LBL Challenge 2012 Race Commentary

lbl challenge

03/30/2012 - POST RACE UPDATE

The LBL Challenge : Tough Nav - Tougher Racers!!!

Along with the Berryman Adventure, the LBL Challenge is one of Bonk Hard Racing's most challenging events and 2012 was no exception.   LBL's subtle terrain required racers to keep in close contact with their map and consider route choices based on team strengths.   If there was a slogan for the LBL, it would have been simply THINK.

At 7:30 am on an overcast Saturday morning, 146 racers representing 50 teams headed out of the LBL Piney Campground on an mission to tackle the course.   26 teams would race in the 12-Hour event, 24 in the 24-Hour event. All teams trekked 5 miles to CP4 (TA) at Boswell Landing collecting CP's along the way.   An 11 mile bike ride followed before reaching CP8 (TA). At this point, the 12-HR racers and 24 HR racers began on their separate paths.

12-HR teams jumped into canoes for a 7 to 8 mile paddle to CP11 (TA).   On the way, CP10 presented teams with a choice of porting their canoe over a high gravel bank or sloshing to the floating checkpoint in the "lagoon".   After the canoe, teams then ventured into the woods on a tough 7 mile trekking section that really highlighted just how tough navigation at the LBL can be.   Congrats to those teams able to locate CPs on this leg.   After returning to CP19 (TA), teams plotted the remaining biking CPs that would take them back to the finish. Rains earlier in the week made parts of the ride a muddy grind but given the challenges of the day, ALL 12-HR teams made the 9:00 pm cutoff! Super group of racers!!

From CP8 (TA), 24-HR teams executed a 6 mile canoe-O that included some head winds part of the way and a stop at the "island" before returning to CP12 (TA).   From there, teams rode their bikes the short distance to CP13/14 (TA) where they would attempt to find as many of the 13 CPs on the monster O-section featuring LBL's feature rich terrain.   This particular area had almost no roads or trails so raw in-the-woods nav was necessary.   With a 9:00 pm cutoff on this section, most teams were out of the woods by dark and proceeded biking the 14 miles to CP18 (TA) finding CPs along the way.   At CP18, teams paddled 7 miles back to CP21 (TA).   For many teams, this was a star lit cruise on glass smooth water. Of course, 24-HR teams were given the same choice at the "lagoon" presented to the 12-HR teams.   From CP21, teams trekked back to CP29 over the same trekking leg the 12-HR teams used but 24-HR teams did it in the opposite direction and in the dark.   At CP29, teams were given points for the remainder of the race which included 20-27 miles of biking.   Right out of the gate, CP30 presented the teams with the challenge of finding an off-road CP in the dark.  If you know anyone who experienced this hunt, ask them how they did.   Depending on a team's route, some of the sloppy double track made the last part of the bike a tough go.   And as with the 12-HR race, ALL teams finished before the 12:00 noon deadline! Another super group of racers!!

So every team should be commended for challenging the tough nav.   It may have made for a long day but Bonk Hard racers of all levels have what it takes to persevere and possess the attitude to have a great time doing it.   We do truly appreciate all teams choosing Bonk Hard Racing for your adventure racing fix and hope to see you again at a future event.

Extreme thanks go out to the Land Between the Lakes and the entire staff that support over 170,000 acres of a national treasure located right here in the Midwest.   The LBL Challenge was made possible by the hard work, coordination, and guidance of Kyle Varel, of the National Forest Service.   Kyle not only helped us gain access to trails never used before, he coordinated and organized the water patrol services of the United States Marine Coast Guard, the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency and the Stewart County Search and Rescue Team.   In addition, Kyle made sure we had park pavilions, transition areas, parking, toilets, water, lights, and firewood at our disposal.   Simply stated, the LBL Challenge would not have been possible without the help of Kyle Varel.   He is an amazing individual.   We are eternally grateful.

Very, very special thanks go out to our volunteers, who work miracles for us.   First and foremost, Bonk Hard Racing volunteers are the Best of the Breed.   If you have raced with us before, you know this is true.   They are able to think on their feet, pay attention to detail, move from place to place as assigned, arrive super early and leave many hours after all racers have finished.   Many of their tasks go unnoticed, however they are essential to providing a top quality race.   Some volunteers are experienced adventure racers themselves, some have a couple of AR's under their belt, some are interested in beginning an AR career, and some have no desire to ever race, but love to spend time supporting a great group of people who love the outdoors, love to challenge themselves, and love to compete.   No matter what the category, our volunteers are priceless. Please join us in thanking those who volunteered at the 2012 LBL Challenge.   They are: Bill Jackson, Nate McMillion, Jennifer Evrett, Marc Namie, Jamie Kimrey, Earl Alexander, Trey Harrison, Jimmy Lamonde, Doug Arendt, Diana Arendt, Dorothy Frieze, Mary Welter.

Bonk Hard Racing Sponsors are Supreme:

Kuat Racks. The most impressive, functional, useful, and sleek looking bike racks on the market!!   Bonk Hard Racing loves kuat racks and we sincerely thank kuat for being the Presenting Sponsor of the LBL Challenge.   THREE LBL racers each took home a new kuat bike rack this weekend!!!   Scan the parking lot at our races and you will see that kuat rules. In addition, the kuat bottle lock is ingenious.   It looks like a water bottle, stores in the bottle cage, but look again ...... a neatly coiled bike cable pulls from the bottle and secures your bike! Unlock and wind it up again for neat storage.   Plus, it comes in really cool colors ..... even pink. :)   Thank you, kuat for putting bottle locks on our prize table too!!

Columbia Sportswear. What cool race shirts, huh?   Our sincere thanks to Columbia Sportswear for the awesome race shirts as well as the sportswear, backpack, watches, and hats for the LBL prize table!!   Columbia products are top quality and race comfortable!!   We know we hit the jackpot in race shirts when the racers wear the shirts during the race!   Take a look at the race photos and you will see the neon green shirts everywhere!!   The fabric weight and wicking ability made it perfect for the LBL Challenge.   Columbia knows sportswear.

Swiftwick. Best socks EVER!!   Swiftwick compression socks are a favorite among our adventure racers.   An extremely comfortable toe box, compression to improve the blood flow, a breathable fabric, all while keeping your feet dry and comfy!! Incredible.   Adventure racers love the knee high 12'' socks that protect their legs in the woods as well as the 0 - 2" Aspire socks.   And what about those awesome sleeves?   Take a look at race photos and you will see the Swiftwick sleeves being sported everywhere!!   Protection without bunching up or falling down.  Yep.   Made right here in the USA.   Many thanks to Swiftwick for placing socks and sleeves on our LBL prize table!

Zanfel: Zanfel continues to deliver a top quality, fast acting, poison ivy wash that protects racers from serious reactions. Whether it is poison ivy, poison sumac, or poison oak, Zanfel works.   At our pre-race meeting, six lucky racers took home tubes of glorious relief!!! Zanfel.  

The Inn at Paris Landing State Park was the PERFECT setting for the pre-race meeting and offered our racers lovely rooms overlooking Kentucky Lake at a great price.   Many thanks to Mike Hastings, Manager at the Inn at Paris Landing State Park and his staff for the genuine and sincere Tennessee hospitality!!!   Mike organized the room bookings, the Conference Center space, the pre-race check-in set-up, cabins for race staff, coordinated the food request, opened up camping facilities early, and made space for our Bonk Hard mobile to be inside a secure protected area.   The kitchen staff prepared a delicious pre-race buffet and topped it off with a super 4:30 am breakfast!!   It was also the kitchen staff at the Inn at Paris Landing State Park that supplied the BBQ after race meal and drinks.   Our heartfelt thanks to ALL the staff at the Inn at Paris Landing State Park. We hope you will return to this lovely location for a family vacation soon.

Bonk Hard Racing appreciates and congratulates ALL the racers who tackled the course at the LBL Challenge!!!  We hope you will join us again on another great adventure.

Gary & Ellen Thompson
Bonk Hard Racing, LLC

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