30 September 2012

The Megatransect 2012..... a trail marathon like no other....

The Megatransect is a legend……..
This was the 10th year anniversary of the 1st Megatransect and it is an amazing race.  I cannot even begin to try and explain to people that have done this race what it consists of.  Take your best marathon time ever and double it and you’ll be close.  I ran, walked, hobbled and even crawled on this year’s edition.  Ask Soul what he thought!!!

Here’s a quick recap from me.
As normal I pulled into Castanea about 5pm.  BBJ and Soul had been there since noon or so.  I immediately started carbo loading by downing Troegs beers as quick as I could.  We hung out a bit and I got my campsite set up and also bought a new hydration running pack.  I believe this is my 40th hydration pack alone.  I have a fetish for packs.  I sleep with them. 
So we got set up and went to the Church for the annual spaghetti dinner.  Mighty fine stuff and we got to sit and listen to ultra runner James Conway tell war stories.  I think Soul was getting nervous…….

After that we went back to the Mega site and goofed off for a bit more then hit the tent at about 2130.  I was sleeping like a baby and woke up at 1am thinking it was time to race.  Back to the fart sack.  Where’s that old standby pack…

Anyway I got up about 0430 and had a long hot shower.  I then made my way over to Bfast.  I wasn’t that hungry which is not usually a good sign but I had eaten too much spaghetti the nite before.  I had a scoop of eggs and that was about it.  About 0630 I meandered back to the car and started lubing up and getting dressed for the race.  I went with the following:

Vasque Velocity trail shoes
Smart Wool Phd Lite socks
Compression calf covers
SBR running shorts
Long sleeve tech shirt
Go Pro Chest harness
Nathan 1.5litre hydration pack
2 gels/2 cliff shots

The gun went off at 0700.  This year was beautiful weather.  Cool and dry opposed to last year which was a miserable slogfest.  Soon I was headed out on the road to the trail head.  It was the same as last year.  I think about 3 miles or so till you hit dirt.  It’s hard to not push the pace here because you know soon you’ll be walking/crawling but you have to maintain and hold back.  This race is LONG AND HARD…..
I hit the dirt at just under 30 minutes and started the first climb.  It went well and then winded up and down till mile 6 and the Boulder Fields……  This is the most amazing stretch of a race ever.  1.5 miles or so straight frigging up on nothing but massive boulders. 

At the top I was feeling good and sauntered/crawled along Rattlesnake ridge.  I took a pretty hard fall at about mile 8 but was back up quick.  It was dry this year which was better.
At the end of the ridge the trail drop painfully steep on nothing but rocks all the way to the valley.

I made the 10 mile aid station at I think 2hr 40.  Because I didn’t eat that much Bfast I was starving and took on WAY too much food and drink here.  I felt it for another 4 miles. 

From here the aid stations were spaced about every 4-5 miles or so.  I took a little over an hour to pull into the 14 mile aid station at 3hr50.  The trail got super tough from here navigating the Giant Steps and the Reservoir trail.  A lot of hurt here but there was also a nice blonde in front of me……

By now I couldn’t tell if I felt good or sucked.  That is a good feeling so I just kept pushing.  At the 17 mile aid station I was in at 4hr 40 and I felt pretty good listening to stoner shoe gaze music on the Ipod. 
I barely stopped at 17.  Long enough for a drink and a fig newton then I kept on going.  I pulled ahead of a lot of people by just cruising thru the aid stations.

Now here was the deal.  I knew If I could get into aid station 22 miles at 6 hours or so then I might have a chance at breaking 7 hours.  I kept cruising.  IT band started hurting a bit now but some crystal meth helped that.

So I cruised into 22 miles at 5hr 58…  I just kept on going because I knew the trail from here was tough going over the Raw Trail Boulder Field.  I had an hour to go 4.2…..  I climbed the Raw as quick as I could then punished myself on the descent.  My knees were shot now and I took a pretty big faceplant fall that wrecked my ankle.  I kept going and hit the road at the bottom and started making my way to the Green Mile.
I was really hurting now but refused to give up and/or let anyone catch me.  I would walk 50 steps then sprint 50 steps. 

Ultimately I cruised in at 7hrs 9 minutes something…..  A pretty damn good Mega.
More video and pics to come….

24 September 2012

Prep for the United States National Championship

Presented By:

2012 Tecnu Darn Tough USARA Adventure Race National Championship

Kerhonkson, New York October 11-13, 2012

Dear Racers,

Congratulations on qualifying for the 2012 Tecnu Darn Tough USARA Adventure Race National Championship. You have raced throughout the country at regional qualifiers to make it to the USARA Adventure Race National Championship. Now one team will rise above the rest and be crowned the 2012 USARA Adventure Race National Champions.

Prepare for a breathtaking course in the beautiful Catskill Mountains of New York. Teams will be challenged by the course and amazed by the beauty of this year’s USARA Adventure Race National Championship.

2012 will mark the initial year of an open division featuring all male & all female teams. One of these teams will earn the distinction of being the first USARA Open Adventure Race National Champion.

The USARA National Championship website will feature live race blogs and images enabling friends and family to follow the action from home as it unfolds. www.usaranationals.com

Not only do we have a very challenging and exciting race course designed for the competitors, we also have an exciting USARA National Championship weekend planned for family, friends, and spectators. Each spectator will receive their own swag bag with course information, maps, swag and discount coupons for local restaurants & attractions.

After the race, the awards ceremony and banquet will be a great place to swap race tales well into the night. This will be a time of celebration and camaraderie. We hope that your team, as well as any family and friends, will plan on attending.

The 2012 USARA Adventure Race National Championship will be based out of the Hudson Valley Resort & Spa in the Catskill Mountains of New York. The event check in, race start & finish and the post-race banquet and awards ceremony will all take place at the Hudson Valley Resort & Spa

Congratulations and we will see you in October! USARA Staff 2
Thursday, October 11
5:30 pm Race Check-in

Hudson Valley Resort & Spa Kerhonkson, New York

7—8:00 pm Pre-race briefing

Hudson Valley Resort & Spa Kerhonkson, New York

Friday, October 12

5:30 am Maps & Course instructions given to teams

5:45 Load buses
(depart at 6:00 am)

Hudson Valley Resort & Spa Kerhonkson, New York

7:45 Final pre-race briefing

8:00 am RACE START

Saturday, October 13


Hudson Valley Resort & Spa Kerhonkson, New York

7:00 pm Awards banquet

Hudson Valley Resort & Spa Kerhonkson, New York


Extra meal tickets to the awardsceremony / banquetfor family or friendsare $15.00.Extra mealtickets mustbe reservedby contactingRachaelatinfo@usara.combyAugust 31, 2012.


All coedteams(coed& coed masters)will begrouped together for USARA National RankingPoints regardless of the category they are registered in at the USARA Adventure RaceNationalChampionship. (Example: Team USA wins the Coed Masters division at the USARA AdventureRace National Championship but comes in as the 4th coed teamoverall at the race. Team USA will receive 4th place USARA National Ranking Points.


Friends, family, and AR enthusiasts are welcometo come and cheer or volunteer! Volunteers and spectators are not allowed to provide any assistance or information to racers. Media and Spectatorswill be givendirections and maps to scenicviewing locations on the race course.

Volunteers are needed toassist with check-in Thursdayafternoon, ascourse& blog personnelFriday andSaturday, and with clearing the courseSaturdayafternoon and Sunday. Volunteerswill receive race shirts, excellentswag bags, tickets to the awards banquet, an incredible experience,excitement, lots of laughs and smiles, and ourgratitude! For more information on howyou can volunteer, please contactRachaelatinfo@usara.com.


The coursewill be unsupported and in "Expedition" format. Teams will receiveMyTopomaps, and may receive pre-plotted maps withadditional details forcertain legs of the race.

USARA Nationals will use a "Modified Rogaine"format. Teams will have30 hours to reach thefinish line with as manycheckpoints as possible. You will lose a checkpoint for every minuteafterthe 30 hour mark thatyou arrive. Teams will be ranked according to number of checkpointslocated,followed by their finishing time.


Mountain Biking–Single & double track trails, off road travel&pavement.

Paddling–River paddling in canoes

Trail Running/Trekking –Single track& bushwhacking.

Navigation –Compass & map, orienteering




There will not be a gear check during registration – gear checks will be on the course. Any questions concerning gear should be directed to: Rachael at info@usara.com.

FULL TIME MANDATORY TEAM GEAR (Each team must have the following)

Cell phone in water proof or zip lock bag
Pen (suggest Nite-Ize inka water and freeze proof pen)
1 Lighter or water proof matches
7 Twelve Hour Chemical lights minimum of 4" length (may substitute as long as burn time equals 7 x 12 hours)
7 zip ties (8 inch minimum length)
1 Strobe Light – must be visible for 2 mile radius
Survival Mirror
Adventure Medical Kit Ultralight .7 Or build first aid kit containing the following contents: (8) 2x2 or 3x3 sterile dressing, (2) 3x4 non adherent sterile dressing, (1) conforming gauze bandage, (4) 1x3 adhesive bandage, (3) knuckle adhesive bandage, (1) tape ½"x 10 yards, (1) swift wrap elastic bandage, (8) 200mg. Ibuprofen, (2) antihistamine (Diphenhydramine), (2) afterbite sting relief, (1) moleskin, (5) towelettes, (3) antibiotic ointment, (1) tincture of benzoin, (3) butterfly closure bandage, (2) pair nitrile gloves, (1) tweezer, (3) safety pins, (1) duct tape, (2) alosak.
*Epi pens are recommended for individuals with an Epi pen prescription


(Each team member must have the following)

Race organization provided number to be worn and visible over other clothing
Space Blanket
Waterproof Jacket (Sealed or Taped Seams) Note: ultra-light, water resistant 3 oz. jackets will NOT satisfy this requirement

MANDATORY INDIVIDUAL BIKING EQUIPMENT (Each team member must have the following on all biking sections)

Mountain Bikes Only (No Cyclocross)
Front lighting system - must be mounted on handlebars. (Teams may wear headlamps but they must also have a light mounted to the handlebars)
Flashing red tail light mounted on bike (not on pack)
CPSC Certified Bike helmet
1 Cable bike lock per team (long enough to lock three bikes together)

5 Race management will provide canoes, single blade paddles & PFD's. You may bring your own paddles (both single blade or double blade are acceptable) and your own PFD's- Type III or higher, non-inflatable. Race management will transport your paddling gear after the paddle to the finish line. (1) Gear bag large enough to fit all paddling equipment labeled with team name and number (This will be used by race management to transport your team paddle gear). You will need to take this bag with you on the canoe leg. A trash bag will NOT suffice for this requirement.


Race management will provide canoes, single blade paddles& PFD's. You may bringyour own paddles (both single blade or double bladeare acceptable) and your own PFD's-TypeIII or higher, non-inflatable. Race management will transportyour paddlinggearafter the paddle to the finish line.

(1) Gear bag largeenough to fit all paddling equipment labeled with team name and number(Thiswill be used byrace management to transportyour team paddlegear). You will need to take this bagwith you on the canoeleg. A trash bag will NOTsuffice for this requirement.

Note: If you choose to have race management transport your team paddle gear, itwillbe at your own risk. While we will make everyeffort to keep yourequipment safe, we will NOT be responsible forany damage.Ifyou are worried aboutthis, then you should carry your team paddleequipment throughouttheentire race.




•Maps other than those provided by therace organization

•Communication devices other than sealed cellular phone

•Motorized means of transport

•Night vision


Water purifier orwater purification tablets forentire team(teams should be prepared to acquire water fromwild sources such ascreeks)

•Waterproof map case(maps and instructions may become unusable or damaged from water if not protected)

Means ofcarryingat least 50 oz of liquid


2 compasses

1 UTM Ruler

Food forentire race(18-30 hours)including electrolyte replacement•Chain tool / bike repair kit

•And,of course,duct tape

Insulating layer top& bottom (poly pro, wool, fleece,etc)


Knife with locking blade

•Long Pants

•Bike Gloves


•Dry bag / Trash bag

•Bug Spray, Sunscreen, Sun Glasses

•Bike Odometer/Speedometer (more than one per team suggested)

•Bike pump or CO2

•Spare bike tubes /Bike Patch kit

eservations must be made by September 25, 2012
First night stay deposit required at reservation (refundable until 7 days prior to arrival) * Rates are based on a 3-night minimum stay. Deluxe $120.00 per night for up to 3 people Standard $99.00 per night for up to 3 people


Congratulations again on qualifying for the 2012 Tecnu Darn Tough USARA Adventure Race National Championships. We look forward to seeing you at the finish line!


The USARA Staff


09 September 2012

The Shag 2012.... a bad ending....

The Shag 2012 looked a great training race leading up to Nationals.  We also had hoped to qualify a second team for the National Championships during this race as well.  Team Commie Bar fielded Todd Copley, Chris Farrell and Don Theodorson to bust up this 12 hour effort.  Unfortunately an accident at the end of the bike section cut close our goals right when we were close to the lead.......  read on.

I drove over from Boston on Friday night getting close to the race start and Port Jervis NY around 10pm.  I pulled into the super friendly truck stop for some food and then cruised over the the PA welcome center threw the sleeping bag out on the grass and starting dreaming Commie dreams....

Got up at 3am and had a sink shower then got into race gear and headed over to High Point State Park.  Chris and Don pulled in a little after 4am and we started loading paddle bags and gear bins.  We collected up the race maps and instructions and began plotting our plan.

The Segments:
First off was a section on foot/trek/run....  We decided to head south and pick up as many points as we could.  We could only budget about 3 hours or so on this because the cut off time was 10am to finish the trek.  We started off nailing the points.  Gained good confidence and kept on moving.  In retrospect we should have probably nailed at least one more point to the north because it was worth 5 points but oh well.  We got all points but two.

Back at the transition area we quickly donned bike gear.  The fog had rolled in and it was cool with a definite wind.  We rolled out of TA1 at around 0945....  The scale of the map on the trek was 1:15000 and we now moved to a 1:50000 which always causes me problems in estimating distances.  Also the grid lines were not straight up and down the map which complicates estimating north/south/east/west...  That said we played havoc trying to nail the first two points till we got a read on the distances.  From there Todd made one navigation error that cost about 10 minutes but actually saved us because the other teams were looking for a point WAY too short and we cruised past them to the exact point... YES.... 

We continued to motor and at 1330hrs we decided we should begin to head back because it looked like about a 15 mile slog on the road to transition area 2.  We needed to be there at 3pm.

We started off and the initial segment was all uphill.  We were struggling and to make the 3pm cut off looked dubious to me.  We kept trying to hammer it but the inclines kept slowing us down. 

We finally hit the main road and it began a long descent to the river....  We picked up the pace.  It was going to be close but I was confident we'd make the cut off.  Then disaster struck. 

We made a turn onto a bridge where we were supposed to walk the bikes across.  We were going pretty fast and I heard a scream from behind.  I looked back and Don had crashed miserably and had been thrown head first into the guard rail.  Chris and I ran back frantically and he was unconscious and not breathing.  I thought he had broken his neck and was dead.  I struggled to get his pack off him and he actually began to regain consciousness as we got ready to administer CPR.  His pulse was stable but we did not move him for fear there was a neck/back issue.  We called 911 immediately and they arrived very quickly and took over...  Thank God he was at least living....  After they loaded him on the back board and into the ambulance, Chris and I resumed our way to the Paddle section.  The race was lost now and we knew we had missed the cut off.

At the paddle section they stopped us.  There were tornado warnings out and the rains had come in.  There would be no way we could make the 15mile paddle in time......

Shortly a van came and picked us up and we drove back to the start.  Very disappointed but also very happy that Don seemed to be okay with word from the hospital. 

We shuttled Don's car to the Hospital and then we hit the road for home....  Another weekend of adventure racing......
Here's some photos.....

 Chris Farrell.- true Commie killer.....

 Don Theodorson - survivor of one of the most horrific mtb crashes I've ever seen...

 Commies over the mountain...

 Crash site...

 Living out of the car....