Monday, October 29, 2012

On Any Sunday

A free weekend at last.  Nothing planned and I was really looking forward to some serious R & R.   Both my body and mind needed some rest - still not over the little flu I got back before Burning at the Bluffs 12 hour.

What to do on this Sunday?  I asked Christopher what he wanted to do.  His answer, "What else, go ride".  Only this time it was back to the motorized version of two wheel fun and a return visit to Warrensburg for myself.

Some of you may remember the Midwest Fat Tire Championship Series used to pay Warrensburg a visit.  We raced Mountain Bikes on both the "East" and "West" sides of the road.  The East side has some very cool trails that back up to the Knob Noster State Park. (Speaking of Knob Noster, they are having a race this weekend  - Possum Scramble). The West side was generally used when when it rained a lot and the creek crossing got flooded due to heavy rain.

A blast from the past.  Check out the below photos of the powerful Bikes and Boards racing team.  Four of the key members of our team back then in action at Warrensburg.

John Oberrider, Chris Locke, Brian Bass and Damian Almanza
Brain Bass before the post race beer.
Damian Leading as usual
John O chasing the dream
Chris Locke chasing Andy Brewer

It has been a month since our last ride on the motorcycles so both Christopher and I were a little rusty.  When we arrived at the race site I was surprised to see a several very muddy bikes.  Some of which were being pulled in because they were flooded out.  Warrensburg only got a couple of inches of rain earlier in the week and I honestly thought that the trails should be in prime conditions.  It was then that I remembered the famous creek crossings that Warrensburg is famous for.  Not as famous as the Black Water 100 or anything, but close :-)

Before we unloaded the bikes we walked down to the creek crossings and watch some other riders navigate the muddy mess.  I actually wanted to just head back to Grain Valley and just ride on the MX track - Christopher needs some serious corning practice anyways.  I was also concerned about his ability to make a lap on this course.  The last time he rode mud on a motorcycle was 4 years ago.  We were out behind the house in a construction area during the winter and he got off course in a big way and sunk his bike into the mud.  It took us an hour to get his bike out and him going again.  It do not want to talk about the choir of  cleaning up that motorcycle in 35 degree weather.  I can still feel the pain in my frozen fingers.  None the less, he decided he still wanted to ride and give it a try.  Sure, Dad will clean up everything anyway right?

At 1:00 pm we head out for our recon lap.   The creek crossing and mud run sections were in the first and last mile of the course.  The worst two being in the first mile right after the start.  As we approached the first mud pit I honestly did not think Christopher was going to be able to make it through.  It was very gnarly with some very deep ruts. For sure he would end up like the guy below picking up his WR250 out of the mud.   (I wish I had my Go Pro on because the footage would have been great.  With all the mud talk and all I totally forgot to put it on my helmet - Update: found the above video from #99 in Christopher's class. As you can see the start is critical along with the ability to ride mud :-)).  To my surprise, he followed me with easy as we took some good lines and got through with limited problems.  Aside from the mud holes, the Warrensburg course is very cool with mostly flowing single track.  There were no open fields and very limited places to pass safely.

We got back to our pit with only 19 minutes to get ready for the 2:00 pm start.  This put a lot of pressure on me to put some tear-offs on our goggles, fuel the bikes and try to refuel my body for the 2+ hour event.  I lined up with a minute to spare.  Poor Christopher had to line up on the second row of his class because of the large number of Trail Riders.

The start today was going to be critical.  I did not want to get behind a field full of riders going through mud and on single track trail with no place to pass.  My goal was top 3 and that is what I got.  I rolled through the first turn in 3rd and quickly moved up to 2nd place.  We hit the first mud hole and I took an outside line to take the lead only to see out of the corner of my eye a rider cutting off 1/2 the mud hole via a short cut.  I grabbed a hand full of throttle and got him back before the next muddy hill.  Poor Christopher did not fair as well as I.  He ended up outside the top 20 and had to play follow the lead for the majority of the race.  His ability to pass is not there yet.  He can ride a lot faster than he races, but just has a problem passing.  If he got in the top 5 I bet he could stay there the entire race.  Of course he would still not try and pass, but we will work on that.  He really wanted a top 10 finish before the Hare Scrambles season ended and I feel sorry that he could not make that happen.

As for me I was just not riding that well today.  Sure I was in the lead and quickly started catching the back markers in the other classes, but I just was not my self today.  When we caught up to the 600/700's guys I was having a very hard time seeing through the dust and from the glare of the sun.  You can not pass if you can not see.  Which several guys found out the hard way.  Every couple of minutes someone would try to pass and crash. After a handful of crashes and near missing on my part I started getting some serious arm pump due to riding tight.   Before I knew it I had fallen back to 3rd place in my class and was even passed by some other riders that I had passed earlier in the lap.  I got mad at myself and pushed it the last part of the lap to be 2nd at the line only 2 seconds behind the leader - Randy Lust.   I got by Randy on the second lap and put in an o.k. lap and maintained the lead on the 2nd lap but only had a 10 second lead.  Normally at the point in a race I would put in some solid laps and increase my lead.  Just as I had done the previous two rounds.  Not this day.  Fatigue really set in and I kept thinking that I was just not over my cold yet.  Add some arm pump in and you get what we got here on Sunday.  I got passed by Jimmie O'dell for the lead and he proceeded to check out mainly because I started to slow.   

I really  wanted this race to end on the 4th lap, but we came in under the 2 hour time and had to go out for a final lap.  This is when I ran into Christopher parked along the trail.  I stopped to check on him and assist.  I thought for sure he got water sucked into the carb or something from the mud.  But no, he was "just resting"  Muscling that motorcycle in the mud is kind of tiring.  He said he did not feel safe riding when he could not grip the handle bars anymore.  Smart kid because you can hurt yourself very quickly if you are not on top of your game.  The stop allowed 3rd place Randy Lusk to close in on me and make the pass for 2nd.  I had nothing for Randy the last lap and had to settle for 3rd place on the day.  Congrats to both Jimmie and Randy for great rides.  This will be the last Hare Scrambles for the season.  It was good to get in a final event and see where I stand for next year.  I have the speed, I just need to bring my A game for next season and get back into top shape. 

I asked Christopher if he enjoyed the day.  He said very much so.  That is what it is all about.  Having fun and enjoying life to its fullest.  One Any Sunday you will find us out riding and having a great time.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Pictures from Wyco Revenge

Pictures are up for today's Wyco's Revenge - Wyco's Revenge Photo Album.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Down and Burnt at the Bluffs

I put Burning at the Bluffs 12 hour event on my calendar about this time last year.  I have always wanted to participate in this event, but cyclo-cross always got in the way.  With cyclo-cross low on the importance scale now a days, I put the feelers out to see who was interested in forming a team.  The old team of the "Six Rocky Mountain Oysters" was brought out of retirement.  Damian Almanza, Tige Lamb and Myself teamed up and entered the Fast in the Past division.

Leading up to this past weekend my motivation level was high.  Endurance MTB racing, especially team events, as my favorite.  The only problem was recent injuries and sickness really put a damper on things.  A couple of months ago I injured my hip and it has just now healed up properly.  Things looked good the week prior until I came down with the flu.  I spent last week sick as a dog and stayed home eating chicken noodle soup.  

It is a long drive down to the venue at Council Bluffs.  We got to the venue with about an hour to spare for a quick recon of the course.  Tige and Damian set off to do a complete lap.  Due to my fatigue I only did a light ride to get the blood flowing in the legs.  When I returned from my little hour ride Damian was already back.  He elected to turn around and head back and save it for tomorrow.  This would turn out to bit us.   After Tige returned we cleaned up and headed to our hotel - The Shepherd Mountain Inn located in Ironton, MO which is also home of the world famous Baylee Jo's restaurant.  Ironton is a nice little town, one in which you do not even need to lock your doors.  In fact, you can just leave the key in the lock as we did....

Race morning greeted us with great mountain bike riding weather.   Good thing because it was going to be a long, long day.  It was good to see old friends.  One thing about mountain bike racing is it is more about having a good time than anything else.  The kind of that attitude is 12 hour winner Dwayne Goscinski.  I remember the first time I meet Dwayne.  He was covered in mud (from the first BB36) and totally exhausted but he was smiling and having a great time.  Our division was tough and our main competition was the team of Mike Best (Bone Bender 3 hour winner), Andy Hunsaker and Doug Davis.  If we all rode as we should it was going to be a great race.

Tige got things going with the run and first lap. He lead for the first several miles until he let Mike Best by.  In hind site he should have stayed out front as he ended up crashing head over in the rock garden section due to a bad line.  Even with the crash he can in with 1 1/2 minutes of Mike.  We were sitting in second and in a good position. 

Damian was up next.  He said he felt good and I was confident that he could catch up or at least stay with Andy.  Fast forward 1hour 5 min.  I expect Damian to be coming in any second.  I got a good warm up in and I was ready to try my best and at least keep us in the hunt.  I  knew with being sick I was not going to light the world on fire, but I was going to give one hell of a try. 

Five minutes later and no Damian.  And no Andy either.  The Wicked fast team of Bob Arnold's was the first in.  They would end up being the overall winners of the day with 11 laps in 12:19.  Soon riders started coming on dozens at a time, but still no Damian.  1:21 later Damian roles in exhausted from his 15+ mile lap.   Only problem is the course was only 13 miles.  Turns out a wrong turn caused Damian to go off course.  I was bummed, but that is part of racing.  I headed out on my lap trying to make up for lost time.  I put down a fast first 1/2 lap, but was totally dead by the 8 mile lap.  I suffered badly over the next 5 miles and lost time with some serious cramps.  This would end up being my undoing.  

Tige was up next and put in another great lap.  We still had a chance if both Damian and I put in stronger 2nd and 3rd laps.  12 hour is a long time and a lot can happen to teams.  Flat tires, cramps, crashes, lost trail?  Only problem is nothing did.  The Slow Old CurMUDgeons kept their lead the entire race and took the win.  We ended up 2nd with 10 laps in 12:38.  Tige got in 4 Laps and Damian and I got in 3 laps.  For our efforts and for staying around for 2 hours for the awards we got a bag of coffee.  Not what any off us really wanted.  We wanted a darn belt buckle.  We headed home full of coffee beans.  The ride back was less than pleasurable for me.  My stomach went sour with all the curvy roads.  I got sick as a dog and had to stop several times to try and vomit.  Only problem was there was not much in there.  We ended up getting to St. Clair and our hotel about 1:30 a.m. in the morning. 

My first Burning at the Bluffs was one that I want to forget, but I will not.  Not until I earn one of those damn buckles...

Monday, October 8, 2012

Fat Tire Tandem?

What to get Carolynn for her upcoming birthday???

Maybe it is indeed time for that mountain bike tandem.  We have been thinking about a MTB tandem for several years now.   Could we handle the local single track here in Kansas City?  Sure looks like fun below.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

The Return to Cyclocross?

 It has been 3 long years since Christopher raced his last cyclocross race.  This weekend he participated in the 360 Cup - Saturday's version.  Course looked good and the 360 crew did a great job setting up the venue.  Christopher enjoyed the course and he loved the new Ritchey Swiss Cross.

A quick look back.  Christopher used to race a lot, especially cyclocross.  He liked it, but then fell victim to a present my mom bought him - damn Xbox.  One of the worst mistakes I ever made was to allow him to start playing that thing.  As we all know, you can not do anything about the past but learn from it.

Fast forward three long years and my once little boy is now taller than I.  He has again taken interest in racing cyclocross to go along with mountain biking.  Where will it take him/us?   Who knows.  We do know that we plan to attend a few more local events.  Christopher also has an aim at the State championships in December.   If he can make some time for training after his school work then he will be right up there for a spot on the podium.  He has all kinds of room for improvement but with just a few rides shows some promise.