Smithville 8-Hr 2014 Commentary


05/17/2014 - POST-RACE UPDATE

When you look at the difficulty meter on the Smithville 8-Hour website, you see the arrow pointing to easy green.  Add a little heat, a little wind (well, maybe a lotta wind), some rain, and a little hail and you've got that dial moving right on over to the moderate yellow setting.

The morning bike drop at the Smoke & Davey Trailhead and racer check-in at the Sailboat Cove Pavilion were under sunny skies with warm temps.  46 TEAMS of 118 RACERS would attempt the 5th Annual Smithville Adventure Race!   After passports were distributed, a pre-race briefing, and the drawing for the kuat NV bike rack, a show of hands indicated one third of the racers were first timers.  Great!

With cowbells ringing, racers headed out at 10:00 am sharp on a 2 mile TREK through Clay County Park between Sailboat Cove and the Smoke & Davey trailhead.  Four checkpoints (CP) helped separate the field a bit with the first team arriving at the transition area (TA) in about 20 minutes.  From there teams mounted their bikes for a bit of paved road riding before venturing out on the gravel.

The heat and the wind was a great recipe for just under 20 miles of dusty, dusty gravel roads.  Due to the spread of the CPs over the course, teams had several route options to choose from as they collected points.  After a bit of paved road, a welcome respite from the dust, the teams arrived at Smithville Lake and the beginning of the CANOEING leg of the race at CP12.   At CP12, racers were subjected to a GEAR CHECK, then received MAP 3 and a new CLUE SHEET.

This is where the adventure began for many of the racers.  Teams were required to load their bicycles into their canoes and paddle directly to CP13 where they would drop their bikes.   For many, this was their first time with bikes in boats.   With the help of the Orange Lederhosen volunteers, all bikes were successfully secured.   To add to the challenge, the wind on this leg was almost head on.  

CP13 was an oasis as teams could refill their water supplies with bottles of water supplied by Bonk Hard Racing.  After CP13, it was a more forgiving paddle with the wind either at your back or minimized by the shoreline to the south.  This stretch was loaded with trees standing in the water and a muddy shoreline.   After all paddling CPs were collected, teams arrived at the next TA, CP18.

This TA required teams to PLOT UTMs on their paddling map for the TREK back to the point where they left their bikes.  Trekking CPs 19-26 could be found in any order.    Many route options were available and many were taken.  The terrain varied from open cropland to thick, stickery vegetation.   Eventually, the teams arrived at the TA - CP27 (previously CP13) and once again filled up with water.  From there, it was back on the BIKES.

A bit of gravel then a bit of pavement led to CP28 where teams received their final map (MAP 4) and clue sheet.   The clue sheet teams received depended on when they arrived.   Mid-afternoon saw the arrival of the first of a few thunderstorms that caught many on the previous trek or final biking leg.   If you beat the rain to CP28, you were treated to a route that took you on the single track trails in the same part of the park teams trekked from the starting line.   Only 3 teams had this opportunity however with the third team arriving at the HQ somewhat dirty after being on the trails when the rain started.    The remaining teams were routed on the paved trails that share basically the same space as the single track.    Regardless of the surface, all of the remaining CPs were the same.

Once off the trails, teams finished the last few yards on park roads and the grassy path under the Bonk Hard Racing arch.   Racers flashed smiles of relief after conquering what undoubtedly the toughest Smithville 8-Hour on record.   

Everyone should feel proud for taking on this challenge in tougher than normal conditions by surviving the heat, the dust, the wind, the rain, and the hail.  19 TEAMs collected all 33 checkpoints!  AWESOME!

After a quick photo op, it was off to the food tables for pizza and drinks followed by the awards ceremony.

Award Winners were:


1st Place - Kiss My Compass - LJ Stephens, Tricia Turpin

2nd Place - Wild Hares - Scott Stopak, Trish Kramer

3rd Place - Team CRX - Jeremiah Hartley, Michelle Lewis


1st Place - The Complete Package - Kate Wilson, Caroline Esch

2nd Place - Mama Came to Play - Yvonne Ball, Alison Borberg


1st Place - G-Force - Bob Billings, Dan Cool

2nd Place - Toporadicals - Brian Rodenbeck, Nathan Graves

3rd Place - The Des Moines Menace - Matt Derry, Todd Meiners


1st Place - Team Fusion - Ashley O'Reilly, Mark Gullett, Shawn Gates, Jason Bettis

2nd Place - Tiny Trail Ninjas - Jason Elsenraat, Laura Elsenraat, Micah Kohles, Ryan Slebos

3rd Place - Three Wrong Turns - Ryan Skinner, James Mahoney, Carissa Land, Keith Gould


1st Place - The Berryman Witch Project - Gregory Elliott, Alan Bossert, Mark Hopkins, Jason Well

2nd Place - MTXE - Coy Bainter, Nathan Bainter, Derek Harris, Alex Smith

3rd Place - Team Manamana - James Beal, Jeff Fadden, Scott Obstarczyk, Sean Larson


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

kuat - Just prior to the start, lucky racer, DANNY ROOS, was the winner of a NV bike rack ($549 retail value) provided by kuat.   kuat remains the top ranked rack maker in the world.   Checkout their products that just keep getting better.   Easy load, easy unload, incredible design. kuat racks make your mouth water.

Zanfel -  Their fabulous and effective, fast-acting poison relief is welcomed relief to Bonk Hard Racers!   Six lucky racers took home tubes of coveted Zanfel!

Columbia Sportswear -   Columbia knows how to dress and protect outdoor enthusiasts in stylish, comfortable, functional clothing and gear.

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

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:

Clay County Parks & Recreation - for use of beautiful Smithville Lake area and Sailboat Cove Pavilion.

Earth Riders Trails Association - Maintainers of the Smithville single track trails.

Burton's Bait & Tackle - Provided boat support during the canoe leg.

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


Many, many thanks to our volunteers who donate their time to making your race day a good one.

Oliver Thompson - Check-in, CP6, CP28, Finish Line, Clean up

David Vaughn- Set-up, Bike Drop, CP5, Food & Refreshments, Finish Line, Photos, Clean up

Mike Shifman - CP13, CP27

Bill Solomon - CP13, CP27


Derrick Boos - CP12, Clean up

Kyle Boos - CP12, Clean up

Christine Morrison - CP12, Photos, Clean up

Emma Gossett - CP18, Photos, Clean up

Allison Fernelius - CP18, Clean up

Congratulations to all our Bonk Hard Racers!   Regardless of your finish position, you tackled a great course on a tough weather day.   

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

With great respect,

Gary & Ellen Thompson


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