LBL Challenge 2013 Race Commentary

lbl challenge

02/21/2013 - POST RACE UPDATE

A "Freestyle" format kept the 5th Annual LBL Challenge Adventure Racers on their toes at the Land Between the Lakes, Kentucky.  With a few simple rules (a Bike Drop and a Required Canoeing Checkpoint), both the 8-Hour and 18-Hour racers had their night filled with strategic planning and their day full of executing (and revising) their customized plan.

114 racers on 39 teams headed out on a cool February morning to collect as many checkpoints as they could before time expired.   With an ample amount of checkpoints set for both the 8-Hour and 18-Hour teams, it was unlikely any would clear the course.   None did.

The key to the Freestyle format is that teams may find checkpoints in Any Order by Any Mode.   This allowed teams to play to their strengths ..... deciding whether to collect checkpoints on foot, by bike, by canoe, or a mixture of modes.   It certainly set the stage for creative thinking.   Some teams portaged canoes, some carried bikes in canoes, some tackled most all CPs on foot, etc....

It was a very exciting race as teams crossed paths in the woods and had no idea if they were ahead or behind the each other.   No one would know for certain until the points were counted at the finish line! What a rush!

With a required Bike Drop at the North Welcome Station, all racers arrived at the Hillman Ferry Campground (Race HQ) to start off on their personally designed courses.   The 18-Hour teams began their adventure at 5:00 am, but not before witnessing the most moving and beautifully performed National Anthem sung by professional singer, Ashley Mefford (Team Flippin Birds).   In complete stillness, Ashley single handedly sent chills up our backs and tears to our eyes followed by a bold outburst of applause at The Home of the Brave.   It was incredible.   We thank you, Ashley, from the bottom of our hearts, for blessing us with your voice.

8-Hour teams began their journey at 8:00 am and were required to be off the course by 4:00 pm.   The 18-Hour teams needed to be completed by 11:00 pm.

Many of the racers chose to head directly for the Bike Drop at the North Welcome Station, and gather a few CPs along the way. Volunteers Doug and Diana Arendt greeted racers as they arrived at CP23.   Many thanks to the Arendt's who had been waiting at the North Welcome Station since 3:30 am. :)   Once bikes were picked up, teams cut out in many different directions.   There were 3 manned CPs (A, B, and C) where teams could choose to leave their bikes, dig into their gear bags, or just pass through.

CPA - Demumbers Bay - All teams in both races would board the canoes here and subject themselves to a GEAR CHECK.   Teams were required to gather one of three paddling checkpoints by canoe or risk being ranked below those teams that did. And as you can see from some of the photos, portaging canoes was a viable way of avoiding pesky headwinds.   Thanks go out to Jackie Dozier, Suzanne Renner, and Tara Martin for their volunteer help and keeping the fire going at windy CPA.   A special thanks to the Lyon County Search and Rescue and the US Coast Guard for water support on a cold and windy day.

CPB - Carmack - This CP served as an optional drop point for the canoes.   As it turned out, three 18-Hour teams chose this option. It must have been a cold option as evidenced by the ice sickles hanging off the tires of bikes-in-boats.   This location was a primo volunteering spot (thanks to Carrie Sona and Jeremy Jamerson) due to its protection from the wind and exposure to the sun.   No wonder many teams chose to hang out for a bit by the fire and chat with wonderful volunteers.

CPC - Fire Tower - This 18-Hour CP, situated high on a hill, saw little action in the early stages of the race but saw abundant activity as the day progressed.   This was evident by the number of teams choosing to have their gear bags delivered to this location.   Many teams dropped their bikes at CPC to execute a trek, for many, in the dark.   Thanks go to Bill Jackson and his daughter Briana Jackson for their patience and hospitality at CPC.

Bonk Hard Racers enjoyed a post race meal provided by the kitchen staff of the Kentucky Dam Village Lodge.

Award Categories were as follows:


8-HR 4-Person Coed
1) Trek, Pedal & Row!! - William Suggs, Simon Henley, Melissa Perkins, Johnna Kail
2) Team Fusion - Shawn Gates, Diane Diebold, Danny Collins, Jason Bettis

8-HR 4-Person Male
1) Game Boys - Andrew Thai, Frank Bui, Chris Batovsky, Bryan Niehaus
2) Team No Brunch - Aaron Rucker, Kevin Lowe, Allen Thomasson, Brent Martin

8-HR 2-Person Coed
1) Smoked Ham - Karl & Melissa Wagner

8-HR 2-Person Male
1) L Over D - Jerrod Bouchard, Paul Drews - 1st Place Overall
2) Epic Machinery - Brian Hey, Scott Kiefner - 2nd Place Overall
3) Apis Extremis - David Crane, Bill Langton - 3rd Place Overall


18-HR 4-Person Coed
1) Alpine Shop - Jeff Sona, Emily Korsch, Doug Nishimura, David Frei - 1st Place Overall
2) Off the Front Racing - Karen Holtmann, Todd Dohogne, Dave Hagen, Zdenek Palecek - 3rd Place Overall
3) Monkey's Fist - Greg Garnett, Sean Fink, Dale Hofmann, Sabina Hlinenska

18-HR 4-Person Male
1) 41 North Racing - Jerrett Fried, Steve Oberbroeckling, Joe McConnell, Nick Smith

18-HR 2-Person Coed
1) Bushwacker - Rachel Furman, Dylan Hayden - 2nd Place Overall

18-HR 2-Person Male
1) On the FFOGY Side - Nathan Goff, Jeff Mittler
2) The Unusual Suspects - Zack Dadisman, Scott Gale

At the pre-race meeting, Dan Morgan of team Why Does Hypothermia Taste Like Bourbon? was the lucky winner of an NV-2 bike rack (a $549 value) from our Series Sponsor kuat.   kuat continues to lead the market in innovative, top quality bike racks that allow for easy load and unload.  Everyone loves a kuat rack!

Six lucky audience members took home glorious tubes of Zanfel, a MUST HAVE for Adventure Racers!   There is nothing like Zanfel to ease the pain and itching of woodland poisons.  Zanfel has been a Series Sponsor for Bonk Hard Racing for 8 years. Spread the word. Zanfel works.

Columbia Sportswear filled our prize table with jackets, gloves, backpacks, watches. Columbia, a Series Sponsor of Bonk Hard Racing events, continues to deliver top quality clothing for outdoor minded people.  The LBL race vests were pure Columbia.   Our racers loved this beautiful vest.  Thank you,  Columbia for your continued sponsorship.

Dynamic Earth, a 2013 Series Sponsor, provided Osprey backpacks, Osprey totes, Osprey hydration packs, socks, headlamps, and more to the LBL prize table.  If you are shopping for outdoor gear, stop by Dynamic Earth where you will find gear for your next adventure.

Many thanks to the our list of VOLUNTEERS who made it possible to present the LBLChallenge:

Doug & Diana Arendt - CP23, HQ, Racer Check-In, Clean Up
Jackie Dozier - CPA Demumbers
Suzanne Renner - CPA Demumbers
Tara Martin - CPA Demumbers
Carrie Sona - CPB Carmack
Jeremy Jamerson - CPB Carmack
Bill Jackson - CPC Fire Tower
Briana Jackson - CPC Fire Tower
Mary Welter - Photos, Racker Check-In, Clean Up
Riley Thompson - Set-Up, Racer Check-In, Finish Line, Clean Up

Once again, we would like to thank the US Forest Service for granting access to this ADVENTURE RACING GEM located in the heart of our wonderful nation, The Land Between the Lakes.  Special thanks going to Kyle Varel of the US Forest Service, for coordinating water support, shelters, portable toilets, permissions, fire wood, and his continued support in making the LBL Challenge possible this year and in the years past.

All racers did a fantastic job of tackling the course! Even the few with bike troubles, hit it hard and did a great job. We hope you enjoyed Freestyle Adventure Racing!

As stated in the pre-race meeting, team Intention Sheets are kept confidential.  If you desire, we invite you to share your experience and your route choice with other racers.   A great way to do so is to post a Race Report or simply Race Strategy information on our Facebook Page or send us a link (or content) as we post all Race Reports/Strategies on the Photos - Race Reports page.

We thank you for racing with us and as always, we welcome your feedback.

Gary & Ellen Thompson

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