Posted by: toddruns | August 1, 2009

Day 5: The aftermath

As you may have noted, there wasn’t a lot of time in the day to race for 10 to 12 hours, then shower, eat and get ready for the next day. As a consequence, my posting was pretty sparse. I’ve uploaded more photos to the Picasa Web Album and cleaned it up a bit (I hope).

The Final Results (unofficial of course):

1) Team Penobscot (3 person team) – 34:43:32
2) Beer @ The border (4 person team) – 34:58:15
3) Sacred Cows(4P) – 36:34:08
4) Ya Sures (3 person team) – 39:21:16  (Dan, Mark and Cindy !!!)
5) Bike Gears and Cold Beers (3P) – 39:21:29 (13 seconds different – that is close)
6) 3 Hot Chicks and a Cabanna Boy (4P) – 39:40:24 (Ryan and Kerri, Kate and Abby) – way to go!
7) TEAM Michigan (4P) – 40:08:07
8) 3 Blondes and da Bomb (4P  my favorite team) – 40:50:18
9) TNT (2P) – 41:04:39
10) Wind Breakers (2P) – 42:16:07 (Kristy and Paul)
11) 9 Nipples (4P) – 42:44:58
12) 2 Squirrels and 4 Nuts (4P) – 42:49:44 (Deano, Ger-Bear, Darcie and Kevin)

I’ll try and capture a few more of my thoughts, impressions and memories of this week. I hope to hear more from the members of the other teams we knew before and those we got to know during and after the race. I usually try to do these as a narrative, but maybe this post will be more of a stream of consciousness kind of thing.

I have to once again thank and congratulate my incredible team mates. They kept it fun, and you cannot believe how supportive everyone was of each other. I was congratulated and cheered for as heartily and sincerely as I finished my 46th turn of running as I was on my first.  I was also motivated to do well each and every time I hit the road or grabbed my handle bars or jumped in the boat because I saw everyone else giving nothing less than their best when they were out there battling the wind, the rain, the river or the road. We worked well together, and this was an amazing experience that I won’t soon forget. Digging deep when you are tired and hurting is tough – and the smiling and cheering faces I saw all week made it all worth while. I think everyone was tested at some point or another – and there was definitely some magic about our group that made getting over the rough spots a lot easier.

Thanks Susan, Susan, and Gina. You are the BEST.

I also want to say that one of the things that was toughest about this race was the lack of time to interact with the other racers that I knew and met. Especially for the first 2 days, we were so busy that we barely had time to say a few words at dinner and after before we were falling asleep so that we could do it all over again early the next morning.

I was totally amazed and inspired by many people this past week:

Ryan, Kerri, Kate, Abby and Ruth (3 Hot Chicks and a Cabana Boy) – you guys totally rocked. I knew going in to this race that your team was going to be tough, and you definitely lived up to those expectations. Way to go and congratulations on your 3rd place finish. I love how Ryan was always up for another bike ride when everyone else was wondering how much they could sell their bike for on Ebay.

Deeno, Gerri, Kevin and Darci – wow. Darci fought through an awful cold and kept battling, Gerri was her usual smiling self – cool as always. And Deen and Kevin sure schooled us in paddling. You guys were amazing, thanks for the laughs and good cheer all week.

Dan, Mark and Cindy – how you three covered that course so fast with three people was amazing. 4th place overall! That is impressive. Thanks for sharing the road, the rooms and the laughs.

The Windbreakers – Paul and Kristy. The 2 person team that seemed to be always smiling and having a good time. It’s hard to imagine doing double the distance I did, and watching these folks was inspirational to say the least.

I thought the organization of the race was pretty good, especially when one stops to think about measuring, marking and getting volunteers to marshal 465 miles of roads for the race course and keep track of 12 boats along 45 miles of remote river. The volunteers were nice. Having missed a turn in Virginia, it is easy for me to think that  more marshals would have been nice.

There was some major craving for something besides pasta for dinner before and after the bike days. We descended like vultures on the Montana Cafe in Cook in search of burgers after our run day.

Phil, Marilyn, Sue and Greg from the B2B organization were great. I guess its a small enough race over 4 days that you kind of get to know everyone a little bit. It was a much more personal feeling than one gets in other events.

I kept asking people all week if they would do this race again, and the answers varied from “no way no how”, to indifferent, to “ask me after the canoe day”, to “it’s only 364 days until next year’s race”, to yes.

As for me – I would do it again in a heartbeat, but it will be hard to find a better group of people to do it with. Of course, I have to admit to thinking what I would do differently to trim my times down a bit. I might start looking into some more aerodynamic wheels for the bike (or maybe I can build a time trial bike?).  A GPS and some better planning for the jumps and pickups too.  A proboat or cruiser maybe for the canoe day?

Thanks for reading and thanks for the comments.


Posted by: toddruns | August 1, 2009

Day 4: Cook / Timbuktu Landing to Crane Lake

We finished Day 4 after 11 hours 44 minutes and 34 seconds of paddling, portaging, navigating the fog, swatting flies and chasing down the canoes ahead of us.

Whew! What a ride this has been. What a great team I was blessed to be with. We ended up 5th Place 4 person team, 8th overall. Border to Border in 40:50:18.


After another night of less than ideal sleep (cue the freight trains rolling by out the window), we hit the Timbuktu Landing for the 5:30 AM start of the canoe leg (leave the hotel at 4:15 AM). Without coffee by the way, so it was less than ideal conditions (outside it was 48 degrees with some overcast and fog). The loons called before the start, and it was an amazing sunrise.

They're Off!

Susan and Susan took the first (and definitely toughest) leg with the longest and most portages. While they were trying to not get lost (they did but only for a little bit) and slogging through tough and muddy portages, Gina and I had nice breakfast and tried hard not to feel guilty.  Gina and I caught up with them and cheered them on as well as the other teams at the end of the Table Rock Falls portage. Susan and Susan did an incredible job and we were really proud of them especially after hearing from others that exchanged here just how tough the portages were.

Woo Hoo! They made it through Table Rock Falls!We met them at the Buyck bridge and then it was our turn.

Glad to be done!

Gina and I got the honors of paddling the “Snake Pit”, so called because through this stretch the river winds and turns endlessly.  Just around the next bend is yet another bend. It is incredibly pretty though, and the paddling is pretty easy. We put in just as another boat arrived at the landing so I wanted to get a good lead on them if I could.

We charged ahead and Gina, with her 2 hours of previous canoe experienced proved to be a fine paddler. She made up for her lack of experience with her competitive spirit and unwavering determination. She paddled and swatted the flies away (for some odd reason they only bothered her, we deduced that my layering of bug spray then sunscreen was more effective than sunscreen then bug spray). As we hit the only portage at Chipmunk falls, I thought I saw another boat approaching. So there was no time to dilly dally, not that we wanted to stand around in ankle to knee deep mud. As we shoved off, we could see another boat ahead of us, and we did our best to chase them down. It took a while, but we finally caught up with them – it was Dan and Cindy (Ya Sures). Off in the distance ahead of them was Kate and Abby (3 Hot Chicks and a Cabana Boy). So off we went to see if there was enough river left to catch them as well. We eventually did and then it wasn’t long before we hit the next portage at High Falls. We exchanged Sue J for Gina and I grabbed the boat and headed up the portage. It was really pretty, and if I could ever go back just to look at the falls and rapids, I’d love to. Smelling the roses will have to wait.

It was a bit of a blur after this. Susan J and I put in just below the rapids but we still had to negotiate some rocks and shallow water and we ended up getting out and walking the canoe across the rocks. It didn’t take long and we were at the final portage. Susan took the first half (all of the uphill too – thanks!). The backside was some steep, slippery and muddy downhill, but the worst part was the bugs were pretty thick through here. After what seemed like a pretty long time we heard voices ahead of us. It was a family in a house boat splashing in the bay and we hit the water for the home stretch. I knew it was only a mile and half or so. We could see the first buoy pretty quickly, and then finally the finish line buoy! Woo hoo. Susan executed a dandy cross bow turn, just to do Carl and Rick from the MCA proud. We paddled past the buoy to the cheers of our friends and team mates and did the ceremonial canoe dump. We were done! My Garmin said I went 27 miles in 6 hours for a 4.5 mph avg speed. Not too shabby for a bunch of newbies.

The cold water of Crane Lake beckons

The cold water of Crane Lake beckons


Posted by: toddruns | July 30, 2009

Day 3: Virginia to Cook

Well, we managed to grab 4th place today in spite of missing a turn at the end and spending an extra 8 to 10 minutes finding our way (thanks a bunch to team “Beer @ The Border” – they saw me running the wrong way and set us straight).

50 (+) miles in 6:12:15. The Garmin had our average pace at 6:54.


Our plan today was to run 0.25 mile intervals, which meant about 200 changes. In and out of the car and on the road once every 7:00 minutes or so. But it was nice that the truck never got very far away. It’s hard to describe the challenge of running that hard for that many times, not to mention getting in and out of the truck 200 times. We were so looking forward to only having 100 intervals left.

DAY 3 Standings:
Beer @ The border (4 person team) – 24:47:01
Team Penobscot (3 person team) – 25:04:27
Sacred Cows(4P) – 26:47:32
Ya Sures (3 person team) – 27:25:23  (Dan, Mark and Cindy !!!)
TEAM Michigan (4P) – 27:47:24
3 Hot Chicks and a Cabanna Boy (4P) – 27:47:24 (Ryan and Kerri, Kate and Abby) – awesome!
Wind Breakers (2P) – 28:42:37 (Kristy and Paul)
3 Blondes and da Bomb (4P – and the best looking team in my humble opinion) – 29:05:44
Bike Gears and Cold Beers (3P) – 23:04:06
TNT (2P) – 29:30:53
9 Nipples (4P) – 29:41:38
2 Squirrels and 4 Nuts (4P) – 31:15:20 (Deano, Ger-Bear, Darcie and Kevin)

Finish Line

There are more pictures posted to the Picasa web album too.

Tomorrow is canoe day. Forecast is for chilly (50 degrees) at the start, warming up to 70’s later on.

That’s it for now.

Posted by: toddruns | July 30, 2009

Day 2: St. Cloud to Virginia

Whew. Less wind, more fatigue, and a few more miles. 210 miles in 10:52:20.

The start

Once again, I’m too tired to write much. After riding all day, you get about 30 minutes to unpack, shower and then meet everyone for dinner and the meeting for the next day.

It was a fun day, but it eventually got hard to get back on the bike after a while. I’ve never ridden that many miles constantly spinning. No coasting, ever. We rode 2.5 to 3.0 mile legs today and each effort was an all out push to to the next exchange. Ride the bike, put the bike on the rack, drink, drive, eat, take the bike off the rack, ride and repeat 20 times (each).

The view from the driver's seat

In spite of the effort, there were still a lot of smiles all around. The early morning start has us actually competing against other riders, which really got the competitive juices flowing (no one likes to get passed).

Power food

Power food

I added a few more photos in the Picasa folder.

Here’s Gina bringing it home after a few hours in the saddle.

The Finish line in Virginia

DAY 2 Standings:
Beer @ The border (4 person team) – 18:50:28
Team Penobscot (3 person team) – 19:26:02
Ya Sures (3 person team) – 21:07:19  (Dan, Mark and Cindy !!!)
Sacred Cows(4P) – 21:18:12
TEAM Michigan (4P) – 21:21:41
3 Hot Chicks and a Cabanna Boy (4P) – 21:28:25 (Ryan and Kerri’s, Kate and Abby) – awesome
Wind Breakers (2P) – 21:32:41 (Kristy and Paul)
3 Blondes and da Bomb (4P – and the best looking team in my humble opinion) – 22:53:29
9 Nipples (4P) – 23:02:26
Bike Gears and Cold Beers (3P) – 23:04:06
TNT (2P) – 23:04:17
2 Squirrels and 4 Nuts (4P) – 24:30:56 (Deano, Ger-Bear, Darcie and Kevin)

Tomorrow: RUN DAY! Can we make up 90 minutes and catch the team in front of us?


Posted by: toddruns | July 28, 2009

Day 1: Luverne to St. Cloud

We survived the first day of the MN B2B. 204 miles of windy road in 11:01:09.

We met the race personnel and other racers at the pre-race dinner last  night. After going over all the rules and logistics of doing jumps and pickup (where it isn’t safe to cross busy highways or make around construction zones), I was a little nervous.

The team - Three Blondes and the Bomb

We were up early, race start at 6:00 AM in downtown Luverne.

The early start

I was nervous as heck but all it took was one bike ride to settle me down. Gina started and I followed, then Susan V and then it was Sue J as the anchor. We started with 6 mile intervals and gradually stepped them down to 4 and then finally to 3 to 3 1/2. We had a ton of fun, and got really tired. The 16 mph winds were taking a heavy toll on us as the day wore on. We figured a 20 to 25% loss in speed when heading north into the wind compared to the stretches where we were riding east.

The standings after day 1  (204 miles biking).

Beer @ The border (4 person team) – 9:17:34
Team Penobscot (3 person team) – 9:36:30
Ya Sures (3 person team) – 10:39:43  (Dan, Mark and Cindy !!!)
TEAM Michigan (4P) – 10:46:12
Sacred Cows(4P) – 10:47:05
3 Hot Chicks and a Cabanna Boy (4P) – 10:48:35 (Ryan and Kerri’s, Kate and Abby) – awesome
Wind Breakers (2P) – 10:51:22 (Kristy and Paul)
3 Blondes and da Bomb (4P – and the best looking team in my humble opinion) – 11:01:09
Bike Gears and Cold Beers (3P) – 11:04:23
9 Nipples (4P) – 11:31:49
TNT (2P) – 11:48:25
2 Squirrels and 4 Nuts (4P) – 12:15:48 (Deano, Ger-Bear, Darcie and Kevin)

Bed time – too tired to do more. There are more photos in the Picasa link.


Posted by: toddruns | July 23, 2009


Greetings. Enough people have asked me about mid race updates on the B2B so I thought I’d create a blog just to update the world as to how we are doing. Whether or not I am able to will depend of course on the availability of an internet connection once we get up towards Cook and beyond.

But I’ll do my best.