Hardwater Half-Hundred 2013 Commentary


Imagine a cool, clear, deep river flowing bank to bank for its entire length.   No dead pools, no rapids, just constant liquid motion.   In these parts, we call this the Osage River.   Dammed in 1931, most of the attention is given to its up stream cousins the Lake of the Ozarks and Truman Lake.   And thanks to a wet spring, the release of abundant water from Bagnell Dam resulted in the Osage being an awesome paddling venue.   Hence the inaugural run of the Hardwater Half-Hundred (50K/31MI) on Saturday, June 29th, 2013.

Racers began arriving shortly after 6:30 am at the MDC Bagnell Dam Access below Bagnell Dam near Lake Ozark, MO.   After a quick and easy check-in, it was time to prepare for the day's paddle.   Everyone steadily made their way down to the river's edge to stage their boats for the mass start.   At 7:45 am a quick pre-race briefing was held to go over a few last minute instructions ... mid race checkpoint ... river left ... finish line ... river right. At 7:55 am the warning siren at the dam sounded indicating imminent release of water through the generators.   Though the river was below its generation high water mark, there was still plenty of water and flow to benefit the paddlers.   Then precisely at 8:00 am, the race was on!

The morning was beautiful with temps in the mid 60s and partly cloudy.   There was a bit of a breeze at this point but nothing of concern.   If anything, it would be a tailwind at the start.   As the racers progressed downstream, the turn toward the old river town of Bagnell (the Dam's namesake) turned the wind to the bow for a couple of miles.   Once past Bagnell, the tailwind returned for a good portion of the next 5 to 6 miles.

The mid point of the race was Riverside Park in Tuscumbia, MO, another old river town and the county seat of Miller County.   Here paddlers were required to check-in with the volunteers and, if they chose to do so, could meet with their support crews to refresh their supplies or make adjustments to gear and/or boats.   The river was at a higher level than the start indicative that the paddlers were catching up to a previous release of water from Bagnell Dam.   The first paddler arrived at the mid point in under 1:40 elapsed time.   The spread at the mid point between the first boat and the last boat was a mere 49 minutes indicating the paddlers were taking advantage of the river's flow.   From there, it was under the Hwy 52/17 highway bridge and on to the finish.

The finish line was staged at the MDC Osage-Tavern Access just outside the quaint country town of St. Elizabeth, MO.   The race staff and volunteers set up a picnic banquet (complete with home made pies) and awaited the first paddler to come into sight.   And in just under 3:24, Dark Horse Paddler Joe Mannemerged from the right channel of an island split in the river just upstream from the finish line.   Now that's moving!   The remaining paddlers were a steady stream (pun intended) of happy paddlers.   The race of the day occurred in the solo kayak division when three paddlers finished within 31 seconds of each other. 31 miles of paddling and only 31 seconds separation.   What a race!

Awards were presented to winners as they finished.   Afterwards, all paddlers, their support crews, and the volunteers were treated to a great picnic lunch.   While the feast was on, drawings were held for great prizes from the Bonk Hard sponsors. Most everyone went home with something.   All in all it was a great day!

Post-race feedback was appreciative and genuine.   For most, this was their first encounter with the Osage River and many said it will not be their last.   We are so very happy that everyone chose to give the Hardwater a go and we truly hope to see you again next year and at future Bonk Hard racing events.

Award Winners received cash awards as they finished: They were:

Solo Kayak:
1st Place - Nicholas Frei
2nd Place - Tyler Thompson
3rd Place - Carol Heddinghaus

Solo Unlimited:
1st Place - Dark Horse Paddler Joe Mann - (1st Place Overall)

Team Canoe:
1st Place - Team Fusion - Jason Bettis, Diane Diebold - (3rd Place Overall)

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

kuat - kuat. remains the top ranked rack maker in the world.   Check out their products that just keep getting better. Easy load, easy unload, incredible design. kuat racks make your mouth water.   Lucky Uncle A-Dog Adam Burns took home a kuat Vagabond rooftop rack!

Ladsurfski - Our paddling experts! Specializing in EPIC and PaddleOne products to make your paddling training and experiences top notch!   Jason Bettis of Team Fusion was the lucky winner of a fantastic EPIC touring kayak paddle provided by Ladsurfski!

Zanfel - A must-have for any racer in the out-of-doors. Zanfel, has been a Bonk Hard Racing sponsor for over 9 years!   Their fabulous and effective, fast-acting poison relief have our racers jumping in the isles for tubes of glorious lotion.   Three lucky racers took home tubes of coveted Zanfel relief!

Columbia Sportswear - Columbia knows how to dress and protect outdoor enthusiasts in stylish, comfortable, functional clothing.   The long sleeved black Columbia Bonk Hard racing shirt was included in your check-in bucket. :)

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

Oz Cycles - Lake of the Ozarks' hometown adventure store! Bikes, kayaks, supplies and services for outdoor adventures.   Stop by Oz Cycles when you visit the Lake!

Tan-Tar-A Resort - Lifetime memories are made at this Lake of the Ozarks icon.   Bring your family and enjoy boating, swimming, golfing, fishing, and more at this lovely resort surrounded by Ozark hills.   A super get-away for all ages.

Bridal Cave - A true treasure right here in the Missouri Ozarks. Warm in the winter, cool in the summer.   When you have finished your Bonk Hard adventure, take a beautiful underground adventure in a natural wonderland full of amazing formations.   A true gem.

Many of our PRIVATE and PUBLIC supporters may go unnoticed, but be assured they provide the framework for a well run event. Many thanks to:

Missouri Department of Conservation - Bagnell Dam (start), Ozark Tavern (finish)
The Village of Tuscumbia - Riverside Park

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

Thanks to our volunteers who donate their time to making your race day a good one:

Doug Arendt, Diana Arendt, & Dorothy Frieze - Food & Refreshments, Photos, & Clean up

Congratulations to all our racers! Send in your race reports! We love to hear from you!

We hope you had a wonderful experience, and also hope to see you at another Bonk Hard Racing event soon.

With great respect,
Gary & Ellen Thompson

© Bonk Hard Racing, LLC  2005 - 2017