Smithville 8-Hr UPDATES



05/05/14 - BIKES IN BOATS

We have had a question about hauling bikes in canoes and want to make sure everyone receives (reads) the same information in regards to this subject. 

Transporting bikes in canoes is a common aspect of Adventure Racing and comes into (or out of) play once the course is established.  

Many of our races have had this requirement (Bonk Hard Chill, LBL, Berryman … off and on … as well as almost every single Castlewood 8-Hour Adventure).

As with any Adventure Race, participating is at your own risk, including your gear and equipment.   

Regarding the portion of the paddle where you will be transporting your bikes in the canoe:  Once you have positioned and secured your bikes in the canoe, you will paddle about one mile, with no intermediate stops, to the point where you will drop your bikes off before proceeding with the paddle.  A volunteer will be positioned at this point to watch your bikes from the time you depart until the time you return to retrieve your bikes.

Also, we will have motorized boat support in the vicinity of the paddle in the event you need assistance while on the water.

Bonk Hard Racing is delighted to have Top Ranked Teams participate in our events.  If this is your first experience with putting bikes in canoes, take time to read the comments and tips below from a few of our expert racers on securing bikes in canoes.  

In addition, for a VISUAL, check out the following Bonk Hard Racing race day photos for various methods for transporting your bike:

PHOTOS from 2013 Berryman starting with River to CP11 (by Mary Welter)

PHOTOS from 2013 Castlewood CP13 (by Travis Irvin)

PHOTOS from 2013 Castlewood CP16 (by Suzanne Renner)

PHOTOS from 2012 Castlewood starting with  CP22 #1 Canoe Put-In (By Mary Welter)

"One of 2 ways.  Lay them flat, opposite each other, on top of the gunnel  or take the front wheel off and stand them up. Strap them down. Piece of cake. "

"We have tried two methods.   In Castlewood, Parker and I put his 26" mountain bike on the bottom, an my 29" bike on the top.  We took off the front tires and secured the tires and bikes in with just some light cord.

In the Berryman this year we found a canoe that was missing one gunwale and were able to put our bikes in the canoes upright without taking any of the tires off.  We just stood them against each other and secured them to the gunwale in the middle with small bungee cords.   In this case we knew we were going to take out bikes out in the middle of the paddle and use them so we wanted that process to be as quick as possible.

I would suggest looking at the photo's of some of the races where we brought bikes in the canoes and you can see there are many different ways of doing this. 

One suggestion is to make sure you minimize what hangs out of the canoe, and be very careful you don't obstruct the paddler in the back. We have had to stop and fix that in the past."

"Do not fear!  Putting the bikes in the boat may sound difficult or even intimidating to a newer Adventure Racer but the task just adds to the challenge - and enjoyment - that is the spirit of Adventure Racing.  Its just one more thing to successfully tackle in the course of the race.

In my opinion there are three keys to how you put the bikes in the boat and position them for your paddle.  The first is to make sure you are not too top heavy.  The second is to make sure the bikes don't protrude out too far from the sides so that they catch on things as you pass by.  Finally, you want to make sure that both paddlers can still comfortably sit in the boat and not have their paddle stroke impeded.  

First, to ensure you aren't too top heavy, I've found its best to remove the front tire of EACH bike so that they can lay deeper into the canoe.  Avoid trying to simply brace both bikes on top of the canoe.  That will make the boat top heavy and unstable.  Pretty much every mountain bike will have quick release levelers to allow you to take the front tire off quickly.   Make sure to give it a try before having to do it the first time in a race.  

With the front tire off, the 1st bike (even a 29er) will typically lay flat and fit within the hull of the canoe.  Try to get it situated so that you leave room for the back paddler to have foot space and the front paddler to not have a handlebar or tire in the middle of their back.  This means the bikes won't be exactly centered in the boat.  The second bike will then rest right on top of the first.  You will likely have to maneuver the bikes under the brace bars (thwarts) that connect the sides of the canoe too.  When this is done well, the bikes should only be above the top of the boat and out from each side of the boat a few inches or so.  Watch for handle bars, pedals and cranks and make sure they are lined up so that they fit well within the other bike.  Avoid having a handle bar sticking out too far or even over the side into the water.  It creates drag on the boat and can damage brake lines, especially hydraulic brakes.   Last will be to secure the tires you have detached (don't leave them at the boat launch!).  Usually you can find a spot laying them on top of the bikes fairly easily and strap them down.  

If you have a bike seat that comes off quickly, you may even want to pull that off if you have a quick release lever on your saddle post.  It will make your bike smaller and easier to lay down deep in the boat.

As for the attachment method, the way I've seen most commonly is to use bungee cords with hooks on the end.  They are pretty simple, light and packable and can be employed quickly.  Rope works but it takes longer to tie.  Straps with latches take longer to fiddle with.  Bungees can also be attached to the outside of your pack pretty easily so that they are quickly accessible.  They can even double as a strap for holding a piece of gear or wet clothes to your pack.  Just make sure they are not dangling so they get caught on everything as you trek your way through the woods.  

The biggest thing to remember in this process is get the bikes situated BEFORE getting on the water.  A few extra minutes on shore are way more important than rushing thinking its "good enough."  It is VERY difficult to make adjustments to the bikes while you are in the boat on the water.  If you have to make a major shift once you are on the water, I would recommend pulling to the shore to make the adjustment or you risk tipping the canoe as you try to wiggle around a bike.  Take the time to do this on land before you launch, you will be glad you did.  

One more thing about positioning.  Its best to have your canoe right next to the water when loading and unloading the bikes.  Once the bikes are in, the canoe is even more heavy.  If there is a long distance between where the you get the canoe and where you put in the water its usually still worth it to take two trips, one to get the bikes to shore, then a second trip to bring the canoe.  

As with any Adventure Race transition, you want to have your team assigned a job(s) at the transition area (TA).  Talk about this before the race and remind everyone as you come into the TA what their job is.  So for example, one person to grab the paddles and PFDs, two to grab the canoe and carry it over to the shore, then one to go check in with the volunteer and punch the passport, while two then take off tires and get bikes in and one helps to make sure everyone has the clothes, food and water out they will need on the paddle leg.  Don't forget to check the shore for left items before you pull away and make sure the map and passport are accounted for and in position to USE on the paddle.  Many times the checkpoints on the paddle will be there for you to pull up to and don't require getting out of the boat.

Its all about teamwork which of course is part of the joy of Adventure Racing.

See you out there."

05/04/14 - RACE NOTES

Included in your race packet will be printed RACE NOTES.  You may read them ahead of time HERE.  


We have a great race planned for you and are excited to see you this weekend!   This message contains important information regarding the race.  Please take time to read the entire message.

Your team BIB numbers have been posted.  Knowing your BIB number will speed you through the CHECK-IN process as well as through TRANSITION AREAS during the race. 

There WILL BE a BIKE DROP prior to race start.   The BIKE DROP instructions are located here.  

Racer Check-In wil take place race morning (Sat, May 10) at Sailboat Cove Shelter beginning at 8:00 am.  

Each team member will sign the standard racing waiver and receive their bib number, t-shirt,  and race/course notes.  The team will receive clue sheets, maps, and parking pass.

The Smithville 8-Hour Adventure Race will Start and Finish at  Sailboat Cove Shelter.     The Race will START at 10:00 am.  

Your team will be REQUIRED to transport bikes in canoe(s) for a portion of the canoeing leg.   How you choose to secure your bike in the canoe(s) is up to you and your team.  Bring your own gear to do so.

Be prepared to plot UTM points on the course!   Bonk Hard Racing will have UTM tools available at Racer Check-In for $5 should you need one.   You will need a 1:25,000 scale.

All racers will be entered into a Pre-Race Drawing for a kuat NV bike rack !! A $549 value!    Thank you to kuat, a long-time sponsor of Bonk Hard Racing!! 

Remember to read the following pages before the race:

Race Information

Race Rules

Gear List

We'll be waiting for you at Smithville!

02/18/14 - 2014 REGISTRATION

***  Registration for The Smithville 8-Hour is OPEN !!! ***  

12/28/13 - 2014 REGISTRATION

***  Registration for The Smithville 8-Hour will open Feb 18, 2014 ***  

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