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Discussion: Shenandoah Tough

in: Adventure Racing; General

Sep 11, 2018 3:51 AM # 
There's another expedition race this week! Shenandoah Tough is advertised as 250 miles and 3.5 days. It's the last ARWS qualifier before the 2018 ARWC on Réunion Island.

Here's the Live Tracking.

Race website

Facebook page

AR Live Coverage

Legendary Randy will be there - not yet sure of the best place to follow his work on the race.

Hurricane Florence is forecast to arrive late Friday night and a state of emergency has already been declared in Virginia. The race may start on Wednesday after check-in instead of Thursday morning as scheduled.

You'll be happy to know there is a Canadian team to cheer for. Storm Racing consists of Chris Laughren, Chad Spence, Dorota Urbaniak and Greg Critchley.

There is also a Swedish team of two and a whole bunch of Americans including our friends at Team Untamed New England, MRC MainNerve and Bend Racing/Yoga Slackers.

There are 20 teams in two divisions, 9 of them in the ARWC Hopefuls division.
Sep 11, 2018 10:46 AM # 
Most of my work will be on the race Facebook page. Except maybe some super secret stuff on my page.
Sep 11, 2018 1:52 PM # 
Thanks, Randy. Pack your umbrella! :)
Sep 11, 2018 4:39 PM # 
Just posted on their FB page:
"Shenandoah Tough racers, check your inbox for a race update. Spoiler: We're starting early (at 8 pm Wednesday), the paddle is canceled, and we have a contingency plan in place. Pack all your socks and be prepared for very wet conditions."
Sep 11, 2018 4:51 PM # 
Good luck to everyone heading down to VA! Stay safe.

(Also, as we learned at Itera, if you cut holes in your bivvy sack, it doubles as a great dress...)
Sep 11, 2018 5:16 PM # 
abiperk, too late to sign up? I'm game for another tropical Atlantic storm;)


Strong Machine?

Sep 11, 2018 5:26 PM # 
Good luck Shenandoah racers!!! +1 to @abiperk's bivvy sack suggestion. Functional and fashionable. We turned many a head on the streets of western Ireland in ours. Time to roll with the punches and lean into that type 2 fun!

...that said, @broots I'll have to politely decline :)
Sep 11, 2018 5:31 PM # 
...But...there is this:
Sep 11, 2018 5:41 PM # 
Oh man, we'll never live that one down...
Sep 11, 2018 7:17 PM # 
I say it with love and admiration! If this race turns as nasty as Ireland did, I'd look for a hot tub!
Sep 11, 2018 8:05 PM # 
I'll just leave this here...
and this...
Sep 11, 2018 9:13 PM # 
Lol! Here is the pre-race email sent to racers although W4J summed it up nicely.
Sep 11, 2018 9:51 PM # 
And here is the info to watch from the National Hurricane Center.
Sep 12, 2018 1:14 AM # 
Broots and I are having some interesting conversations over here about whether or not we'd line up at the start, in light of the forecast. Curious whether any teams have opted not to go.
Sep 12, 2018 12:20 PM # 
Related but unrelated, the Barkley 50k is this weekend and several participants have opted out because of getting there or just the weather forecast for the race.
Sep 12, 2018 4:58 PM # 
Storm update: It is shifting more to the Carolinas. So it seems they are *only* in for torrential rains and some high winds.
Sep 12, 2018 7:58 PM # 
Dorota's homemade "secret brownies" will keep em all energized and smiling through the worst of it ... Bring on the rain!
Sep 12, 2018 11:29 PM # 
All sorts of big changes to the course announced today. Here is a link to a page with various links. They haven't updated all the race docs to the new course, but live tracking is up and looks to be the new course. Looking at what they intended and what they are ending up with, I'm sure they are bummed. Having competed in the Stokesville rogaine, that area is great for nav and will be really, really tough when saturated. All of that terrain is tough when wet.

Links and documents:

Live Tracking:
Sep 12, 2018 11:46 PM # 
Shrekfeet texted me a bit ago saying there are six legs, more of the course got dropped and is being “affectionately” called the Flo Duathlon. Hoowee!
Sep 12, 2018 11:59 PM # 
Heartbreaking for Mark Harris after all the work done on this course. The forestry service has shut down all access to their recreational areas and fire roads.

The Rules of Travel Broots posted are updated now and there are also links to the maps showing the full intended race course.

Course distance is now about 165 miles and winning time is estimated at around 40 hours.
Sep 13, 2018 12:18 AM # 
From Facebook - looks like a post that was scheduled before the course changed. Awesome advance planning by the organizers! Stupid weather. :(

Great Northern Mountain - Part 1
Travel: Trek Distance: 13 miles, Gain: 3100’ Loss: 2600’
Sponsored by Bryce Resort

After receiving their maps some time after 6 am—ranking determined by a short bike race around Bryce Resort’s Lake Laura—at 8 am participants leave the picturesque surrounds of Shrine Mont and hit the steep slopes of Great North Mountain. The first checkpoint comes soon—at mile 0.5—at the Shrine Mont Cross—giving racers a view of the ridgeline they will be tackling. Some participants may take a more direct route directly up the side of the mountain, whereas others will take a steep loose single tack trail to the ridgeline. Once on the ridgeline, teams will travel south, picking up a single checkpoint. The trail is mostly unused and, although it has blazes, it is difficult to follow and will be very overgrown in spots at this time of year. After 8 miles teams will descend from the ridgeline to the first transition and pick up their bikes. Teams will also have access to their gear bin A.
Sep 13, 2018 8:52 PM # 
Is there no way to rewind/FF/replay the tracks on the tracking website or am I just an idiot?
Sep 13, 2018 11:01 PM # 
Not seeing it either. But you can see the routes and estimate times that way.

Some very interesting things seem to be happening on the rogaine.

USWE SEEMED to really get away from everyone, but there are clearly some dead spaces, so hard to tell for sure. Maine Nerve seems to really be nailing it.

But Bend/Yoga took a really interesting route and has collected some additional CPs that the leaders are leaving until the end. It's not the route I would have laid out myself, but we'll see.

Also, the trackers for some teams, notably USWE suggest some teams are not going to all the CPs. Mysterious. I know there aren't flags at every point, but you still need to go to them to confirm that unless both flagless CPs are early in the course. Huh. Are people missing CPs? Tracker issues? Changes in instructions?
Sep 13, 2018 11:47 PM # 
Of course, I post that and the top four (except USWE) pop up on the trackers, all close together. So: Storm, Maine Nerve and Yoga all are close together. that said, it looks to me like Main Nerve has one more CP than Storm, and Yoga has four more CPs bagged than Main Nerve. USWE had a similar count to Main Nerve and Storm, but they are seemingly a couple hours ahead. Not clear where they are or how much more they have done. I'm guessing USWE and Yoga have opened up a chunk of time on the other two and that they may finish at a similar time barring errors.

UNE may also be close to them. If they are racing well, they may have closed the gap on Storm and Main Nerve.
Sep 14, 2018 2:13 AM # 
3a(1) 3b(1) 3c(1) are mandatory. They are allowed to drop one(1)CP out of he other 12
Sep 14, 2018 2:15 AM # 
Thanks, Randy!
Sep 14, 2018 2:47 AM # 
It's Yellowbrick that has the rewind button on their tracking map so you're not going blind! :D This race is using smaller cell network-based trackers. Adventure Enablers rents them out to events along with this version of Open Tracking software. The trackers continue to collect GPS data while they're out of cell service, then they upload it when they get cell service back.
Sep 14, 2018 3:38 AM # 
Per Bash's comment about Forestry shutdowns I just got this in my inbox.

Pages 9-11 are the areas where they are racing.
Sep 14, 2018 12:06 PM # 
Facebook update on the top teams, for those of you (ahem, broots) who don't have access to FB during the day:

OK, Folks. A little mix up in some of the trackers. They are back up and tracking correctly for the lead teams. Yoga Slacks are tip of the spear of northbound teams. Followed by Maine Nerve, then USWE and finally UntamedNE. Storm dropped one of the mandatory letter points on the Rogaine and is deciding what to do. If they return on the prescribed course, they will move to the adventure class but remain an official finisher. We still have to verify points collected on the Rogaine through teams ePunches. We will do that either at 1-03 or when they roll back through HQ before Leg 10.
Sep 14, 2018 12:40 PM # 
Storm is unofficial:(
Any word? No social media access.
Sep 14, 2018 12:50 PM # 
I’ve heard they are having a nap. They were told they missed one of the rogaine CPs. It looks like they may have decided not to finish on the Adventure course after contending for the podium but we’re waiting for more info.
Sep 14, 2018 1:55 PM # 
Update from a friend is that Storm is resting but planning to finish on the Adventure course so possibly the leaderboard is incorrect. The thirdhand report is that their tracker showed them missing 3a (new virtual CP) but I see them getting it. I’m not sure about 3-08 based on timestamps though, and that sounds very similar when the CP number is spoken. I’ll have to look more closely when I get on a computer. In any case, that CP should have had a punch that can be checked.

Untamed’s tracker failed, which is why it doesn’t show several of the rogaine CPs. This is going to be a difficult situation for organizers to deal with.
Sep 14, 2018 2:03 PM # 
Thanks for the updates, Bash. Rough race it seems. Interesting enough: I haven't heard any accounts of actual bad weather either. Sounds like it's wet and damp, but no reports of heavy sustained rains or anything that I have heard.

Makes me wonder what the full course would have done to teams. Clearly, the psychological impact of out and back hurt a lot of the mid and back pack teams' chances of finishing. I wonder if it would have been a different story if they had just continued on the loop. Either way, it seems like this race was destined to have a low completion race.

At the same time, it also SEEMS like the RDs have been a bit surprised by the way it has all unfolded. Obviously massive, last-minute changes can really make a race unpredictable (Um, Two Rivers 2018;)), but it doesn't seem like they were expecting the rate of attrition.

Curious to hear from folks on the ground. We know a lot of those teams that have pulled the plug or modified the course.

Looks like it could be a good race to determine the podium positioning.
Sep 14, 2018 2:22 PM # 
Agreed, it will be interesting to hear from the teams that dropped out. It really doesn't appear that weather has been a major issue yet.

We have an update from Storm that explains their Unofficial status:
- Chris and Dorota are continuing.
- Chad and Greg will bike back to HQ.
Sep 14, 2018 2:33 PM # 
All are safe and healthy.
Sep 14, 2018 3:12 PM # 
Weird. After checking more detailed maps on a computer, I don't see anything obvious on Storm's track indicating that a rogaine CP was missed for sure. They definitely appeared to hit the 3 virtual CPs. The other CPs look OK from the track and could be confirmed by checking that they punched the control.

The team moved very quickly past 3-08 but just from the map, I can't say it's impossible they went there. The organizers know the area in real life and maybe there are cliffs or something. In any case, this isn't the CP number the team mentioned to my friend, nor does it fit with the "mandatory letter point" mentioned in the organizers' FB post.

UPDATE: Re-reading Randy's post above, teams were allowed to drop one numbered CP anyway so this is a moot point. It's a mystery.
Sep 14, 2018 3:21 PM # 
Meanwhile ahead in the mangroves, Bendslackers and MRC MainNerve are battling for first and have made very different route choices this morning. Untamed hasn't tracked for 3 hours but they are likely in 3rd.
Sep 14, 2018 4:56 PM # 
Thanks for the further info!

Very impressed with Main Nerve's race. They are having a good one. Looks like we can say they are in the lead at this point. I wonder why Bend chose to take the path unknown to ride back.

Though I also wonder if there is any chance they grabbed a bit of sleep. I think I'd be surprised if they did, but maybe...

Either way, great race for Maine Nerve, and it will be exciting to see if they can stay out in front.
Sep 14, 2018 5:33 PM # 
Untamed is tracking again in 3rd but the two lead teams have been "invisible" for the past 90 minutes. Yes, great job by MainNerve!
Sep 14, 2018 6:22 PM # 
A bit of a recap of Mark's video on the race, and "why are so many dropping" he mentioned that the course conditions had a lot to do with it and that current weather was OK other than a lot of fog. I am intrigued if Flo will make an appearance *or* if the fog that flummoxed some was a by-product of the weather. (the shrugging emoji would be perfect here)

+1 praise for Main Nerve

Glad everyone is safe.

Also, it was expected that the fastest team would be done in ~40 hours, and that was noon today EST.
Sep 14, 2018 6:25 PM # 
True! According to FB, Shane of MRC MainNerve is racing with broken ribs. Also, Bend was having bike issues a few hours ago.

Organizers say the tracking will be spotty between 2-03 and 1-03.
Sep 15, 2018 12:15 AM # 
Wow...according to the FB updates now MRC/Main Nerve in the lead, UNE and Bend/YS seem to be shoulder to shoulder and Bend put out a call for a replacement bike. Holy cats.
Sep 15, 2018 1:17 AM # 
don’t tell me it’s a defective loofa fork!
Sep 15, 2018 5:36 AM # 
Is a map of the original course posted anywhere?
Sep 15, 2018 10:13 AM # 
Here you go, Mayer22:
Sep 15, 2018 11:07 AM # 
MainNerve has won! Canadian James Galipeau (Relentless on AP) is on that team so I’m still allowed to cheer for them. ;) Bend/Yoga will be 2nd in a fairly close battle, not helped by a weird route choice on their way back from the rogaine as well as some bike troubles. There is a gap to Untamed, who should finish 3rd. These teams will be the only full course finishers. It turned out the revised course was longer than expected - 58.5 hours for the winners.
Sep 15, 2018 11:11 AM # 
This is second hand info from a team member’s spouse but I’ve heard that Storm did miss 3-08 on the rogaine - the one I’d wondered about. I’m not sure how this fits with the comment that they were allowed to drop a rogaine CP but maybe that changed when the race course was changed. I didn’t see that option in the Rules of Travel.
Sep 15, 2018 4:47 PM # 
Just talked to Shrek Feet and Bend missed a mandatory CP? Haven’t seen anything on FB about so not sure. Would love to know (rocky33) if MRC/Main Nerve is going to worlds. Sounds like a hefty price and travel logistics would be something!
Sep 15, 2018 8:24 PM # 
Shane said yes to worlds at the finish line. I'm not sure they are all into it yet.(Smiley Face)
Sep 15, 2018 8:59 PM # 
Mark just posted a wrap-up which listed Yoga/Bend as second.
Sep 15, 2018 10:25 PM # 
I think they ranked ahead of UNE because they missed the cutoff...and yeah Shane!

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