03/28/2014 - POST-RACE UPDATE

Given the winter we’ve had and the forecast for snow the next day, we had an exceptional day for the 9th annual Bonk Hard Chill on Saturday, March 15, 2014.  By the 7:30 am start (actually 7:36 am), the temps were near freezing as the Sun was just below the horizon.   The Chill was on!

Choices, choices, choices!

70 Bonk Hard Racers on 25 Teams were given a special start map whereas they were tasked with deciding how they would obtain their passports, paddles, PFDs, and canoes then deliver them to CP1.  The 100 foot rule was suspended so the start looked like a herd of chickens being let out of the henhouse in the morning.  The paddles and PFDs were at the start, the passports were 400 meters away, and the canoes were 150 meters away.  Getting all of that together was one decision.  The other was how to get everything to CP1.  Basically, teams had to either paddle 2.25 miles or portage 6/10 mile up and over a pretty good hill.  It appears roughly a third portaged and the rest paddled.  Looking at the splits, it is obvious that the portage was quicker.  But certainly it was a greater expense of energy.

Choices, choices, choices!

With the steam rising off the Niangua River, teams were on their way on the 9+ mile PADDLE below CP1.  The next choice would come prior to CP2 where the river channel split.  Teams were advised in advance that the right river channel was shorter but would require a portage around debris.  The left channel was longer but was navigable.  Due to the debris in both channels, this area is know as the Gauntlet.  Reports from the volunteers at CP2 indicated most teams chose the left channel avoiding the portage.

As the teams made it downstream, the river flows below high bluffs and gradually empties into the Lake of the Ozarks.  The transition is subtle but striking.  Once on the lake, paddlers still had to navigate through shallow water and debris due to the low lake level common this time of year.

The canoe take out was at the Lake Shelter at Ha Ha Tonka State Park.  The GEAR CHECK was administered here then the teams were off on a short, scenic, and vertical TREK.  CPs were located on the “island” and at the huge spring.  Then it was up 300+ steps to the trail that would eventually lead teams to the next TA.

Choices, choices, choices!

The TA was at the Post Office Shelter in Ha Ha Tonka.  This was the point where teams previously dropped bikes, biking gear, and resupply bags.  Here teams were given their second clue sheet and second passport.  It was now time to refuel, plot, and plan on just how to obtain all 23 CPs on the monster TREK throughout the State Park.  Teams could leave the PO Shelter, get all 23, then move on; they could chose to ride away from the PO Shelter and go to the Scout Camp and start their trek from there; or they could do part of the trek from the PO Shelter, ride to the Scout Camp and finish the trek from there.  Regardless of the approach, the second passport had to be returned to the Scout Camp by 5:30 pm.

The trek went through or by some of the most striking landscape and structures in the park:  the signature castle and water tower, the natural bridge, devil’s kitchen, the coliseum, the devil’s backbone, river cave, and beautiful karst topography with tons and tons of climb.  The course was peppered with several 2 point CPs making treks to the far reaches of the park worthwhile.

After the trek was over, teams were presented with miles and miles of Ozark Gravel Roads (mini-OGRE?).  Well, in fact, some of the course follows the route of the OGRE to be held on April 26 (shameless plug).  This BIKING leg also presented several 2 point CPs in the far reaches of the course and on a couple out and backs.  Everyone knew as they neared the end of the ride that they would have to climb the big hill they drove up on their way into the HQ earlier in the day.  The nice thing though was once you were at the top, it was a nice long downhill ride into the finish picking up CP14 on the way.

Choices, choices, choices!

Wait, why is there a car and volunteers at CP14?  This can’t be good.  Well, it was BONUS time.  Teams were presented with a bonus map that contained 6 more CPs on ATV trails that would take them to the finish line.  Door number 1, stay on the road and finish straight in.  Door number 2, take the ATV trails and pick up 6 more points (as you curse the race director).  Door number 3, eat the cookies Super Volunteer Super Kate brought.  Everyone takes door number 3. That gave a few teams the energy to take door number 2 and the ATV trails.  Others opted for door number 1 and the promise of an easy downhill ride to the finish line.

All teams passed the Gear Check and 5 teams found all 50 checkpoints!!

Post race, participants enjoyed Beef Brisket, BBQ chicken, cheesy hash brown casserole, and baked beans from the Butcher Shop in Camdenton, MO.


Awards were presented as follows:

4-Person Co-ed:

1) Team Fusion – Shawn Gates, Jason Bettis, Diane Diebold, Jesse Livingston
2) 35 Down - Jeff Ryan, Jason Noakes, Josh Borgmeyer, Sunny Gilbert 

4-Person Male:

1) 9 Balls – Jason Chase, Alex Joannes, Steve Kerr, Joffroi Holcombe
2) Extreme Electrical Race Team –Scott Kiefner, Jeff Mittler, Todd Dohogne, Jeremy Jamerson
3) BOR – Neil Dickhaus, Scott Shaw, David Cortivo, Kevin Minton


2-Person Co-ed:

1) Tiny Trail Ninjas -Jason Elsenraat, Laura Elsenraat


2-Person Male:

1) Toporadicals – Nathan Graves, Brian Rodenbeck
2) Mad Tortoise - Philip Maud, Preston Ewing
3) Team RWB – James Thornton, Jay Tiegs


The pre-race meeting held at our host hotel, Tan-Tar-A Resort, was especially exciting for Jason Kennedy as his name was drawn as the winner of a kuat Trio rooftop bike rack!!!  In addition, the 2014 Chill was sponsored by the Tour of Hermann upcoming 2-day bike ride.  It was lucky racer, Diane Diebold, who received free entry into this 100+ mile biking event!

Four lucky audience members also took home "sacred" tubes of Zanfel, a MUST HAVE for all Adventure Racers!  

For those who stayed around for awards, the prize table was LOADED with prizes from Columbia Sportswear.   In addition, it was Nathan Graves who took home the Tan-Tar-A weekend getaway complete with 2 rounds of golf!

Thanks go out to Oz CyclesBridal Cave, mytopo, and the Tri-County Lodging Association for their continued support year after year.

Mother Nature’s Riverfront Retreat went above and beyond by allowing us to Start and Finish in one of the Ozarks most beautiful places.  The Niangua River at our doorstep was INCREDIBLE and the staff welcomed us all.   Thank you Mother Nature’s Riverfront Retreat!!

All these EXCEPTIONAL SPONSORS follow and support our races.   We are so very, very grateful for their continued support of Bonk Hard Racing events.   Please make time to visit their stores, shop their products, use their services, and spread the word.

Many, many thanks go out to our 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 ....

David Weber - Bike Drop, CP2
Renee Slack - Bike Drop, CP pickup
Tony Slack
- CP pickup
Oliver Thompson- Passport pickup, Finish Line
Robert Gourley – Passport pickup, CP2
Dorothy Frieze – CP1, Food, Set-up & Clean-up
Diana Arendt - CP1, Food, Set-up & Clean-up
Super Kate Geisen – CP4, CP14
Doug Hord – CP4, CP14
Tim Slover – CP7
Michele Lucas – CP7
Matthew McDonald – CP7
Tristen Potter – CP8
Laura Leigh Potter – CP8
Mary Welter – Photographer, Set-up, Clean-up

Doug Arendt– Photographer, Set-up, Clean-up

Many thanks to the staff of Ha Ha Tonka State Park.  We hope you take time to visit the State Park on another trip and enjoy the many spectacular features and trails imbedded in the number one ranking park in Missouri.

Thank you once again for racing with us.   As a racer, a sponsor, a volunteer, we welcome and appreciate your feedback and hope to see you at another Bonk Hard Racing event very soon! 

Gary & Ellen Thompson


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