2014 Castlewood 8-Hr Commentary


11/23/2014 - POST-RACE UPDATE

The plan was to move Castlewood up three weeks to avoid the sometimes cold, cold temps of early December in the St. Louis region.  Remember the 8 degree start in 2013?  Well, as fate would have it, the ole Polar Vortex paid us a mid November visit.  Race start temp this year was 25 degrees!  Mission accomplished!  This was the warmest Castlewood 8-Hour since 2013!

Friday’s packet pickup did not yield a lot of clues to the entire day’s event as only about half of the course was provided.  One thing was for certain though, a break with tradition, no bikes in boats!  Not to break with tradition, the majority of the checkpoints (CPs) were pre-plotted.

An early morning bike drop at the Castlewood State Park river access started the day followed by a quick drive over to La Salle Springs Middle School in Wildwood, the location of the race start/finish.  The school made for a good pre-race warming center.  Passports were distributed followed by the pre-race briefing at the Bonk Hard arch on the trail that would be the first leg of the race.

At 8 AM sharp, 166 racers were off on a two mile trail run picking up a couple CPs along the way.  At CP3, teams grabbed canoes, paddles, and PFDs and made their way down to the river.  Surprise!  There volunteers presented each team with a bonus map.  About two thirds of the way into the 6 mile paddle along the Meramec River, teams would beach their canoes at CP5 and execute an 2.5 mile, any order trek in the flat woods of the Castlewood Loop on the south side of the river.  The flatness over the entire area and the tall grass near the canoes made for interesting route choices.  The fact there were a large number of teams in the area at once may or may not have been helpful.  :)

Once back in the canoes, teams finished the paddle to the Castlewood State Park river access, the scene of the earlier bike drop.  By this time, the sky was clear and the sun had made the paddle pleasant.  Here teams were treated to a warm fire and a gear check.  Then it was off on the bikes for a mostly single track bike ride on the trails of Castlewood State Park.  After about 5 miles of riding, the teams arrived at Shelter #2 where the maps and instructions they had received the night before had ended.  Here the volunteers presented them with a map and clue sheet for a 2.5 mile trek in the park.  This also required the teams to plot 3 CPs.

The hilly trek lead the teams back to Shelter #2 and their bikes.  The volunteers then handed the teams a map packet that would give them all they needed to know to make it back to the finish.  Here, attention to detail was in order.  There were 4 maps and a lengthy clue sheet.  A large percentage of the CPs could be found in any order.  And there were instructions for CP30 that was not on any map and could not be plotted.  Teams studied, flipped maps over an over, discussed route choices then headed out on their bikes for the approximately 20 mile ride, depending on route choice, on roads, paved and gravel trails, and single track.  To add to the strategy, some CPs were worth more than 1 point (CP30 was worth 3!).

As the afternoon wore on, the skies became cloudy and the wind became cooler.  And on top of that, there were periods of snow showers.  I can’t imagine what it is going to be like in early December (60 degrees perhaps?).  Eventually teams made their way through the maze of maps and route choices to arrive back at the race HQ via the same trail the used to start the race.

The teams arrived in the 5 to 9 hour range.  In the end, the attention to detail led to some surprises in the finish order. Several teams may have forgotten to plot back at the shelter or may have overlooked the instructions for CP30 or simply bypassed a CP without even realizing it.  Finishers were treated to cowbells, pizza, and race day conversation.  The middle school commons area served as a welcome gathering place for post race food and the awards ceremony.

29 teams (out of 65 teams) collected ALL 44 points!

Awards were presented to the following: 

4-Person Co-ed:
1) Alpine Shop - Jeff Sona, David Frei, Scott Erlandson, Emily Korsch - 1st Place Overall
2) AMTZ  - Zdenek Palecek, Melisa Lemus, Adam Rybar, Todd Dohogne - 2nd Place Overall
3) Extreme Electrical Racing (X4) - Kate Wilson, Scott Kiefner, Jeff Mittler, Jeremy Jamerson - 3rd Place Overall

4-Person Male:
1) Chain Reaction Racing 1 - Jim Lorenz, Jeff Powell, Matt Schumacher, Grant Lanham
2) Dirty Guys - 
Clayton Cummings, Brian Hey, Aaron Fanetti, Sean Sortor
3) Slow Down - Chris Heupel, Manoj Sood, John Townsley, Jim Huss

4-Person Female:
1) Navigationally Challenged - Amanda Lappe, Amanda Fouts, Stacey Gottman, Kitty Willis

2-Person Co-ed:
1) Extreme Electrical Racing (X2) -
 Nathan Goff, Mandy Goff
2) Teachers Gone Wild - Jeff Conderman, Jill Oetting
3) Dirty True North 2C - Keith Duplain, Laura Duplain

2-Person Male:
1) Toporadicals - Nathan Graves, Brian Rodenbeck
2) Chain Reaction 2 -
 Chris Lofgren, Christian Minor
3) Cousins with a Compass - Nick Kleekamp, Ryan Kleekamp

2-Person Female:
1) Carrie's Concoction - Yvonne Deyo, Laura Elsenraat

Many thanks to our presenting sponsor, The Alpine Shop , for fabulous prizes as well as $1000 in Gift Cards!!   Alpine Shop will set you up for ALL your outdoor adventures!

Six lucky audience members took home their all time favorite "gear" - Zanfel, a MUST HAVE for Adventure Racers!

Bonk Hard Racing's events are made possible by EXCEPTIONAL SPONSORS who follow and support our races. Their support  makes Bonk Hard Racing events shine.   Please take time to visit their stores, shop for products, and spread the word of the following Sponsors whose products and services we respect and admire:

Alpine Shop - (made possible by Todd Oswald/Emily Korsch) - If you love the outdoors, then you will love the Alpine Shop.   Gear, clothing and footwear for races, hiking, camping, climbing and beyond.   The Alpine Shop staff can help make your adventures great ones.   Once in the store, you will not want to leave!   Fill that cart!   Shop online or in person at one of the 3 amazing Alpine Shop stores.

Columbia Sportswear - (made possible by Jean Matthews) - Columbia Sportswear USA produces the most comfortable, visually appealing, and well constructed clothing and products for outdoor activists.   It is true - Columbia knows sportswear.   Shop online at Columbia, or at retail distributors for super outdoor products.

kuat - (made possible by Luke Kuschmeader/Aaron Houston) - Bike racks and accessories by kuat. Functional, sleek, impressively easy to load bike racks.   Everyone wants a kuat. Hitch mounted or roof mounted, you will love to load up bikes and gear on your kuat.   Rack love lives on.   Put your sweet ride on a sweet rack.

Zanfel - (made possible by Dan Boelman) - Zanfel is not only a racer staple for poison ivy relief, but it helps relieve the pain of swelling and itching from bee stings, chigger bites, mosquito bites, and other insect bites.   Bonk Hard Racers carry Zanfel as a part of their regular gear list.   Put it in your gear bag.

Dynamic Earth - (made possible by Matt O'Reilly) - Dynamic Earth wants to help you with your next outdoor adventure.   Their staff will help you gear up as well as providing advise and direction for your next outdoor experience.   Hiking, climbing, cycling, paddling and adventure racing are some of the events Dynamic Earth sponsors, along with the many in-store clinics to assist you.

St Louis Orienteering Club - (with the support of Bryan Niehaus and Brian Hey) - The St Louis Orienteering Club (SLOC) organizes top quality navigational courses in and around the St. Louis area.   Sharpen up those navigational skills by participating in an SLOC orienteering event.   We are grateful for the use of SLOC maps for the Castlewood event.

Many, many thanks go out to our Castlewood Volunteers.   These people make sure you safely arrive and depart transition areas as well as keeping track of your team along the way.   Please join us in thanking the following individuals ....

Suzanne Renner - CP6, Food
Krista Bush - CP6
Dave Vehige - CP3, CP14, CP22
David Beattie - CP3, CP14, CP22
Mary Welter - Photographer, Start, Finish, Clean-up
Patrick & Dovan Feder - Photographers

It is our contracted private property owners and state, city and county governments who provide us with super venues and invite us back each year for outdoor enjoyment.   Please join us in thanking the following ...

The LaSalle Springs Middle School, Denise Wooldridge and staff set up a fantastic Race Headquarters for the Castlewood 8-Hour Adventure Race.

Castlewood State Park, Randy Becknell and staff for use (in part or whole) of beautiful Missouri State Parks.

The City of Wildwood, Gary Crews and staff for welcoming us each year to their city and allowing use of Wildwood city streets.

St Louis County Parks - Maggie Martin and staff for use of the wonderful St Louis County parks and biking trails.

It was JASON BETTIS (Team Fusion) who once again claimed the 2014 SUPER RACER award!  Jason completed the ENTIRE 2014 Bonk Hard Racing line-up!  Jason received a BOSE SOUNDLINK BLUETOOTH SPEAKER as our 2014 Super Racer!

We sincerely thank you for another outstanding year of adventure.   As a racer, a sponsor, a volunteer, we welcome and appreciate your feedback.

Gary & Ellen Thompson

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