Friday, April 18, 2008

Things that are stupid- #2

I've attached this entire email for your viewing pleasure. How in God's name can you lose your canoe in Kansas? There are no rapids. Wouldn't you think people who are entered in an Adventure race would have been in a canoe before? Kyle and I practiced entering the canoe from the water with only one person in the boat before we did Berryman the last time. Trust me, someone can get in a canoe without capsizing it. You can also get back even if you have capsized. For God's sake people, read a book. I think that there should be some sort of qualifications necessary for races like this. I had a good friend die in a canoeing accident. It's not funny.

Adventure Racing News & Updates APRIL 2008
In This Issue
Sunflower 24-Hour
Mighty MO Expedition
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Sunflower 24-Hour
Racers from all over the Midwest (and as far away as Arizona and New York) made their way into Lawrence, Kansas on Friday, March 28th to check-in for either the 50 mile 12-Hour course or the approximate 100-mile 24-Hour course.
At the pre-race meeting, 24-Hour racers were relieved to hear that, for once, they started an hour AFTER the 12-Hour racers, who were scheduled to start the race at 7AM the next morning. That's when, what some might say, the fun began. That's where we say, one heck of an adventure began!
12-Hour racers started at 7AM, and had a short road run to a boat ramp in Clinton State Park to start a 5.5 mile canoeing leg of the race. As teams got into their canoes at the boat ramp, on the back side of a ridge, everything appeared to be fine. Windy, but fine. As these racers paddled around the side of the ridge, the winds really started picking up!
Teams were paddling head-on into high winds that were creating some serious whitecaps at this point, and every whitecap that they went through splashed water in their canoe. As this water added up in the canoe, any slight movement would cause the water to "slosh" back and forth, and for some, it eventually capsized their canoe.
We have had a pretty rough winter here in the Midwest, and the water temperatures at the time of the race were in the low to mid-forties. As team's canoes were capsizing, and racers were floating in the middle of Clinton Lake in the beginning stages of hypothermia, there were a few events that took place that morning that I will not soon forget:
1. RACERS HELPING RACERS. Teams that were lucky enough to keep their canoe up-right in the lake realized that this was a serious situation, and that the racers in the water needed to get out of the As racers that were still upright were trying to rescue the capsized racers, they soon realized that they couldn't pull them out of the water without tipping their own canoes. So, after some quick thinking by a group of racers led by Adam Manninen, they decided to "link" the canoes together to create more stability. By using this technique, they were able to get a lot of the racers out of the water and paddle them to the shore! Adventure racers are truly amazing, and even though you are in a race, you are always looking out for others.
2. LAWRENCE AREA EMERGENCY SERVICES' RESPONSE TIME AND RESCUES. A number of emergency services from the Lawrence area responded to a number of 911 calls from racers in the lake. It was amazing how well the system works! It was very obvious that all of these medical and rescue organizations have trained a lot of hours for situations like this. Their response time was unbelievable, and within a few short minutes, boats were in the water. I would like to thank the following organizations for their quick response and rescue efforts:
- U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
- Kansas Department of Wildlife & Parks
- Lawrence-Douglas County Fire & Medical
- Kanwaka Fire Department
- Douglas County Sheriffs Office
Thanks to everyone that helped in this situation!
3. HENRY'S COFFEE HOUSE AND THE FLAMING MONKEYS. Henry's Coffee House, a team in the 12-Hour division, was leading the race as they came off of the canoeing leg on Clinton Lake. They were one of the few teams that actually made it to CP1, on the other side of the lake that took them headfirst into strong winds.
Henry's Coffee House was made up of two local racers, John Dines of Eudora, KS and Steve Weaver of Lawrence. As they pulled into CP2, the canoe take-out point, Steve decided that staying in first place in the race wasn't the most important thing at that point in time. Steve is a member of the Lawrence Fire Department, and instead of continuing on leading the race, he decided it would be best if he helped with the rescue efforts taking place on Clinton Lake!
Just as impressive as that selfless act by Henry's Coffee House, the team Flaming Monkeys, who made the trip in all the way from Colorado, had made it to the finish line of the 12-Hour course first. Instead of crossing the finish line and being declared the winners of the race, they decided to wait on the 2nd place team to join them. None other than Henry's Coffee House! They both crossed the finish line in a tie for first place!
The acts of these two teams, as well as the other teams who helped rescue people out of the lake and into their canoes, are the reason why I love adventure racers. It's what separates adventure racers from athletes in other sports. I have seen, as a race director over the past 4 years, similar acts of kindness and disregard for oneself during races. I personally don't know of any other sport in which people help one another during the heat of competition like they do in adventure racing, and that is one of the reasons why adventure racing is the greatest sport on Earth.
Once all of the excitement from the Clinton Lake Debacle, as it known in the Elsenraat household, had subsided, and everyone was accounted for and safe, the race did go on. And it turned out to be one heck of a great race!
Teams completed an Orienteering course in Clinton State Park, rappelled off of a 10-story building, did an Orienteering course on the beautiful Kansas University campus, rode some fast, smooth singletrack and 24-Hour racers also did an orienteering course at the Baker Wetlands and paddled the Kansas River later on in the race. To top it all off, everyone in the race got a free donut at Muncher's Bakery during the race! Despite the high winds and capsizing canoes on Clinton Lake, it turned out to be a fantastic adventure for all!
Because of the canoe situation on Clinton Lake, 24-Hour racers were short-coursed. A paddling and trekking section at Clinton Lake were removed from their course. A huge congratulations goes to Ryan Slebos & James Kaufman of the 2-Person team INERTIA, the overall winner of the 24-Hour course, as well as WEDALI, the first 4-Person team to cross the finish line and 2nd Place Overall, and Alpine Shop, the 2nd Place 4-Person team and 3rd Place team overall.
24-Hour :: Overall Results:
1. INERTIA - 11:27
2. WEDALI - 11:45
3. Alpine Shop - 12:10
4. Dynamic Earth - 12:37
5. Columbia Multisport Club - 13:38
6. Team Subaru - 14:23
7. Proformance Therapy - 15:19
8. Off-Road Fixation - 16:43
9. Team Torti - 19:49
10. Ain't Skeered - 21:18
12-Hour :: Overall Results:
1 (tie). Flaming Monkeys - 8:21
1 (tie). Henry's Coffee House - 8:21
3. Wichita Mudskunks - 9:30
4. Krasnovian Cat Herders - 9:38
5. K.inetic E.nergy - 10:02
6. Advengineers - 10:03
7. Lost But Found - 8:28*
8. The No Tow Zone - 8:56*
9 (tie). Blazing Saddles - 9:13*
9 (tie). Team Sisu - 9:13*
* Shortened paddle.
Congratulations to ALL the teams that came and participated in the Sunflower 12 & 24-Hour adventure races!
Bonk Hard Racing would like to thank all the companies that sponsored the 2008 Sunflower Adventure Races:
We would also like to thank Kent Saturday of Rescue 360, for once again setting up and organzing a fantastic ropes course at the race!
Last but definitely not least, a very special thank you to all of the volunteers that came and spent the weekend with us, and made the race possible! With the Clinton Lake Debacle and course re-routing during the race, it wouldn't have been possible without you! Your help is VERY appreciated by us and all of the racers who attended!
2008 PHOTOS (taken by David Shultz, volunteer)

Naismith Rappel

Rappelling off of Naismith Hall, a 10-story residence hall at Kansas University.

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Dirty Duo
We have moved the location of the 2008 Dirty Duo to one of the most popular parks in the K.C. metro, Shawnee Mission Park. With miles of paved biking and running trails in the park (and miles of single track trails for that matter), Shawnee Mission Park is a fantastic venue for the upcoming Dirty Duo race!
You will not want to miss the 2nd running of this 6-mile race in which teams of two alternate between biking and running. Along the way, about every mile apart, racers will complete fun obstacles before continuing. Here is how the race works:
One team member starts out biking while the other starts out running. Unless you choose to stay together, the biker will be far ahead of the runner and make it to obstacle #1 first. At the obstacle the biker drops the bike, does the mystery event and takes off running. Once the runner gets there, they do the obstacle, find the bike and take off biking. They will pass the runner and arrive at obstacle #2 first, dropping the bike, doing the obstacle and taking off running. You continue "leap-frogging" like this to the finish. There are 5 obstacles that each team member will do and transition from running to biking or biking to running. At the end the biker will wait on the runner to catch up and both teammates will crawl through a big, gnarly mudpit on their way to the finish line!
Dirty Duo
The Dirty Duo is open to teams of two and are based on gender and the total age of the two racers. There is also a Clydesdale division (both racers must be 200+ lbs.), a Parent / Kid division and a Masters divsion (total team age must be over 100 years).
Want to get the little ones involved? We are offering a 1-mile shortened version of the course, called the DIRTY DUO JR, where kids between the ages of 5 - 10 can participate in the race and crawl through the big mud pit at the end. Every kids dream!
Dirty Duo Jr.
** Bonk Hard Racing is extending early registration for one week! You now have until April 25th to sign up at this discounted rate. What are you waiting for? Grab a buddy and register today!
WHAT: A super-fun 6 mile race where teams of two alternate between biking and running (or walking) throughout the course. Along the way, you will complete fun obstacles...the last one being a big mud pit!

WHERE: Shawnee Mission Park (Kansas City metro)

WHEN: June 21, 2008

FORMAT: 2-person teams only

To learn more about THE DIRTY DUO (like a course map, how to register and directions to the park) visit THE DIRTY DUO website.


Todd and Karen Holtmann
Todd & Karen Holtmann of Team Subaru / Race St. Louis
** NOTE: Before reading this, you should read the Sunflower 12/24-Hour Race Recap to the left.
Although all of the 12-Hour racers that capsized during the Sunflower Adventure Race in Lawrence were okay, a part of the Clinton Lake Debacle saw 6 canoes lost in the lake. As racers were getting rescued, there was no other choice but to leave the canoes in the lake. A guy named Chris Santora, owner of Mountain Creek Campground & Canoes near Lebanon, MO, provided canoes for the Sunflower 12 & 24-Hour adventure races. Something that a lot of people may not know is that Chris and Mountain Creek were a last minute fill-in to provide canoes at the race, because the outfitter that we normally use was COMPLETELY flooded with all of the rains that Southern Missouri has seen this Spring. It seemed like a relatively easy task for Chris though, who is originally from the Kansas City area, and he agreed to transport 40 canoes over 4 hours to the race in Lawrence, KS. Little did he (or anyone else for that matter) know what the weekend had in store for the racers and Chris' canoes.
Not only did 6 canoes end up floating away in Clinton Lake, 2 more canoes were later lost on the banks of the Kansas River on Saturday night. We were now up to 8 canoes lost in all. Mountain Creek Campground and Canoe Rental is a fairly new venture for Chris and his wife Laura. They took the property over less than 3 years ago, and are still trying to establish themselves in the competitive campground and canoe outfitting market on the Niangua River. The last thing they needed was to lose 8 canoes out of their inventory at an adventure race in Kansas.
Chris left Lawrence on Sunday morning, after the race had concluded, with 8 less canoes than he came up with. After checking with both Mountain Creek's insurance company and Bonk Hard Racing's event insurance, neither of the insurance coverages were going to replace the cost of the lost canoes. This really left Chris (and us!) in a bind. On top of all of that, his campground was getting flooded for a second time the week after the race. I promised Chris that we would put into effect Operation Canoe Rescue on Clinton Lake and the Kansas River. And so we did.
The Wednesday after the race Laura and I had decided we were going to rent a boat on Clinton Lake and search for some of the lost canoes. My mom, as a lot of you probably know from meeting her at past races, is always one that is willing to help us matter the situation. So, I wasn't overly surpised really to have a knock on my door at 7AM on Wednesday morning and have my mom looking at me through the screen door saying, "I'm ready to help find canoes." She had gotten up at 3:30AM that morning in Hermann, MO (where I grew up and they currently live) to drive up to Kansas and help us out. Good thing she did, because the day definitely required the work of three people!
Clinton Lake Canoe Rescue
My mom, Larua and I setting out on Operation Canoe Rescue.
So, at Clinton Lake with a rented boat, the three of us set out on Operation Canoe Rescue. For those of you that don't know, Clinton Lake is rather large. There are about 85 miles of shoreline on Clinton Lake, and we set out in a boat that wasn't much larger than the canoes we were looking for. I knew it was going to be a long day, and I knew we would be very lucky to find any canoes four days after the Clinton Lake Debacle actually occurred. But none-the-less we set out looking to find some.
After the first hour of pounding our way through the waves (it was another very windy day on Clinton Lake), I was started to get discouraged and it really started setting in that there is a good chance that we weren't going to find any canoes. As I was thinking of how I was going to repay Chris for a minimum of 6 lost canoes (we were pretty confident at the time that we could find the 2 canoes on the Kansas River), I heard Laura yell (at the top of her lungs which almost scared my mom out of the boat), "CANOE! CANOE! I SEE A CANOE!" Sure enough, there was a beautiful, shiny aluminum object on the north shorth bank of Clinton Lake, and it sure looked a lot like a canoe!
As we got closer, we realized that it was indeed a canoe. The canoe had washed up onto the bank and it was full of water. It was on a rocky section of the lake, and so we decided that it was safe where it was for now, and we made a mental note of its location and continued our search for more canoes with the plan of coming back to get it later in the day. We really wanted to find as many canoes as possible, and then come up with a plan for getting them out of the water and off the shore.
So we continued on. Our spirits were high at this point, but after about another 60 minutes of searching without seeing another canoe, I went back to thinking about how I was going to repay Chris for at least 5 lost canoes. Again, about at the point of losing hope of finding more canoes, eagle-eye Laura yells again, "ANOTHER CANOE!", pointing at the banks ahead of us. This is when it got fun. About 6 to 7 miles away from where racers where capsizing in their canoes, we ended up finding 3 more canoes on the shoreline at the very back end of the lake!
After all day of getting the rented boat to the shore (Clinton Lake has a very rocky shorline), bailing water out of the canoes and paddling or towing them to the nearest boat ramp, we were spent. It had been a very, very long day. The sun was on its way down and we had to pick up our daughter, Josie, in less than an hour and a half from daycare. So, after much debate, our plan was to get the three canoes that were the furthest away to the nearest boat ramp, hide them deep in the overgrown brush were no one could see them (or mess with them) until the next morning, and then go bail the water out of the first canoe that we found and haul it back to the marina, load it in Rusty (our work truck that is aptly named) and haul it back to KC. So, that's what we did.
The next morning (it should be noted that my mom stayed with us that night and again set the alarm for 3:30AM so she could make it back to work in time that next day), I hopped back in Rusty and returned to Lawrence to get the three canoes from the overgrown brush by the boat ramp. On the way up there, I called Chris at Mountain Creek and told him the good news. He was very, very happy to hear that there was a good chance that he would be getting 6 of his 8 lost canoes back (4 found on Clinton Lake and the 2 on the Kansas River which I planned on getting that day).
When I arrived at the boat ramp and walked back into the brushy area where we left the canoes...I didn't see anything except overgrown brush and three matted down areas. I should have seen overgrown brush and three matted down areas with three big, beautiful shiny objects in them, but there were no shiny objects there. The canoes had been taken (which is just a nice way of saying stolen). I couldn't believe it. After making all of the necessary phone calls to the local authorities and filing a report, I was told that there was a very good chance that I would never see those canoes again.
At that point I almost started laughing and said, "DUH!" The Clinton Lake Debacle went from very bad (canoes capsizing during the race) to much better (finding four canoes in the lake) to "you've gotta be freakin' kiddin' me" (3 of those 4 canoes were stolen)! So, I had to do it. I had to call Chris (an hour after I told him there was a good chance of getting 6 of his 8 canoes back) and tell him that three of them were stolen. At this point in time, Chris's campground was completely flooded. His campground store was underwater. There was water 2 measly feet from going into his house! When I told him that the three canoes at the boat ramp were stolen, he sounded as if this didn't even surprise him at this point. He just said, after a very long pause, "That really sucks, man."
So, the only thing left to do is to go and get the 2 canoes off of the Kansas River. The team that left the canoes there had emailed me a Google Earth image of where they thought they left the canoes. I hadn't quite come up with a plan yet on how I was going to get the canoes out of there (I was hoping that I might be able to carry them to the nearest road where I planned on parking.) So, I found the closest spot to park and set off down some railroad tracks to this tributary where the canoes were located. I found the tributary, and walked up and down it three different times looking for the 2 canoes that were left there. Never found them. Ever. (Even the team that left them there went and looked for them that weekend with no luck.)
So, earlier that morning I called Chris and told him there was a good chance that we would get 6 of his 8 canoes back. Then I called him and told him that 3 canoes were stolen, so we were looking at getting 3 of his 8 canoes back. I couldn't get myself to call him that evening and tell him that we have 1 of his 8 canoes. That call had to wait until the next day.
At this point in time, Laura and I were pretty down on humanity. Who could have the means to carry those 2 canoes out of that tributary? Who could have even seen them there? How did someone haul off 3 canoes from Clinton Lake?
The weekend went by and on Sunday we received a call from Todd & Karen Holtmann. We have become friends with Todd & Karen through adventure racing, and they have even let us stay at their house while we organized the Castlewood 8-Hour. They were asking about the canoe situation. At the time, I thought it was just a friendly call to check on the status of the canoes. Turns out, it was a lot more than that.
A few days later, we received another call from Todd & Karen. They called to inform us that they had created a page on their website,, in which people could donate money to help pay for the lost canoes! Laura and I couldn't believe it! At a time when we were down-and-out by the huge burden of paying for these canoes, and with taxes due in a couple of weeks, you have people like Todd and Karen Holtmann. That was one of the nicest things that anyone had ever done for us! Not only that, but when they called, they said that they had already received over $1,500 worth of donations! We seriously couldn't believe it. The website collected donations for another week, and by-the-time it was all said and done, their donation page collected over $2,700!!!!
In addition, team WEDALI, who won the 24-Hour 4-Person elite division at the race and won $1000...they donated the entire $1000 back to us through the canoe donation page!
Todd & Karen, Scott Lund, Justin Bakken, Molly Moilanen and Scott Erlandson (all of WEDALI), thank you so much for this. You have helped us out tremendously, and you kindness will never be forgotten!
There are plenty of more people to thank as well. Everyone that donated to the canoe fund, Laura and I say "thank you, from the bottom of our hearts." If it wasn't for your donations and help...I'm not sure what we would have done.
Like I said in the Sunflower race recap (to the left), can you seriously get a better group of people than adventure racers?

We hope you enjoyed our Monthly Newsletter, and we hope to see you all at some upcoming races!

Jason & Laura
Bonk Hard Racing, LLC
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Paul said...

Shane, I can't even read this. You know how I know you're Gay? 'cuz we can't read your blog. But my blog sucks right now, so I guess that's Gay too. I watched my cousin die as a kid cause he fell in some water and couldn't swim. People should really be prepared.

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