Whiskey Bend is two friends that wanted more out of a competition. They felt the need to push themselves beyond what is physically and mentally possible.
Adventure Race? WTH is that? Well it involves maps, compasses, navigation, mountain biking, running/hiking/walking, canoeing/kayaking, ropes courses, and hills, always hills! Typical races last 8 hours, 12 hours, 24 hours or longer. Combined mileage can be anywhere from 30-120 miles depending on the race! The course is not known until the day of or the night before. And strategy is key. It is the
Operating as usual
6 years ago. After that race we improved our bike mechanic skills. If we were to have the same bike issue today, I would have turned it into a single speed for the last bike leg. Always learning something in AR.
If you haven't watched the World's Toughest Race on Amazon Prime your missing out! Go binge watch it!
Time to get back in AR shape. Now to dust off the bikes.
Whiskey Bend Adventure Race Team's cover photo
Whiskey Bend Adventure Race Team's cover photo
Well the Covered Bridges 100k Gravel Ride is going to happen on April 28th and the response so far has been great! Entry "fee" is a donation to the Adel Food Panty. 80ish are committed and another 900 interested! I have been contacted by Channel 5 and The Madisonian paper for this being a fun free fund raiser, will be interviewed in the coming weeks. We have received several responses from surrounding states. Should be a good time. Come join us!
Debating and very tentative. May ?? 2018. I am a family guy first and most of the spring gravel rides in 2018 are on weekends that don’t work for me at all. So thinking about throwing out an invite to anybody interested in a 100k ride (actually a 103k) 64 mile ride. Probably 75% gravel. The route will start and end in Adel, IA. Head south towards Madison County and Winterset, IA. The route would take us by 4 of the famous Covered Bridges of Madison County. Completely self supported, not a race, go at your own pace, no prizes, no entry fee. Some pretty good Iowa hills on this route, 3050 feet of elevation gain in this ride. Anybody interested?
Jon VanDis, Sarah Goldman, Eric Concannon, OffCourse Navigation, Randy Ericksen, Heather Kluch, Greg Pulliam, Emma Gossett, and all my other Adventure Race friends, have a great 6 day, 460 mile World Champ race thru the Tetons and the rest of Wyoming.
To all our AR friends packing and getting ready for the ARWS. Right now a small part of me hates you all! Seeing your pictures getting ready to race thru the Tetons, rubbing it in our faces..... just kidding! Super excited for all of you. Matt and I had planned to be there as volunteers this year but some important family things have to come first. Super disappointed. I am hoping some of you take a shot of whiskey for us at the finish line for us! Will be dot watching and thinking of you all. Race smart race hard and breath in the awesomeness of what you are all doing.
60 mile route, 55 miles of it gravel. 2660 elevation gain. This route goes past 2 of the Covered Bridges of Madison County. And a ton of up and down. Don't believe the hype, Iowa isn't exactly flat.
NAARS Championship in Iowa City this year in October! Whiskey Bend will be there. Get your team signed up. Iowa ain't all corn fields, as evidence from my pictures from last weekend. See you there for 30 hours of what will undoubtably be a great race.
I posted this on my personal page. Should have posted it here, among "my people". Fellow racers and outdoorsy types. I know you feel the same. See below.
Whiskey Bend Adventure Race Team's cover photo
Whiskey Bend was on the podium 3 years ago in the 8 hr Lightning Strikes Adventure race. Since then we have done several 3 day races. This year we have a 6hr, 12hr, 18hr and 30hr races planned. Wasn't concerned about speed last few years. Trying to get a little speed back. First sub 7min mile yesterday. Lots of work to do yet but for being 43 years old and 230 pounds, we will take it. 6hr race Saturday. First race for wife Carrie Keitges Austin. Should be a fun day. Devils Lake State Park in Wisconsin.
Because, stickers make it faster...
Matt's new steed...
Whiskey Bend sends out good race vibes today to our friends racing at 2 different races today the LBL in Kentucky and the Sea to Sea in Florida. Race schedule for us this year so far looks like this:
Off Road Rage 12hr adventure race in KS April 22 (World Famous Orange Lederhosen and Whiskey Bend racing together!)
Olmitz Miner 16hr adventure race in IA May 20th.
Stubborn Mule 30hr adventure race HaywardCable WI
August 7-17 Cowboy Tough Adventure Race World Championship in WY. We are not racing this one, just volunteering to help.
Make a plan peeps, get outside and be active!
As much as Whiskey Bend would love to race our 3rd consecutive Cowboy Tough, we are choosing to volunteer to work this years race as volunteers! We know that CT this year is the WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP! Which means 4-6 days and about 500 miles! Some of the worlds best multi sport endurance athletes will be there! So excited to be able to help out. Is it August yet? Mark Harris, stick us out in the boonies!
Post tonight isn't about Whiskey Bend, workouts, or training. Tonight we celebrate Joey Schwenn the son of Matt Schwenn (of Whiskey Bend) with his 100th win for Belle Plaine High School. 100 wins is impressive, even more impressive in the state of Iowa which is one of the toughest wrestling states in the country. Great Job Joe!
That time of the year for Lefty "George" to take a winter break. Back to the black Diamondback to see what winter throws our way. Have converted the old Diamondback to a 1x8, raised handlebar up for a more upright position, taken off crappy Suntour fork and put a standard steel fork on. Perfect for some winter travel. Going to take off pedals and go with flats w/ straps so I can wear warmer footwear. Bring on the winter gravel muck and yuck.
Whiskey Bend sends out best wishes to all racing at the AR Worlds down under in Australia. Have a great race friends! We will be following on line watching your little dots move and wishing you the best.
Whiskey Bend Adventure Race Team races again Saturday with a "fresh" face newbie. Unplugged Adventures 9 to 5 race, here in Des Moines in an 8hr race this Saturday. AR friends, welcome Lee Shepard to the best damn sport ever created!
AR friends, bets on who wins Nationals? My money is on AMK. Love to see Rib Mountain rep the Midwest. Tecnu? Also Off Course Nav? Wish Whiskey Bend was there. We qualified but logistically couldn't make it happen....serious case of jealousy and with REV3 in charge you know the course will be awesome.
How could we not choose this?
30 mile paved trail/gravel road test complete of new J-Bar handlebar set up. Was great having different hand positions, and using the upper bars was almost like an aero position. Need to see how it works on singletrack yet. First impression was a good one.
About time to plan some more adventures buddy....
Being a grown up sucks sometimes.
Good friend just called and said "Hey meet me at Center Trails (a singletrack location in Des Moines) at 2:00 today".
Damn reports and deadlines..... And sitting at this damn desk.
Glad I got in a quick 20 mile ride this am or I would totally be saying screw it and probably getting in trouble with late reports.....
Picture of the sunrise this morning on the ride.
Took a few weeks off after Cowboy Tough Adventure race. Meeting a good friend to ride singletrack tomorrow morning at sunrise. Can't wait. I will be sucking wind uphill so thought this cartoon was appropriate.
Well, got this email today. Kinda cool. Won't be able to make it, but cool nonetheless. No worries, if I read the rules right once we turn 45 years old we don't need to qualify, we are considered "masters" 3 more years til then.
Race report Cowboy Tough 2016.....
3.5 days at elevation racing/adventuring across 300-400 miles of Wyoming. It was an adventure that was for sure.
6 weeks earlier Whiskey Bend had made it to the end of the 3 day Happy Mutant Race here in Iowa. That was our first finish of a multi-day race. So we were pretty excited about his years Cowboy Tough. We knew we could keep moving on little sleep for 3 days.
Day 1. Race start at 6am on Bikes. 30 mile easy ride to a long (80 miles or so paddle section) we make it to mile 7 when Matt has a flat and crashes. I lock up the brakes and think "great start" as I almost run my teammate over. No big deal, we have a super awesome kayak that we can gain some time back...
Change the tube and away we go I thought. Except Matt had taken his spare tube out when he got new storage bags for his bike. His other spare was in a bin 50 miles away. Ok, let's patch it. Well the rim shredded the tube, at least 20 holes. Everytime we thought we had them all we found another. Well it was 4 miles to Walmart. So I hammer down to Walmart and look for the right tube. Can't find exactly what we need but close enough. Hammer back the 3 or 4 miles back to where Matt Schwenn was still patching holes. (Picture me in full race gear at 7am sweating and in a hurry, and grumpy, standing in line at Walmart) bike shorts on my chubby ass is not very appealing.
So after more than an hour later we are on our way. The road all to ourselves..... Not to big a deal, we can gain ground on the paddle. To clarify I don't mean gain ground on the top teams, just on the other non sponsored, "regular" teams. We hammer down on the bike and hop in the kayak. The kayak that Eric Hart let us borrow.....
About 7-8 miles into the paddle we saw a little yellow triangle in the middle of the river. Like a warning. I went to he right of the "warning symbol". Shot the "V" and dropped a foot off this little metal roller dam under the water. And "BAM" we hit hard and started taking on water. I hit the rudder to the right and we paddled to shore as we took on water fast.
Got to shore and flipped kayak over and knew we were done. Fricken 4 hours into the race! We called the race director and were given an option of getting a ride to a canoe and continuing on the paddle further down the river or getting a ride to TA4 and skipping the majority of the paddle. We thought about it and knew this would allow us to experience the awesome singletrack course at Glendo State Park in daylight. So we got a ride to TA4
FYI, as we were cracking our kayak I looked to the left. The yellow thing? Yeah it was a yellow canoe bent in half and nearly submerged. We weren't the only ones to have issues.
Either way we would be "unofficial" but allowed to continue.
The singletrack at Glendo was awesome and as we had all afternoon we took some Go-Pro video, some selfies, and rode some sections twice. We even unloaded and set out half of all the bins at that TA just to be helpful.
Start of Day 2 we headed out at 7am. Saw teams just coming off the water as many got stranded over night due to high winds and dangerous conditions. We had a great ride to TA6. First ones in to the TA6. Helps when you have been resting for 12 hours when everybody else was racing!
We then had a long trek that we teamed up with Team Tumbleweeds and we navigated with them. Great guys. Worked out well for all of us as we had a great trek and were out of their just as it was getting dark. About an hour into the trek we heard a team coming. It was AMK, and they were hammer down! They said hello as they ran by us. I am usually impressed with how friendly the world class teams are even to us. About 20 minutes after that Swedish Armed Forces also went by us and we wished them luck also.
We took a couple hour break and headed out on the next bike section. Great ride to the next TA. Saw the sunrise from our bikes as we heard wolves howl in the distance. Just awesome.
Got to the next TA at Curtis Gulch in good spirits. Took about an hour break, opting out of the optional checkpoints at that TA. So we pedaled the 4 mile climb out of the gulch and headed to TA 9. At some point we turned back into a really strong wind. It got hotter and hotter and we were in the wide open.
About 2 pm the heat was getting to us so we took a break and cooled down in a creek. Submerged our legs, got cooled down. Loaded up on water and continued to TA 9. The heat was getting to us. Sat down at about 4:30 and we were both low on energy.
We looked at the maps and knew we had over 50 miles to go to pass TA 9 and get to TA 10. We did some soul searching and tried to make a realistic choice. Just then Team Florida Extreme ( they had to pull out the previous day for stomach issues) pulled up in a truck. Our goal from the start was to finish. Being unofficial had taken a little wind out of the sails. So we threw our bikes in with Jeff Leininger and Hunter Leininger and caught a ride to TA 10.
We arrived at TA 10 as AMK was hammering down from 10. They are just awesome to watch. Such good athletes! As we prepared to ride from TA 10 to the finish Team Tecnu came. Again another world class team we got to see kick some butt. Team manager from Tecnu, Douglas Judson came over and gave us a pep talk and said the last 20 miles wasn't that bad. At his urging and encouragement we headed out and hammered out the last 20 miles in 1.5 hours and crossed the finish line.
Unofficial, missed a section of the paddle and 50 miles of bike. We didn't earn the coveted belt buckle. But we made it, sort of. Was an adventure for sure! We saw elk,mule deer, pronghorns, prairie dogs, a real cattle drive, and built on some AR friendshIps.
Whiskey Bend tries to have a ton fun and push ourselves at the same time. We felt like we did just that.
Being on course with world class teams like Tecnu, AMK,Swedish Armed Forces, Yogaslackers and others is awesome. Kinda like playing basketball in the same gym as LeBron or Michael. You admire from a distance but cool to see them kicking butt.
Randy Ericksen is featuring Whiskey Bend in his next Podcast, tune in to see why we try not to take life too seriously.
Rev3, Mark Harris great job and thanks for a great race!
Whiskey Bend Adventure Race Team
Whiskey Bend has made it home! 11 hours of driving.....Thought you all might enjoy a picture of the "tiny" hole we got in our kayak just a couple hours into the race. Thanks for all the support while we were out in Wyoming. Was a great adventure! Will have race recap in next couple days. Quick shout out to our race sponsor Agromatic, Inc. for paying for our race entry fee.
Mike and Matt met up with their local fan, Sylas, at the finish line today to share some official Whiskey Bend memorabilia. They gave him some of their maps from CBT 2016.
Communicate with others about racing and help promote Kelby Watt's racing career.