Note: Most of the professional looking pics in this blog are credited to Extreme Prestige Photography and Mike Serro..... I guess I could say "what Bait said"......(copied below) Here's my version:
Got to Ohiopyle around 6:30. Both Bait and Dan Kazup were onsite and we checked in and grabbed the maps. It took a while to transpose the GP coordinates from the master map. If you screw that up you're screwed so we spent a bunch of time with me saying "Bait are you absolutely sure that CP is on that road or 10 yards off it"....
After the transpose we went to the damn bar. I highly recommend having chicken burritos from the Falls City Pub before racing 24 hour races so we sat in there and drank beer and stared at the map. Dan Kazup It was pretty straight forward until the navigation between CP 7 to 8. We spent a bunch of time scouting out some possibilities before calling it a night. Me and Dan went back to the Lodge at Chalk Hill. Bait was camping..
Met at the race start at 0630. Coffee and visits to the bathroom. We hopped on the bus at 0730. It seemed the Casselman river was running too low so there were changes to the race. They pulled off at the top of SugarLoaf Mountain and it started from there.
We had a pretty easy 12K run down to the paddle put in at Ram Cat. We got on the river by 0915 and me and Dan K we're in a ducky and Bait navigated the Class III by himself. The river was running good and Bait was hooking it riding the high profile lightweight boat. Dan K weighs about 200 pounds and we were dipping on the front but he did a hell of a job in paddling while I slept in the back (just kidding).
No matter if the water is high or not I run the MIddle Yough in 1 hour and 45 minutes. That's what we did. We then had to carry the boat damn near a half mile on the portage. Me and DanK carried the one and Bait balanced a duckie on his head. Actually that was pretty tough.
We dropped the boats and ran back across the Allegany Passage to our gear and changed into climbing gear. Then out to the rappel. I nice 75 rappell always get the blood going so we dropped off the railroad bridge and then linked up to go chase a point over the whitewater overlook.
We then moved back to the transition area and did a complete change of clothes and loaded up for what we knew would be the rest of the race. All food, and new clothes got us started. I drank a Coke and brought my Subway sandwich with me. We punched out of CP 5 and started the slog up the Baughman to the top of the mountain. This climb NEVER stops. DanK kept asking is it over? I jap-slapped him and said it is NEVER over! Get it out of your mind that while in Opyle we will stop climbing.
We made it to the first CP on bike and then had to push over the ski hill. DanK asking is it over? No From there we tried to hook up with the Pressley Ridge Trail and it was difficult to follow.
We screwed around on navigation on CP 7 but finally got to the point. There was a solo guy there and a two person coed. The next point from CP 7 to 8 was critical. This would be the differentiation point. We started and it soon became an exhibition bike march thru the bush. I had to keep the azimuth going southwest and finally we ran into a trail that led to a reentrant. We had to push down the trail in the stream bed for over 2 miles before popping out and cruising into CP 8. I ate the rest of my Subway Philly cheese steak.
Now the slog. Lot of road movements but LONG distances. We head out. We had picked a special route that went through the Nemacolin resort to cross the national road in one of the designated corridors. Bait ended up busting his chain and we fixed that in route with minor stoppages. After navigating thru the resort of Nemacolin and fucking up the road out we turned around and came back to the casino. I was ready to stop and play craps but there's not enough pain in that.
We finally found a way to cross the National and get on a lonely road up to CP 10. Soon after crossing Bait decides to stomp on his gear shifter and totally shear off his derailleur. If it would have happened in the woods after hitting a rock or something I would have been okay..... but on a country road? Okay, what to do? I broke the chain with the chain break and took out links to make it a single speed fixie..;.... Ride that mofo.... Seriously we had a strategic decision to make. Do we continue with this set up further and further away from the finish or do we turn around and just gimp our way back to finish.
We decided to continue on. We timed ourselves out to CP 10 and got there okay. We busted out an optional point in the dark and then headed back on the Grist Mill trail to the bike drop. A friend from the race organization met us on the trail and we drank a Pabst blue Ribbon.
Back at the bike drop we started the long journey to the finish. We got back to where we repaired the bike after about 2 hours. We then met some other racers and got their blown tubes to build a tow system. I started towing Bait back because the single speed solution began locking up.
We still managed to nail CP 11 up in a meadow besides a big stream. What a night!!!! We hit the road and got back up to sugarloaf mountain and finally started down!!!
We nailed CP 12 and cruised into the finish at about 3am. We left over 5 hours on the table which if used in the field could have helped us WIN the race. That said, we persevered thru some difficult mechanical situations.
We finished strong. We drank a beer. I fell asleep..... TCOPE
Bait Banjo's Report
Met up with TCOPE and Dan (new guy) for check-in and pre-race team meeting (3 hours of beer and maps) on Friday night. Had the customary chicken burrito at the local beer hall and crawled into the tent for a few hours sleep. Woke up early Sat morn, nice hot shower, then to the T/A whre I made fianl gear adjustments. There was electricity in the air. I was so pumped to be doing this race....my first 24 hr AR! We boarded a school bus that drove us to the top the mountain (about 2600'). Always nice to start at the top and work your way down, which we did with a 10-12k run to the kayak launch. We grabbed our inflatable kayaks and hit the water. I've been doing a good bit of paddling this summer and felt strong so I opted to run the solo boat. TCOPE and Dan were in a tandem. In case you've never raced with TCOPE, he is the master of everything. He gave Dan a 2 hour paddling lesson as were flew threw some awesome class III whitewater. At the takeout, we had to carry our boats, along with all our gear, across the town of Ohiopyle to the checkpoint. I balanced my boat on my head an was told I looked like an inflatable banana....not the first time i've heard that We dropped the boats and headed to the rappel. This was the biggest rappel I've done (other times have been about 30 feet indoors). This was a 60-70 foot rappel off of a rail road bridge. Fuck Yeah! It was pretty cool, TCOPE and I went at the same time, side by side. I was a little nervous but he made it look easy so I said fuck it, and down I went. Once the team was at the bottom we grabbed another CP--running in climbing gear was a new experience...By now it's around noonish and we are getting ready for the hard part--40-50 mile of biking. We change into dry clothes, grab all the gear we will for the rest of the race and head off on the infamous Baughman trail. It's about a 1200 foot climb to the next CP--lots of hike a bike up steps and rocks. Within the first ten minutes of the ride my rear brake breaks. Not sure what went wrong but I still have the front so on we go. That rear brake is only 20% of the stopping power anyway, right?? We continue on some awesome MTB trails and nail two CP's at the top. Then we head into the abyss. The route to CP 8 is described as "expedition biking'. AKA bushwhack with a bike. We ended up riding down a creek and found the trail TCOPE is an expert navigator and got us through some really tough terrain. We got to CP8 an refilled water bottles in a creek (with a pump). The route from CP 8 to CP 9 was incredibly long (30k?) and that's when I started having all sorts of problems with my bike. To make a long story short, my chain broke. Then my rear derailleur broke off (not the hanger the actual derailleur!) TCOPE never lost his patience as we spent about 2 hours working on my bike. We ended up shortening the chain and turning my bike into a single speed. It worked OK on the rolling hills of southern PA. I’d push the bike when it got to hard to pedal, then coast like a banshee as far as I could on the downhills. And repeat the process over and over until we got to the Orienteering course. It was about 2100 hrs when we got there and we decided to spend 2 hrs trying to get some of these optional CP’s. TCOPE let me navigate this section and I really enjoyed it. He kept a watchful eye and took advantage of every teachable moment. None of the CP’s were close to the trail and it took us 2 hrs to get just one of them. We refilled water bottles in the creek again (ice cold mountain water makes me strong) and headed out. Since my bike was slowing us down, we wanted to make sure we finished in time. Looking back, I wish we could have grabbed more of those CP’s. Heading up to CP 11 my chain started to bind up and I could hardly pedal on the flats. It was brutal, I’d put all my weight on one foot to push the crank down, then repeat the processo n the other side. I pushed the bike a lot until we came upon a group of other racers. They were lost, exhausted an just kind of spaced out. Fortunately, they’d had lots of flats so they gave us 6 inner tubes and we made a tow harness. TCOPE TOWED for the last 2 hours of the race! The guy is unbelievable. Never once did he complain. Just so we’re clear, I’m 6’2 195#. TCOPE is 5’10 (?) 165 (?) anyway, I’m bigger an heavier, but he’s a fucking beast! Never once did he complain. It’s hard to describe in words what it was like, but the last few hours of that race were pure magic. Dan, the other guy, was starting to bonk—he only drank this custom liquid stuff that was basically nothing but caffeine and sodium, he had no real water. Finally, I forced him to drink from a spring that we had been told about. There were two pipes—one came from direct from the source—the other was just in the creek. So I’m telling this guy that the water is safe (he didn’t trust the filter earlier) and I look down and he’s drinking from the WRONG pipe! I didn’t tell him, he needed the water too bad and giardia takes a couple days to kick in! Anyway we finished strong, and ended up 2nd place in our division. This was great race. Racing with TCOPE is like nothing else. He’s a consummate professional, and every time I race with him I learn a lot. My only regret on this race is that I wanted to help out more with navigation, but the bike troubles kept me distracted. I was worried about my endurance on such a long race, but I felt strong the whole way through. Ate a total of 5 clif bars, 2 honey stingers, 6 gels, one tube of perpetuem solids, 4 water bottles of HEED, and a pack of pop tarts. Going to kill my bike mechanic. After the post race breakfast and awards, I dove 300 miles home. Hit the pillow at 2000 and didn’t wake up til 0500. Overnighters with TCOPE are exhausting!