Sunday, April 19, 2009

Bone Bender Race Report

This year things have been going very well for me. All the training during the winter has started to pay off. It just goes to show you that with life, you get out of it what you put in.

Bone Bender 3/6 Hour MTB Odyssey was yesterday. After a week of getting ready, everything was set for a perfect event. Friday, I worked with a great group of volunteers from the Earth Riders and Smithville Trail group to get everything setup for the BB3/6. The course was in perfect condition. We had everything in place. The only thing unknown was if we would have rain Saturday morning. The rain forecast was relatively low when I went to bed Friday night. The forecast was a little sketchy when I got up at 4:30am. They didn't know if the rain would make it here or not. Around 7:00am a few sprinkles started to fall as I was placing my last sign directing the racers to Sail Boat Cove. I checked my blackberry for a quick weather update. Things did not look good. Two huge bands of rain were on the way and another one was possible. Another muddy race at Smithville was cooking up…..

I actually thought that very few people would show up, but we had 137. Not bad for a first year event and a mud fest. We would have had close to 175 or more if that darn rain would not have hit us. Still we raised some good money for ERTA (over $2000.00). I hope everyone will come back to the Bone Bender next year so they have a chance to enjoy our great trails. We may consider moving the date closer to Summer time in hopes of having drier weather. Anyone have suggestions?

How did my race go you ask? Well, I didn't plan to race, but Todd and the Earth Riders stepped up big time by having scoring covered and all the other details, so I jumped in. No warm up, no pre-race bike check and no pre-race meal. No worries either. I was just going out to have a good time riding for 3 hours. I figured I would be finished with the 3 hour event to help with the awards in enough time.

I lined up for the running start to our bikes. I usually try hard to stay towards the front, but I just jogged to my bike, and was still was in the top 25. I rolled the old Mary Single Speed into the first muddy section of the course. Riders were all over the place. I just kept her straight and soon found myself passing riders every couple sections without even trying. It was actually very comical watching the riders slide out and/or crash. Soon we hit the back side of the course and onto Lake Side Speedway. I only saw a couple of tire prints so I knew I was towards the front. The next two miles were very challenging. The mud was sticking to everything. Wheels stopped spinning at the bottom and I looked down to a solid mud machine. I tried to carry the bike through this section of mud, but it seemed like it weighed 50 lbs. I used my hands and started to dig into the mud on my frame. I developed a technique where I would run at the same time as I was clearing off the mud from my tires. I would then clear my drive train with my fingers and I was off for another ½ mile or so until it got too bad again. I hit one road crossing and Rich told me that I was in 3rd place overall. I did not know if the guys up ahead were in the 6 hour or not, but I put the old body in full race mode and set off to see if I could catch them.

The remainder of the first lap was not that bad. There was water on parts of the trail, which was good. I would hit the water and this would clear off some mud. I wish it never stopped raining. The event would have been better for everyone if it would have just rained all day. I hit the last 4 miles of the trail hard and distanced myself from the other 125+. When I reached the finish of lap 1 Carolynn told me I was in 1st place overall in the 3 hour division. Brian and Dwayne were out front leading, but those studs were in the 6 hour solo division.

The next lap went well for the first 5 miles. I started to lap riders who were still on their 1st lap. I tried to give them motivation telling them that the course is drying out and things will get better. I gave this up after some lady called me Dick Dobber. The sections of the trail that were muddy the first lap were actually starting to dry some and you could ride them (or at least I could as some were still walking). The parts of the trail that had water on them earlier was now ankle deep mud. Single Speed and frame clearance were the key words today. The ticket would have been a set of 700 x 38 cross tires on my 29er.

In the end I won the 3 hour Single Speed class and the 3 Hour overall. I have donated my winnings to ERTA. I felt guilty taking money from the promoter.

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