We Eat Dust And Like It

September 30, 2009

Navigating the Berryman Adventure

On September 25, WEDALI headed south to the Land of the Ozarks for the Berryman Adventure Race, an annual 36-hour sufferfest in the Mark Twain National Forest of Missouri. With a tough late-season race schedule taking it's toll, Andrea stepped in for Scooter five days before the race to join Erl, Mo, and Biz for this competitive event, put on by Bonk Hard Racing. Jason made the trip as well, and was a great help in finalizing team logistics. He also raced in the 12-hour as a last minute sub and volunteered for the Bonk Hard Racing crew.
To begin the event, racers were transported by bus from race headquarters in Big Spring Park to Round Spring, where the race was started at 11PM on Friday night. With the initial orienteering/trekking section, things were a bit crazy at the start, with teams crawling all over the woods. We took a few "interesting" route choices, and a few minutes here and there led to a confirmed 20-minute lag on the night O-section behind lead team
Alpine Shop.

We made a decent transition onto the Current River and paddled from Round Spring to Powder Mill. The first hour or so was in the dark and we watched the sun burn off the fog throughout the trip. A couple small sets of rapids and a few wildlife sightings made things fun. Molly fought the sleep monsters a bit, and was entertained by a few impromptu songs by Justin.The recent rains and fast current made the paddle section go decently fast. It seemed like we lacked a bit of urgency to catch up here (or at least maintain our time loss) though, and Alpine Shop handed us another 17 minutes (total of 37 minutes) of time to make up.

After the paddle, we received a few bags of supplies that the race directors had transported to this stop. We refueled our supplies and waded across the Current River to avoid an additional one-mile run.

We then trekked from Powder Mill to Rocky Falls, again taking a few routes that in hindsight may have been iffy - lots of longer road routes around features instead of shorter/straighter bushwhacking routes. The CP at the top of Barnett Mountain had a great view of the Missouri countryside from the top, but most racers agreed that the gnats and logging slash were less than desirable. We pushed decently well on this section, but a couple of minutes searching for controls and a few minor 5-minute mistakes added up to an even larger time deficit behind Alpine Shop by the time we got to Rocky Falls.

The last 1/3 of the race was a hefty biking leg of 60+ miles. We completed a fair portion of the ride in the daytime, but definitely hit the more challenging portions (such as the single track on the Ozark Trail) at night and at the end of the race. It's a tough trail and we were forced to hike-a-bike a fair bit. A few additional navigation errors/stutters ruined our flow through the latter part of the course, but we finally came into the finish at 11:30pm, with a total race time of 24 hours and 27 minutes.

Alpine Shop had a fantastic showing and crushed the course in 22 hours and 20 minutes - awesome job by that crew to bring it home. Bushwhacker rounded out the top 3 in 32 hours, 8 minutes.

We had a decent race, but after back-to-back weekends of 24-hour+ length events, it will be key for us to rest up well (physically and mentally) before USARA National Championships in Texas next month. Thanks again to Bonk Hard Racing for another fantastic event!