16 November 2016

Team Commie Bar fielding two teams at the Root Stock Two Rivers Adventure Race in Season Finale.....

Summit Adventure Racing/Team Commie Bar will field two teams at the season finale Two Rivers Adventure Race directed by Rootstock near Philadelphia, PA on 3 December 2016....
Credit Rootstock Racing

Captaining our 2 person coed team will  be DJ Angelone and he will be joined by his wife for the 5 hour course. 
 DJ is coming off a great race at the National Championships and will wind down the 2016 season at Two Rivers.

Captaining our 2 person male team will be Michael Scott.  Michael is in his 1st year with the Commie boys and completed the 24hour Shenandoah Epic earlier this year.  

In 2016, Summit AR/Team Commie Bar raced and competed in over 25 national and international adventure races and/or ultra endurance events....  
No team in the U.S. races more than Team Commie Bar.  
We train while you sleep and safety is our third priority.

Team Commie Bar is sponsored by Mountain Hardwear and Honey Stinger Nutrition.

11 November 2016

National Championship of Adventure Racing Race Report

National Championships Race Report by Bait and DJ

14-15 October - US Adventure Racing National Championship  Now That I’ve had some sleep, and little time to collect my thoughts, I realize that the only downside to a long race is the corresponding length of the race report!! Chris, DJ and I met at DJ’s house in NJ at midnight Wednesday. From there we drove through the night to Augusta, GA. Despite initial thoughts of sleeping on the ride, the excitement of our first nationals as a group had us chatting like school girls.  The one time Chris got some shut eye he sprung awake when I hit the brakes and uttered a four letter. Lots of coffee and cheap mini mart egg burritos fueled us to the destination.

Upon arrival, we had a million things to do—gear check (and last minute purchases), staging our bikes at a park 30 mins away, team meeting and recon on the finish line. We had a nice tour of Augusta sporting good stores and a sense of the heavy outdoor lifestyle.  We chatted up a few locals and went on a brief walk around the Savannah Rapids park area. It felt great to get a sense of the locale but each minute put us further and further from a nap.

After the team meeting, DJ and Chris opted to stay at the hotel while I met up with Roy for dinner at 2130 Thursday. We had a great meal at Cracker Barrel and I hit the hay around midnight. At this point we’d all been up close to 36 hours minus the short naps we got during the ride down.

We were up at 0500 for breakfast then we headed for the finish line where we received our maps. We had about an hour to plot 55 check points and come up with a strategy for the next 30 hours/100 miles of racing! With no time to lose, we boarded a school bus that would take us to the park where our bikes were stored. Once everyone arrived, the race began.

We started with a prologue on the International Disc Golf Association Championship Course. We connected with the coed Team Commie bar and hit the course together.  It took us 25 minutes to run three disc golf courses and collect 12 CP’s. Apparently Disc Golf is a little more laid-back than adventure racing… From there we headed to the first paddle section on a beautiful lake. As we left the dock a bald eagle soared overhead and everything was right with the world. We deliberately decided to skip the four paddle points that were farthest away in order to build a time cushion for the rest of the race.  This made sense after the RD discussion the night before suggested that only a few teams would clear the course. This cut about 12 miles off our paddle. We had no trouble hitting the other 4 paddle points and we headed back to do some mountain biking.

The trails in this area are pretty sweet—very little rocks, a few roots and lots of whoop de doos. The trails are well-maintained and we found evidence that they had been used in the National Mountain Bike championship earlier this summer. We blasted through the next mountain bike leg which took us to another park and then we were back on foot. The navigation was fairly easy, except for one point we mis-plotted on the map. Fortunately we recognized the mistake quickly and were able to grab it. Then it was back on the bikes and back to the first TA. DJ started having some knee pain and single leg peddled for a bit.  But in true team tradition,  we attempted to push him on straight aways to ease the energy expense.  We also noted that we were all much more tired than usual at the 8-10 hour mark.  Putting our heads together, we realized the decision to drive through the nigh and lose the sleep was a mistake.  Best to start a race fully fueled on sleep, not cheap burritos!

Once back to the TA, we headed out on foot again this time in the dark.  We donned our head lamps and began the traverse.  DJ had never raced in the dark, save a few practice sessions in the last few weeks.  While initially tentative, he grabbed the maps and took over. Our nav was solid all day and this was no different.  It felt real good to be eating up check points at a pretty good pace. The lake was really low and we were able to use the shoreline to move quickly through the area and hit a couple of CPs that seemed tricky. We did learn to avoid that Georgia clay mud! Almost lost my shoes!

After these points we were back to TA to load up all of our remaining gear so we could head out to the next TA on our bikes for the signature piece of the race: 18 miles of sweet singletrack at 0130! Its worth noting at this point that DJ and I had recently purchased new headlamps.  The specs looked good and the price was amazing (bright eyes.com), but always a little skeptical about this sort of combination   Well, the lights worked really well, super bright and long lasting.  But that’s not all…DJ noticed prior to the race that the light might not have been charging fully.  So a week out, he contacted their customer service, a guy named Don.  Lets just say that at the end of the day, DJ received replacement parts for his whole set up, and the company even overnighted some stuff to us at the hotel…Don if you’re out there, great work!!

Anyway, the Bartram trail flowed like a dream and it was over before we knew it. The trail was so amazing I was actually disappointed it was over. At the end we crossed the top of the Strom Thurman Dam into South Carolina (add another state to my list!). In SC there were 6 foot points that were all bushwhacks. At one point we were stopped in our tracks by a wall of briars that must have been 15 feet tall. We struggled a little in this area (we’d been up for 24 hours at this point) and we missed two of the CP’s.  There were no trails in this section just a whole bunch of reentrants, which also served as the primary clue.  At about 0500, I fell asleep standing while DJ and Chris checked the map.  I asked for a brief respite, hit the ground, and started snoring instantly.  Despite telling them 5 minutes, I think Chris and DJ felt bad so they woke me at the 8 minute mark.

“Fully rested” and ready to go, we noted the upcoming time cutoff to make for the next section.  Chris was getting a little salty,  which he later said was his “anxiety” (good thing DJ is a licensed psychologist!!), even calling out my “dime store compass” and yelling at DJ for putting on some tiger balm.  Once the sun popped, we decided to try and hit one more CP on our way out as we hustled to the final paddle section. After success, we got onto the water which was a really interesting leg of the race. We could hardly keep my eyes open we were so tired.  A few of us noted that passing out and falling into the water was not only a fear, but a welcomed experience   So we started chatting.  Chris began to pose some thoughtful questions and while I couldn’t tell you the answers now, they clearly worked.
Credit Rev3 Adventure Racing

We worked our way down the Savannah river and ended up in a sea of grass. Chris led us to a super tricky point on an island. The half swamp looked like it could be an alligator alley, but his solid nav made for a quick grab and go.  The only negative is the 8 teams that caught up with us and possibly rode our tails to find the CP with ease.  After that, is was smooth sailing to the final TA. As we pulled up to the boat launch, Roy was waiting for us. It was awesome to see him and he was really encouraging!

The final leg of the race was mountain biking the fabled Savannah canal towpath trail. After 26 hours of racing, we averaged 15 mph on the rail trail and crushed the final leg. As luck would have it, on the last check point we met up with the Co-Ed Team Commie Bar and all 6 of us finished together. At the finish line I met up with Roy again and eventually Hydro stopped by. It was the perfect ending to a long race!
Credit Rev3 Adventure Racing

After packing up our gear and heading out to the hotel for a quick nap, we made it to the banquet.  The beer tasted sweet and we had a chance to reminisce with familiar faces and meet some new ones.  It was only fitting that DJ won what seemed like a lifetime supply of Tiger Balm and a T-shirt, which he prominently displayed for Chris.  As we drove home the next day, we pondered our success: 12th out of 26 in open division.  Our team was solid, supportive, even fun.  We proposed some ideas for our 2017 race schedule, discussed a team fishing trip, and how DJ plans to secretly rub tiger balm on every ounce of Chris’ gear!!

03 October 2016

Team Commie Bar/Summit Adventure Racing Qualifies Two Teams for National Championships of Adventure Racing

Team Commie Bar will be sending two teams to the 2016 National Championships of Adventure Racing being held in Columbia County Georgia on October 14-15.  

The race format will be a 30 hour non-stop adventure race featuring mountain biking, trekking and paddling.  Teams are required to navigate a series of checkpoints using only a map and compass to guide them while transitioning between several disciplines such as: Trail Running/Trekking, Mountain Biking, Paddling and Orienteering.

In 2016, Team Commie Bar/Summit AR raced in over 20 national and international adventure racing and ultra endurance events. The team is based in Deep Creek Lake, MD and has a roster of 15 athletes from all over the country and in France.  Team Commie Bar races at more events and competitions than any other team in the U.S.  

Highlights of 2016 include:  
FLX's Florida's Sea to Sea

The Adventure Racing World Series Qualifier Rev 3 Cameco Cowboy Tough

The Swamp Fox Adventure Race by KanDo Adventures

The Rev3 Shenandoah Epic

The GOALS Cradle of Liberty 

And a host of other races and events across the U.S. and in Europe. 

The USARA Adventure Race National Championship is the "Heart & Soul" of Adventure Racing in the United States. Teams of 3 compete in USARA regional qualifying events across the U.S. for a chance to battle it out for the title of USARA Adventure Race National Champion.

Team Commie Bar/Summit Adventure Racing's two teams will consist of one 3 person all male team and one 3 person coed team.

Meet the racers!!

Team Commie Bar #1 - 3 person Coed 
Mark Bolyard - Team Captain

Val Hardin

Darren Steinbach

Team Commie Bar #2 - 3 person All Male
Left to Right - DJ Angelone, Dan "Bait" Schaefer, Chris Farrell

After the National Championships, Team Commie Bar will publish the 2017 race schedule.  

The team  has already committed to the 2017 edition of Primal Quest already and expects to race again in over 20+ events.

Team Commie Bar thanks its many partners including Mountain Hardwear, Montrail Shoes, Cycle Beam Lights and Honey Stinger Nutrition.

To learn more about Team Commie Bar and racing with us in 2017 send an email to Todd Copley at TCopley@theadventurespectrum.com.

You can follow us on Facebook at 
Facebook Team Commie Bar  

or on Twitter  
Twitter Team Commie Bar

Twitter the Adventure Spectrum

19 August 2016

Summit Adventure Racing/Team Commie at the Krista Griesacker 12hour Adventure Race

Race Report
Krista Griesacker 12hour Adventure Race
Team Captain:  Dan "Bait" Schaefer

Team Beast:  Chris Farrell

Team Mule:  DJ Angelone

Heat, Hydration and Humbling—these best describe the challenges of the Krista Griesacker Adventure Race. Leading up to the race we received several e-mails from the Rd that warned us that things will not go as planned and that we should expect the unexpected. We arrived at the Civil Air Patrol training site—which accommodated DJ’s awesome camper—and received a pre-race briefing that basically gave us no information. 

The race would begin 15 minutes after reveille was played in the morning, and we could expect to hear reveille sometime between 0400-0700. They provided no information on what to expect other than to be ready for anything. One of our biggest concerns was a note in an e-mail that said boats “may or may not” be available. Generally in adventure racing we run/trek, mountain bike and canoe/kayak/raft. Recently there’s been a trend to include swimming so we assumed that’s what we’d be dealing with in this race. 

We racked our brains trying to decide if we should buy rafts or inner tubes or what but ended up deciding to wing it and see how things played out. We packed our gear into our packs (food, headlamps, climbing harnesses, water filter) and filled the two 25ozwater bottles that we were allowed to carry. That’s right, hydration bladders (a staple in AR) were forbidden. Each of us was only allowed to carry a total of 50 oz. of water at any time. Made things interesting because there are no water stops on an AR course. 

After stopping at Wendy’s for our traditional baconator pre-race meal, we went to sleep in our race gear—the camper was comfortable and I was out like a light (especially after sleeping in a tent all week at scout camp!).  Dj and chris were not so lucky given that most of camp seemed to be awake at 230 and frequently shining flashlights into the camper waking them up.

At 0415 reveille sounded. We jumped out of bed, ate a quick breakfast and, headed out. The prologue divided the team into two elements. I would ride mountain bike time trial on a 5 mile road course while DJ and Chris had to find three foot check points. What they didn’t tell us was that once DJ and Chris found their points they would be ‘captured ‘and that after the bike I would have to find and ‘rescue’ them. I enjoyed the bike section and finished in about 16 mins. After that I went looking for DJ and Chris. I found Chris first and together we found DJ. Both footpoints required a bushwhack using an unremarkable map in the dark and it was a taste of fun to come….

After the prologue we finally received our race map and coordinates for the first checkpoint, it was the namesake of the town of Deer Lake, PA. Along the way we had to ride up and over Hawk Mountain—we neared 45 mph on the way down but the climb up was brutal. The ride was all on road and when we arrived at the CP we learned one teammate would have to swim to the middle of the lake, retrieve a coconut, open it and we had to drink the coconut milk and eat the meat. Chris and DJ did an even/odd thing to see who would swim across the duck pond while I refilled our water. Chris “won” and retrieved the coconut. 

It was a nice treat and after we completed the challenge, we received our next set of coordinates and headed towards the Port Clinton Gap. This is where the Schuykill River cuts a gap in the Blue Mountain and is about1500 feet on either side. Our next Paws at the bottom and once there we dropped the bikes and headed up to the top of the west side of the gap on foot. The mountain here is basically a pile of microwave size rocks covered in brambles and as Chris would say “sticka bushes”. We shed a lot of blood getting to the top and DJ was almost attacked by a black snake. The temperature and humidity were rising as we climbed up to the top but we found the next CP without a problem. Unfortunately, things would start going sideways after this one. 

The high temp for the day was 91 and the humidity was94%. We were only allowed to carry 50 ounces of water and there were no water sources on top of the mountain (there was beautiful river at the bottom but there was no way we were going back down just for water). Being slightly dehydrated at this point I started getting some bad cramps in my hamstrings. We all downed a couple salt-sticks and that helped for a while. Our next point was about a third of the way down the mountain but we had a lot of trouble finding it. After about 90 minutes we finally did but only after we climbed up and down and sideways and up and down and back to the top to start over. We were relieved to find the CP and found that it was the first of 2 rappelling sites. We rappelled down a 40 foot cliff under the expert supervision of the CAP search and rescue crew.  I love doing this stuff! Once down we headed downhill little further for a much higher rappel. 

Chris's form was apparently a little off as noted by the volunteer ("butt down") although between us, he may have trying his best "spider man" impression.  After that it was back to the river. We were overheated and thirsty—fortunately there was a diner on the other side of the river so we waded across with our bikes and got a cold drink. I think Chris drank 8 large Pepsi’s. DJ and I downed leftover cheeseburgers and some lemonade we found in a cooler outside. I think we may have downed close to 100oz in just a few minutes.  Feeling better we started up the other side of the Gap on our bikes. The climb was over three miles and we were pretty spent. The heat was oppressive and we felt like we were melting…. At the top we met with the RD and he gave us a couple beers. I was in heaven and started getting a little giddy. 

Unfortunately, the beer came with a downside and we found out that they were short coursing us.  We were told to skip a foot orienteering course and continue on the mountain bikes. There were trails all over the place, but none were marked on the map. This proved to be a challenge and my giddiness took us off course on along descent that was fun to ride, but we cursed as we pushed our bikes back up as it was the wrong trail. We fumbled around and eventually found the next point and thought we found a shortcut to the next one. OF course, this shortcut led us way past the CP and we were starting to fall apart. It was hot, we were frustrated by the nav errors and we contemplated just calling it a day. But that’s not the Commie Killer way and we kept trying to get to the next CP. Eventually, we ran into the RD who was cleaning and was stuffing the CP in his pack when we found him.  

We punched and then rode out of the woods. We were smoked and had hoped to find a shortcut back to the CAP base but in the end we had to ride up and over Hawk Mountain again. It was a great moment when all three of us pedaled to the top and then bombed down a 3 mile descent at over 40mph!  We arrived at the finish line after 14 hrs. 30 mins of racing….bloody, thirsty and exhausted. We figured we were in last place so we cracked a beer and tried to wrap our heads around what happened during the race. While we were doing so we were called up by the race organizers and found that we had placed 2nd in our division!! Through a technicality, we were only one of two teams to make it back to the CAP base without needing a ride! We certainly learned a lot about ourselves and our team dynamic that day and we’re all looking forward to Nationals! 

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.