Berryman Adventure 2013 Commentary


10/06/2013 - POST-RACE UPDATE

The annual autumn Berryman Adventure Race, Bonk Hard Racing's flagship event and most difficult course, held on to its' famed reputation last weekend as 148 racers took on the challenge.

With Race Headquarters buried deep in the Mark Twain National Forest, racers knew immediately this was going to be an epic day in the woods.   Navigating to the race HQ at the Kaintuck Hollow trailhead was a small victory in itself.   With headlamps on, racers prepped for the 6:30 am start by checking and rechecking gear, then dropping bikes and resupply bags at the HQ.   As the days first glow was on the horizon, it was off into the woods for a 3 mile trek that went from valley floor to four surrounding high points.   Nothing like a little (okay, a lot) of up and down to get the blood pumping.

Upon return to the HQ, the racers were abuzz with excitement, literally.   Stories were shared of a swarm of ground bees that were in the vicinity of CP3.   Many came through unscathed but others were not as lucky ... multiple times.   Given the pain, some might call it a day but this is the Berryman so the tough kept going.  (Note to self: ask for volunteers to perform CP3 pickup).

Then it was onto the bikes for a combination of roads, double track, and single track.   The first stretch of single track took riders up a trail that experienced significant erosion from the 12+ inches of rain in early August.   Along the way, CP6 was mapped on the trail but per the clue sheet, it was actually under the trial in a natural tunnel.   If you put your headlamp up, you had to get it back out.   Then it was up to the ridge where contact with the map took you to a trail through a nice pine stand and down the other side of the ridge along the nicest descent on the trails.   As many found out, taking the wrong trail resulted in a descent in an erosion ditch that someday will become the Grand Canyon.

Next was a little pavement then Forest Service roads.   At CP8/CP9 teams had two choices to get to the next TA.   Both involved level gravel and steep paved descents. From observations, most went west then south.  Where the routes came back together was a couple more miles of pavement to the canoe put-in.

The Big Piney River served as this year's paddling venue.   Teams arrived at the canoe put-in TA and promptly carried canoes to the river and loaded bikes into their boats.   As teams made their way downstream, a decision was necessary as two freestyle CPs were off river and required leaving the boats at some point along the way.   Freestyle CPs can be found at any time using any mode or combination of modes prior to reaching a designated CP.   In this case, CPs 41 and 42 had to be found anytime before CP14.   To add to the incentive, both CP41 and CP42 were each worth 2 points.   Close examination of the map yielded 4 options for reaching these CPs.   Many chose to leave their canoes at a point where a Forest Service Road came to the river's edge.   Then it was a bike ride up the hill to the CPs then back.   Other chose to paddle to the canoe take-out at CP12 then trek up to the CPs.

And those teams that made the effort to get the freestyle CPs were met with a surprise at CP42.   At what we affectionately called the "Hidden Dan" CP, racers were greeted by Dan Dougan of Oz Cycles fame.   And he greeted them with a gear check!   Did you leave your pack in the canoe?   Did you leave your teammate(s) along the road or elsewhere?   Too bad, so sad.   Go get them if you want credit for this two pointer.   Like the law, rules enforcement can happen when you least expect it!

Upon leaving the canoe TA at CP12, racers biked up a flagged double track to a Forest Service Road then uphill to CP13 where more information would be available about the next TA and access to resupply bags.   At CP13, a map was posted showing the location of the TA at CP14 ... which was at the end of a Forest Service Road at yet another river access point. Hmmm.

After a long downhill ride, racers were greeted by volunteers and resupply bags down by the Big Piney.   Teams also received clue sheet 2 listing coordinates for a long trekking leg culminating at CP23 which happened to be where teams left their canoes.   In order to receive credit for the trekking CPs, teams had to reach CP23 before 5:30 pm or risk losing some or all of their trekking CPs.   Most teams made the cutoff at CP23 but several chose to return to the CP14/CP24 TA and forgo their trekking CPs.   (Big time kudos go to the folks at Bass' Resort for their late night downstream ferrying of stranded canoes left at CP23).   It was during this leg that the rains came.   Though the rains had a welcomed cooling effect, it's still a challenge when everything is wet.

Teams paddled in the rain and returned to the TA where they had earlier left their bikes.   There they once again hit their resupply bags and were given clue sheet 3 listing the UTMs for the way back to the HQ.   After a snack and some plotting, it was time to ride up the long hill that was such a breeze earlier.   What comes down must go up!

This biking leg had three freestyle CPs (all worth 2 points) along the way.   The first was CP38 which was also trekking CP21.   For observant racers, they would recall there was double track in the vicinity of CP21.   That meant those willing to take a chance, there was indeed an unmapped road that many chose to ride to CP38.   Once back on the Forest Service Road, for most, the rain had stopped but dark had set in.   If the wet and the dark and the hunger and the fatigue were not enough to get you into a deep depression, then freestyle CP39 did just that, literally.   After freestyle CP40, teams were given the option of finding the remaining single track CPs in any order.   Since there was a 10:30 pm cutoff time, all teams had to decide which if any of these CPs they would get, or choose the best road for a bail route back to the HQ.   In the end, no team swept the course, but true to Berryman tradition, it was a tough race!

Back at the HQ, teams were greeted with cowbells, photo ops, great food, and mud.    The rain created a quagmire around the HQ and the heavy rain resulted in the generator being shutdown meaning no big orange and white arch.   Electrifying finishes are a Bonk Hard tradition, electrocution is not!

In the end, the bees, the rain, Hidden Dan, and a challenging course meant this Berryman Adventure lived up to its reputation.

Award Winners were:

1st Place - Alpine Shop - 2P - Jeff Sona & Carrie Sona
2nd Place - Old Shoes - David Davis & Sarah Fisher
3rd Place - That's Going to Leave a Mark - JoAnne Steineman & Chris Steineman

1st Place - Iradfoli - Kate Wilson & Caroline Esch

1st Place - Dual Navigation System - Bryan Niehaus & Nathan Graves
2nd Place - Old and Slow - Steve Bledsoe & Dave Herrick
3rd Place - Lonesome Drifters - Steven Willi & Shawn Marks

1st Place - 34Down - Jeff Ryan, Josh Borgmeyer, Jay Guyer, Sunny Gilbert 
2nd Place - Alpine Shop - Not 2P - David Frei, Doug Nishimura, Emily Korsch, Brad Baum
3rd Place - Team Fusion / kuat - Melisa Lemus, Mark Gullett, Shawn Gates, Jason Bettis

1st Place - Maplewood Bicycle - Matthew Scherrer, Brian Kaveney, John Senneff, Charlie Felker
2nd Place - Testemax - Chris Heupel, Jim Huss, Manoj Sood, John Townsley
3rd Place - On the Ffogy Side - Nathan Goff, Jeff Mittler, Kenson Goff, Scott Kiefner

How do you thank people who dedicate their weekend to making your event run smoothly? "Thank You" never seems to be enough. They are the best! Please join us in thanking these individuals for making the 2013 Berryman Adventure such a success.

Oliver Thompson - Check-in, Pre-race meeting
Riley Thompson - Check-in, Pre-race Meeting, CP5, Finish Line, Clean up
Dorothy Frieze - Check-in, Food & Refreshments, CP5, Finish Line, Clean up
Doug & Diana Arendt - Food & Refreshments, Clean up 
Mary Welter - Race Photos
Lori Vohsen - Race Photos
Carmen Hallock - CP10 & CP13
Dan Liles - CP10 & CP13
Leonard Sona - CP10
Joyce Cox - CP10
Angela Wallis - CP12 / CP23
Corey Wallis - CP12 / CP23
Robert Abney - CP14 / CP24
Benjamin Calvert - CP14 / CP24
Kim Ragsdale - CP14 / CP24
Grant Smith - CP14 / CP24
Dan Dougan - CP42


Our SPONSORS make our races possible. Please visit their stores and engage their services for top quality products.

- kuat racks. Check out the parking lot of any outdoor event, and you will see that kuat rules.   Hitch attached, roof attached, or cargo basket, you name it, kuat products just keep getting better. Easy load, easy unload, incredible design.   The new kuat Trio roof rack was on the prize table and Sunny Gilbert (Team 34Down) will be showing it off next time you see her!   In addition, Keith Duplain (Team True North) was the lucky racer taking home a kuat NV (retail $549)

- A must-have for The Berryman! Their fabulous and effective, fast-acting poison relief have our racers and riders jumping in the isles for tubes of the glorious wash. Six lucky racers took home tubes of coveted Zanfel relief! Zanfel ruled at the Berryman!

Columbia Sportswear:
- Columbia knows how to dress and protect outdoor enthusiasts in stylish, comfortable, functional clothing.   What a great selection of Columbia men and women's shirts on the Berryman prize table! Ask David Frei about his new Columbia jacket he took home after the race!

Dynamic Earth:
- Hiking, mountain climbing, camping, paddling, Dynamic Earth can suit you up for your next outdoor adventure.   With a watchful eye on earth-friendly products, Dynamic Earth continues to be a supporter of our natural world while providing top notch products for outdoor activities.

- Our paddling experts!  Specializing in EPIC and PaddleOne products to make your paddling training and experiences top notch!

Bass' River Resort:
- If you have been racing with us, you know that Bass' River Resort is our chosen canoe supplier for Bonk Hard Racing events.  Bass' continue to provide top quality service and gear.  They are on-time and on-location delivering clean, organized equipment for our racers.   We appreciate their continued service and dedication to making Bonk Hard Racing events shine.

Our local police officers that serve our towns and counties help us make sure that our events are safe as well as fun.

We sincerely thank Teresea Crowe from the US Forest Service, Rolla/Houston Ranger District, for securing the venue, processing and approving the land use, and arranging numerous other items in order for the race to run smoothly.

We hope you had a CHALLENGINGFULL-PACKED adventure and enjoyed the variety of mode changes, known elements verses unknown elements, plotting on the course, the requirement of thinking on your feet, and careful consideration of route choices.

This IS The Berryman.   A long standing tradition of tough adventure racing.   If you participated in this race, you should be extremely proud, no matter what your score. We sincerely thank you for racing with us.

With great respect,
Gary & Ellen Thompson

© Bonk Hard Racing, LLC  2005 - 2017