Tuesday, May 1, 2012

CAC non-race report

Posted by Dave
For the last couple years, I have been working on recruiting new members to the Tardy Rooster.  Well, one of my best friends, Tim Adams, had been hearing it from me and had purchased a bike in September 2011 to race sometime.  So I knew I had him, I just needed to find the right race to start him off. 

I have been following Virtus’ blog now for some time and I heard about a “non-race” they were hosting.  Now, I have never officially met the guys and their followers in person, only cyber stalking, as my wife would claim.  So in the back of mind, I was thinking: a. 4+ hours is a long way to drive for a 6 hr non-race, b. are these Virtus guys wacko? and c. can I talk Tim into being gone for 3 days?  After thinking some more I figured what the heck this non-race is free (WHAT? Only costs food, gas and time), 6 hrs is a good race to start with, and Tim and I both love to camp so I went for it and asked.  After talking it over and showing Tim and Teri, his wife, the Virtus blog with the info (as well as some of the other funny high jinks) they agreed that this would be a great chance for Tim to loose his AR virginity.    

I then proceeded to sign us up.  A comment to Luke of Virtus on their blog to tell him to put us on the list was all it took.  After checking in with Virtus a few days later, there we were, signed up: two person male team Tardy Rooster, Dave Huntley and “TIME” Adams.  To the fellow adventure racers out there that little slip up in typing created a great nick name that is very appropriate for this sport. 

As time got closer, Tim and I met to go over some details for the camping and what gear to take.  I believe it was 5 days before we were to leave.  Now those of you who don’t know me that well don’t realize that I am a very detail oriented planner.  I want to have everything that we are ever going to need, especially being almost 5 hours from home.  In the days following the meeting I had copious amounts of planning and packing to do.  A little stressful, but like always I was up for the challenge. I am sure that Leisha was tired of hearing “have I forgotten anything?” 

As the day of departure got closer Tim and I moved up the time to leave each time we talked.  I think that originally we were going to leave about noon or 1.  When we both realized that I was taking the whole day off work and Tim didn’t have and jobs to be at, we kept moving it back until we decided to meet at my house at 9 am.  Great! I could get the kids off to school and be ready right at 9.  To say I was excited would be an understatement. 

Departure day:  In the back of my brain I was trying not to get too jacked up.  I know that Tim has been known to be late from time to time.  So I played it slow that morning knowing that if Tim showed up at 9 I would be ready.  Well at 8:44 I get a text that says, “Gonna be a little later than 9.  I’ll call you when I’m heading out.” Well 9 rolls around and nothing…9:15 nothing…9:30…9:45…10:00…nothing.  At 10:14 my phone rings and lo and behold Time is coming.  I was ready to wet myself; I was like an 8 year old on Christmas morning knowing that I was going to open my new Nintendo.  No big deal we didn’t have anything major to be ready for that evening just wanted to get camp set up. 

The drive was pretty uneventful.  I think it took us about 4 hours 30 minutes.  It included lots of guy bonding time.  The biggest surprise was the lack of smells coming from Teri’s van when we arrived. 

We had no trouble finding Pine Ridge Campground, but when we drove through we confused, surprised, and wondered what the heck is going on???  There were cars everywhere, all the campsites were taken and way in the back there was a group of about 50 men in camo sitting and listening to someone speak.  I was pretty confident that this was not our group and to be honest, I wasn’t sure how close I wanted to infringe on this group.  I didn’t recognize anyone that I have seen on my computer (after all, I have never met anyone that is going to be at the race) so we decided that we beat everyone there or the race group was there and was out riding.  We thought we would just kill some time and check out some of the single track, since we didn’t want to set up camp not knowing where everyone else was.

We changed into some more appropriate riding clothes and shoes, grabbed our helmets and were off.  There is a trail head right next to the road where we parked so we went for it.  We rode along pretty smoothly for a small section and I soon realized that we had gone all down hill and we still needed to get back with out wearing anyone out.  The trail started to get more technical and we came to some wet spots so I said to Tim, I think that we should head back, by now some one we were to meet may have shown up.  Tim agreed.  I was thinking, man I hope there is not too much single track or we could have some trouble.  Little did I know what was to come…

We made it back to the van after a small amount of hiking/biking.  We were looking around some more and trying to decide what to do.  We agreed that we need to check the Virtus blog or facebook to see if something had changed.  If we had driven all this way and couldn’t find the people we were there to meet, there were going to be some not so happy campers.  I asked Tim to check his smart phone (since I have a dumb one), but not a good enough signal.  Well, my dumb phone would call out so I called Leisha to try and bail us out.  Lo and behold, there was a post that the camp site would be moved, but the new camp ground was pretty full too.  I asked my beautiful teammate to text me the directions and we headed out again.  As we were packing back up, a red pick up pulls up carrying two muddy, scruffy guys with a beat up mountain bike, a kayak, dog and a bunch of other things in it.  I thought this has got to be who we are looking for.  It was Luke and Bob!  I didn’t know whether to shake hands, cower away or bow down to them.  I finally get to meet team Virtus. 

After meeting and greeting, we ended up following Luke to the new campsite while Bob went out to continue setting up the course.  We went ahead and set up our camp and unloaded our copious amounts of crap.  As we were going through gear and getting ready to cook supper I hear some crazy guy screaming at the top of his lungs from a small red Honda…”LUKE….LUKE!”  What the hell, Tim do we want to flag him down and let him know that this is the campsite but Luke is not here yet?  We did and found out it was the infamous team Whiskey Tango Foxtrot or WTF (another blog that I have stalked).  We met Brian and Todd and immediately began sizing up the competition.  Oh crap. These two are at least 6 inches taller than us and chiseled pieces of steel.  But man they like to give each other crap; I think that Brian said he was going to kill Todd about 13 times that night. 

As the night went on other teams began to show up, more introductions and shenanigans took place.  The night was filled with socializing and good times.  I believe it was about 1 am when we went to bed.  What the heck? We are supposed to be racing a 6hr race tomorrow and we were drinking and staying up way too late.

Race day:  Got up about 6:30.  Tim had warned us about his snoring, but I had no idea to expect THAT!.  We knew we had about 2 hrs to get ready.  Had time to get the fire going (man it was cold), and make a breakfast of eggs, hash browns and sausage.  Again, I am not sure that was a good idea on race day.  Loaded our gear back into the van and went to the starting area.  Pre-race rituals (making contribution to the privy, body glide, gear check) out of the way, we were good to go. 

We decided before the race that our goal was to clear the course and finish, speed is not an issue.  Well those of you that know me, know that I am very competitive and when the word “go” was said, I shot off to near the front.  Don’t know exactly what Tim was thinking but I bet he wasn’t happy when I decided to take off.  He was close behind though, ready to go, we got to the bikes near the lead.  The prologue was not supposed to be too long, but we just followed the leaders through the cow pasture down a long steep hill through the woods, crossed the creek and I rushed ahead up a very steep hill.  Then I heard a lot of yelling from the creek to come back.  Tim, as well as the others, were saying that we were told it was the wrong way.  I asked who told him because I didn’t want to follow anyone else.  Then I saw Bob sitting on a big tree like a troll, huffing and puffing saying we missed the turn.  Poor guy had to run to catch us.  So we went from second to second-to-last right then.  Ready to hike a bike back out to the cow pasture to find the right course.  We figure it cost us at least 20-30 minutes.  Finishing the prologue, we passed a team or two who had flat tires.  In the last tenth of a mile, Tim had a flat also.  No big deal, we can walk it to the van and change it using the floor pump.  All teams were within 26 minutes of each other, Tardy Rooster in 7th of 13 teams.

Trekking section:  On the map I found a fairly easy route to get all the cps.  It was open land and fairly flat so we were hoping to make good time at our pace.  We kept it at not more than a walk.  The first we chose to get was on a spur, which was pretty easy to find considering there was at least a 100+ foot drop off on each side.  Back out to the open land and a 2km hike to the next.  We walked right up to it marked it down and back out to the open pasture.  One was another km down the field and just in the woods with clue of waterfall.  We went to where we thought it was, walked in the woods finding 3 or 4 teams looking for the cp.  It was very steep, almost cliff like.  I said we have to get to the bottom and walk up the stream and find the waterfall.  I made it down quickly and kind of left Tim behind at top.  I walked the up the stream bed and Tim followed me from the top.  Found the cp without much trouble with all the teams there at the same time.  Next clue was rock cliff, so I was thinking to attack it from the top, thus climb back out the other side of the stream bed.  Now we tried to stay high to keep it flat.  Worked pretty well and I walked up to it as the other teams were taking photos (now that I am blogging I will be doing much more of that).  I believe it was Team Virtus/Rock racing, Lonesome Drifters and Off Road Medics.  Now, I knew that we were slower on foot than they are so I said to Tim that we needed to take a chance.  If we were to get down this cliff and go west about 100 meters it will be all open ground without much elevation change to a road all the way back to the TA.  It worked, got down out into the open, across the creek and down the road about 2 km and see the same 3 teams pop out of the woods just in front of us.  I knew that those teams were close to the front but now our strategy was no help as we were on the same road.  We made it back to the TA at 1:20 (with a 1:40 cutoff) so we knew it was pretty close on time.  Turns out we were 5th now, with those three teams in at about 1:08 and the leader in at 11:53.  At the time, we assumed we were near the back of the pack. 

On to the bike:  We started on a portion of single track that we had ridden in the other direction in the prologue as well as the short ride we had upon arrival Friday.  Not too big of a deal, I could tell that Tim wasn’t really comfortable, only to find out that this was his first real time riding single track.  I had a minor navigational error looking for the first cp too soon.  Thanks to Off Road Fixation for pointing it out to me.  The error was very obvious when I didn’t have tunnel vision.  Once again, the first section of single track was not too bad just slow going as we were being cautious.  However, I do think that Tim was developing a very strong opinion of what he thought of the trails.  We were both relieved to be out of the woods and onto some gravel.  It was decided I would tow Tim where I could.  We were able to move along pretty good until we got to the hill heading to the campground we stayed at.  I told Tim to unhook and he was on his own.  I made it to the top but had to grind pretty hard, at the top I dismounted and stood waiting for Tim.  As I waited, Bob pulled up and checked on us.  He said that Tim was looking pretty tired but was proud he’d done so well thus far.  We picked up cp 6 at the trail head to some more single track.  I was estimating that the length of this trail would not be too much longer that the first section.  I wish!!

The trail started off pretty smooth, but quickly was turning into a nightmare.  We were off and on our bikes every 50 feet or so.  It was so beat up with horse traffic.  We must not have been looking too good because out of nowhere, we see Bob sitting by a tree.  The reason I say we don’t look too good is because Bob says make sure you call someone if you pull out.  I said, not a chance!  Walked about 10 steps further and turned around to tell him we don’t have a phone number.  (So we wrote it down on our map). 

According to my computer we traveled about .7 miles when we stopped at an intersection.  I was not exactly sure where we were on the map, so in the back of my brain I was thinking this choice could be pivotal.  We looked at all options checked the map and decided to turn right.  This was the most beat up section of trail I could ever imagine.  We had to walk. And we walked, and we walked some more.  We began questioning where the heck we were going and I asked Tim, Are you seeing any bike tracks?  We saw one.  The more we went, the worse I felt.  This is when I lost it.  I got really pissed and was screaming. I am sure at this point Tim was questioning his choice (well I know he had already be questioning the race, but now his teammate).  I said we have to go back and regroup at that intersection.  Keep in mind that we had hiked our bike for about 30 minutes through these ridiculous trails, and now we had to do it again in reverse.  I was so mad I took off without Tim.  I was boiling over as I ran my damn bike back, back, back to the intersection.  I got there and to my relief I found some people I recognized.  It was Derrick of Orange Lederhosen.  He was sitting in the same intersection, looking at his map like I was an hour ago.  While talking it through with him, I hear more yelling in the woods and wouldn’t you know... it was Brian from WTF coming up to us.  He joined our conversation.  I said,"You can do what you like, but I would never go to the right".  As we agreed to go straight, Todd from WTF also joined us.  Then I realized that I hadn’t seen Tim in a few minutes.  Shit…Tim’s wife Teri is going to kill me if I get him lost out here.  Another minute or two and I hear “DAVE!” off in the distance.  I yelled back a few times and started walking toward him.  Finally I see him coming and I am relieved.  Now, back to the task at hand…as Bob overheard, “get me off this damn trail.”  WTF agree to join up with us and I am extremely glad that they did.  Our spirits were lifted and we were moving faster than ever (albeit on foot 80% of the time).  But the hiking was faster and we were on the bikes more.  I finally figured out where we were on the map during the hike and we eventually came upon cp7.  We now know we are very close to the road again.  I told Tim I would tow him again when we got to the road, as I could see he was running on fumes.

We got hooked up for the tow. I have been known to be like a sled dog, tie me to something and I pull until I am ready to go down.  I knew we had about 5 miles of road to cp7.5 and I was going to hammer it out.  (Side note for my wife:  I was just about ready to give up on the tow when Brian, riding next to me, said, “man you have nice calves.”  I told him that my wife says the same thing to me when I ride.  I take pride in that because it is the only place on my body where I will ever see any muscle definition!) 

Anyway, we do finally make it to the winery and I was expecting the mystery water event to be right there.  Nope! Emma, Orange Leaderhosen team manager, is there with another map and set of clues.  I almost started crying.  (We were the 9th and 10th teams to make it there with the last 3 teams dropping out so…LAST)  I said, "I'm sorry guys, but I am done towing and don’t know if I will make it".  Brian perked up and I could tell he was chomping at the bit to get the chance to tow someone.  I said, "I will give you my bungee and you can tow Tim."  We sent Todd and Tim down the road while we switched it over.  Little did we know it was only about 1.5 miles of mostly downhill to the Little Dixie Lake.  By the time Brian and I caught back up, we were almost there.  Todd and I now pulled slightly ahead as Brian and Tim hooked up the bungee. From about 100 feet back I hear Brian howl like a basset hound.  Later I find out Tim missed the hook on his bike and snapped Brian with 8 feet of eighth inch bungee cord.  I think by the time they hooked up, Brian was able to tow Tim about 100 feet, then we arrived. 

At the shelter, I looked down to the lake and saw one row boat and I was thinking, "this is going to suck".  But they said there was only one ore so we were done…I was thinking how the heck can we make this work…after all our goal was to clear the course and finish.  Out of the corner of my eye, I see someone running with another ore and I though what the heck, lets put all four of us in the boat and finish this thing.  We all agreed and we were off. 

To the spectators at the shelter, I am sure it was hilarious.  We spun the boat around at least twice trying to figure out how to go.  Eventually, we settled into a rhythm and we moved slowly up the lake.  It seemed like it would take forever to get to the last three cps, but on the clock I think it was less that an hour and a half.  I didn’t think that it was too bad for all of the love making going on in the back of the boat with Todd and Tim…then Brian and Tim while I rowed.  Probably the best part was when Tim figured out the navigation technique and got us “pointed” in the right direction.  I wish I had pictures but I am new to this so that will have to be next time.  We finally floated to the finish at 7:57pm.  What the heck…10:47 for a “6 hour” race.  I know for a fact that was way more than Tim signed up for.  I feel a little bad for that, but we had a goal and we made it!  We finished 1st out of 3 two person male teams, and 5th overall of 13 teams!  I don’t know if it is fair for “Time” to get a first in his first race?

I know that those that know me don’t think that I have a soft spot at all, but I do.  I felt bad for all of the people at the finish waiting for hours for us to drag our butt back in.  After finishing, it was great to see lots of the people who struggled through the same course we did.  But after about 20 minutes, I was ready to get back to camp.  I was freezing (actually shivering) ready to get showered and go to bed…wait we were camping, no showers and a whole lot of social time that I wouldn’t have missed for anything.  After retrieving our van from the start and getting changed, we were ready to relax.  I do believe at one time we had 18-22ish people crammed around the camp fire sharing stories, food, drinks (literally) and Bob was spreading some Virtus cheer of his own to Brian.  All that was left was another short night of sleep, listening to at least two people having so much fun they were vomiting (one in his tent), another early morning and good byes as everyone departed. 

I just wanted to add a special shout out to the boys of Whiskey Tango Foxtrot.  Brian and Todd, I am not sure we would have made our goal if you guys hadn’t joined up with us to suffer to the end.  You guys are great; we will catch you at the next race.  Let us know if you fellow Iowans want to meet up for some AR “training” or teaming up in another race sometime.   

I love to race and this non-race was tough but it was outstanding. But I would have to say the social time was by far they best for me.  Thank you doesn’t seem like enough, but that is all I have right now.  The Virtus team and all the volunteers are the best!  I will never forget this weekend and will do all I can to get back every year. 


  1. Way to keep your 1st post short and sweet, Dave!! JK Actually, it was nice to "relive" some of those "precious moments"...and I'm looking forward to more in the many weeks, months, and...dare I say...YEARS to come!! Time

    1. I was going to try and keep it shorter but I didn't want to leave anything out. By the way we are buying waterproof camera today to start taking and adding pictures to the posts. That will make it much more interesting.

  2. "Chiseled pieces of steal" You nailed that description.

  3. Oh, hurray, you have a blog now!

    My husband's obsessive need to document our every movement drove me crazy...right up until I started blogging. :) Now I'm the irritating one always pulling out the camera.

    You guys were AMAZING with the camping. You had everything we all needed and then some. It was awesome. And it was so great to meet you both. What a good time.

    I think the Virtus non-races are the AR virgin baptism by fire, to mix metaphors. Last year's non race was my first time, and after 9.5 hours of our "short" race, I was hooked.

  4. I loved this race report! Definitely take a camera next time. Also, you're welcome to steal any of our photos if you wanna add some to this post. Of course, I haven't uploaded them yet, so that won't really help you.

    It was really great to meet you guys, and thanks for non-racing with us. You guys helped make that weekend an unforgettable one. Hopefully, we'll see you at the Thunder Rolls!