Monday, November 9, 2009

Diggin in at World Championships in Portugal

A short note to fill in anyone not following the team at worlds. It looks like a complicated, tough course. I know the ocean swim/surf was treacherous. Just look at Ernie. He's covered in seaweed!!

Jen and Fritz look great on day three. I think I would look dead. Jen is still smiling (?) This team represents the soul of adventure racing. Heart, strength and courage. GO TEAM!!

Ernie's getting serious now. I wouldn't want to be the team in front of him. I think he's going for it ! It's been hard to tell where the team is via the race website, but occassionally a photo pops up from the gallery that I recognize as our guys and girl. And as they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. I think this is from the long mtb into the night on day four before or after the 11:00 pm cutoff.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Success at GMARA's Bitter Pill 2009

August 1st at the gorgeous Craftsbury Nordic Center brought another great race from GMARA. With a total of 42 controls to nail in 12 hours, Berlin Bike set off with the rest of the teams on an early morning swim in Lake Hosmer. Only Granite Racing thought ahead to the possibility of flippers for the swim, and as a result came out of the lake first. Berlin Bike and many other teams were not far behind. Unfortuntely, in the first TA I lost my mouthpiece from my drinking bottle (Ernie) and could have been miserably dry for the race, but the AR gods were smiling on me and my bottle stayed full through 2 refills. The first section was a foot-o with 16 controls, 2 of which were optional and worth 20 minutes credit each. We came out of the woods behind 3 other teams after getting all 16 controls and headed for the monster climbs of Northern Vermont's rolling farmlands. With Ernie still battling stomach nasties from Untamed, and Ben in the sleep deprived state he has come to know so well, I had to peddle the course on my own for the most part, which didn't speed us up at all. The bent front brake rotor didn't help either. Peddling downhill as hard as I could to stay with the boys was no joy. After retrieving controls on the backroads, we climbed to a remote foot-o to get 8 more checkpoints. We cruised through the first 2 and got turned around on the spur trail along with all the other teams out there. Thanks to the shout-out from team One Lucky Chick, we found the 3rd control and moved on to the next 5 with not too much ado. We cleared that section in 43 minutes and jumped back on our bikes to head back to the nordic center for some technical single track. When we arrived at the tent a quick gear check was performed and we hit the trails. Having only 5 controls in this section sounded easy. The trick was that all controls had to be retrieved in order and only on the one way trails. This section went smoothly between climbs and greasy corduroy...The last 8 controls were on the water. We cleared all of them in under 2 hours and trudged into the finish 4th overall and 2nd in the 3 coed. Final time = 8:35 - :40 =- 7:55.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Berlin Bike Qualifies for 2009 AR World Championships in Portugal

For those of you that weren't glued to the Untamed New England website for the entire race, here's a quick note to fill you in. After falling into 40th place by a twisted turn of events; Fritz, Ben, Jen and Ernie used their experience and stamina to race to a third place tie with NYARA thus qualifying for the 2009 AR World Championships !! Woo Hoo go team!! Check out the race...

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Untamed New England 3 day Adventure Race

Berlin Bike/Eastern Mountain Sports marks the marriage of two of New England’s powerhouse teams. Berlin Bike, winners of the USARA National Point Series Championships in 2007 and currently battling for the 2009 top spot, features team captain Ben Moore, Ernie Lawas and Fritz Palmeijer of Connecticut. Berlin Bike is consistently one of the “Teams to Watch” whenever they appear at the start line, always finishing in the top ranks.

Joining us for the first time is Jen Shultis, Captain of Team Eastern Mountain Sports, whose titles include 2005 USARA National Champions, 2006 & 2007 USARA National Masters Champions, and who won the 2005 Appalachian Extreme in the same territory that is host to the 2009 Untamed New England. This was the last ARWC qualifier held in the United States.
While it’s their first time racing together, all four have spent ample time together racing against each other on course and enjoying beer together off course. They are looking forward to finally racing together and not against each other!

You can follow us at Untamed New Englands web site:
The race will start at noon Thursday July 9th.

Thank you to Berlin Bike and Eastern Mountain Sports for all of your support!

Please visit our team pages on the web:
Team Eastern Mountain Sports

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

GMARA's Frigid Infliction 2009

Green Mountain Adventure Racing’s Frigid Infliction at the Bolton Valley Ski Resort in Vt. would have been more aptly billed as the “Tepid Infliction” in 2009. With temperatures hovering in the 40’s and the sun beating mercilessly on the trails, the snow was mushy, wet and slow. But hey, adventure racers don’t complain, right? I know I was glad to have worn my lightweight ski tights instead of my heavy ones.
We began the race at 5:00 AM with a snowshoe to the start at the base of a steep incline where we opted to head further up to CP 5 while the other teams split away from the cliff face that the CP sat on top of. After a pretty tough ascent, we found the CP with not too much difficulty. As it turned out, this was a good route choice as the remainder of the teams came from the other direction and had some difficulty locating the cliff top. We were able to complete the rest of the first foot section in blazing time coming to the TA a half-hour before the estimated time that the first team would arrive and 30 minutes in front of the next team.(7:08 AM) Unfortunately, in a winter race with deep, wet snow breaking trail for the other teams was not in our best interest and not our strategy either. But, things being as they were, we went with it.
The Tyrolean traverse across a deep gully (7:43 AM)
lead us to the ski section TA , where once again, we laid tracks to the controls.( I swear…I didn’t have the glide I needed. I was inching along and it felt like there was glue on my skis.) We skied to the next section (9:27 AM) where we removed any support that would keep us from sinking into 3 feet of snow and head 2 km over a saddle with “Bwen the Postholing Monkey”leading the way. I believe I learned at least 5 new expletives during that 2 km. By the time we got to the TA 5 (10:04 AM) to put our skis back on, the second place team thanked us politely for the trail we had left and proceeded to ski past us and take the lead .
From that point we (Ben and Ernie) skied down a pretty gnarly backcountry descent while I fell over continuously for about 300 feet. It wasn’t pretty, nor was it fast. Those new expletives came in handy…We arrived at the final TA (11:01 AM) where we re-hydrated and decided to foot the first 3 CPs and ski the last 4, which was the opposite of what the lead team had decided. So once again, we broke trail into some pretty cool areas. I did manage to lose my mouthpiece from my drinking tube and thankfully Ben had an extra one, thus saving me from sure dehydration. The ski in this last section was quite difficult with some steep climbs and quick,tight descents, both of which I wasn’t prepared for.
We managed to finish the full course come in second at 9:07 hours. Even with my final “boot won’t go into f***ing binding!!!” 5 minute tirade with less than a mile to go.
All things considered, my first race with Berlin Bike was a really a great learning experience about the value of teamwork and humility.

Friday, May 29, 2009

As a newcomer to this sport

As a newcomer to this sport, I am still fascinated by the level of intensity and endurance and suffering that the athletes who compete in AR undergo. My name is Becky Sutter and I did my first AR in 2008 at the Longest Day sponsored by NYARA. It was a 12- hour race, and aside from having a bike that was 4 inches too small for my 6 foot frame, I was sorely under prepared. Thus, I got my butt kicked, but…man did I love it!
I’ve been very fortunate to race with great people in 3 other races including the host of this blog, Berlin Bike. I’m enjoying the 2009 season partly because I can watch and learn and Ben, Ernie and Kerri have been more than willing to teach and assist. I have been graced with their experience and strength. So far, Berlin Bike has had a great season. I’ve only raced in 1 event with them, where we took second, but their other finishes have all been top five. No small deal especially when you’re playing with the big boys and girls.
My last outing with them was a training day sponsored by Racing Ahead LLC over in a state park in NH called Pawtuckaway. It was a beautiful Saturday morning and we met at the park a little late so we were appreciative that the organizers let us start anyways. They called the event a Trifecta as it were. It included a canoe-o course, bike-o and foot-o. All three courses had to be completed in an hour with 3 point penalties for each minute over.
We began in the canoe and Kerri and I used my stock racer (Jensen 18) so we were moving along pretty good considering we’d never paddled together before.

Ben and Ernie had the maps and basically pointed us in the right direction. We cleared the course (70 points in 57 minutes.) Next was the foot section. (51 points in 63 minutes.) I purposely weighted my pack with 10 pounds as this was a training event after all. We were running the whole time pretty much. It went by quick. With 8 minutes to go we were pretty far out and had to actually run at a pretty good pace. Ben towed me from the 5 minute point as I am definitely not the fastest of runners. The last leg was on some great single track and pretty challenging bike terrain. (65 points in 59 minutes.) I wound having to walk most of the single track and then whack out with Ben to meet Ernie and Kerri on the road. We hauled back to the start as pretty much the last team on the course. We wound up first overall with 186 points in 179 minutes. I had a great time and can’t wait to team up again in a few weeks for my first 24 + hours race!! I let you know how I feel after that one. Peace Out!!
Becky Sutter

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

E-Fix 3.5 day AR

Off to W. Virginia for the Odyssey 3.5 day E-Fix. You can follow along @
Give us a shout out or two we will need it 30-40 hrs into the race. check back for the race report.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Odyssey One Day Xtreme

Odyssey One Day Xtreme 30 hr race in Hiwassee, VA started off in extremely cool weather for Jan. 17th. It was -8 F at 7:00 am when the whistle went off for the start. As we were driving down, all I could think of was "do I have enough warm clothes". We did stop and buy more clothing.

We were all concerned about our water freezing. We had to keep our bladder hoses and bike water bottles tucked into a couple layers of clothing. This worked well until you pulled the bite valve off and couldn't find it. Sorry Ernie, no Sustained Energy for you.

The race started on foot so we were able to get warmed up before heading out on the bikes. After coming into the TA in 2nd place and leaving on our bikes, I made a bad nav. error that put us on top of a mountain and 45 mins. behind. Come to find out that we would be back here later on during the last trekking section. There was multiple stream crossings that we had to do and not all of them were completely frozen. So carrying our bikes and jumping over icy rocks made it a bit challenging. It was a good thing that Ronny, the race director, had canceled the paddling section for this event. I, for one, was not looking forward to doing this section. If we or any team had dumped, the race would have been over. Trying to get warmed back up after that would have been next to impossible with wet clothes.

After a long while of stream crossings, we came to our next TA. Off on foot to get 4 CP's in any order. We manged to complete that before dusk. At the TA there was a fire. "Fire Bad. Stay away from Fire. Fire Bad." Half hour later, we were back on the bikes heading into the night. The cold was catching up to us. trying to stay warm on the roads, eating and drinking became a task. We made it back to the last TA where we cooked up soup and hot chocolate. After recouping from the cold for 1:45 mins., we headed out on the last trekking section. We were able to get 7 out of the 10 CPs, of course our last one was at the top of that mountain, before Ernie left the contents of his stomach on the mountain side. The weather had finally gotten to us, but we were able to still hold on to 4th place.