Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Last God's Country?

It is hard to believe that 11 years ago Gerard, Carolynn and I started this little event called the God's Country Off-Road Duathlon. This years edition was the 10th Annual as we took a year off due to total exhaustion. Does anyone remember where that first event was held?

I had some big goals for this years event and decided we should make a weekend festival of it - God's Country Fat Tire Festival. The plan was to hold a traditional mountain bike race (UFD round #1) on Saturday and then our big duathlon on Sunday. A weeks worth of rain put a damper on our plans a little and hit us big with final registration numbers. We still had some good numbers, but we did not reach my goal which I will talk about later. The LRT dried out so quickly that it ended up that we could have raced on Saturday after all. But I guess better safe that sorry. Sunday's course conditions were the best I have ever seen. Our MTB race well be held on April 7, 2012 at the same great location.

This past week was very, very stressful and tiring. Adding event promotion to a full time job is bad enough, but with all the weather issues and big decisions that had to be made I was at my ends wit come Friday. Maybe it was a good thing we postponed the MTB race because I really do not know if we could have pulled off a two event weekend. Luckily we had some great volunteers that turned up and lent us a helping hand. Thanks to everyone who helped out on Saturday and Sunday. I have said this before, but without volunteers events just would not happen. It takes a good leader and a great team to make things happen.

My legs felt like crap Sunday morning and when it came time to finish loading up the trailer Sunday morning at 4:30 am I looked at the final piece of equipment (my Anthem X) I decided to go ahead and bring it just in case I need to do any final trail marking. Race morning went smoothly again thanks to the volunteers and everything being somewhat organized on my part. As the racers started to arrive I got the "racing bug" and started mulling participating. About 30 minutes before the start I got dressed and went out to make sure the course was marked well enough and that the Patrol was in place. Everything was fine so I decided to just go ahead and line up and at least start the event. A quick run to the packet pickup to get my bib number and timing chip and I was officially in the event - Short Course option.

I briefly went over race instructions and lined up with the rest of the field. All the fast guys were lined up front including two time winner Tige Lamb. I opted to get about mid-pack. With tired legs you never want to start out to quickly. Christopher sounded the air horn and we were off.
The first run which is ~ 2 miles long (many stated the run was long at about 2.3 miles and I think they are correct :-)) starts on the Levee and then heads down to the single track. I always seem to run quicker in the woods than on roads be them gravel or pavement. I was way back in the field at the start but once we hit the single track I started making up ground quickly. My final mile was a good one as I finally got this old body of mine warmed up and rolling. After a quick transition I was off on the bike. The first several miles were filled with riders. Passing was a slow process. At least for me it was. I am usually a little aggressive with passing, but being the event promoter you really have to be nice :-) A little after the big log section I finally was able to bring the pace up to race speed. Most of the fast guys like Tige and JP were gone by this point, but I still put in a solid effort on the bike. I knew Eric was close behind me but felt like I was close to the overall lead on the Short course. Heather asked if anyone would finish under an hour and I said I would finish in around 55 min. Check out the photo on the right. One thing I do know is my body and the effort I can put out on a given day. Some days it's not much of an effort, but sometimes .... End result was 1st in the Male 40 - 49 division and 2nd overall short course.

My form is coming along. The past two weeks I have actually regressed some due to all the additional work I have done and the missed training due to said work. I still have a lot of ground to cover if I want to do well at this years Xterra events including the UCI Cross World Championships in May. This is one of the main reasons that this just may be my last God's Country Off-Road Duathlon. It takes a lot of time and commitment to promote events. There is only so much time available in ones life. Luckily my wife and son support me and whatever I decide. Maybe it is time to give more to them? The other reason is this may be the last one is participation numbers. I am very goal oriented if you haven't not noticed. Some objectives you have control over, others you do not. As a promoter my goals were not reached at this years event. Was that my fault? The weather? Lack of demand for the product? I feel like I have come up short this year but was it because I created unrealistic goals?

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Spring Break in Arkansas

Christopher was out on Spring Break this past week. Normally the family heads down to Florida when he has a week or more off to take advantage of the extra time off from school. But this year we decided to stay a little closer to home so we could spend more time preparing for our upcoming events (God's Country, Ouachita Challenge and Bone Bender 3/6 Hour).

On the way down we hit Slaughter Pen. What a fun place to ride. I can not believe that I have lived here for 13 years and have not ever ridden there. And it is less than a 4 hour drive. We had a blast and I can tell you that it will not take me another 13 years to visit those sweet trails again.

A little hiking was on tap Wednesday. We ventured up to the highest point in Arkansas which is located in Mount Magazine State Park. Christopher was not very impressed, but then again he does not like slow sports like hiking. I am currently planning to embark on one of my "Bucket List" objects - hiking the Appalachian Trail

Thursday we headed out to see how much of the Huckelberry Mountain Trails we could ride. These trails are located in the Ozark National Forest and are 34 miles long. Some of the miles are easy, but some are very hard core. I was afraid that Carolynn and Christopher would not enjoy them, especially the icy cold stream crossings, but they both liked our days adventure.

Good food (and fattening) was always close by in Arkansas. Along with my favorite beverage - Sweet Tea. I tried to eat healthy and get closer to my "racing weight" and ordered baked potatoes when I could. A this small hometown eatery they gave me over 10 butters with my order. With the size of our waitress I do believe the folks down there use every one of them.

Friday we enjoyed a day of ATV riding. I grew up on motorcycles and ATC's and have ridden thousands of miles on them. This trip was Carolynn's and Christopher's second time. Riding ATV's can be fun, but not at the pace our tour guide was going. We ended up having to slow down and allow the guide to get up ahead of the trail then we would blast up or down them and quickly catch back up. All along Christopher would hit every mud hole there was. Both of them were a filthy mess at the end.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Color Blind

11 is the number of years that I have promoted events locally here in Kansas & Missouri. Even with that many years, it does not get any easier. Mostly because I am a detailed orientated person (I think I might have OCD). You would think that deciding on t-shirt colors would be a simple choice, but it is the little decisions like color choice that cause me stress.

God's Country is two weeks away and it is time to pick the t-shirt color. Any suggestions?

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Team USA

I decided to go ahead and apply for the ITU 2012 World Cross Triathlon Championships last month. It was a very long shot considering that they only take 4 spots for each 5 year age-group.

Not many people know this, but triathlon was actually one of my original sports. I grew up racing Motocross, but injuries forced me to find something else to feed my competitive urges. I took up triathlon way back in 1988. I was actually very good age-grouper and even ha
d bike spits in the top 5 with the likes of Pro Mike Pigg. Of course most everyone ran twice as fast as I and I would end up being passed by 500 plus runners....

Yesterday I get the following in the mail....

Congratulations! You are being contacted because you have been
selected to receive a spot on Team USA for the 2012 ITU Cross Triathlon World Championship. The 2012 World Championships are set to take place May 19, 2012 in Pelham, Alabama. For more information about the World Championships please visit the Team USA website (

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Free Entry Contest #2

Round #2 of our free entry contest. This one is another guess the location contest. After about a 1/2 days work I got out for a 45 mile ride and really enjoy this spring like weather. That was until I headed back home into that darn wind. Below is a very unique sign that I saw while out on a training ride.

First person to correctly guess what road this sign is on receives a free entry into either the God's Country or Bone Bender events.

Good luck!