TACOMA
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T.A.C.O.M.A.-(Thin Air Challenge Over Mountainous Areas)
The Highest Adventure Race in North America!!!
9/15-16/01

This was my first stab at putting on an Adventure Race. Instead of starting out easy with a short one, I figured I'd jump right into organizing a 24-hour race. Not like I had the time to do it, but it was fun and I'd definitely do it again.
In a nutshell, I started the teams out at 6pm in Cheyenne Canon, sent them all the way to Cripple Creek, then up and over Pikes Peak, and back to Cheyenne Canon.

Below is the gear list, course description, results, feedback, and a couple pics.

Gear List
Team gear:
   
Compass
   Pikes Peak Atlas w/ CP's
    Emergency strobe
   Water filter or tablets
   Cell phone
   First Aid Kit
Individual gear:
   
Head lamp
    Survival blanket
    Whistle
    Hat/gloves
    Fleece top
    Rain gear
    Water bottles/bladder
    Food
    Harness
    2 locking biners
    Rappel device
    Helmet
    Rear bike light

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Course Description
(coming soon)

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Results
Whew, what a lloonngg weekend!!! After lots of debate, team shuffling, and last minute course changes…TACOMA began. First and foremost: a huge hats off, good karma, and big thanks to all volunteers! Thanks to Peggy for helping me set the CP’s, putting up with my cursing of Helen talking me into doing this race, checking in gear, manning one of the rappels, and seeing the teams finish, oh and searching for Guy and Eric with me (more on that later!!). Thanks to Susan and Sarah for freezing their butts off and waking up in the wee hours of the morning to record teams coming into a transition, giving them the skills test, and waiting at the finish line with us. Thanks to Stinger for manning a windy and cold rappel with me, and keeping the beer un-lonely.
During check-in eyes were frequently looking to the sky at the dark clouds and occasional thunder. At 6pm the six teams were off into the mountains for approximately 4000 feet of vertical gain to the CP’s and first transition miles and miles away. Apparently there was some serious bushwhacking taking place on the way to a CP in the middle of St. Mary’s Falls and the fog and strange occurrence of spinning compass needles didn’t help either. Team Chinook was the first team to the transition to bikes with the other teams filing in soon after between 4.5 and 6 hours from the start. Next was a 30 mile mountain bike along 4x4 roads, highway, and single track. The gambling folks speeding from Cripple Creek proved to be an unexpected challenge along the winding road to the next transition. After CP7 decisions were made by different teams to either head back into the woods to find the Crags campground via the numerous single track trails heading in all directions, or head back to the road for a few extra miles but easier route finding. Chinook was able to pick their way through the trails by finding a couple key landmarks and made it to the next transition with time to spare before the mandatory hold for a few hours of rest. Cactus Patch and Team Golden opted to take the long steep road but were right on Chinooks heels coming into the campground. At 6:30am the three teams that made it in were off again on their way up the west side of Pikes Peak with myself and the other volunteers wondering where the heck the other three teams were?!?!?! Knowing that Horsethief Park was easy to get lost in we figured they were somewhere in there, not far from the campground. Once daybreak hit the landmarks were in sight and the trails appeared leading the teams to the Crags for no rest, but only a brief refuel before starting on the 4000 foot climb up Pikes. Around 13,000 feet at the top of the Bottomless Pit we waited at the rappel spots watching the teams slowly appear over the ridge testing their lungs and legs to make their way over the boulders and scree to the summit for the next CP. The rappels were high, long, and dropped the teams into some shaky ground for a 2000 foot decent/foot-ski back to trails. The first rappel was the entire length of the 200 foot rope leading right to the second rappel of 125 feet. Teams seemed psyched to be on their way to thicker air but most were plenty pooped at this point. Only about 25 miles to go!!! We got all the teams through and not even 10 minutes after taking the ropes down black clouds moved in to welcome us with snow and strong winds (like it wasn’t cold and windy enough up there already). We gave Cactus Patch a complementary ride down to Manitou Springs from mile marker 18 of the Pikes Peak highway after a shortcut gone wrong. Teams made their way all the way down Barr Trail and into Manitou for the final bike leg along the awesome Intemann Trail to the finish. Team Colored Red decided to break away from the trail and take the scenic route all the way west to the town of Cascade for bushwhacking, stream crossing, highway jogging, and who knows what else!! Despite a broken derailer hanger only after a couple miles, Team Chinook was the first team to the finish with all CP’s at pennies over 19.5 hours. Team Motrin was the only other team to finish with all CP’s at just under 23 hours.
Hats off to all the teams, a fantastic job by everyone of you and your wonderful and friendly support persons!! Thanks for racing TACOMA/BYCIV and being a part of the Highest Adventure Race in North America. Lets hear your stories of triumphs, tragedies, night-time fog-filled navigation findings, sleepless delusions, and 4-letter words directed towards me!!
Team Colored Red-please bless us with your story of how in the heck you ended up where you did?!?!
Results are in the following order: team, time in 1st trans, time out 1st trans, time in 2nd trans, time out 2nd trans, time in rappel, finish time.
Chinook, 10:37pm, 10:55pm, 3:00am, 6:30am, 10:15am, 5:03pm.
Motrin, 11:21pm, 11:41pm, 3:44am, 6:30am, 10:59am, 7:16pm.
Colored Red, 11:40pm, 12:02am, 6:50am, 6:50am, 11:33am, -----.
Project CURE, 11:49pm, 12:09am, 7:20am, 7:20am, 12:21pm, -----.
Cactus Patch, 11:21pm, 11:53pm, 3:05am, 6:30am, -----, -----.
No X-cuses, 11:21pm, 11:46pm, 6:30am, -----, -----, -----.

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Feedback
Backyard Challenge - the TACOMA.
Whew!
It was a long race and a cheap($) test of one's AR abilities, fitness, and tenacity.
Kudos to Jeff Kunkle, even tough I think his overall time frame was somewhat off.
I do not know the final stats, but I think the first time was about 22 1/2 hours. Congrats to team Chinook on that one. Enjoyed crossing paths with you on the course.
What was the event? A start at 630 pm Sat, still light. Teams went out in two different directions right from there. Even though paths were on the maps there was still some navigational discerning to be done. We nabbed CP 1 without incident, but came upon team CHINOOK a little further down the trail searching in the trees. We, uh, failed to help them find it. Darkness fell. Over hills for 4 1/2 hours, with cold and mist settling in and a halo of a diffused light ring framing our worlds. A confusion over trails that petered out a couple times. CHINOOK leapfrogged us. Into a TA we were glad to see and on to the bikes. We followed a forest service road with a downhill tilt for a while, but it was not to last. Out on the highway we were white knuckled as we had to contend with lots of traffic pouring out of Cripple Creek at the casino closings. To be fair, the drivers were respectful, they swung wide and safe, and there were no curses or beer cans hurled at us. CP 7 was up two switchbacks off this busy road. Some teams opted to continue on the singletrack of that CP, but our team (team GOLDEN, as in the town, not referring to our age) decided to get back on the road and take, ostensibly, the longer way on the road. Well, as luck would have it, all the traffic was gone by now, and it was almost all a swooping downhill until we turned onto a dirtroad to take us to the next TA. This turned out to be the wiser decision, as some of the singletrack teams did not show up at that TA until 0700 plus the next AM. We rode in about 0330. This was Jeff's forced bivvy TA until 0630. We caught a couple hours sleep. Up and ready to go. Out knot skill test was done. We passed.
At the allowed time of 0630, both team GOLDEN and team CHINOOK were out of the gates and headed for the top of Pike's Peak. There was only one other team in the TA and all others were no show at the TA off the previous night's mountain bike at this time. We tramped close by CHINOOK for a short while and then they disappeared somewhere. We had better things to do anyway, like breathe. Huff and puff up, up, up, up. Which is what it is climbing a 14er, and more so after the long night before. Coming out of treeline, we saw CHINOOK up ahead. We were not going to catch them, not soon anyway. After the navigation up to the saddle the incline eased off, the Pike's Peak road hailed into view and we made our way along the trail over the moonscape. You were not allowed to be walking on the road, which was longer anyway. We passed by the rappel point and Jeff and Peggy, to which we would return. Then it became steep again as we clambered over the last rock field and the summit of Pike's PEAK. Back down. The rappel gave us a good elevation drop. Two rappels (200' - 100') took us into the Bottomless Pit. Still, it was a tedious, loose, steep, hazardous journey down to the trail. Then it was a looong haul down into Manitou Springs. One of those can't wait to stop walking, one foot in front of the other, where the hell is the end, sorts of things.
One last bike section, with the next night's darkness looming only a couple hours away. But, Jeff had said this was only a little uphill, and mostly flat after that. He lied. It was ruthless to our tired legs. It was very rocky and on my best days I would have walked some. if not for the hills, then definitely for the technical aspects of many sections. Maybe if I was a trials rider, but just now, no way, too exposed. A short fall onto those rocks would have been all too easy. So our impression of the bike was deceiving and we took Jeff's name in vain many times. Still, his timeframe of about two hours for that bike section was correct. It seemed like much longer. We made it in to the sound of one person clapping, and just at dark. We learned we were the second team in, beaten by the fast wind CHINOOK. Congrats CHINOOK, and congrats (and thank you) to team GOLDEN, who graciously let me race with them at the last minute since the others of my team could not come after the terrible events of the week. Too tell, we never once, in all those hours on the trail, ever once spoke about the WTC and NY and the Pentagon. Maybe we needed that respite after the saturation and emotional drain of the previous days.
Team GOLDEN - Dan Hendricksen -Tom Urban- Wayne Dorband- Ken Lotze
We want to say a big THANK YOU to all the support crews who waited so long, and to all the volunteers who helped.
Ken

Greetings from another team member of Team Golden/Motrin
I will keep this brief as my esteemed teammate Ken has aptly described the details of our journey in the previous post. What I wanted to most express is my thanks to all the race organizers and volunteers. There is a tremendous amount of work expended in putting on a race that lasts over 24 hours. Also, much thanks to my teammates (Ken, Tom and Dan) for letting me race with them on this adventure. Finally, congratulations to all the teams that participated and especially to Team Chinook who must have got their compasses working again after we left them in the fog and mist on the "iron mountain" ridge. The race was outstanding.
Just a couple of reflections. In a 24 hour or longer format, adventure racing is very much like ultra-running in the way that your body responds to the effort. I experienced several periods of significant mental/physical down times, and also some intermittent periods of physical/mental up times. For example, I was probably the the weakest mentally in the race during the 3-4th hours and possibly close to the strongest in the last 3 hours of the race. The last mountain biking section was above my head in terms of technical difficulty, but I felt very strong physically and mentally during that time. It is very interesting how the body works. I tried to eat and drink very consistently during the entire race, and I think our bodies are just not ready to be physically active for as long as we push them, and our systems need to regulate themselves and it takes time to complete that process.
Lastly, Dan, I think I have the answer to the light bulb brain teaser.
Thanks again to all involved.
Wayne Dorband

To Jeff, Peggy and all the volunteers and support crews,
Thanks so much for the great race! Even though I DNFd, I learned a lot and had a great time. The rappel was awesome. And to be standing on the very inspiration for "America the Beautiful" was the perfect place to be this weekend. It was really helpful getting that night practice in, especially as dark and cold as it was. As the solo solo racer, it was a wonderful time for total reflection---or to worry about the bears and the mountain lions.
I know a lot of the hard work that you did never shows up in the box scores, but know that we all appreciate it! The knot test was a great idea.
Thanks again, and see you at the next one.
Allison

Jeff , all the wonderful volunteers and other racers,
thanks for an absolutely fantastic weekend of racing! What a blast! Was even more fun once we found civilization and realized there was a chance that we weren't going to spend the night on the peak. I would like to share the story on how we ended up in Cascade coming off the peak, but we just can't be sharing ALL of our navigation secrets. Perhaps we'll share a little bit at our up-coming navigation clinic. If you take our nav class I highly recommend taking our "advanced bushwacking" course as well which we are far more qualified to teach.
I understand and respect those of you who chose not to race in light of the recent events. I truly hope that I did not offend anyone in my previous e-mail where I stated why I felt so strongly on doing this race. I was just trying to express how I wanted to deal with the situation, and understand well that others may chose to do so differently. Nevertheless, you did miss a spectacular race. Alos, hats off to Allison who started the race solo. You are inspiration for the sport.
These BYC are absolutely fantastic and we have to keep them going. I sat the first one out to volunteer and am getting ready to volunteer for another, but know my schedule won't allow for it to after the first of the year at best. Anyone out there want to try and top the previous races? Fact of the matter is you will get more nav practice and training in setting the course than you will racing it. (the other nice thing about setting the course is if you get really lost less people know about it)
Thanks again Jeff and crew.
Guy

To all BYCIV race organziers and participants:
First, thanks to Jeff and all volunteers for their hard work and making a fantastic course possible. When you see the stats below on elevation gain it may just amaze you a little bit. Jeff put us through some steep ass shit (excuse my French please). Anyway, we had a great time, got to bag a 14er that we had never done and got some totally invaluable experience in night navigation, testing our endurance and our ability to deal with sleep deprivation.
Second, being a bit of a numbers junkie (i.e., geek), I (Steve) compiled the following course stats using some topo software (see below). I would guess the numbers to have no more than a 500 ft margin of error in the total elevation and no more than a 3 mile margin of error in the total distance traveled. These numbers of course reflect the routes that we chose to take (e.g., we went through Horsethief Park rather than around).
I also want to say good work to all those who competed and that we enjoyed meeting, crossing paths and competing with all of you. The FROG is truly a cool and down to earth group not to mention an awesome bang for your buck. Team Golden/Motrin (or should that be Geriatric, Ken ;-)), I don't know whether to call you guys crafty, wiley, or shady. Regardless, we enjoyed the competition and crossing paths with you. As for CP1, we thank a very friendly and honest Allison in helping us find it (practically the hardest one for us to find if you can believe that).
Here are the stats:

Course Section Distance Ascent Descent
Trek CP1 - CP5 9.1 5,380 1,349
Bike CP5 - CP8 26.3 3,726 4,023
Trek-Rap CP8 - CP10 7.4 4,502 1,142
Rap-Trek CP10 - CP13 9.0 310 7,328
Bike CP13 - Finish 11.6 361 2,437

Total: 63.4 miles; 16,279 gain; 16,279 loss

Later,
Steve & Cammie Muller
Team Chinook

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Team Chinook on their way up Pikes Peak   Team Chinook gearing up for the first 200ft rappell   Team Motrin on their way up Pikes