The Dino Series Mission Adventure Race is among the longest running adventure races in the Midwest. Eric Henricks, Nancy Gawrys, and I (Doug Theis) participated in the Mission Lite four hour race on May 14, 2016 at Lieber State Recreation Area near Cloverdale. Here’s the story of our race.
At 7:30 AM, we attended the race meeting. Brian Holzhauzen, Race Director, told us we would be completing the race in segments, and we would only receive race instructions one segment at a time. The race would be four hours long and start at 8:00 AM. We would collect as many points as we could, and return to the start line at or before the four hour mark. Every minute late would cost one point. Each segment would have to be completed, gathering as many points as possible before going on to the next segment. Our first segment would be a biking section, which turned out to be about 22 miles. Here’s the instructions for the bike segment:
The diagram on the bike segment race instructions showed more detail on the three points on the lower right corner of the larger map.
We started fast and got off on the wrong trail for a few minutes, but corrected the problem and started collecting points on our passport. Nancy slipped jumping a log and fell on her cracked ribs, but continued on. About 25 minutes in to the bike leg, my rear bike tire popped, and went immediately flat. We stopped and changed the tube, but found this:
Was this huge L-shaped gash going to put us out of the race? Eric said he’d fixed a similar problem before with a dollar bill. We settled on Nancy’s race bib, folded over four times, as my tire patch.
The patch worked! We rode the remaining 19 miles and completed the bike segment without any more tire problems.
When we returned to the transition area, Brian told us we were in first place! But a team was on our heels, and there was only 70 minutes left in the race. We received the next segment map, a paddling segment. Here are the instructions:
We didn’t think we had time to get both controls, but we headed down to the canoes to get what we could. We paddled to the further point as it looked easier to find on the map. We headed to the hilltop and found the control. But time was short when we got back to the boat. We paddled straight back to the dock and ran to the finish line, getting back with 8 minutes to spare.
Eric’s MacGuyver trick with the race bib and his excellent navigation earned Team Tenacious Glory a first place overall and first place for three person coed division.
Here are the race results and final standings for all 34 teams.
Thanks to Dino Series for hosting the race and for keeping adventure racing alive in central Indiana!
News Doug Theis on 12 Jan 2013
Team Ragged Glory races again in 2013! Our team has included almost a dozen people over the last eleven years. We look forward to spending more time in the woods with our friends.
Our plans this year for adventure races include:
Planet Adventure 24 Hour May 18
Planet Adventure Urban Sprint August 17
Indy AR, if it is held
We’ve always raced in Indiana, so we’d love to hear your opinions on good 6-24 hour races in the donut states (Michigan, Illinois, Kentucky, Ohio)?
News Doug Theis on 15 Aug 2012
Planet Adventure is hosting the 2012 Urban Sprint Adventure Race this Saturday, August 18, in downtown Indianapolis. Team Ragged Glory rides again in the form of two two-person teams: Jeff Boxell and Doug Theis on one, Joe Madren and Nancy Gawrys on the other. We’ll stick together on the course like we usually do. I’m pleased to be racing along side of two brothers-in law and Nancy Gawrys once again. See you at the race!
Planet Adventure posted the results of the 2012 10 and 30 Hour races, and Team Ragged Glory placed first overall. We were the only team to hit every single checkpoint on the course before the deadline. I had a great time with Bob, Julie and Nancy. Thanks to Planet Adventure for the tough course.
News Doug Theis on 30 Apr 2012
Variable forecasts, poison ivy, brambles and a monster trek section didn’t hold Team Ragged Glory back from finishing the 2012 Planet Adventure 10 Hour Challenge. The course was the toughest sprint race we’ve ever done; 1.5 hour paddle, about 5 hours in the woods on foot, and another 2 hours on the bike.
Photo by Arbors Edge
Thanks to John Farless, Mike Garrison, John McInnes and all the volunteers for continuing this amazing and historic Indiana adventure race. We’ll post more shortly!
Nancy Gawrys, Bob Mueller, Julie Nor and I (Doug Theis) are registered for the 10 hour Planet Adventure race in Tell City Indiana on April 28. We look forward to seeing our racing friends again soon! We’re training every Saturday and Sunday at 7:30 am out at Fort Harrison in Indy. Times may vary, so call me if you’re thinking of joining us.
Come join Team Ragged Glory help the Hoosier Mountain Biking Association January 14, 8:30 am, at the Lawrence Creek Trailhead in Fort Harrison State Park.
If you haven’t been on the Fort Harrison bike trails, you’re in for a huge treat. Mike Hufhand, trail boss, has coordinated the construction some of the best trails in Central Indiana.
We’re running from the same trailhead at 7:30, if you’re looking for a little exercise before the exercise.
See you Saturday!
News Doug Theis on 09 Nov 2011
My favorite diversion is adventure racing. A group of friends and I have been doing adventure races since 2001 as Team Ragged Glory. This year we did four races and finished well in each :
Planet Adventure Urban Sprint – 1st overall
Planet Adventure 30 Hour Challenge – 6th overall
Planet Adventure Urban Sprint Race – 2nd all male division
Indianapolis Adventure Race – 3rd overall
Our success this year was due to a combination of factors: experience, navigation skills and good team dynamics. It’s the people that are the key ingredient to the fun we have every year. I raced with some incredible teammates in 2011:
Eric Henricks – Exceptional navigator, calm thinker, great all-around athlete. Eric knows how to lead.
Dave Tanner – Endurance legend, incredible swimmer, cyclist and navigator. Dave is kind, gentle, and relaxed during every race.
Nancy Gawrys – Energetic, positive, focused, competitive and fun. Nancy is probably the best athlete on the team, and the easily the most fun.
More of the blog post from Doug Theis at DougTheis.com
by Doug Theis
September 25, 2011
Team Ragged Glory loves the Indy Adventure Race. We’ve raced it every year since 2001. We’ve seen it go from a grass roots two-course event created and run by Greg Arnold to an charity fundraiser with a single course run by Michael Sapper and Indy Rootstock.
This year, TRG was made up of Nancy Gawrys, Bob Mueller, and me. Bob had planned to do four races this year, but an unexpected hernia surgery cut him back to just this one.
An adventure race consists of many teams navigating through a course that is unknown until shortly before the race. Most races include mountain biking, paddling, and navigating on foot. Teams must travel together as a unit visiting each checkpoint along the way. The teams use race-provided course description and maps to understand the course, plan routes and navigate. The passport is the most critical document. The passport is a waterproof small sheet of paper with grid of squares, one for each checkpoint. Each team carries a passport and uses a unique paper punch at each checkpoint to punch the passport and prove that they completed the course.
We also received a sealed envelope with instructions not to open before the race began.
Our team is good at navigation, paddling and fast transitions. We looked over the course description. A few details of the course were on our mind:
• We would not return to the start/finish line until the end of the race, so we needed to carry everything we needed.
• The first section would split teams up briefly, which is unusual in an adventure race. We would send one teammate (Bob) to an unknown point with a phone. A sealed envelope with a map remained with us. When the starting gun sounded, we would open the envelope, call Bob and direct him to three points on the map from the envelope, so he could punch the passport at each control before returning to us. We would need to be fast if we wanted to get out in front of the pack.
• The next navigation section on foot was the longest on-foot section of the race. Doing well in this section would be critical to finishing well overall.
• The paddle section at Geist was longer than usual, somewhere around five miles.
• The stop at Sunnyside Elementary would likely be using the ropes course there.
• We would ride the new mountain bike trails at Fort Harrison near the end of the race.
We marked our maps with the routes we would take between points.
Nancy wrote the clues from the course description on the passport and we were done with our navigation planning.
Each racer on Team Ragged Glory has a different role. Nancy would carry the passport and punch each checkpoint or write down the answers. Bob would carry the maps and navigate. I would carry the race directions to double-check clues and keep an eye on the overall course.
We packed our gear, Bob went with the group to the unknown starting point, and we waited for the starting gun.
The gun sounded, Nancy and I called Bob. The race directors had taken them to the middle parking lot north of the sledding hill at Fort Harrison. We described to him where the points were and he ran to each point and punched the passport.
We were able to direct Bob fairly quickly, and he made it back to us in just a few minutes. Bob gave the passport to Nancy and we headed out on the bikes.
We rode for about five minutes to the first on foot navigation section in the Northwest corner of Fort Harrison. We got to the checkpoint and received the map with the points we needed to get:
Bob picked up the map and we took a clockwise route through the points. We had a couple of misfires on the course, but found all the points quickly. We put this new map in a map case about half way through the loop after it started to disintegrate in Bob’s hands. We grabbed the last few controls, traveling with another team, Shrimp Cocktail, and returned to our bikes to head towards the paddling section.
A twenty minute ride took us to Fall Creek Trail at Geist Reservoir, just west of the dam. The aerial map showed a checkpoint in the woods across Fall Creek. We ran this section, punched at CP-8, and headed out of the south end of the woods section to 79th St. There were two good route choices from that point to the canoe put-in, one via Courageous Drive and the other via 79th St to Sunnyside Rd to Fox Rd. Nancy was familiar with Courageous Drive because it’s in the Geist Half Marathon. She suggested we take the 79th St route, and we ran to CP-9, the canoe put-in.
This year the race provided aluminum canoes with only two seats. The race directors were kind enough to transport all teams’ paddles, lifejackets and team optional third canoe seats to the beginning of the canoe section, so we grabbed our gear and headed for the boats.
After a short special test of team coloring (with crayons, we climbed in canoes and headed out. The paddling section was long, but we were able to see the teams ahead of us. We figured out that we were in fourth place, with Rootstock/Bushwacker in the lead, Kiss My CompASS in second, and Tenacious just ahead of us. We put some distance between ourselves, Dino and Flatlanders on the paddle and held our position with the teams ahead of us. The take out and portage were uneventful, and we climbed back on the bikes for the final big bike leg.
We rode north around Geist Reservoir, punching or recording answers at the checkpoints along the way. After rounding the east side of the reservoir, we headed to a Lutheran Church property near Sunnyside Dr. for a short navigation section. We received another aerial map, took off and punched each of the controls before leaving on the bikes for the ropes course.
The short ride to Sunnyside Elementary put us right on the heels of Team Tenacious. We hit the ropes course and climbed into harnesses for the four-segment zip line course. There was no waiting as we went one at a time through each segment. After finishing, we climbed on the bikes for the final road riding section back to Fort Harrison and the new mountain bike trails.
We entered the mountain bike trails knowing that Tenacious was just a few minutes ahead. The trails form a 3.5 mile loop, and we were told that we would find two punches along the way. We rode steady and I fell behind a little. We punched at one control, then Bob and Nancy caught up with Tenacious, and as soon as I caught up with the group, Tenacious let us by. With less than two miles left in the race and were now in third. Nancy punched the second checkpoint on the bike trail and we headed to the final checkpoint.
The final checkpoint was marked as a special test on the south side of Delaware Lake near the start/finish line. We rode to the south side and realized that the test had been moved to the north side. Thankfully, Tenacious didn’t catch up to us by the time we hit the challenge. Each of the three team members had to paddle a paddleboard out to a log in the middle of the lake and return. One paddle board, three teammates, one at a time. Tenacious showed up as Nancy finished the first leg. I went next, then Bob, and we maintained our lead. We finished, climbed on the bikes and rode the final few hundred yards to the finish, placing third overall and second in the coed division. Congrats to Rootstock/Bushwhacker and Kiss My CompASS for a great race.
Thanks to everyone who helped make this event a great one. A special thanks to those of you who help every year. It’s always a good race, and the course this year was great. And Kudos to Michael and Debbie Sapper, Ryan Burke, Greg Grossart, Dave Kauffman and all the individuals who worked to make this race happen in 2011!
News Doug Theis on 12 Sep 2011
Team Ragged Glory placed second in the all male division of the Planet Adventure Urban Sprint in Indy on August 13. Team Ragged Glory also placed second in the coed division of the Indianapolis Adventure Race on September 10! More to come soon. Thanks to the race directors and all the volunteers!