Sunday, April 20, 2008

TTAS- #2 amended

I can't figure out how to make the email from bonkhardracing readable and I can't find it on their site. What I was saying is how ridiculous I find it that people actually lost their canoes during this race. People who won even donated their winnings back to help pay for the canoes. I wouldn't have. Getting some money back in the form of prize money is the only way these races are worth doing. I understand the logistics and equipment needed to execute a race, but the cost is just way too high for me to be able to enjoy it and crap like that is just going to make entry fees higher. The jerks with no canoe skills should pay for the canoes they lost. It shouldn't be up to other people to cover their asses. When Kyle and I did Berryman a couple years ago ( we got 2nd) we practiced canoe entry and rescue techniques and practiced paddling together. Pretty dumb to go into something like that without any idea of what you're doing. I lost a good friend to a canoe accident a few years ago, so it strikes a sour note with me.

13 comments:

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Ben, aka BadBen said...

Shane,

I've converted the race report email to a text file and put it below, so we can read it. Holy crap...I'm glad we don't have stuff like this happen in our races!

Race Report:

TODD & KAREN HOLTMANN, WEDALI & THE CLINTON LAKE DEBACLE


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 out...no 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!

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, ARMonkey.com, 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?

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