Monday, March 29, 2010

2010 Ouachita Challenge Race Report

The Ouachita Challenge is just that, a Challenge. Just to finish the event you need to be prepared mentally, physically and be ready for anything. You never know what is going to challenge you come race day. They course could come up to bit you are mother nature could unleash her wrath like it during Saturday's tour event with hail. Luckily for the tour riders they did not have to ride over Blowout Mountain due to it being impassable on Saturday.

Sunday's Course featured (and included the famed Blowout Mountain) 68 miles and 6,932 feet of climbing. Check out jmilliron's Garmin Connect of the Ouachita Challenge. I was kind of hoping that they left Blowout Mtn out for Sunday also due to me riding the hard tail this year, but the Bandersnatch actually did very well especially climbing up the beast. Blowout features plenty of rock gardens which I was happy to be able to climb. During the race I was able to pass a dozen or so riders because I was able to them. I will give it to the 29er's that they did allow me to ride over some stuff more easily than with my 26er. But I did miss the FS on the decent :-)

Sunday morning came and I felt ready for event. A nice pasta breakfast and some fruit and I was all set. Some big boys were in town for this years event. The OC has really taken off as a "must do" endurance event. I just wish they would open up the number of slots available. I somehow found myself up on the front row. Well, at least I would not have to worry about being claustrophobic in the pack.

The race started with a neutral roll out for the first several miles. We had to follow a road recumbent until the first section of gravel then the race was ON. The speed shot up very quickly as Jeff Kerkove took to the front driving the pace early on. I was up towards the front for the first several miles, but the effort was a little out of my comfort range. I knew I would be in the saddle for close to 6 hours so I backed it down and fell back to the second group. There I felt more comfortable, but the pace was still crazy fast. It was more like a criterium race than a mountain bike race. Everyone was jocking for position to stay out of the wind. One asshole about took out some riders most likely because he was playing his ipod so loudly that they he could not ear anything else. When we approached the first single track section I let a few rider get between us so I would not have to listen to the crap that he was playing.

Everything was going great until the aid station #1 at Big Brushy. The plan was for Carolynn to have my two water bottles filled with ProLong, a bar or two and a coke. I would also put on a camel back because I had to make it to aid station #3 without any further aid. The rider/support crew on the left did it the correct way. Nice clean fast hand-up. Mine did not go as swiftly. Poor Carolynn was so cold (the temps were in the 40's, overcast along with a stiff wind) she somehow became distracted and forgot my bottles. She ran to get them at about the same time I arrived at the aid station I looked for her and finally saw her and yelled asking where everything was. The bars, camel back, coke, chapstick were all ready but no ProLong which was my main energy source for the day. Apparently I have an anger control problem and made fuss about my bottles not being ready, which by the way I do not even remember doing, and cussed some which I am sorry for. Maybe next year Carolynn and I will both do the race and we will just rely on the great volunteers that they have. We can even carry our own supply of peanut butter like Gerard did.

I was soon back on my way trying to put the frustration away from having worked so hard to pass riders on the trail only to have them pass me back at the aid station. I soon ran into another problem. I bombed the downhill just prior to the aid station and a large rock hit my rear triangle. I was going to look at it at the aid station, but things got all frantic so I forgot. I stopped just after the road crossing to Blowout Mountain and took a quick look. My brake was dragging a lot and I could not tell if the brake rotor was bent or what. I realigned the rear wheel which did not help, I then loosen the brake caliper and aligned it. This helped a little, but showed the real problem - a bent brake rotor. I tried to fix it the best I could but there was nothing to do but move on. I joined the race (again being passed by a few dozen riders) just when my teammate John Wagner was riding by.

John was riding well, especially the descents. Me on the other hand took the downhills with a bit of caution. I could not see the trail very well with all the leaves. I should have switched to my prescription Rudy's but as I mentioned about, the first aid station did not go to well. We rode together until we started to climb up Blowout Mountain. At that time I really made up some time as I was able to climb the beast all the way to the top. Most others were walking which made the passing easy. Once to the top you get to enjoy some of the most difficult single track (if you want to call it that) I have ever seen. I tried (and succeed) riding several of the more difficult section,s but chose not to try some due to not wanted to tear a side wall or more importantly my flesh.

The next couple of hours featured some really cool single track, gravel roads and the climb up Wolf Mountain. This years course used some of the trial that last years 80 miler used. Very nice and I could see why everyone enjoyed the route so much last year. I hooked up with a High Gear rider on the gravel road sections. We worked together well and brought back riders including his team mate. These guys were fun to ride with. After the finish we all enjoyed some post race food. The volunteers and organization at the OC are first class all the way.

The last two aid stations when very well, but I was behind that 8 ball with my nutrition and hydration. The effects of the course, running out of food/water and the weather started to creep up on me around the 50 mile mark. The last 18 miles I fought hard to avoid total lock out from leg cramps. As I passed others riders who had stopped due to cramps I just kept hoping I could ride through them. The final section of trail along the Womble was awesome. I caught a lot of riders and put time on some of the guys that I was riding with. The Vassago was flowing great, I just wish my legs were not cramping or I would have really be able to press the pace. The final 4 miles after we exited the trail was gravel and road. The wind kicked my butt and I was cramping really bad. 3 guys got by me in the last mile.

All in all, I had a very solid event. My form was good, I just got a little behind in my calorie/water intake and paid the price later in the day. My goal time was 6 hours, so with the problems encountered, I will take my finishing time of 6:18.

Here are the rest of the photos that Carolynn took at the 2010 Ouachita Challenge.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Ouachita Challenge Here I Come v3

Carolynn and I are headed down to Oden, Arkansas this weekend for a little get away named the Ouachita Challenge (OC). The OC has become a tradition for us and Cow Town. Several riders from the team are joining us including Gerard Arantowicz, John Wagner, Mike Classen and Keith Baker.

Form is solid when it comes to the distance (60 miles), but I am lacking some high end. My only real goal is to have some fun and enjoy the trails down in Arkansas. If my legs are well rested I know I will be good for the final 20 miles. The course Speaking of the trails, Jeff Kerkove is down already doing some pre-riding and I forgot how technical some of the trails are. He posted a little clip on his site. Hopefully I will remember how to ride the stuff because it has been several months since I have ridden any technical trails.

This year I am going with a tried and true race diet. Last year I bonked really bad, but this year I plan to eat my ass off, especially for my morning breakfast. I can still feel the hungry pains from last year when all I had was "special" drink and nothing else prior to the start. ProLong will be in my water bottles. I have had some good results with it during this winter including both the Chucky's Challenge and CIRREM. The one thing that is not tried and true is my new rig for the ride. I have only hit the River Trails once to break her in. I was unsure if I should use my Giant Anthem or the Vassago. After testing both side-by-side earlier this week, I decided to go withe the big V mainly due to it fits me very well. Hopefully I will get a new Giant later this year. Maybe their new F/S 29er that is coming out.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

God's Country Off-Road Duathlon

Winter has come to an end and the date for the 8th Annual God’s Country Off-Road Duathlon is fast approaching. Only 3 more weeks left until the fun begins on April 11th.

Entries are filling up fast. So far, we have 112 entries. Field limit is set at 200 so please register soon. We expect this year’s event to sell out. Early registration ends 3/31 so don’t delay.

This year’s God’s Country Off-Road Duathlon features:

  • Chip timing by RaceDay Timing Solutions
  • Custom awards in 5 year age-groups
  • Photographs by Eclectic Arts Images
  • Custom event t-shirts
  • A great course which guarantees a ton of fun
  • USA Triathlon sanctioning

Duathlon Course:

2 Mile Trail Run

12 Mile Mountain Bike

2 Mile Trail Run

**Discount Entry**

New this year, MultiSport Marketing, LLC is discounting entries for Students, Military, Fire and Police. We have reduced the fee to a total of only $25.00 (this includes the $10.00 USAT one-day license fee).

Our 2010 Event Sponsors:

More information can be found on our event website. If you have a specific question please email or call us.

Event website:


Phone: 816.468.4831

Thank you!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

One Sweet Ride

Finally! Dry trails. Heading out to Lawrence with high hopes that the River Trails would be dry enough to ride (Thank you Jeff for the trail report). They were not only dry enough they were in the best shape I have ever seen them. I really liked the new section in the back. Very nice indeed.

It has at been a long time since our local trails were dry enough to ride and I needed get in at least one good ride on my new rig before next weekends Ouachita Challenge. Well, I got that and more. Riding today was pure joy. It was like being a kid again with unlimited energy. Clipped off 5 laps like it was nothing.

The Bandersnatch is complete and she is One Sweet Ride! She is build with a combo XTR/XT groupo, Sun Ringle' 29er wheelset, Kenda Small Block 8's (tubeless), Manitou 29er fork, Ritchey Logic stem, bar, headset, seat and seatpost, Haynes Stroker Trail brakes, and Crank Brothers pedals. Thank you all so much for your support and product donations.

How does the "snatch" ride? Incredible. She fits me like a glove and does everything I asked her to do. The Wet Cat geometry rocks. A totally balanced ride. I was amazed at how well she cornered and I can not wait to test her out down in Arkansas next weekend. The Stroker Trail brakes were great out of the box. The Manitou fork was silky smooth. The XTR/XT group was like "butter". Of course, that could have been the awesome build job I completed.

On one of the laps I shot the below video. I was riding with one hand so take it for what it is. Maybe a waste of 4 min and 49 seconds....

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Life Getting in the Way.

Well I did it again. What, you ask? I did not listen to my body nor did I notice the signs of some serious over training. I pushed myself too hard. But how could I be over training? I am basically only riding on the weekends and getting in a few workouts during the week and a commute or two.

But the signs are there. Can they be lying? Am I just getting old? The sign that is most telling for me is total lack of motivation to go swim/ride/run. When you have to make yourself go ride it is a sign for sure. Of course, it took me over three weeks of making myself workout to realize that I am over trained.

My training volume/intensity is low, but one must not forget real life can get in the way of training. Those 10 - 12 hour days at work start to add up. The stress of those special projects and technical issues creep into your body until it is too late. The normal duties of a husband/father. And why in the hell am I still promoting events? Preparation for God's Country and Bone Bender have also done me in.

Something has to give. Either I quit work, stop promoting, resign as president of Cow Town, stop hosting rides, stop traveling to events, retire from racing or get a divorce.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

I Got a New Snatch tonight.....

.....and it looks sweet.

the build process begins. More to come soon....

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Ye Olde Gravel Grinder

Very nice workout today at the Riverside Gravel Grinder v2. Got in a little over 50 miles of some sweet gravel, new trails and trail running. It was a great day to be out side enjoying a little warmer weather and riding with my new teammate John Williams. With the new addition to the route the name is changing to the Ye Olde Gravel Grinder

I am working on some new trails at a top secret location. Should have about 2 miles soon. Not the longest trails, but a good mix and some technical fun stuff.

John and I found about 7 more miles of gravel today to add to the Riverside route. Some of it is rough, but perfect training for events like the BB36, OC and DK200.

A new event is coming to town. Stay tuned for more information of the Cow Town 200. Expect a challenging 200K adventure with a 100K option for those less so inclined.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

First Commute of 2010

I finally got my butt in gear and commuted to work today. This winter has been very busy for me and finding time to train during the week is not happening right now. It felt good to get out on the road riding instead of driving my truck.
Leave it up to me to find the one section of road that Mayor Funkhouser decided did not really need plowing or salting. On the way home I took the Cliff Drive route. Normally this is my favorite route home and allows me to get in some extra miles and I get to ride on roads with little or no traffic.
I was surprised that there was still snow on the road. Temps were in the low 40's, but Cliff Drive does have a lot of shade. Nothing like riding a road bike with 100 psi in the tires over 4 miles of packed snow. Several sections, more than I really cared for, were very icy and it took everything I had to stay upright. Riding the snow packed gravel roads lately really helped, but I sure needed the ole' cross bike today. The going got difficult at times, especially when the snow packed up in the brakes. I guess road bikes are not meant to be ridden in the snow. Still a great commute home.

Riverside Run/Bike aka Brick Training....

Some brick training....

What: Riverside Gravel Run
When: Saturday, 03/06/10 - 08:45 am start time
Where: Start at E.H. Young Riverfront Park, Riverside MO
Why: God's Country Duathlon training.....
Route: 5 miles including gravel, trail and some side walk. We can additional loops in the park for more miles before the ride.

Short break, eat then...

What: Riverside Gravel Grinder v2
When: Saturday, 03/06/10 - 10:00 am start time
Where: Start at E.H. Young Riverfront Park, Riverside MO
Who: Any and all are welcome
Why: Because there is way too much pavement in the world

Route: A mix of gravel, levee and back country roads. We will hit a little more gravel on this version. All depends on the trail condition. A good amount of road, but plenty of gravel to keep us sane. Some hills will be climbed. Any road bike with a good sturdy set of wheels can be used. Cross bike preferred, but not required. I will most likely be on my 29er this week unless I fix my broken shift levers by Saturday.....

This is a Show-N-Go ride, please bring food/water and anything you require.