2017 Central Indiana 12-Hr Adventure Race
Mounds State Park – Anderson, Indiana
After successfully “Getting Adventurous” at the No Sleep Adventure 24-Hour race in June with frequent “Acme Maps” and “Mid Rivers Adventure” team member Bill Stevens, Mislocated Masshole 1, David McWilliams, eagerly sought out the next opportunity for spending a day lost in the woods with wet feet and insufficient drinking water. Among options for fall adventure races in the Midwest was a 12-hour race in Central Indiana, cleverly named the “Central Indiana Adventure Race.” Masshole 1 coordinated schedules with four other masochistic friends and determined that this was the most suitable race.
Time passed, and as seems to be typical in the sport, Masshole 1 found himself four weeks away from the race with zero of four friends still available to accompany him on the day of misery. Panic set in, and Masshole 1 began frantically searching for a new partner, with the strict qualification that they must know how many wheels were on a bicycle. Among people dumb enough to consider such a proposition was Mislocated Masshole 2, Jack Bourbonnais, who not only knew how many wheels a bicycle had, but even had a mountain bike hanging as a decoration in his apartment! Masshole 2 was convinced to join Masshole 1 as soon as it was pointed out that he wasn’t signed up for a race yet that weekend, and thus the partnership of the Mislocated Massholes formed. Given that Masshole 2 was completely unfamiliar with the sport, Masshole 1 arranged a gruesome training plan to prepare him for race day. This consisted of a single bike ride in which Masshole 2 confirmed for the first time in three years that his wall decoration was actually a functioning bicycle.
Race weekend soon arrived, and the Mislocated Massholes found themselves in Masshole 2’s pickup truck on the road to Mounds State Park in Anderson, Indiana. Highlights of the ride were a beer stop for post-race Colorado Cool-Aids and an in-depth discussion as to whether the terms 2-by-4 and 1-by-6 can be used to refer to 24 and 16 ounce cans. The Massholes eventually arrived in Indiana and set up camp before riding their bikes to race headquarters (HQ) for the pre-race meeting and meal, which consisted of chili, cornbread, and rabbit food with ranch dressing. While stuffing their faces, the Massholes made acquaintance with some of the opposition, including team “Honeybadger,” whose youngest member was only 13-years old! During the pre-race meeting, race director Brian Holzhausen explained that the maps would not be distributed until race start, or possibly even later, and teased the obsessive, detail-oriented engineers in the crowd that they would be unable to make any preparations in advance. It was also clarified that outside maps would be limited to the publicly available park and tourism maps conveniently weighing down the race swag bags, and that checkpoints during each stage could be completed in any order unless otherwise noted. Finally, Brian shared that he had completed the course himself in 10 hours earlier in the week, and announced that any team beating his time would win a free pair of wool DINO racing socks. Full of new information and chili, the Massholes made their way back to their campsite, and with no maps to plot or routes to plan, soon headed to bed.
Even though race start wasn’t until 8 a.m., the Massholes awoke at 6 a.m. in order to leave plenty of time for freaking out about how unprepared they were. They ate bagels, made Fluffernutter sandwiches, and arranged their packs with food, water, and spare socks. Having apparently mislocated his brain, Masshole 1 neglected to put his spare socks into his dry-bag, instead putting them loose in his pack while also neglecting to remember that his water bladder leaks when it is filled to the top and crammed into a small space. As a result, a puddle quickly formed under his pack, which upon opening, led to the discovery of two soaking wet pairs of spare socks. With no time remaining to properly deal with the situation, Masshole 1 squeezed as much water out of the socks as possible, mounted them on his shoulders as epaulettes, and called for the Massholes to mount their bikes and make their way across the campground to race start.
Segment 0: Race Start – Acquiring the first clue sheet and map
Race director Brian lived up to his reputation for race start creativity, informing everyone of the task they must complete in order to collect their maps: find the clue sheet for Segment 1, 290 meters away at a magnetic bearing of 110 degrees from the start line. The field took off, looked at their compass, and collectively thought, “fuck it, I’ll just follow that guy in front.” After 290 meters and a quick detour around a stand of trees, the field had collected the first clue sheet and was headed back to race HQ to pick up the map.
Segment 1: Bikes and Canoes – Checkpoints 1–5
The clue sheet politely informed the Massholes that Segment 1 would be a bike and canoe section with boring checkpoints (CPs) 1 and 5 at the canoe put in/pull out. Plotting out CPs 2–4 revealed that they were located in a magical, barely explored land known only as “Upriver.” The Massholes grabbed their gear and took off on their bikes for the very boring ride to the put in, where they acquired CP 1.
Because Masshole 1 was wearing his only pair of dry socks, the canoe put in required a quick portage through 4-inch deep water to get to the main channel. About half a mile later, and after a few deeper sections of portaging, the Massholes arrived at “Upriver.” They beached the canoes on an outcropping of rock and climbed the bank up to a magnificent field. Broken down toy trucks, a lifeguard chair, a dollhouse and other assorted detritus generally found near houses on wheels and trucks on blocks peaked through the fog and dew covered field. The Massholes ducked down a trail off to the west and immediately jumped a creek to climb up a small hill. On top of the hill, Masshole 2 enthusiastically pointed out CP 2 to both Masshole 1 and the other three teams in the area. He was then introduced to Bob, who wasn’t pleased.
A quick jog across the field and around the lifeguard chair led the Massholes to a new and strange creature, stinging nettle. It forced the two to brave its sting in their quest for a “re-entrant.” With the nettle’s hypodermic hairs injecting formic acid into his shins, Masshole 1 gallantly found the marker. With their work complete, the Massholes made a hasty retreat from the nettle and back to the canoe.
CP 4 was on the east bank of the river under a bridge, a little upstream from the landing for CPs 3 and 4. Getting there didn’t really constitute an adventure worthy of being passed down, generation to generation eventually becoming more myth than truth.
Their tasks in the “Upriver” complete, the Massholes started back down the river to the starting point. By this point, several four and six-paddled monsters were working their way down as well. Their rhythmic left-right-left stroking motion propelling them more quickly than the Massholes’ two-paddled flailing. Eventually though, they made it back to civilization, glad to be done with the “Upriver.” The canoes were stashed, and the clues to Segment 2 were obtained.
Segment 2: Bikes – Checkpoints 6–11
CP 6 demanded a bike ride north from the state park of ancient human embankments. The Massholes worked their way through the park gate towards the relative danger of the open road, but quickly found that the road they’d intended to follow was closed, forcing them to brave the crazy bike trail instead. A small, poorly run paceline began, and before the two could take more than one lead each, they rolled upon the checkpoint. Several poor souls who’d hesitated to take the bike trail at the road closure were left in the dust.
The map gods demanded a trek north, and so the Massholes obeyed. Their reward: CP 7, on a bike route ahead sign, and a trip back south into a headwind.
The trek south was fraught with dangers. A pair of Blues loving brothers from team “Big Dogs” took a rock to the tire, and the Massholes found them befuddled along the side of the road as their spare tubes failed to fit their wheels. Fortunately, the Massholes were able to demonstrate the use of a patch kit, and the befuddled Saint Louis Blues band was able to continue. A couple of miles later, the Massholes pulled into a gravel parking lot, punched CP 8, and found a series of black diamond “expert” mountain bike trails between them and CPs 9–11. They were also given a decision to make: “to bike or to run?” Conscious that one day they may have to regale a lady with tales of this day, as part of a courtship ritual understood by only the most accomplished of anthropologists, the Massholes boldly decided to bike.
The trail was tight and wet, but the Massholes went to work without hesitation. The trail started easy, requiring no special efforts to ride its curves, but eventually it demanded a more aggressive touch. The easy and intermediate trials fell away, and on the first of six expert loops, the trail took control. The Massholes climbed past a team on foot, who were struggling to sustain their rhythm. This reassured the Massholes, who remained mounted on their steeds. Checkpoint 9 came on the first expert loop, and CP 10 on the second, but the trail wasn’t done; it felt like teasing the Massholes, extending out the torture. The third and fourth loops provided no payoff, but left the Massholes yelling and grunting ugly noises. They started the fifth loop, and after more of the same, they finally came upon CP 11. There wasn’t much work left to do on the trail, so the Massholes pulled out onto the parking lot, showed off their gear to the race official who demanded to see that they were racing safely, and got the clue sheet to Segment 3.
Segment 3: Trekking and Canoeing – Checkpoints 12–14
Plotting out CPs 12–14 showed that the Massholes would be canoeing again, but this time they’d be heading towards a more civilized local: “Downriver.” Another curiosity, the canoe put-in at CP 13 would be upriver from CP 12, requiring anyone following the CPs in order to run south and then follow the river north. The Massholes decided to be lazy and just grab CP 12 while casually floating downriver, which meant they would run and then bushwhack their way to the canoe put in, where CP 13 was waiting.
Their route decided, the Massholes took off east towards CP 13 and the river, but stumbled upon an unforeseen hang-up, more stinging nettle lay in wait. Familiar with this foe, the Massholes charged through, knowing that time was of the essence, and pain was of no consequence. The quick dash across the cool stream soothed the nettle’s sting, but the Massholes started downriver with shins slightly afire.
A bridge across the river provided the Massholes with a landmark to beach the canoe and start looking for CP 12, somewhere in a re-entrant. Two re-entrants searched and some briers later, the race passport had a new punch, and the canoe was making further progress downriver, Massholes aboard.
Let’s face it, canoeing can be boring, so we’ll ignore the next hour of canoeing downstream towards the pull out. Suffice to say there were a few rapids that barely deserved the name “rapid,” two tiny baby turtles perched on a log, and concrete dam that was supposed to be portaged, but that the Massholes failed to notice until they were already halfway over it. You’d think that would be exciting, but no, it wasn’t, it was more like, “oh?” The race volunteer at the pull-out, CP 14, informed the Massholes they had arrived downriver in third place—shocking, since they’d started Segment 3 in nowhere near such a competitive spot. After punching their passport, the Massholes collected the clue sheet for Segment 4, and began plotting their next route as the Blues brothers arrived at the canoe pull-out close behind them.
Segment 4A: Trekking – Checkpoints 15–19
In addition to the locations of CPs 15–22, the clue sheet for Segment 4 included the detail that Segment 5 would be the final segment, with three trekking checkpoints, and would take less than one hour to complete for the mildly competent. Plotting the checkpoints, the Massholes determined that CPs 15 and 16 were close by, CP 19 was where they had left their bikes, CPs 17 and 18 were en route to the bikes, and CPs 20 and 21 were practically off the map. Not sure how long their quest would take them, the Massholes decided to plan a route to CPs 15–19 and re-evaluate the time at CP 19 before planning a bike route to CPs 20 and 21. Checkpoint 22 was located at Race HQ and was the transition area to Segment 5.
CP 16 (take one)
With a little too much confidence in their plan, the Massholes left on foot for CP 16 and immediately headed down the road in the wrong direction. When they reached the first intersection, they exchanged confused looks at each other and at the map, and then remembered that they were wearing advanced scientific instruments around their necks, which were capable of telling them what direction they were facing. After relocating themselves, they planned a new route north to CPs 16 and 15. Along the way, the Massholes passed the first and second place teams, “We Will Survive” and “The Lost Boys,” heading south towards CP 17. With regained confidence in their route, Masshole 1 didn’t feel like stopping to read the street name for the next turn, and instead attempted to decipher the fine print as the map bounced up and down to the beat of their running. “It’s either Ridge, Bridge, or Fridge Street,” he said, as they ran past Rose Street, which was the turn they were supposed to take. Half a mile later, the Massholes recognized that they had made another error, and decided to continue north to CP 15 and try again for CP 16 on their way south to CP 17.
The Massholes crossed a covered bridge to bring them near CP 15. The clue was “small knoll on east side of creek.” They quickly found a dry creek bed on the west side of the trail, but no checkpoint. Then they explored a little further west and found another creek bed, but still no checkpoint. Finally, the Massholes explored even further west and found a real creek with water! Sure enough, CP 15 was waiting in a knoll on the east bank. The Massholes scrambled their way back to the trail, and Masshole 2 led them on a run down the west side of the lake towards CP 16. On the way south, the real creek eventually met up with and ran along the trail. Had the Massholes approached CP 15 from the south as they originally intended, they would have seen the real creek and not wasted their time searching the two dry creek beds.
CP 16 also presented a challenge. The clue was “west bank of creek,” however the location plotted was clearly east of the newly-found creek, with no other creek in sight. Having already been waist-deep in water a few times that morning, the Massholes had little concern for wet feet, and made their way across the creek anyways in hopes they had misplotted the CP. A few minutes later, they had another punch in their passport, and crossed the creek for the last time to head south to CPs 17 and 18 with soggy feet.
Once again, Masshole 2 set a strong pace and led the way. Checkpoint 17 was to “write-in” the first name of the honoree on the Black Stone Veterans Memorial, which was easy to find thanks to the flagpole clue. On the granite bench at the memorial, Masshole 1 finally deemed his backup socks to be drier than the ones on his feet, and made a quick sock change before starting the remaining few miles on foot back to the bike drop. Along the way, Masshole 2 let Masshole 1 rest on the trail while he hiked a few dozen feet up the hillside to find and tag CP 18. Interestingly, both Massholes had accurately estimated the distance traveled to CP 18, but each in a different manner: Masshole 1 with step counting, and Masshole 2 based on time.
The Massholes’ route for the final miles to CP 19 and the bikes proved to be another crucial decision that affected the race outcome. The most direct route was to continue east along the river trail and try to intersect a fire road that ran through the single track they had ridden that morning. The risk was getting lost in the single track network and having to follow the winding trails or bushwhack their way to the parking lot. Instead, the Massholes elected to head north to the road, which would be much easier to navigate, but added about a half-mile to their course. It seems that they made the right call, as the Massholes strolled into CP 19 a few minutes later and got the news that they had moved into second place! As the Massholes took a short break to refuel on Fluffernutter sandwiches and plan a route to CPs 20–22, the now third place Lost Boys arrived at CP 19. Living up to their name, “The Lost Boys” had attempted to take the fire road but weren’t able to find it, and were passed by the Massholes as they bushwhacked their way out. Realizing they had been passed, “The Lost Boys” wasted no time transitioning to their bikes and hitting the road. The Massholes and “The Lost Boys” left the parking lot neck and neck.
Segment 4B: Biking – Checkpoints 20–22
There were two ways to approach CPs 20–22: the Massholes chose clockwise, “The Lost Boys” chose counterclockwise. This meant that aside from passing each other about halfway around the loop, neither team would know who was ahead until they arrived at CP 22 to begin the fifth and final segment of the race. Checkpoints 20 and 21 sent the racers to the extreme northeast and southeast corners of the map. Without them, the map could have been half the size. The entire day, there had been a decent wind coming from the south. This is when it finally came into play.
By going clockwise, the Massholes got the tailwind early, and were able to maintain a quick pace on their route north to CP 20. Masshole 2 took the lead for most of the stretch, which let Masshole 1’s legs recover a bit from the run. The Massholes missed one turn, but were able to correct it without it costing them much time. With about a mile to go to the checkpoint, the Massholes were caught off guard by two country dogs who felt the exhausted bikers looked like a tasty afternoon snack. The dogs ignored Masshole 2, but took off after Masshole 1, who they determined would make for a more filling meal. One of the dogs had a line to cut him off at the turn, but decided at the last moment that it didn’t want to be run over by a bicycle, and let off. Masshole 2 continued to casually bike past them in peace. After regrouping, the Massholes rode the final half-mile to pick up CP 20 at the cemetery gate. Meanwhile, Masshole 1 began making painful noises which in a lost ancient language translated to “my calves are cramping.”
The route from CP 20 to CP 21 consisted of about three miles east of crosswind and five-and-a-half miles south into a headwind. The Massholes took turns leading in the initial stretch of crosswind, and Masshole 2 took the lead for the first mile of headwind. Next was another quick “break” of crosswind, followed by four-and-a-half miles into the wind. Masshole 1 took the lead for this section, and went out a little too ambitiously, accidentally letting Masshole 2 fall behind. They then found a more sustainable pace. Around that time, the Massholes passed “The Lost Boys” headed north to CP 20. It was too close to call who had the advantage. After a long battle with the wind, the Massholes finally arrived to CP 21 in the southeast corner of the map, hidden under a bridge. From there, it was about a mile and a half of tailwind and about seven miles of crosswind to get back to camp. Masshole 1 was completely out of water, but Masshole 2 was willing to share the last half of his bike bottle, since he still had some water in his pack.
Thus began the final bike leg to finish Segment 4. The Massholes managed to stick together through the tailwind section, but Masshole 2 started to fall behind after they turned to head west. It was time to put the towing system to use! Counting on Masshole 2’s strength as a runner to drag him through the final segment on foot, Masshole 1 played pack mule for the final four or five miles back to camp. The Massholes rolled into the transition area a short while later and punched CP 22. Status: still in second place, with “The Lost Boys” nowhere in sight. The first place team, “We Will Survive,” had arrived about 15 minutes before and was long gone.
Segment 5: Trekking – Checkpoints 23–25
By this time, Masshole 1 had finished off Masshole 2’s water as well—what a Masshole! He filled and chugged an entire bottle from the spigot and then filled a second one and dumped it into his bladder. The final segment was three checkpoints within the state park to be completed on foot. The Massholes plotted them on the large topographical map, but also replotted them on the blown up state park map that Brian had told them they could take the night before. One checkpoint was to the north and two were to the south, all relatively close to the park’s hiking trails.
The Massholes chose to head to the northern checkpoint first. The hint was “spur.” Other than a small mismatch between the map’s trails and reality, the Massholes were able to close in on it rather quickly. They overshot to the wrong spur initially, but recognized their error and bagged it a moment later. The Massholes also posed for a few shots with the motion sensor camera that the race staff had left guarding the checkpoint, including a few with Masshole 1 carrying Masshole 2 in the “princess” pose.
From CP 25, The Massholes ran south past race HQ to CPs 23 and 24. As they crested the hill, they saw “The Lost Boys” leaving HQ to head south to the checkpoints as well. “The Lost Boys” pace had slowed, and it was starting to look like the Massholes had secured a second place finish. The Massholes caught up with “The Lost Boys” by the time they had entered the woods, punched CP 24 right behind them, and both teams punched CP 23 at the same time. “The Lost Boys” asked the Massholes whether they had found CP 25 yet, but the Massholes refused to share their secret.
The Massholes left CP 23 feeling good enough to run it in to HQ for a strong finish. What happened next was the last thing they expected. As they rounded the final turn to the finish line from the south, the Massholes saw “We Will Survive” approaching the finish line from the north. Unfortunately, it was too late to make up the lost ground, and “We Will Survive” crossed the finish line at 9 hours, 39 minutes, 20 seconds, winning the race. The Massholes crossed only 50 seconds later, with a time of 9 hours, 40 minutes, and 10 seconds, for a very unexpected second place overall finish!
Before dinner, Masshole 1 set off on his bike to grab the Colorado Cool-Aids. Upon taking a sip of his first 1-by-6, Masshole 2 became pleasantly tipsy and acted the part. “The Lost Boys” soon became the third team to finish the hike, and the “Big Dogs” and “Honeybadgers” weren’t too far behind. The mini-Honeybadger even admitted to popping his single track cherry on the expert mountain biking trails.
Pulled pork dinner! It was almost as if the DINO race organizers had known that a bunch of their racers would be coming from St. Louis and prepared every St. Louisian’s favorite meal. Being Mislocated Massholes, the Massholes weren’t as crazy about the pork as some of the others, but it’s hard to be more excited about pulled pork than a St. Louis native.
The Mislocated Massholes plan to split up for the Castlewood 8-Hour adventure race in December. There are just too many inexperienced racers who’ll need their wisdom and leadership for the two to selfishly race together. Masshole 1 will be joining “Help Wanted,” while Masshole 2 will join “The League of Mild Inconvenience.”
Masshole 1 likes Dunkin’ Donuts, which isn’t all that surprising for a Masshole; however, Masshole 2 prefers Waffle House and insists that it is superior to all other regionally loved breakfast places with a penchant for serving a shit ton of coffee.