22 April 2015

Rev 3 27 hour Adventure Race

Rev 3 Shenandoah Epic 26 hour race

I drove the fairly short 3 hours down to Front Royal VA on Friday morning and got into town.  The afternoon I worked on getting my bike together and also checked into the hotel and got a nap.
At 16hrs I went to the race check in and where we would stage the bikes.  The race would start the next morning in another location.  I got my bike set up and into the staging area and then at 17hrs they allowed us to register and get our maps and race book.  Kim (my teammate for the race) hadn’t gotten there yet so I started plotting the UTM points and reading the race book.

When she showed up she got her bike set up and dropped and then worked with me on plotting UTMs.
The course looked fairly straight forward:  Foot O-course, Paddle, Foot O course, Bike, Trekking O course, Long Bike Section, Trekking Section then Bike to the finish. 

We went and grabbed a pizza and beer and back to the hotel to finish packing the packs and getting the food and gear ready.

The next morning dawned clear and a bit chilly.  Had some concerns about the water temperature for the paddle.  Good thing I left a change of clothes on the bike.
We made our way to the start point and got all set for the gun to sound.  The race started with a foot orienteering course.  We had to get at least 2 points before returning to the canoes.  The decision had to be made about getting all the points versus leaving some with the hopes of getting them on the return leg to the finish in the morning.  We compromised and got 4 of the 6 points before coming back to the boats.  We ran the whole thing which was around 5 miles.

The boat section was around 30k/18miles and was broken up by several Check Points we had to get along the way.  The water was moving fast and we made good time at about 3hours.  At the take out point we were given a map of the town of Front Royal that had about 5 optional points in it.  We got them all and had a fun time running around the town.  Again we ran the whole time and that was another 4 miles or so.  At one point we had to dress up like Civil War soldiers as part of a time challenge!

After the town portion we made our way to the bikes where we had left them yesterday.  We saddled up for the 25k/14mile bike over to the State Park.  It was all on the road and had a couple of mandatory check points on it.  I got on the bike and immediately felt like I was bonking….  The paddle had been very hot with the sun burning down on me.  Up to this point we had already run about 10 miles with a very full pack so I had to take that into consideration.  Kim was cycling strong and dropping me quickly.  The ol’ legs just weren’t firing.  I wasn’t too worried because this normally happens once or twice in every race when you run out of gas.  All you can do is slow down and keep moving.  Watch your nutrition and water intake.  For the 2015 season we have a great deal and partnership with Honey Stinger and I was sucking down organic waffles and gel to get my energy back.  I limped into the transition area and we got ready for a massive trekking section.

All the points on the trek were optional except CP 17 on top of Buzzards Overlook.  We grabbed optional point 18 up a small reentrant on the way to the trail to CP 17.  On the trail to 17 we missed the turn off that led up to 17 and were in a pretty large drainage.  I noticed that this drainage led up to another point and Kim and I decided to pursue that route rather than try and get the points from the top down.  The trek up the drainage was brutal.  Kim admitted to getting concerned about how deep we were getting into the canyon and how we would get out.  We scrambled up and up and up.  Finally we got the point in the stream and sat down to contemplate how we would get out of there.  I shot an azimuth to point 19 that led STRAIGHT UP.  The mountain was covered with boulders and we hopped and clawed our way up to an amazing ridge and outcropping that held point 19.  The views were incredible but man that was a tough climb.  It wasn’t over.

We continued to climb up through the rocks to an old trail that we followed another 2 miles or so down to the mandatory CP 17.  We punched in and then began the long trek down the trail back to the road.  It would be dark soon and definitely before we got back to the bikes.  The entire trekking section was probably less than 8 miles but very tough and brutal.

On the way down we found water at a campground before we got to the bikes.  That was nice and the water was cold and felt great.  We got back to the bikes and saddled up and got the lights working.  For this race I was testing the new lights from CycleBeam.  I had been pleased with the lumens and the fact that the 930Z unit didn't have a huge battery pack.  Anybody looking to race at night should definitely take a look at these lights.

We started a fairly straight forward bike leg that led up a fire road over the mountain to another State Park.  The riding was nice although we kept climbing gradually and gaining elevation the whole way.  My legs had come back (like they always do) and I was peddling strong.  Kim is a work horse and never slowed up. 

I love cycling at night.  It’s so tranquil and calm.  CP 23 was right in the middle of a campground and when we pulled in I rode up to a camp site where there was a fire going and a lady sitting around the fire in pajamas.  Initially I thought that was the checkpoint and the lady was one of the race volunteers.  I’m not sure she appreciated some crazed filthy lunatic on a bike coming right up to her campfire!

During the ride we had linked up with a guy named Wes who was racing solo.  I always admire those folks that do this all alone.  It is very lonely out there all night.  He cycled over with us to the Check point and we all sat down and looked at the maps to decide the next move.  Kim and I decided to ride up the ridge line and get an optional point 24.  The cycling was pretty mild on a fire road and although we were gaining elevation the night air made it start to feel cold.  I stopped and put a long sleeve shirt on and Kim bundled up in her shell jacket.  We got to the trail at 24 and dropped the bikes and trekked up about a mile to get 24.  On the way down we made the decision to continue out the ridge line to get 25 as well.  The cycling got steeper as we went and finally after another 2 miles or so we dropped bikes again and trekked another mile up to get CP 25.  With that done we had about a 6 mile descent back into the campground.  We flew down the fire road and made it back in very good time.  I’m glad we went out to get 25.  From here the bike trail became single track and we knew we had a good bike push up to the massive ridge line that dominates the George Washington National Forest.  In retrospect we didn’t know what was in store for us…..

Down the road I quickly located a trail that would take us up to the ridgeline.  I estimated the push at around 2 kilometers and gaining probably 800 feet of elevation.  Two other racers (both girls) were there and started the slog up with us.  What I was anticipating was a brutal hike a bike up to the ridge line and then fairly flat to rolling terrain into CP 27.  Well, the push up was brutal.  And then once on the ridgeline the trail just would NOT LET UP with more climbing, sharp downhills and the one thing that we just could not anticipate:  EAST COAST ROCKS……  I am not a technical rider and neither is Kim.  What was going to be a 10 mile ridge ride turned into a 10 mile push,crawl, drag your bike segment.  The night air was still and you could see the lights of Front Royal.  Quietly and with neither one of us talking we began the push…..  We began at midnight and at 0538 we finished.  It took us 5 hours and 38 minutes to go 10 miles.  We were tore up and tired.

At the end we hit a road and for about 45 minutes were a bit lost as we searched for CP 28.  CP 28 was a fire tower and we could NOT find it!!  I still think the point was mis-plotted but finally a group of racers came in and we split up and they went up the road and located a trail that did take us finally to the tower.  We all climbed up the tower in the dark and punched in at the top. 

From there we had a nice downhill ride into CP 27.  It was a manned point and there was a fire and some cookies!  People had been telling us to make sure we planned enough time to get back by the race finish and we were pretty daggone tired after our bike push.  We made the decision to forego any trekking optional points from here and began the bike ride back.  I estimated a 20 mile bike that would take us to the finish line in time.  There was a section called the Veachy Gap trail that had me a bit worried looking at the map.  Again I should have been frightened……

The first 5 miles of the bike were on fire roads but we soon entered a trail system that would bisect the mountain range on the way back to Bentonville and the finish.  This section soon gave way to another epic hike a bike leg that had everyone pushing the bikes up an enormous climb to the top of the gap.  Again silence settled in as we undertook the challenge.  Finally at the top we got on the bikes and rolled down and up to the bridge and the finish line.  But……  we were not done.  We decided to take the bikes and go out to the park to get the final two points we had left yesterday morning.  The only map we had was a park map and the distances were crazy hard to calculate.  What looked like an easy bike ride turned into about another 10 mile ride.  We had climbed and pushed again to the entrance of the park and then like beat pups realized we still had WAY TOO far to go to get the points and still make it back in time.  It was also at this time that I took a violent bike crash on the road that totally ripped up my hand.  Enough…..  We picked up a trail alongside the river and hunkered down for the ride.  Kim called this our 10 mile cool down…..  I think she was joking but…………..  It sucked to ride an additional 10 miles with no points to show for it….

We got back and officially finished.  We packed gear in the cars and Kim decided to hit the road.  I crawled in the 4 runner for a nap and buried deep in my Mountain HardWear sleeping bag and slept thru the awards ceremony!!
We finished 2nd in our coed division and qualified for the National Championships.

I was happy.  The drive home was filled with stops for short naps and McDonald milk shakes…….:)

15 April 2015

Summit AR/Team Commie Bar to the Rev3 26 hour adventure race in Bentonville, VA
Shenandoah Epic

15 March 2015

Summit on the Foundry Tomahawk for 2015....

Team Commie Bar glad to be on the Foundry Tomahawk in 2015....

24 January 2015

National Map for locating Races and Racers....

Great idea from Ana Eaton from the Adventure Racing Discussion Group....

25 September 2014

Volunteers for the United States Adventure Racing National Championships

Hey to all,

So the Worlds are over and now we're hosting the National Adventure Racing Championships and need some volunteers.

Take a look at the shifts below and send an email to TCOPESWORLD@gmail.com if you can help out.  This will be a chance to see ultra endurance racing up close.....

USARA Adventure Race National Championship - Volunteer Schedule

Thursday October 2, 2014

1:00 pm – 5:30 pm               (8 Volunteers)
Waivers / Licenses      2       Wisp
USARA Merchandise  2       Wisp
T-shirts                          2       Wisp
Swag                             2       Wisp

Friday October 3, 2014
7:30 am – 10:30 am             (16 volunteers – 3 hours)
Swim staging area       8       ASCI
Water entry                 4       ASCI
Finish/poker chip        1       ASCI
Run start                       2       ASCI
Run/poker chip           1       ASCI

10:00 am – 8:00 pm             (6 volunteers – 10 hours)
Paddle start/finish      3       Marina
TA 2                               3       Deep Creek State Park

Friday October 3, 2014 – Saturday October 4, 2014

Wisp TA/Finish line               (8 Volunteers in 8 hour shifts)
Fri 8 am - Fri 4 pm       2       WISP
Fri 4 pm - Sat 12 pm   2       WISP
Sat 12 pm - Sat 8 am   2       WISP
Sat 8 am - Sat 3 pm     2       WISP

Friday 12 noon – Saturday 12 noon (4 Volunteers – 24 hours)
TA 3  Volunteers will work in shifts but need to bring camping equipment/ food for entire 24 hours

07 September 2014

Black Bear Adventure Race

Okay, so I put this on the Commie schedule a long time ago.   Good friend Mike Serro was putting this on in Deep Creek and you got to support our local community.  I knew it was falling 2 weeks from the World Championships but it can work, right??

Well on one hand I was really fretting doing this because it took me out of the World Championship office for a whole day but on the other hand was looking forward to busting out a good workout here in the epicenter of adventure sports....

Rucking up with me was Eric Lapp who's been an amazing addition to the team and roster.  Newbie Joey DiSimone rounded out the third and this was his first adventure race.

I served as captain and gave the navigation duties over to Eric who has performed superbly this season.  Joey (as a newbie) was team mule....  carry the passport and punch the points.  Plus carry any gear TCOPE says to....  :)

This week was hectic but we all showed up at the pre race meeting at the Mountain State Brewery.  Great choice.  Plot maps and drink beer....  A Commie favorite....

We got done early and headed home.  Eric had homework to make the navigation plan from home after looking at satellite views and terrain analysis.  There were three options for routes as I saw it....

5am......  up and going to the start.  I get there.  Eric and Joey were dropping paddle gear at the put in.  Seem Joey has forgotten his helmet!  It's 15 minutes to start and I do a mad dash to the house to grab another helmet.  Thank goodness I lived so close.  I hate starting  like this.

Of the 3 routes and strategies, we settled on an early paddle.  The weather looked like it was going to turn and we wanted OFF that lake before the weather came in.  Some other teams chose to nail the bike first but we settled in on our plan.

the race started with a mile prologue.  Usual run like hell to a point then back and get your heart rate into super human zone....  We took our time and nailed the point and got back to the bikes.  From there we nailed one point enroute to the boats.  Once at the boats we sorted our some gear and hit the water.  A tandem kayak and a single.  Eric was in the single and we soon began out pacing him.  We then ran a tow line and that helped.  We had about a 9-10 mile paddle and we did it in fairly calm water.  No issues on navigation and we nailed the whole thing and all four points before getting back to the take out.

At the takeout we got back on bikes and headed north the way we came in for the brutal climb up Marsh Mountain.  We know this place like the back of our hands so this was the logical (yet tough) way to get into the field of play.  We climbed this and actually headed up past my office at the whitewater center and dropped into Fork Run.

No matter how many times you've done Fork Run, I always seem to get turned around.  We nailed a point up high at ASCI and then dropped in and got to the bridge to nail point two.  We wandered around a bit but got all the point there.  Two sections (paddle and mountain bike) and we were 100% on points.

Next was the road slog on bike to Swallow Falls.  We hit the road and crank hammered into the State Park.  Here we dropped bikes and circumnavigated the park and the waterfalls to get all the points here.  Back on the bike we headed out the park the back way.

First navigation error....  The back way was not actually the "back way".  Eric had plotted a single track trail but we rode out a fairly innocent forest road.  We decided to head on a Tolliver trail looking for CP 15 and it became apparent we were a long ways off because of the error.  No worries.  We continued on and got us placed on the map and made our way to CP 15.  A lucky spot of a trail sign got us out of the stream bed and onto the trail to nail the point.....

From there it was a bit of a single track slog back out to the road.  Once there we turned north and made our way to the Snaggy Mt Road and onwards to the rock maze for CP 16.  We did a bit of a bushwack on foot to the rock maze to nail the point.

From there onward north and into the Cranesville Swamp.  Eric had expertly taken satellite imagery and drawn out a perfect illustration of the trails in the swamp.  We got there and single tracked out thru the swamp to the boardwalk to now the Pleban point.  The Pleban point was the furthest point away from the finish and also in the State of WV.  It was named after Scotty Pleban who was a great adventure racer that got hit by a car and succombed to being in a coma.  Scotty was loved by all and it wasn't till I got to the point that I made the connection....

Now...............  DECISION............
How to get into the Piney Mountain Reserve.  We had three options.
1.  ride the road north for a long ways then come in on the forest road and climb up again.
2.  Ride the road north for a short distance then bushwack up a pipeline to gain the road to climb up
3.  BUSHWACK like a mother with the bikes STRAIGHT UP THE HILL TO THE KNOB........

We chose 3.  Sometimes when i'm done with races I wonder what people really think we do on adventure races.  If I said push/carry your bike up 700 vertical feet over 1 kilometer thru deep vegetation i wonder if they even understand what i mean.  I'm talking about dragging your bike thru sections......  We were smoked but popped out right on top and gained CP 23 before anyone coming from the bottom.  From there we continued the bushwack down looking for a road.  We passed a couple racers that looked incredulous that we were there with bikes.....

We got down and after a brief navigation error again nailed 22.  Once on the trail we got down to 21.  Rode a bit out to nail 20 and then back to the main trail down to the power line.

We had heard CP 19 was impossible.  We tried anyway.  We dropped bikes and went in and started navigating through HEAVY, HEAVY rhodendron thickets....  basically crawling to find a slight hilltop at 2900 feet elevation.  I found the uprising but it took me a half hour to go 300 meters.  I was trying to get to the north side where the map had plotted the point.  Eric and Joey waited for me.  I could not penetrate the thicket.  After 1 hour of searching we decided to pull the plug....  Up to this point we were 100%.

Back to the bikes we had an hour and a half to travel back to the finish.  Two points were right on the road so this was a piece of cake.....

Of course in adventure racing everything goes to shit.....

I flatted immediately.  We changed my tire in virtually 30 seconds....  I'm a pro at this.  I pulled out the CO2 cartridge and.........................................  IT DIDN'T WORK!  Now panic sets in.  I'm sitting on a flat rim and we're 7 miles from the finish.

I start pushing my bike down the trail looking to see if there are other adventure racers that have a pump..  Nothing.  I get out of Piney mountain and start riding down a paved road on a flat rim with a tire on it.  The road descends greatly to the Yough river and I have to keep it under control.

3/4s of the way down a race official comes by and I ask if he has a pump.  He does!!!!!!!!!  I pump up the tire thinking it might have failed since I rode already 2 miles on it flat.  It holds!!!  I'm off.
We finish the descent and then we still have a long, long climb to the finish.  The first part is gradual for 2 miles or so and the last 1.5 miles is vicious climbing.

Panic....  Joey, says he has flatted.  There is no time to change a second tire.  It appears to be a slow leak so we pump it up again and go.  It's dark now and we have no lights.  We're battling to hit the cut off time at the finish.  We hit the base of the last climb with 25 minutes to go.  We can do this....

thru a combination of pushing, walking and peddling we make it to the top and cruise into the Mountain State Brewery 15 minutes before the cut off.....

Team Commie Bar cleared the entire course except point 19.  For that effort we finished 3rd!  The field was tough.

special shout out to the Adventure Sports Institute that finished the race with 1 minute to spare....!

Pics to come....

02 September 2014

The Summit Brands......... The Greatest Adventure Company in the World...

The Greatest 
Adventure Company In The World!

The Summit Brands including Summit Consulting, Summit Event Productions LLC, Summit Adventure Racing and Deep Creek 2014 Event Productions LLC....

The Summit Brands have been all over the planet this year.  
We are BUSY!!!

Some quick bullets
*  Summit and Deep Creek 2014 led the United States delegation to the 2013 Whitewater World Championships in the Czech Republic and brought home the ICF flag to America.

*  We've been the event production company of choice for the Whitewater Kayak World Championships.  We're hosting over 50 nations in Deep Creek, MD at the Adventure Sports Center International.  Still can't believe we're producing a WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP!!  More teams than the Olympics....

*  We are the direct regional liaison to the United States Adventure Racing Association and will host the USARA NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS here in Deep Creek Lake, MD

*  We are the direct regional liaison and Todd Copley serves as a Regional Course Official for Race Across America, the world's toughest bike race.  Deep Creek Lake MD was host city and Time Station 47 for this year's edition.

*  We are involved extensively in the North American bid to bring the International Festival of Extreme Sports (FISE) to this
continent.  We hope to do this in 2016.

*  We are the direct liaison to the Washington, DC 2024 Olympic bid organization and will be a part of the Canoe Slalom (if not more) portion of the Olympic bid.
*  Team Commie Bar remains the #1 ranked 3 man adventure racing team in all of North America.  We've raced all over the Mid Atlantic, Colorado, Utah, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, ect....  No three man team in this hemisphere can go longer and race more than us....

*  Summit Consulting helped launch the Center of Adventure & Experiential Learning at Garrett College this past year.  
*  Deep Creek 2014 and Summit Consulting completed the 2.2 Million dollar infrastructure project at the Adventure Sports Center International.

*  Deep Creek 2014 in collaboration with inVNT Inc secured the NBC Sports & Universal Sports coverage of the 2014 Canoe Slalom World Championships.  

*  Summit Consulting's Todd Copley serves on the board of directors of the Adventure Cycling Association, the world's largest membership based organization.

*  Summit Consulting and Todd Copley serves as adviser and head coach of the Adventure Sports Institute's Collegiate Adventure Racing Team.

*  Summit Consulting and Todd Copley serve on the strategic planning board of the Adventure Sports Center International

*  Summit Consulting serves on the board of advisors for Nature & Kind, a U.K. luxury travel brand.

*  Summit Consulting serves on the board of moderators for the largest substance & tobacco abuse help organization in the world. We help addicts get their lives back and we've saved thousands of lives.  

The Summit Brands Around The World and Around our Lives.....

We're the Greatest Adventure Company in the World!!

03 August 2014

Krista 12Hr Adventure Race

August 2, 2014 Krista Grissacker 12hr Adventure Race bait
I kind of signed up for this at the last minute as Team Commie Bar needed a 3rd male and the race was only an hour from my house (this is the closest to home I've raced since April). If you've ever driven on the PA Turnpike and seen that big wooded mountain ridge that runs most of the way across the eastern end of the state, that was our race course. Well that one and the two other similar mountains north of it...

I met the team at 2200 Friday night. I checked in late bc I worked all day. We headed into town to go over the race plan. Donny and Chris are two very cool racers. They are the antithesis of the triathlon types. They loaded up on double cheese burgers and chicken mcnuggets and fries while we plotted our route on the map. After that we stopped for beer and got to bed around 0100. The race started at 0600 with an hour bus ride north.

Once there two teammates had to find the bikes that we had previously loaded into a trailer while the third teammate had to do a one mile trail run to retrieve the passport. They seemed to think I was the better trail runner so I got that assignment. It was 1/2 mile uphill, but coming down was nice. It was a good warm-up.

Next we got on the bikes and hit the MTB trail. This part of the course was marked, which is rare in adventure racing. We rode about 10 miles/2 hrs of groomed trail then hit fire roads. After Waypoint 1 we were on our own. I navigated us to the first CP using a map just for that area. Once we hit that CP, we were on the BIG map, and headed south. We bombed down the mountain on the road--my tires were humming! 3 miles later we pulled into a public hunting area (called Game Lands in PA) and met a grumpy warden who wouldn't let us on the property and had removed the CP flag. Fortunately the RD arrived and kind of sorted things out.

We had to divert along the road to get to the next CP but they gave us a time bonus (and no one went to jail, always a good thing). The next CP was a TA to foot. We headed up the mountain on foot in a bushwhack and nailed 7 CP's. Our navigation was spot on for all but CP 5, but we worked together as a team and nailed it. The woods were beautiful and the blueberries were getting ripe. I'm surprised we didn't see a bear.

Expect for a quarter mile on the AT, we did not use any trails while on foot all day. Next we got back on the bikes for 3 miles and headed to the paddle TA. We dropped bikes but had to carry helmets and bike shoes the rest of the race (packs were getting very heavy!). The small river we were on was running low and we had to drag the boat a couple times. Three guys in a canoe is never fun but since I'm the tallest and heaviest,

I always get the back (and I'm not complaining!) The canoe was only 6 miles and towards the end, there were close to several other boats. In a stroke of genius (luck actually) we went river left around an island that everyone else went right. We ended up passing everyone! At this point we were the 6th boat off the water and were having a great race. Once out of the boat, the rest of the race would be on foot. A quick change of shorts and socks and we headed up the mountain. This was by far the hardest part of the race. No trails, no level ground. The mountain is basically a gigantic pile of boulders so we hopped boulders up and down. We had 15k to go and were really feeling it going up the mountain. It was so humid that sweat was pouring out, almost like I was in a rain shower. I ate a pack of jerky, took some enduralytes and was drinking Nuun. I knew that if I was going to bonk this is where it would happen. Fortunately, none of us bonked and we made it to the CP at the top, called Dan's Pulpit. It's one of the better scenic overlooks on the AT and the breeze and view were fantastic. But we had to move on. The clock was ticking and we had 90 minutes for 10k bushwhack. Working together we scrambled down the mountain. We had a couple falls but no one got hurt.

It was so slippery from the humidity I felt like I had Armor All on the soles of my shoes. We eventually found some old washed out double track and followed that down the mountain to the last CP. All we had to do was get to the finish. 4k and 40 minutes--did we bushwhack up and over the last mountain (saving 2k) or use the road and go around the mountain? The sounds of rifle fire on the mountain helped out decision and we took the road. We ran it in to the finish line with 10 minutes to spare!

Since the race was at a Civil Air Patrol base, they had an obstacle course that we could do for a bonus point. I never like to pass up bonus points and we were off the clock, so we did it. IT was great! Monkey bars over water, rope swings and climbs, wall climbs, inverted ladders, it was Boelker's wet dream (but no burpees!) A couple other teams had people fall in the water but we finished strong. We turned in our passport and immediately started re-hydrating with beer. We finished 2nd Place in the 3-Male category (they merged the Elite (us) and Masters divisions and a Masters team beat us by 2 points). Overall this was a super fun yet challenging race. This could have easily been an 18-24 hour race. Only one team hit all the points.