It is over. I kept telling myself last week that time will pass and before you know it all this will be behind you. What the heck am I talking about? My own personal Hell Week......
Ouachita Challenge. This was to be my first big objective of the year. Training leading up to it was lacking to say the least. My last long ride/race was CIRREM. That was a personal hell in itself mainly due to lack of fitness. This years Ouachita Challenge would turn out to be one of the hardest events ever for me to finish.
On Thursday morning at 3:12 am I awoke with what I thought was a brilliant idea. Let's move the event up a day to Saturday. Sure some people might not be able to make it, but at least we would have an event in good weather and keep everyone safe. I discussed with Heather and we decided to do it if we could. I had sent emails during the wee hours of the morning to all parties requesting to move the event up. The big if was if the Clinton Lake State Park and USA Cycling would allow it. By afternoon all parties had responded with a Yes.
We offered a full refund to anyone who could not make it. To my surprise only three out of town people could not make it. The remaining 29 were all local riders. Luckily we got a fair amount of race day entries and ended up with a little over 150 riders. The lowest turnout in Bone Bender history and I believe is a sign that Mountain Bike racing around here is in serious trouble. On a day with perfect conditions and trails that could not get any better we only get 150 riders and a large portion of those are from out of town. I do not know the solution and I am beginning to think I might be part of the problem. All I know is my Hell Weeks are over. Looks like someone or some group needs to step up and take over off-road racing in this area. Other area events are getting over 200 riders per event so I know the demand is there. Hopefully this new group will also have a good base of volunteers/staff to run these events because I do know nothing happens by itself. It may look easy, but a lot of hard work and hours go into promoting an event.
Friday, April 18, 2014
Friday, April 4, 2014
The off-road season around here has started in earnest. Plenty of events to satisfy most fat tire lovers.
Course conditions for the cycling legs were awesome for the all the short course racers. Some said it was a little icy in sections. I was very bummed that I could not race. I love those type of conditions. I just wish there were more events held during the winter and early spring, especially multi-sport events like off-road duathlon.
Art King enjoys the rewards of the day........A big Thank You to the Lawrence Mountain Bike Club and all the volunteers that came out the week prior to the event to help restore the trails.
How I wanted to earn a bottle of champagne. Duties prevented that, but plenty of others got to take home some cool awards. I always struggle to try and come up with prizes/awards. Hopefully those that did earn an award liked them.
I did not think we would need sides on the tent, but mother nature proved me wrong once again. It was very cold on race morning and having a heated area for signup was a life saver for our signup crew. Thank you to Roger Harrison for the heat once again.
Hopefully no one needed to visit Cliff Jones and the Lawrence Mountain Bike Patrol on this day.
The big winners of the day. Renee Thierry won the overall long course in 2:25 and Tige Lamb back on top with a 1:55.
The second event of our fat tire festival was the mountain bike time trial. After last years poor turnout for the traditional cross country race I was not even going to have a MTB race. There was just not enough resources nor volunteers for a two day event. I then thought of what type of event we could have after the duathlon. The only two events that I could think of was a short track or time trial. I decided on the TT mainly because I like racing against the clock and the other is we could crown the King and Queen of the Lawrence River trails. Forget all the Strava crap, the "Race of Truth" is the only way to find out your best time.
I only expected about 50 riders to signup for the TT. To my disbelief we actually had 126 register. Due to the snow in the morning, cold temps and some duathletes who decided they would not try to double up, we ended up 99 finishers in the mountain bike time trial. After some hard negotiation on my part we ended up with sending riders off in 30 second intervals. Overall I think the format worked out well.
The Kings and Queen of the Lawrence River Trails. Garet Steinmetz laid down the fastest time of the day covering the entire 10 mile Lawrence River Trail system (with new sand section) in 35:24. That is a super fast time my friends and is the new official record time on the LRT. Jason Knight took second in 37:55 and Kent McNeil made the trip down from Nebraska pay off with third place in 38:00. The Queen of the LRT is non other than Karen Brocket in a time of 47:25.
Monday, March 10, 2014
During the 2nd lap Christopher continued to ride well and actually caught and passed me. That is correct. I got beat by my son. Sure I had some mishaps, but most everyone did. When he passed me I was actually in shock. Was he riding that well or was I just riding like a candy ass? I picked up the pace and caught back up to him and sure enough he was passing other riders. I followed him by a few of the riders, but then when we reached the start of lap 3 and returned to the really slick rocky sections of the course, he left me. Straight up left me.I finally found a good line up Hank Hill and when I reached it on lap 3 I saw that Christopher
had gotten stuck in about the same place that I did. He was lucky because by then there were course workers helping everyone get up. Where the heck were those guys when I got stuck???? I was going to stop and help him, but decide to let him get up by himself. I set off and actually started passing riders on the last lap. The last 5 miles I rode well and it ended up being my fasted lap of the day.
Sunday, February 23, 2014
Truth be told I did not really want to make the 3 hour drive up to Cumming, Iowa for the race. My longest ride so far this year was only 45 miles and that was in friendly gravel grinding conditions. The area got a few inches of snow during the week. Most of it was either packed down frozen or quickly becoming a muddy energy sapping nightmare.
Bike setup and gear choice is always hard to do on days like this. I wanted to ride my Single Speed, but the bottom bracket was all frozen up on it and needed replacing. Should I bring my old MTB with disc brakes? Would I need the tire clearance? How muddy was it going to get? Would we get lucky and the temps stay cold enough to keep the ground frozen? I decided to ride the Ritchey Swiss Cross. I knew it was going to get a little muddy and wanted to test the bike in some adverse conditions. I did not dream the conditions would deteriorate so much out on course. I am glad I rocked the Komando 700 x 32 tires instead of larger tires. The added frame clearance helped.
The check point offered a chance to refuel, fill up those empty water bottles and have a beer. I want to know where the bacon is? The Dakota 50 has bacon and bear. Is that the best combination or what?
I arrived at the check point ready to call it a day. My legs were already tired, I could not see out of my glasses due to the mud and my back was starting to hurt. Carolynn said I was doing great and looked good. I personally thought I looked liked hell. I sure as heck felt like hell.
I started to eat some and drank an entire water bottle. I had drank two full bottles and was started to get some leg cramps. I cleaned out my frozen gears an and decided to keep going. I knew if I quit I would be very disappointed with myself. How much worse could it get?
I rolled out from the check point with clean shifting bike, three water bottles and a new attitude.
What does a wife do while her husband is suffering like dog? Mine goes to sample the local Moon Shine. Here I thought you were all worried about me.
Conditions really deteriorated especially on the hills where the sun shined on them. The flats were really not bad. Those bastard climbs were a different story. Trying to find the best line, one that would not cause your tires to sink down in the peanut butter mud, was very hard. Usually it was best to ride in the wet mud. If you got in sections that were drying out it collected on your wheels and you soon stopped rolling. On some of the climbs I actually thought I was going to snap a chain.
Results got posted. Some interesting results. I rolled into the first check point at 2:05. The last 2 times I participated in CIRREM I rolled that same check point in 2:05 and 2:08. This year I lost over and hour on the back side of the course. My best finish was 4:20. This year it was 5:19. Mostly due to conditions but it just shows how important conditioning is. You can fake short events but once you get past the 3 hour range fitness really stands out. Looks like I need some more saddle time.