of the Bike Transition area and CP 8.

Going into CP 8 and the switch to bike, Mike was started to feel a bit bad.  He had been without water for a while and Mark and I had been letting him take swigs off our bladders.  We took a while in the transition and started off with Mike still not feeling very good.  After several kilometers we turned off and hit the trail for the climb to the top of another ridge.  Initially the trail was a forest road but soon turned to rough singletrack.  Mike took a real bad fall and was really struggling at that point as we had to push the bikes for several kilometers up a drainage into a camp site.  From there the trail turned back to fire road and we descended.  We had a decision to make.

At the bottom of the ridge was where we could start a circuit to get all of the bike optionals.  Or we could head back on the main course to the top of the ridge line.  Mike wasn’t feeling good but we felt the optionals would be pretty straight forward and the elevation was going to be fairly doable.
Mike made the decision with the team to go for the optionals.  I’m glad we did because the circuit did turn out to be pretty easy and we picked up 4 more points before turning back to head up the Veachy trail which was hike a bike to the top and CP 14 then to CP 15.

When we got back up the Veachy on the ridge to CP 15 there was an O course down the ridge and into the steep sections of the mountains.  3 of the points were straightforward out the ridgeline.  The only decision we had to make was do we take the bikes? And after these 3 do we venture into the steeps.

We decided to take bikes and it was a good one.  Although portions were difficult to ride we made good time out getting CPs 16, 17 and 18.  At 18 we thought long and hard about going after 19 and maybe others but we also had to consider how the team was feeling and the time.  We figured it would take us about another 3 hours to clear the park when we got back and it was now about 3 in the morning.  Time was on our side but ultimately we made the decision to return on bikes back up the ridge to the trail taking us back to the river and the park/finish.

It was a screaming downhill from CP 25 to the river and as we descended the air got colder.  We had gotten our feet soaked coming off the bike optionals when we had to cross a deep stream and on the mountain the feet got cold but now they were turning into ice blocks.  We got back to the park and had the option to go by the vehicles.  I restocked some water, lightened my pack a bit but forgot to change socks.  It was really cold in the valley and we started off into the park wishing I had new socks….

The park was a maze of amazing mountain biking trails and we started plucking off point after point.  There were 11 left that we needed to get and we made good time.  At the beginning it was still dark and we got probably around 4 points before the sun began to peak over the horizon.  My favorite time in adventure racing when after a long dark, cold night the sun reappears….  Love it.

We finally nailed all the points and turned towards the finish.  After a long and fantastic descent we cruised into the finish of the Rev 3 Shenandoah Epic.  After 24 hours of non stop paddling, mountain biking, trekking and rappelling Team Commie Bar teams #1 and #2 crossed the finish.

The effort would earn a 3rd place in the two person coed and a 7th place in probably the strongest two person male category I’ve ever seen.


We race all night….  Go ahead.....  take a shot
Team Commie Bar