Wakarusa Off-Road Challenge 2012 Commentary

09/10/2012 - POST-RACE UPDATE

The Wakarusa Off-Road Challenge : Bonk Hard Racers Defeat the Drought!

Even a summer drought could not stop the enthusiasm and running of the 3rd Annual Wakarusa Off-Road Challenge.   So what do you do when the water is too low?   Go upstream and discover a whole new adventure.

That is exactly what a record number of 159 racers did when they stepped up to the challenge of the Wakarusa "Drought Route".   With water levels too low in the Kansas River and especially Mud Creek, a new course was designed to take advantage of a "lake" section of the Kansas River as well as the super sweet River Trails and Levee Trails that parallel the river.

The course was specifically designed to deliver comparable completion times to previous years' courses.    And it did just that! With a little more biking and a little less paddling the 28.7 mile adventure served up a spectacular race.   Add to that, ideal weather conditions and the perfect day for an adventure race began.

Just prior to race start, every racer was entered into a drawing for a kuat Sherpa bike rack.   It was Chris Szeliga's name that came out of the hat!   That big smile followed Chris all day!

At 8:05 am, with the sunrise coming over the Levee Trail, and trains whistling in the distance, Bonk Hard Racers took off on foot for a 2.2 mile run setting up for the first biking leg to follow.   As racers looped back through Race HQ, changed into their biking shoes, hopped in the saddle and slung their shoe bags into the back of the gear transport truck, it was a freakishly fun 9 mile River Trail loop full of bends, turns, and berms that rounded out the morning.

Another pass through Race HQ, then racers biked west 3 more miles to the canoe put-in at 1800th street.   Many racers discovered that a 2.5 mile paddle above the dam can be harder than a 4.5 mile paddle below the dam.   Precisely.   (Insert a big Grinch smile here.) You gotta love it! :)

After rounding the Burcham Park piers, racers paddled back to the 1800th street put-in and flew back to Race HQ on bikes where they entered the River Trails once again toward Mud Creek.

Once at the Mud Creek transition area, racers dropped their bikes, picked up their shoe bags, changed back to running shoes for the 5 mile race to the finish!   What happens if you forgot to toss your shoe bag into the gear truck?   Run in your socks. Hmmmm......what racer would be brave enough to attempt that?   Check out the photos posting soon.

It was 2-Person Male team, The Wild Hares - Justin Hankins & Chirs Peterson, finishing first overall in 2:36:58, followed by second place Solo Male racer, Jeff Baker, in 2:39:16. Solo Male racer, Daniel Lyskowski claimed 3rd place overall in a time of 2:41:25.

Division winners were:
2-Person Coed:
1) 2:49:04 Team Dynamic Earth - Ashley O'Reilly & Shawn Gates
2) 2:54:32 Trek Wheel Works - Kirk Wester & Kara Holland
3) 3:05:47 Tri-Fam-Racing - Kevin Collins & Sandy Collins

2-Person Male:
1) 2:36:58 The Wild Hares - Justin Hankins & Chris Peterson
2) 2:47:09 Wild Hares - Scott Stopak & Ryan South
3) 2:53:47 Wild Hares 2 - Tim Kelsey & Monte Bonin

2-Person Female:
1) 3:12:08 Frenemies - Tricia Swatelle & Annie Altorfer
2) 3:13:30 Sweet Chinchillas - Leslie Gallagher & Jessica Huyett
3) 3:27:52 Team Lucky - Pamela Smith & Holland Smith

Solo Male:
1) 2:39:16 - Jeff Baker
2) 2:41:25 - Daniel Lyskowski
3) 2:49:10 - Kevin Doyle

Solo Female:
1) 3:17:32 - Charmion Harris
2) 3:27:45 - Molly Wichman
3) 3:30:16 - Katie Ware

Papa John pizza time and an award ceremony filled with toss-outs finished up a perfect day of racing.

They are the best.   Many are seasoned racers themselves and make time to support events for others.   We are extremely grateful.

  • Kyle and Derrick Boos were safety patrolling on the water and helped with clean-up at HQ.
  • Mike and Emery Cashen handled the 1800th Street canoe transition area.
  • Shelley Urban and Alan Southard handled the Mud Creek bike transition area.
  • Scott Keltner and Travisray Salyers helped racers safely cross at the 2nd Street light.
  • Doug & Diana ArendtDorothy Frieze, and Riley Thompson assisted with course set-up, registration, photos, time logging, food, gear transportation, as well as clean-up.

Please join us in thanking these folks for helping to make the Wakarusa one fun, safe, super event!

Best ever and our racers know it.

Rack Love continues and kuat racks remain 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 their support throughout the entire year.

Columbia Sportswear:
Columbia sportswear is cool and comfortable!!   We thank Columbia for prize shirts, jackets, watches, and backpacks! Columbia knows sportswear.

Sleeves and socks - Best EVER!! Swiftwick compression socks are a favorite among our adventure racers. An extremely comfortable toe box that keeps your feet dry and comfy!!   Made right here in the USA.     How about those custom Bonk Hard Racing Swiftwick sleeves? Awesome.

Can you spell RELIEF? It starts with the letter "Z". Zanfel continues to deliver a top quality, fast acting, poison ivy wash that protects racers from serious reactions.   Six lucky racers took home tubes of glorious relief!!!   Zanfel.

We welcome Moosejaw as a sponsor in 2012!   Whether you are biking, camping, hiking, running, climbing, Moosejaw carries outdoor gear and clothing for any adventure.   The new Kansas City Plaza location opened in September.   We thank Moosejaw for the wonderful clothing and gear they placed on our prize table as well as the 15% coupons placed in each racer bag!

Bass' River Resort:
If you have been racing with us for the past year, you know that Bass' River Resort is our chosen canoe supplier for Bonk Hard Racing events. Bass' continue to provide top quality service and gear.   They are on-time and on-location delivering clean, organized equipment for our racers.   We appreciate their continued service and dedication to making Bonk Hard Racing events shine. Bass' River Resort, located in Steelville, MO, offers super Ozark camping, canoeing, kayaking, and rafting on two lovely bodies of water.   We hope you and your family will arrange a stay at Bass' River Resort.

We sincerely thank Tim Laurent, from the Lawrence, KS Parks & Recreation Department for securing the venue for the race and making arrangements for transition areas, grass mowing, car parking and numerous other details that make our events run smoothly.

Every individual is congratulated for their performance at the Wakarusa Off-Road Challenge!   What a super job!   Whether you are a very experienced racer or a first-time racer, we hope you had a wonderful adventure and will join us again soon.

Gary & Ellen Thompson
Bonk Hard Racing, LLC

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