Team Alpine Shop Race Report: Castlewood 8hr Adventure Race

Hi everyone! It’s Emily here, coming to you LIVE as the NEW PROGRAM COORDINATOR at Alpine Shop! That’s right, the local business that has supported my adventure racing team for so many years has now become my employer. Let me tell you, it’s a dream come true. Not only am I surrounded by the very best outdoor gear and apparel all day long, the people I get to work with are amazing and share my passion of GETTING OUTSIDE YOURSELF! If you’ve been following Team Alpine Shop in our adventure racing season, you know that I write extensive and detailed race reports over on my personal blog. But here, I’d like to give you a shorter recap of our day at the Bonk Hard Castlewood 8hr Adventure Race.

Jeff, Erl and I at the bike drop on race morning. Photo by Stacey Hagen.

Race morning was early and cold. Erl (our substitute teammate since Doug was out of town) and I met Jeff at the bike drop in Castlewood at 0630 and it was in the low 20s. We dropped off our bikes and biking gear at the beach, and then drove over to Race HQ at La Salle Middle School. The school had its doors and bathrooms open for us, and it was so nice to have a warm place to get ready! We figured out the perfect combination of base layers, insulation layers, and shell layers to keep us comfortable for this fast-paced race, and pretty soon it was time to line up for the start.

TREK 1, 2mi, CP 1-3, 0:15

Team Alpine Shop among the top 5 teams at the start! I’m in the purple fleece top. Photo by Mary Welter.

We take off in a herd of racers…172 to be exact. We let other teams set the pace and are quite content to sit somewhere in the top 10 overall. Jeff punches the CP1 cleanly and we take off to CP2. Here, the path turns to gravel and we start to encounter some Saturday morning dog-walkers who are a bit confused to see a mass of pack-wearing people barreling down on them. We pass them as politely as we can on the out-and-back run to CP2. I love out-and-backs early in races because they let us cheer for a lot of teams, and today is no exception. I actually get super out of breath from yelling “good job!” so much so I try to hide behind David to recover. We reach the end of the trek and tumble down the hill where all of the boats are staged. 

Jeff, Erl, and David running to CP3 with Nathan from Toporadicals. I’m just out of the picture. Photo by Patrick & Donovan Feder.

It’s basically mass chaos, but somehow we manage to collect 4 paddles, 4 PFDs, 2 canoes, and 1 punch of CP3. Oh, and….SURPRISE! The volunteer hands us a bonus map which adds an unannounced trekking section to the middle of the paddle. Unfazed, we put in to the Meramec River with minimal fuss and get paddling.

PADDLE 1, 4.2mi, CP 4-5

At the put-in. Steamy. Photo by Patrick and Donovan Feder.

We’re in the mix of the top 5 teams as we start paddling downstream on the Meramec. We’re in our planned pairs, me in the back with Jeff and Erl in the back with David. I’m using my super-warm ski mittens to avoid the frozen hands like last year and so far they’re working great, even as the spray from the paddle starts to freeze on the gunwhales and thwarts. It’s really a beautiful morning to be on the river, and I use all my concentration to keep the boat on the most efficient line. We punch CP4 at Sherman Beach and get back out into the main channel. Pretty soon, we start seeing the boats in front of us land at CP5 for the start of the surprise trek. We get there quickly and do the same. Both Jeff’s and my packs are soaking wet, but for some reason I don’t even feel the chill when I throw it back on.

TREK 2, 2mi, CP 38-42

This is the map we were handed at CP3. I added the orange arrows showing our route. Also ignore the red scribbles, that was from later in the race.

We negotiate our way up the steep earthen bank with 5-6 other teams and take off on a clockwise loop for the 5 surprise/bonus trekking CPs. David’s decided to route us 39-41-42-40-38, and we join a pack of teams on the trail run to CP39. This entire map is a flat flood plain with only a few mapped vegetation features and basically one contour line to navigate off of. Once we’ve punched all 5 bonus CPs, we run across a field of tall, dead grass, take a group pee-break, and hop back in the canoes. Somehow, even though we’ve been running with about 5 other teams, we get onto the water in the lead!

Our friends on Team Virtus running through the field on Trek 2. Photo by Bob Jenkins.

PADDLE 2, 2mi, CP 6, 1:45 total for paddle-trek-paddle

Jeff and I finishing out the paddling section. Photo by Patrick and Donovan Feder.

Just because we’re leading for a moment, doesn’t mean it’s easy to stay there. We have 2 other boats for company through the first little congested section but I focus really hard on keeping my line and no-one dumps, although David and Erl tell us later that they came scarily close. This paddle is shorter than the first, so we work really hard to keep the boat moving as fast as possible. Finally, the Castlewood beach appears and we take-out with about a 30-second lead on Team CRX and AMTZ, with Toporadicals, 36 Down, and Extreme Electrical not far behind! CP6 has a gear check which is more mass chaos, but the volunteers do a great job at managing everything. A lot of teams opted to do this race with flat pedals, but we all take a bit of extra time to change into biking shoes, hoping that our feet will appreciate being dry and warm after the paddle.

At the take-out, with AMTZ hot on our sterns. Photo by Stacy Hagen.

BIKE 1, 6mi, CP 7-14, 0:40

Getting ready to start riding, I’m helping Erl put on his glove. Photo by Donovan and Patric Feder.

We’ve got a loop of Castlewood singletrack, and the route is pretty much the best-case scenario for me (keeping the most technical bits on the uphills instead of the downhills). We can’t see anyone ahead of us, but that doesn’t mean anything with the quality of the teams we’re racing today. We get to work climbing Grotpeter, motor through Roller Coaster, and descend smoothly down Love. The trails are starting to thaw and get greasy as we hit the short out-and-back on the dirt crit loop, but we all keep the rubber side down as we knock out the last CPs on this leg. Then it’s into TA where we will be given maps for the rest of the course! 

As we approach the shelter, we spot AMTZ already there, so we know we’re a few minutes down in second place. We punch CP14 and the volunteer hands us a map with instructions for 8 trekking CPs, 3 of which we have to plot ourselves. This isn’t a big deal, until David digs around in his pack for our plotter and discovers it fell out at the gear check! We allow ourselves about 5 seconds of panic, and then Jeff tells me to make a plotter out of paper like we did at the Berryman 16hr. I rip off a piece of the map and use the printed scale to make a rudimentary plotter. David calls UTM coordinates and we slowly get the 3 CPs transferred onto the trekking map. I’m not even sure if they’re right, but we have to leave NOW if we’re going to have a chance of catching AMTZ. 

TREK 3, 3.5mi, CP 15-22, 0:45

The map for Trek 3. We ripped the bottom of the map off and used it to plot 17, 18, and 19.

We storm out of TA on a mission, but I’m really, really scared about the 3 CPs we just haphazardly plotted on the map. I’m SO RELIEVED once we’ve found these first three CPs, and now only have the pre-plotted CPs left. We hit CP15 next, overrunning the side reentrant slightly, and as we descend back down after punching, we spot AMTZ approaching. Erl and I try to adjust our route to not give away the correct reentrant, but it doesn’t really do any good. We cross back over Ries Rd (legal to cross but illegal to run along), climb up to CP16, and then run back down to CP20. We catch up with AMTZ here because they took a slightly different order (17-16-15-20) and we all meet up at the creek crossing. David, sensing an opportunity, leads us straight through a knee-deep section of the creek while AMTZ chooses a slightly longer and dryer route. Our feet are now soaking wet but we’re in the lead! 

Here is a different team crossing the creek at CP20. We had crossed earlier in a deeper section, and then crossed here as well. We were not this careful. Photo by Patrick and Donovan Feder.

We all know this could be a make-or-break moment in the outcome of the race, so I give my team a quick pep talk, “Guys, we have a gap, we have to push it super hard up this hill and make it stick!” We charge up the backside of Lone Wolf, everyone red-lining in an effort to gain the lead. In between gasping breaths, I try to encourage as much as possible, and we make it to the top of the hill having opened up a slight advantage over AMTZ. We crash down the other side, David picks the correct reentrant for CP21, Jeff punches CP21, and we race back to TA with about a minute’s lead.

Back at the shelter, the volunteer hands us an entire packet of maps for the remainder of the race. It contants four 8.5×11 maps, double-sided, with 12 CPs scattered among them. It’s really confusing to make sense of everything and plan a route to the finish line. David and I work together to get everything sorted, reading the clue sheet again and again to make sure we’re doing everything according to the rules. Meanwhile, Erl and Jeff complete their TA and then help change David’s and my shoes so we can leave faster. Finally, we think we’ve got it all figured out and hop on bikes, leaving in 1st place!

BIKE 2, 23mi, CP 23-34, 1:46

We know AMTZ is stacked with really strong bikers, so we organize into a towing paceline and hustle out of Castlewood State Park. The first three CPs (23-24-25) must be found in order, and David guides us smoothly to each one. Then we have a bit of a route choice, and, after further analyzing the map as we’re riding, David decides to change his original plan and go 27-28-29-30-26, and then head into the west side of Castlewood for 31-32-33. We ride across Ridge Rd and descend down the paved Rock Hollow trail to CPs 28 and 29. On the way down, we actually see CP30 hanging in the woods, but race rules say we must bike to it (no bike-whacking allowed on this land) so we ride down to the Zombie trail head (CP29) and then take the singletrack uphill to the flag. This singletrack is newly-built by GORC and it’s a really fun ride. We get the punch, ride the trail back down, and then take the Al Foster path to CP26 and continue into the west side of Castlewood.

The three controls on the west side of Castlewood are really fun. The singletrack is straightforward and fast, and we’re all still feeling decent. David guides us smoothly to each CP and we’re out of there in a flash. Once we’re back on the Al Foster, we know we just have a mile to the CP34 and the finish line. Time to empty the tanks! The boys each take turns pulling while we absolutely fly down the path. Pretty soon, we spot the iconic orange and white Bonk Hard Racing inflatable arch signifying the finish line. We ease the pace just slightly to make sure everyone’s together and cross the finish line with huge smiles.

FINISH 5:11:46

Big smiles at the finish line. Photo by Mary Welter.

It is incredibly satisfying to finish 1st at the Bonk Hard Castlewood 8hr Adventure Race. Sprint races are so stressful for me, since one mistake or mechanical can derail an entire race, where as in the 24hr races you have more opportunity to recover. We did make a few mistakes out there, we always do, but each one was small and we were able to recover quickly. That’s the value of racing with three highly experienced teammates. Even though all of our transitions were chaotic, we were always communicating and trying to help the team as a whole. We were constantly checking on each other, making sure that no one was getting too cold or hungry or blown-up. When we had the opportunity to grab the lead, we all recognized it and had the legs to make it happen. 

It is so great to see a huge field in an adventure race, and we enjoyed the intense competition from several speedy teams. Everyone was so positive and encouraging, even when we were trying to rip each others’ legs off.  That is the spirit of adventure racing! If you are a beginner racer and have questions, please stop by the Alpine Shop in Kirkwood anytime, I am happy to help you learn more about the sport!




Floating Is All There Is To It, Right?

The MacKeen Family vs The MR340

MR 340 Thought for Day 3: “All the kayakers have to do is float down the river all day.” – Sandy Sandi

When I began to plan for the MR340, I thought, “All I have to do is organize food and supplies, look at the map and guide book and drive to a checkpoint and wait for hours.” How hard is that? I even brought projects to do, thinking I would have time for them. Hasn’t happened yet!
A month ago, when the MR 340 was going to be in July, I got my RV license. My sister-in-law Sandi, who has previous experience driving large vehicles, gave me some informal lessons.
From Day 1, Sandi and I have been extremely busy planning our route, and then having to change it when things didn’t go right. You don’t want to miss a turn in a motor home…have you ever tried backing one up? With a trailer attached to it? Or a burning car in your path?

Scary Mari, Sandy Sandi
We came up with “handles” for ourselves. I’m Scary Mary, and she’s Sandy Sandi. Explanation: I told my oldest daughter Nikki the other day, “I’m really getting the hang of driving the RV.”
She responded, “How do Kaity and Jarod feel about your driving?” Hmmm…I asked them. Their response: “Scared.” “Terrified.” Hence the handle! However, Jarod was sleeping when he was supposed to be navigating today. Looked pretty relaxed to me!
The other day, Sandi was driving us to the checkpoint in Glasgow. We had inadvertently printed an older MR 340 guide book, so the directions were a little off. We turned too early at one point, and ended up in a Sand Plant. I remember Sandi saying, “Oh, this is not the checkpoint, I’ll just turn around here. We might get into a little sand.” A little sand! Well, let’s just say after a tow truck got us out, we were fine!

GlasgowHermannOff into the Fog, Katfish Katy 2
This morning, we saw the kayakers off into a light fog at Katfish Katy. Each time we saw the teams, they all seemed in fairly good spirits. They should be; they have moved up in the ranking! On Day Two they were #176 and #179 out of 283. On Day Three they were #135 (RED-E Oar Knot) and #138 (RED-E Set Go)! They got in fairly early at Hermann, MO, around 9:00pm. We are had a good night sleep!

On day 4 the thought for the Day: “We got this!” – Nikki MacKeen

We Got This!

We’re all pumped! Teams were up at 5:15am, left Hermann by 6:00am. Crew waiting for teams at Klondike, MO. They should be here by about 1pm. Not even getting out of the boat; crew bringing them tea and crumpets…no, just kidding, sandwiches and coffee.
When Nikki got out of the boat, she put her fists in the air and yelled, “We got this! Only 27 miles!”
The air was full of anticipation and excitement. There was a ceremony at 7pm, we were excited to receive our final results. We ended as #163 RED-E Set Row, and #164 RED-E Oar Knot (out of 283 teams). The teams tied for 14th place in the Mixed Tandem (out of 22). We did pretty good for our first time!

Klondike Boat RampSmiles 2


Huge shout-out goes to Perry from the Alpine Shop! For all his training and help, we couldn’t have done it without him!
It’s been quite the adventure!



Till next time,

Mary Mackeen


The Secret To Getting (The MR340) Started

The Mackeen Family vs The MR340


The thought for Day One of the MR340: “The secret to getting ahead is getting started.” – Mark Twain

The Race Begins

Last night we considered parking our RV at a nearby WalMart, but opted instead for the parking area by Kaw Point, a stopping point for Lewis and Clark, and for the MR340. Right by train tracks, and heard the loud whooshing and rattling of trains on the track all night. Despite that, most of us slept pretty well.

Ground crew up at 5:20am to make blueberry pancakes for breakfast. Coffee, pancakes, oranges, and we all piled out to get teams and kayaks to the river. A DJ playing upbeat music, Lewis and Clark reenactors walking around in costume, and even a flying GoPro whizzing over the river made for an animated early morning scene. As the 8am start neared, the DJ shouted over the loudspeaker to “Get your boat in the water!” About 250 boats of various sizes and colors filled the river, the Kansas City skyline in the background.

The mayor spoke, and several in 1800’s costume shot off guns to start the paddlers. With the crowd yelling and gun smoke filling the air, the paddlers were off! I managed to get some pictures of both teams, RED-E Oar Knot and RED-E Set Go before they followed the pack down the river.

Jarod and Kaity have been making awesome food, and were a great help to the teams, getting them down to the starting point on time. I had heard from Rich via cell phone, and Nikki and Chris via the Safety Boat Crew (not to worry, no problems, just no phone!) that both were due at the first checkpoint in Lexington, MO around 3:30pm. We arrived safely there at 2:00pm, after a few errands. Sandi and I took turns driving the RV. I did pretty well, if I do say so myself!

Here We Go! (2)What am I doingKaity

As we began day two of the race the thought of the day was “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…” Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities. Heather said, “This has been the worst day of my life! But it was fun!” The first day is the toughest day. It’s the longest, at 105 miles. Even if you don’t finish the entire race, even one day is an accomplishment. And at the end of it, there are blisters, sunburn, sore muscles, exhaustion…you get the picture.

IMGP0010DiBruno Bros 1RED-E Oar Knot Day 2

RED-E Set Go (Rich and Heather, had it reversed yesterday!), and RED-E Oar Knot (Nikki and Chris) made it to the third checkpoint at about 1:30am! So, technically the second day. You can keep up with their progress on Currently, RED-E Oar Knot (Nikki, Chris) are 176 out of 283 teams and RED-E Set Row(Rich, Heather) are 179!

Kayakers have to make it to a checkpoint by a certain time. The “Grim Reaper” Safety Boat (how’s that for ironic?) gets to each checkpoint by the deadline. If you end up behind the Grim Reaper, you are out of the race! The deadline for the third checkpoint, Miami, MO, was 11am today. So they were safe! And worn out.

As Jarod and Kaity, our youngest children and ground crew, waited at the boat dock with me. Jarod  helped a safety crew member carry his kayak to a large grassy area. Those who were staying the night there kept their boats in this place. Safety crew have been so amazing and helpful, working round the clock.

Josh Race 4

Our son Josh who lives in Colorado is lending his support by racing with the USAFA Cycling Team while we race on the Missouri River.

We may be tired and sore but we are still in the race! We’ll update you on Day three as soon as possible!


Mary Mackeen

5 Tips for Trail Running in St Louis During August

If you’ve come to this page thinking you’re about to find an information-packed morsel of trail running goodness in St Louis, well you’re right. It just might not be the information you thought you were getting.

Register today for the Off-Road Racing League Trail Run Series

Instead, I’m going to share the five things you should know about participating in Alpine Shop‘s Trail Run Series – part of the Off-Road Racing League in St Louis. This series already has hosted four full nights of bike racing during July and now we turn to trail running for the month of August. (It’s all part of the big plan!) Our mission is nothing short of turning St. Louis into one of America’s Top 10 cities for outdoor activities.

1. Yes, we know it’s hot.

That’s why we’re trail running! We’ll be running in the shade most of the time on the great course that Big River Running Company has helped us set up. Even better – we’re going to run through a cool creek twice! Seriously, we know this time of year the temperature can be a real issue; but it doesn’t have to stop us from enjoying the great outdoors, getting some exercise and having some fun. Please bring water bottles or a CamelBak pack and participate at your own pace. And then enjoy the food and drink following the race.

2. Set your own pace.

We’ll have everyone from experts to flat out beginners in this series. How seriously you take it is up to you. For some of you, the only thing that will matter is finishing in the top 10. For others, the only thing that matters will just be finishing – period. Whatever your skill level, whatever your fitness level, this series is about having fun.

3. Have fun.

In the mountain biking part of this series, we’ve had guys dressed as cheerleaders, we’ve had people riding on tandems, we’ve had kids of all ages. If you feel like running in

Short Track Dirt Crit Series Cyclist Dressed as Cheerleader
The Off-Road Racing League is all about having fun

a costume – more power to you! If you want to race in a giant Fredbird costume (hint, hint Cardinals), we urge you to do so. If you’re more comfortable running in your trusted workout outfit, we happen to be St Louis Magazine’s A-List choice for athletic and workout gear (another hint, hint)! And after the race, The Wolf provides the food and New Belgium Brewery provides the adult beverages. All you have to do is enjoy yourself.

4. Get registered.

So what are you waiting for? If you sign up for the entire race series, you can save $10 on the price of the four races. The first race starts this Thursday, August 4 at 6 pm at Castlewood State Park. You can find out all the information you need here. Register today!

5. Spread the word.

Invite your friends to run with you. Help us turn this event into the party it should be. Help us celebrate the outdoor life in our great city of St Louis!

Team Alpine Shop Wins St. Louis Urban Assault Ride

August 16th 2009

David Frei and I (Jeff Sona) – members of Team Alpine Shop – signed up for the New Belgium Brewing Urban Assault Ride a week before the race. This is a scavenger hunt bike race starting in Forest Park in St. Louis to checkpoints across the city with various challenges at each one.

Five checkpoints were given to us via the web prior to the event with one mystery checkpoint revealed via a word scramble clue 2 days before the race. That clue was:antarctic granola limbo dens”. That turns out to be “Botanical Gardens Climatron”.

A trivia quiz promoting race sponsors and cycling was e-mailed out on the Wednesday before the race and based on the score on the quiz, teams started in three heats, two and a half minutes apart. Our trusty team secretary, aka my wife Carrie – also a member of Team Alpine Shop, scored a second wave start for our team, two and a half minutes back at the start.

After the word scramble, the known checkpoints going into the race were the Botanical Gardens Climatron, Tower Grove Park (Gus Fogt Picnic Area), BicycleWORKS, City Museum, Big Shark and Mesa Cycles. We would collect a bead to put on a chain at each checkpoint. Our route had us going to the Botanical Gardens first and then continuing on to the others with the plan to go to a second mystery checkpoint whenever it made the most sense with our planned route.

175 teams lined up at the start for a 200 yard run to the bikes. 150 seconds after the first heat took off, we ran to our bikes. We were pushing hard to make up the time and starting passing teams; so much so in fact, that we arrived at the Botanical Gardens in first place. Unfortunately, no one at the Gardens had any clue what to do with this until a lady finally came out and had us go around to the side just as other teams were getting there. Once directed, we ran around the side to the Climatron. There we were shown the picture below as Mystery Checkpoint 2:

David said “I know exactly where that is. “ Back on the bikes for a quick trip to Tower Grove. We were the first team to Tower Grove Park in South St. Louis where we faced our first challenge. We both put one foot in a pair of shoes with left and right reversed with a Frisbee attaching them at the top holding 3 tennis balls. We had to walk about 50 feet to a series of cones while balancing the balls. We dropped them a couple times.

As we were heading out other teams showed up. Off to BicycleWORKS for the best challenge of the day: adult Big Wheels on a serpentine course. We probably lost a little time spinning out around the tight corners but what a hoot! Instead of putting the beads on the necklace, David was putting them in a pack and kept saying, “I hope this doesn’t have a hole in it!”

A long ride to City Museum followed with us pushing hard with a little tailwind, mostly green lights and light traffic. At the City Museum, other teams were already in the midst of the challenge: climb 10 flights of stairs to the roof, up three more flights to a tower with a ramp encircling it to the tip top of the tower. The view from the top was absolutely beautiful. Another bead and a slide ride down to the rooftop and then 10 flights back down. From David’s Wild Onion Adventure Racing days he can fly down the steps and beat me down. He ran out, got his bike and had my bike up and ready to go.

From there on to Big Shark. Because teams had their choice of route it was hard to know where we were in the pack. At Big Shark the challenge was for both of us to get on a skateboard together with a plunger and use the plunger as an oar while picking up cans of 3 different colors from buckets at the end of the parking lot. There were five buckets set up and you could only get a single can from each bucket. David was in the front with the plunger and I was getting cans. Got a red one first and rolled past the second bucket and grabbed a blue one; but I overturned the bucket and had to stop on a downhill and pick everything up. We then had to go back uphill and I took the plunger to the back and pushed us up. Another bead and on to Mesa.

At Mesa we did the wet sponge toss to a laundry basket on David’s head. We had to catch three. We got three in a row but they didn’t see the “swoosh” laid down on shot number 2 so we did one more. One more bead and to the last checkpoint which was Roxy Paine’s 56-foot-tall stainless steel tree outside the St. Louis Art Museum. When we got there we were the first team there and we realized it looked like we would win because it was our last checkpoint. We picked up our seventh and final bead, placed it with the rest that were luckily all in the pack, strung them and had a short trip back to the finish.

We came in to the parking lot where Carrie was cheering and happy to see us in first place. We pulled our bikes into the field, took off our bike shoes and went through the blow up obstacle course. Taking the the kids to Bounce U had me done before David and we handed them our beads with a winning time of 1:23 and went to check out our new cruiser bikes!

Excellent after party. Many teams had great costumes and there was a bike limbo and other games and frivolity. Do this race next year! You won’t regret it.

Link to results and photos

Other photos:

Riverfront Times

STL today

Team Alpine Shop Takes Dusk to Dawn Adventure Racing Title

On the evening of July 25 into the morning of July 26, Team Alpine Shop was hard at work in the Bonk Hard Racing Dusk To Dawn Adventure Race. Nine hours after their start, our team consisting of Carrie and Jeff Sona, David Frei and Doug Nishimura, have another win in the books.

Here’s Carrie’s account:
Doug, Jeff, David and myself headed to Lake Perry for D2D. We have done this race all 4 years and love the format. Race mantra- “Start at dusk and finish at dawn- racin’ in the cool of the night”.

The pre-race meeting was at 7:30 pm and we got the maps. With all of us relegated to reading glasses except our youngster Doug, at 40, we were happy to see that all the controls were marked and we didn’t have to plot. The race start was moved up to 8:30. We went back to the TA and got busy route planning. We would start on foot and then we would come back to the TA once early and then not til the finish. The start was moved to 8:45 and we lined up. Jason held up the flag, played the national anthem and then shouted go. Fast and furious start as usual. About a mile road run to 3 controls in the woods that could be obtained in any order. Mass crowd to CP 1 and 2 and then on the way to 3 some teams cut off at a pond that didn’t seem far enough to David so we kept going. We were in and out of 3 at the front and headed back to the TA. We were happy that the 3rd control was a little challenging to separate the field. Total mileage of the first O section was at 4 miles. A couple of solo racers got back ahead of us by a couple of minutes. Next up was heading out on bike and then to a bike drop. Exciting event for 1st section- Doug lost his shoe in thick mud twice.

A few miles ride to get out of the park to a bikewhack to the road. We saw Phil (soloist) taking the hill to the left of where we went up. We got up the road farther and saw a 2 guy team ahead and passed them. Then we saw Eric (soloist) and were feeling good as we were in the lead with them. Phil and Eric stuck with us until we got to the paddle. Few uneventful controls on the bike before the bike drop. 22.5 miles to the bike drop followed by the second trek section that looked like straight forward follow the trail type stuff to the paddle put in. We were disappointed that the nav was easy but it turned out to be more challenging than we thought. Staying on the trail was difficult. David didn’t want to give up on it and just head south as finding it again when it petered out could prove tough. He was right so we pace-counted and stayed focused to keep track of where we were on the map closely. With his careful nav we went right to everything and got to the canoe. Second trek ~ 4 miles. Gear check with some nice identical twin sisters at the canoe and then we started paddling. Exciting event for section 2- I went down hard on my left hip on the gravel skidding to a stop at one of the controls. I have a big bruise there now as a result.

At the paddle, Eric and Phil got to paddle their kayaks while we had lovely aluminum canoes. We chose to take only 1 kayak paddle (for me) but the paddle was twice as long as we thought as we didn’t realize we were going to paddle to our bikes and then put them in the canoes with us and take them to the paddle take out. The paddle was beautiful with a crescent moon and perfect temperature. We paddled to the bike drop to load up our 50 + pounds of expensive weight and secured them in the boats and headed out. The soloists had their bikes moved for them as they were in kayaks so they got to keep moving and we got behind them and never could catch them again. Bushwackers was the closest team to us and we knew they took kayak paddles so were worried. We saw the Bushwackers glow sticks as we headed out of the CP. Jeff was bumming he didn’t have a kayak paddle and was moving his little canoe paddle like crazy. We paddled to the take out and kept looking back but we never saw Bushwackers. Paddle 9.2 miles. Exciting event- lake so shallow in the middle of the lake that Jeff got out and pushed at one point.

At the boat take out we unloaded our bikes and had a 3 point O section. As we headed out we saw Eric finishing the O. We had a little problem with one on the shoreline that took a few minutes but no major deal. When we got back to head out for the last bike section we saw Bushwackers coming in from the paddle. O section 3 miles.

Last bike was ~ 20 miles with 6-7 of it a rocky, single track section. First section of single track was fun but by the end I was losing my sense of humor with the rocks and ready to get to the finish! There was a night trail run on the same trail that night and there were pink ribbons and glow sticks adorning our route but the prettiest sight were the jugs and igloo coolers full of water at the CP in the middle of the single track. We were all at the end of our water so we guzzled, filled up some bottles and headed for the finish. Crossed the line just before 6 am. Exciting event- 1st place finish!

Results/splits Good race all the way around. Well organized, fun format, CP’s spot on. Sadly, Jason says this is the last year for D2D at Lake Perry but we’re hoping he finds another spot for this great race. Thanks to Jason, Laura, Kelly Sumner (course designer) and all the volunteers.

Alpine Shop Adventure Racing Team Ranked #4 in Nation

Our congratulations go out to the Alpine Shop Adventure Racing Team, which won the Berryman Adventure Race on September 27. They are currently ranked fourth in the nation in the United States Adventure Racing Association Rankings.

Consisting of Jeff and Carrie Sona, David Frei and Doug Nishimura, Team Alpine Shop finished eighth in the nation in 2007 and has consistently performed at some of the highest levels in the country since its inception.
Want to perform like Team Alpine Shop? Better start training really, really hard. Want to look like Team Alpine Shop? Official team jerseys are on sale at Alpine Shop Kirkwood now!