After 4 years and many races, I thought I'd seen enough variables to plan for the unknown. Obviously, that's impossible--so Mother Nature kindly
reminded us all yesterday! The 4th Annual Break Up and Thumper Adventure Race was anything but predictable, and may go down as one of the most
memorable races so far. The course was designed to be "medium intensity"--but as many volunteers and racers reminded me, Lake Adventures
doesn't do middle of the road very often. The top three "unplanned" challenges were the recent wildfire, 20mph winds out of nowhere and several
thousand cockaburs that seemed to appear overnight.
The biggest concern in race planning was whether or not the Thumper teams would really appreciate the additional "planned" challenges of this race
after the family friendly races the last couple of years. Though this race too was doable by all ages, it was definitely tougher due to terrain. The beauty of
this area is that courses never have to be repeated--we are surrounded by Corps of Engineers land, state parks, public hunting and Ft Riley open
recreation areas . . . more than 80,000 acres availabe for adventure. Many teams probably feel that this is both a blessing and a curse. When there are
new areas to explore, my optimism prevails and some shorter course racers may find themselves on a course they could not have prepared for.
However, most of the Thumper teams out there had a blast. They definitely pushed their limits, some of them beyond where they even hoped their limits
might be. Most were ecstatic and smiling from ear to ear by the end of the race, as well as exhausted, dirty, bruised and bloody. Some teams were so
excited they forgot to "punch out of CP 8". Other teams met with flat tire disaster and had to shorten their race. But all teams had an official finish and
made it in before race cutoff. To many of those beginner teams out there . . . you have just graduated (not too mention, are expert tire changers), time for
the long course. For the record, if you completed this course (using the most direct routes) you traveled a total of 16 miles (11 on bike, 5 on foot). Some
teams, who had used up all their patches and tubes, had a little different split--more like 10.5 on foot and 5.5 on bike). The canoe, though I know
everyone really wanted to get wet, was called because of the wind and would have added another mile to the total.
To the Break Up racers, man I'm glad I wasn't you in the canoe yesterday. I will have my day I'm sure and will have to tough it out because you showed
me how it's done. Thank you, I think! When the wind picked up shortly after teams entered the water, it turned into canoe surfing quickly. My well thought
out protected course was the worst place to be on the lake and you were all out in it. From the creek back to the TA, teams either had to carry their
canoes via the shoreline or walk their canoe through water if they could get a teammate to commit to potential hypothermia. A few teams gutted it out
with their paddles--hope your arms are functioning today? Prior to the canoe, the course timing was exactly on target or a little ahead thanks to some fast
pacing out there by the lead teams. During and after the water, the 20 mile/hr winds slowed teams down a bit. Considering they had already ran 2.5
miles across Milford Lake and biked dirt/gravel and ST for 9 miles before the TA (3.5 trek, 4 canoe, 1.5 bike) before they hit flat tire "h___" and the major
navigation challenges that Ft Riley and Madison Creek held in store, the previously determined cutoff times now created a new challenge for some
teams. This course had alot of options for strategy, probably more than any previous races. All the teams made their decisions based on what was best
for their race--or what was best for their team. Every team out there had an incredible race and finished with amazing determination. Congratulations to
every one of you who stepped across the finish line, you know what you did. The actual breakdown was 10 miles trek, 4 miles canoe and 27 miles bike if
you got all the checkpoints. Several of those checkpoints probably count for double miles.
The Manhattan Running Company from Manhattan, KS, sponsored this race by providing $1500 worth of gear prizes . . . the nicest/largest collection of
gear prizes that I've seen at ANY race. Thank you SO much for your part and support of this event. Though people that race these events would do it just
for the bruises and blood, when there are great prizes like yesterday--they can remember the event long after the physical signs have faded. The MRC
planned on entering a team but could not make it with busy schedules at the store. If you have not been to the Manhattan Running Company on
Anderson Ave in Manattan, GO there--they have a store FULL of great running shoes and gear . . . the biggest collection and most sizes you'll find at a
running store. And their staff is amazing, they actually run (not jog on occasion like some other stores), can analyze your gait correctly and provide sound
running/gear advice. Plus they have a great run series in the area with well organized and fun races, bringing tons of people out to areas in Randolph,
Manhattan, Junction City and Milford, KS. Thank you, MRC--Ben Sigle and Trey Vernon, for your support of Adventure Racing in the area! A huge thanks
to the other sponsors of the race: Zanfel, Technu and My Topo--great products that are fundamental to the sport!
Favorite quotes of the race: "I live in town and saw all the bikes so came in to see if I can register for the race tomorrow", "I'm having so much fun that I
would hug you right now if I wasn't in such a hurry", "is it okay to run the last 10 miles instead of bike if our tires go flat again?", "we especially loved
running through the ashes and cedars", "there will be beer at the finish, right?", "we canoed an extra mile just for the additional challenge", "today has
refreshed my whole life", "this is the best baked potato I've ever had", "we are doing this race for our honeymoon", "this is my wife's 1st race and she is
amazing", "we had no idea the finish line would be this emotional", "the person who finishes the race is not the same as the person who starts the race".
. . there are more but that's enough for now. Other memorable things for me are the inspirational stories of racers out there--like the racer who
anonymously donated a kidney two months ago and a racer who received a pancreatic transplant about 4 months ago. Both had great races, one long
course and one short course, and inspired everyone else out there with their attitude and ability.
Adventures races are never easy--and when you've completed one, you know it counts. Thanks to Carey for providing the awesome food and catering
service for the awards dinner. Thanks to Rick Dykstra of the Junction City/Gear County CVB for coming out and getting some AMAZING photos to be
posted soon and to Katy Ibsen for covering the event on the travelks blog. And lastly, but MOST importantly, special thanks and HUGE SHOUT out to the
GREAT volunteers--Tim, Tammy, Mike, Brennan, Zach, Emma, Austin, Jacob, Elias, Robbie, Sonya, AND Connie & Susy for not only racing, but also
bringing cupcakes and volunteering to clear checkpoints today in the mud, soot and rain. . . you all make everything possible and are so much
|Adventure Racing, Trail Running, Mountain Biking, Retreats & more!
|BREAK UP COURSE