Paul and Markley met up on the Mississippi River in Oquawka, Illinois for the 24 hour Thunder Rolls Adventure Race. The weather was pleasantly cool at around 70 degrees. Paul and Markley entered the Duo Division with hopes of winning. The race started at midnight with a prologue run through downtown and off on the bikes for a bit. At the tyrolean traverse, Paul and Markley were with the top teams as they shimmied across the rope dragging their bikes with them. Everything was looking great for a win until they entered the first orienteering leg on foot. The first few points the team nailed without delay. Checkpoint 13 reared its ugly head as Paul and Markley walked all over the point for 1.5 hours, but due to night light they couldn’t find it until day light. After getting 13, they moved on to finish the orienteering course. Back at the transition, they prepared for a long and exhausting paddle on the Mississippi River. They jumped in the canoes and began a 22 mile paddle that had them paddling up river for half the time, yes UP THE RIVER. Now, I don’t know what you folks know about paddling, but you usually paddle down stream. This was a test of wills to fight the current, which was running at a steady 8-9 mph. At one time, Paul and Markley were stroking all out and a wind came up and started to move them downstream as they fought. This brought on laughter as they struggled to stay in one place after paddling for 5 hours. Once off the paddles, Paul and Markley began the second orienteering section on foot. They ran the entire section while nailing all points dead on. Feeling good and secure with a first place waiting on them at the finish they began the final bike back to the finish. The miles ticked away and the check points came easy. Rolling into the finish in 19 hours. The race director confirmed what they thought to be true, winners of the Duo. HOWEVER, several hours later while Paul and Markley were relaxing and enjoying the festivities, the news came back that they had missed the last checkpoint. WHAT!!! Yes, in a rare moment when plotting the maps the night before, they had assumed the last checkpoint was the finish. This cost them 1st place and added a penalty to their time, which placed them in 6th place. Come to find out the point was only 1.5 miles north of the finish. Had they known, they could have biked from the finish and got the point and returned to the victory they had fought for all race long. Team Crank had a 30 plus minute lead on the next placing team, which ended up getting first (Merry Christmas guys). This was a solid performance by the team and clearly the stronger team, but fortune threw in a technicality that they must learn from and avoid next time. Thunder Rolls was a great race and Paul and Markley have declared themselves the unofficial winners of the Duo, but officially have to settle for 6th. The tough points in the race consisted of mountain biking on horse trails that were sand boxes and paddling up the Mississippi River (don’t recommend it). Oh yeah, Poison Ivy everywhere and it is all over Markley’s legs. Feeling good after their performance, both have a few races left in the season. 2009 has been a great year for Team Crank, having many podiums and potential for more before the year is out.