Sunday, April 29, 2012

Behind the Eight Ball

Drains the Life out of you.....It took two weeks, but I have finally recovered enough from promoting 3 events to resume a normal life and training schedule.  It is amazing how event promotion just drains the life out of you.   It would not be as bad if you did not have to worry about the weather and trail conditions or have to answer the hundreds of emails about "is the event going to take place" or "it is raining at my house is it raining on the course", or "I am afraid to get wet".  I am glad that is over.

Behind the Eight Ball.....Saturday I ventured over to participate in Roger's Lanterne Rough 10K Time Trial. Earlier in the week I got my TT bike out and did some test rides.  I was happy that my position felt good and some short interval efforts resulted in some good times (15:10 & 15:26  for 10K repeats) especially considering I have not really done much interval training this year.  Most of my training has been OD/End type training as I was not expecting to race much this Spring.  My goal was close to 15 min and hopefully be around 14:50 or so if I had good legs.  Saturday morning was one of those days that I would just as soon forget.  Stomach problems on Thursday/Friday left me feeling very weak and not really wanting to ride let alone race.  But I wanted to go out and participate in the last Lanterne Rouge TT and support Roger.   Conditions were a bit windy and chilly prior to the race.  I wish I had brought my new long sleeve CX kit but thought it would be too warm for it.  I was wrong and did my best to keep warm and get ready for my 9:20 start time.   I rolled up to the start and got into position with Gerard holding me.  That was nice of Gerard to volunteer for the event helping out at both registration and as the designated holder.  5, 4, 3, 2, 1 and I am off.  First mile went well I thought and I was pushing a big gear into the head wind.   Some rollers kicked in during the next two miles. Those combined with a strong wind really kicked my already tired butt.  I had to drop down several gears just to make it over the hills as I was just not producing any power today.  By the time I reached Roger at the turn-around I was done.  I could hear Roger yell "you have the wind now".   No amount of wind could help me on this day.  That was the longest 3 mile return back to the start ever.  I think I could have run back quicker.   A very disappointing 16:20 finishing time does not really reflect my current form.  I am "Behind the Eight Ball" as far as form goes, but I should have done much better.  

So little time to prepare.....One of my big goals in Triathlon was to make Team USA but my running form never allowed that.  However,  I was recently fortunate enough  to be selected to be on Team USA in the Male 45-49 division at the upcoming 2012 ITU World Cross Triathlon Championships.  One of the few things I have ever been o.k. at was riding off-road.  The bad part is I only have 3 more weeks to prepare.  As I mentioned before I was not really planning on racing much this Spring due to the events that I was promoting and my current work load at work.  If the event was going to be held in July/August, I would be much better prepared.  No use complaining however.   Time to get out there and train as hard has a can without over doing it.  That is the key for me - No Over Training.   Next weekend is the annual triathlon on the Fort Leavenworth base.  The bike course is really tough and will be a good test.  

Friday, April 20, 2012

The Bonder Bender 3/6 Hour Report

First I wanted to thank all the volunteers and sponsors that made this event possible.  There were over 20 volunteers that made the 4th Annual Bone Bender a success.  We could have used 20 more, but those that did take the time to give back to our sport I really Thank you!  Members of Cow Town Cycling, KTC, LMBC , Midwest Trail Patrol & the Lanterne Rouge really kicked in over the last two days to make it happen.  Thank you to our great sponsors who again supported the BB36: The Wheel Cyclery, Hammer Nutrition, Paceline Products, Pot Pie and Bart Cox Photography.

 One thing that I always like to have at our event is good food that is included in the event.  Thanks to Mr. John Williams, Mr. Anderson as always my lovely wife Carolynn we were able to bring some mighty fine food.

Two people that really made this event happen, gave me 100% support even through all my throw fits during that last week are Carolynn and Christopher.  I told them that this would be the last time they had to endure it and I meant it.   

Where did the Bone Bender come from anyways?

I started working the Bone Bender about 5 years ago.   I was planning an Xterra Triathlon with my friend/teammate Tige Lamb up at Smithville Lake.  Off-Road Triathlons are my favorite event and we did not have one in this area, plus I thought Smithville would be the ideal location for an Xterra.  I decided to put the event on hold mainly because I could not get the support for water patrol for the swim portion.  The liability was just to great and I did not want to take the risk at the time.  Fast forward a few months and I come to find out that ERTA (Earth Riders Trail Association) needs some help raising funds to pay off some equipment.  I offer an event that I was working on, the Bone Bender 3/6 hour MTB Odyssey up as a way to raise funds for local trails.  What better way to raise money and give back to the sport than to put on a kick ass mountain bike race.   We put together a good team of volunteers that first two years and produced two quality events up at Smithville.  I thought it was a good start to an event that the local cycling community could call their own and use to raise funds for ERTA.

Why did you move the Bone Bender?

As I start to work on the 3rd Annual BB36 I get this letter from the President of ERTA that states "ERTA will not be involved in the Bone Bender race in 2011".  Basically, Thanks for your support, but we do not need you anymore.  I must tell you that this really did hurt my feelings as I basically gave this event to them to use as a fundraiser. Carolynn and I took on all the liability with ERTA not being responsible for anything but cashing the check.  But like I always tell my son Christopher, "No One Owes You a Damn Thing".  I thought about about not holding the BB36 anymore, but still felt that this event could be a "community" event and help and benefit everyone.  Because that Smithville Trail Crew and ERTA did not want the BB36 anymore I had to find another location and benefiting organization.  As my Father Al always said "One person does not stop the show"  referring to the countless times when someone would not work or complete a job thinking that he would just quit or back down. 

Can we find a new home for Bone Bender?

I talk to my good friend Gerard and we discuss the possibility of moving the Bone Bender to Clinton Lake.  He agrees that it is a great idea and we move forward with getting permission (no small task) and permits.  A ton of work goes into the next two years to make and grow the Bone Bender into a regional event that attracts hundreds of riders.  

Where to now?

As of now I am unsure of future of the Bone Bender 3/6 Hour MTB Odyssey. I guess it all depends on if the "Community" still wants this event and will they continue to support it.  For me, I am taking a break from promoting.   Time to focus on my family and selflessly myself.

Monday, April 16, 2012

2012 Bone Bender Pictures

Guru was out taking some photos. He does not mind you using his photos, but please give credit.

Photos copyrighted 2012

Sunday, April 8, 2012

God's Country Photos and Results

God's Country was a success in my books. I saw a lot of new riders which is what I like to see. It was also good to see my friends out enjoying themselves. The trails looked really fun and I wish I was able to ride. Christopher did also, but he opted to not race so he could help out the team and make sure there was enough help.

Thank you to everyone who came out yesterday and trusted me that when I said the trails were fine that I was telling the truth. I got 17 text messages over 20 missed phone calls asking me if the event was going to be postponed due to a little rain. Sorry I did not respond to all of them. Just no time with setting up the event.

I just wanted to send out a special Thank you to Art King, Tim Greene, Mabrey Wathen, David Wathen, Roger Harrison, Michael Mathews, Cynthia Twibell, Chris Love, Sean Gaulter, Tina & Shawna, Shirley A Lamb Emmert, Lisa and Ron Schnick, Frank Ferguson, Jeff Arnaud, Bob Tarne, Gerard Arantowicz, Carly Teater, Dan and Heather Jordan, Carolynn Locke , Christopher Locke, LMBC Trail Patrol, Midwest Mountain Bike Patrol, The Wheel Cyclery and Lawrence Mountain Bike Patrol for helping make yesterday's God's Country Mountain Bike Classic possible.

Results are up. Check out

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

2012 Ouachita Challenge Race Report

Another fun Ouachita Challenge is in the books. This year I opted to ride with my son Christopher. After taking about 3 years off the bike he started riding some recently and said to sign him up when registration opened. I told him that he would need to train some over the winter to get in shape to be able to finish. He agreed so I signed him up and put the OC as ha "C" event on my forward 4 months and Christopher had only ridden a handful of times off-road and about the same on gravel/road. Would this be enough?

Please let me by.....We lined up towards the back of the field with the intent on pacing ourselves and having a good time. Our finish time was not important. Everything started off good and we kept a relaxed pace on the 9 mile gravel road trip out to the first section of single track. The good thing about this plan was we conserved energy. The bad thing is you end up getting stuck behind some very slow riders that lack any technical ability. The trails are only so wide and generally slower riders will let you pass with no problem. Well we encountered that 1 in 9999 rider that refused to let us by and did everything in his power to prevent us. I could here him say "I payed my entry so you can just go F off". As we rode behind this guy for over 10 minutes. I, along with several other riders, tried to pass and kept asking to get by and rang our bells until our thumbs hurt. Some riders even got off their bike and tried to cut the trail and ended up just falling. If I was riding alone and did not have my son I can tell you with 100% certainty that I would have found a way quickly around him. But I new Christopher would not be able to put an aggressive pass on him nor did I really want to set a bad example. Finally, after several miles (I still do not know how I actually was able to contain myself for that long) the guy pulled over and let the 15+ riders go by.

Some sweet single track.....We finally got rolling on the sweet single track of the Ouachita trail heading towards our first aid station at Big Brushy Creek. Christopher was riding very well and picked up the pace. He was handling the descents a lot better than the climbs, but still our pace was good and we started to catch other riders. I could see our teammates Tim Greene and Sean G. ahead of us. I was actually very surprised that Christopher was actually catching them. I let him ride his own pace but kept asking if he was o.k. and to make sure he stayed hydrated and ate. He Speaking of eating. I use Hammer products and trust them because they work. Of course nothing works if you do not use it and having easy access to my gel flask is important. Important enough to buy a flask holder and strap it on my stem. My review of the product is coming, but let me just say that it is a total failure on rough, technical downhills that one would encounter at such an event as this one. I ended up losing 3 new gel flask on the downhill sections. Very depressing to see you gel flask go flying down the trail in front of you. Especially since I just love that Vanilla flavor :-) Maybe I went to fast I do not know. They did work great on the easy single track sections and the gravel. I will get it that, but on rough stuff a Total Failure! We had a good stop and Carolynn did a great job of having everyone's food and water available.

The challenge of the day was going to be the successful navigation of Blow Out Mountain. This is one hardcore and challenge trail. To me the entire event is downhill if you survive old Blow Out..... I was totally blown away by Christopher during this section. The kid was catching groups of riders and just blowing past them as everyone was having trouble and having to walk the many technical sections. I had plans to take a lot of photos but Christopher ended up dropping me as I just could not keep up with him. Hopefully it was just the advantage of his 29er bike that he was riding and not the fact that I am just getting old.... As we dropped off of Blow Out Christopher opened up a small gap on the fast downhill section. My motto for long distance events is "save your body and your equipment" I ride well within my ability level. I have had way too many bad crashes and hits to the head. Don't want nor need any more. Fast forward a mile down the trail and has I am flying down the mountainside I come upon a nasty crash and barely come to a stop before I crash into the Black Turner 29er. Yes the same Black Turner 29er that my son was riding but where was he? He is rolling down the hill the victim of one of those tree attacks that you hear about sometimes. You know the one, the tree reaches out and grabs your bars and yanks you off your bike. I hate when that happens. First order of business is to check on the bike. Wait, that is not correct is it, first check on your only son. Then check and fix bike.

It takes awhile, but we get going again only this time at much slower pace. Bad crashes take the wind and sometimes spirits out of you. We roll into the a aid station before some more climbing and descending. I was happy to find out the Christopher had drank all of his water and Heed. We
chill out the station for awhile and allow him to eat some food. He was not looking well and I had some serious doubts as to if he could finish. We were well ahead of the cut-off times but overall fitness and being able to carry on after his crash was a major concern. Upon leaving the Blow Out / Fiddler aid station we were greeted to some of the hardest climbing of the day. This section took for what seems like hours to complete. We should have reached Sims within about 30 minutes, but this section took us well over an hour. During this section Christopher stopped several times with cramps. I told him we could not stop in the middle of the woods. There is no way out other than ride or I carry him. There was no way I was going to carry his big ass so we continued on. Before we exited the OC trail Keith Baker caught up to us and we rode into Sims together.

We meet Carolynn in Sims but still had about 6 miles to go before the first check point. Christopher realy wanted to reach that point and then was going to pack it in. I went ahead and finished up the event by myself. Christopher got in a little over 40 miles which when you consider his fitness level is actually very good. We are looking for another challenge to do this summer. We wanted to do the Dakota Five O again, but it has already sold out. We will find something because the one thing we both like about mountain biking events like the Ouachita Challenge is that they are fun. As our teammate Tige Lamb demonstrates to the left.

Monday, April 2, 2012

2012 Ouachita Challenge Pictures

All photos copyrighted.

If anyone would like a higher resolution photo just let me know.