Saturday, April 20, 2013

The Bone Bender Report

Another Bone Bender 3/6 Hour has come and gone.  I must say this one might have been the easiest to promote.  With a great team (Cow Town Cycling, The Wheel CycleryTeam Go Racing and Lantern Rouge) and support from the cycling community and the Trail Patrol the Bone Bender lived on this year.  Thank you to all the volunteers that really stepped up this year to help.  A special Thank You needs to go out to Jeff Arnaud who put in many hours to make sure we had a great course this year.  One person that really needs the biggest Thank you is my wife Carolynn.  She is basically the glue that holds all these events together.  Plus she feeds us :-)

 Do not forget to check out and order your Bart Cox photos - Bart Cox Bone Bender Photos

The BB36 was started as a fundraiser.  We continue to hold the event to raise money for local organizations.  Last year was about a wash as we spent as much money as we earned.  This year we tried to keep our expenses in line and did a better job of it.  So far this year we have donated over $2,000.00 to the Kansas Trails Council, Lawrence Mountain Bike Club and the Kansas Department of Wildlife,Parks and Tourism.

Bone Bender has grown in reach.  This year we had riders from 13 states come participate - North Dakota, Minnesota, Arizona, Wisconsin, Utah, Pennsylvania, Arkansas,  Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, Illinois, Colorado, and Missouri.  While the reach has grown, the overall numbers have stayed about the same.  Which has me asking myself this question.  Is the Bone Bender course too hard?  It only seems like the true hard core mountain bikers come back year after year.  Maybe that is the way it should be.

 The work never seems to end when you promote a race but that is part of the game and most likely why so very few step to promote an event.  What was I doing Monday after the race?  Freezing my butt off cleaning up the course.  I collected enough course markings and trash (water bottles, food/gel wrappers,etc) to fill 4 backpacks.  I worked until dark and luckily Jeff was able to come out before dark fell and take care of the campground #3 loop or I would have froze to death (under dressed big time...)

Overall the 5th Annual Bone Bender was a success.  Look for some changes in 2014 and beyond.  If you have any suggestions let me know. I have some ideas but would love to hear yours. 

Thank you to all our sponsors who made Bone Bender possible.

Bart Cox Photography
Chamos Butt'r
Hammer Nutrition
Jewel Cartoons
Lantern Rouge Volunteer Group
MultiSport Marketing, LLC
Schnick Construction, Inc.
The Wheel Cyclery

Monday, April 15, 2013

Bone Bender 3/6 Hour Pictures

Some photos from yesterdays Bone Bender.  I did not get as many as I wanted.  We had an injured rider that we had to take care of and things just got busy from there.  Kind of tired now but I will post a full report later this week.

5th Annual Bone Bender 3/6 Hour Pictures

Monday, April 8, 2013

Milford Lake Hare Scrambles Report

Things have been very busy and stressful around the Locke household.   We just got done with God's Country and now Bone Bender is just around the corner (Sunday, April 14, 2013).  We decided to take a day off and forget cycling and race promotion and just go ride our motorcycles.

The Forward Motion Hare Scrambles Series as been trying to kick off its 2013 season since February.  The first two events were postponed due to weather.  Just our luck that they postponed Round #1 until April 7.  We have very limited places to ride motorcycles around here and quite honestly the only time to ride is on practice days at MX tracks and Hare Scramble events like Sunday's Milton Lake round.

I was really nervous before the start.  Not for myself because I was very limited to as to how hard I could ride due to my wrist.  To be honest, it really doesn't hurt while riding my motorcycle.  I always make sure to stand up when I can and also to use my legs to grip the bike. The plus side of it is that it is my left hand and not my throttle hand.  I can wear a brace and tape my wrist up enough so I get very limited movement.  What I was nervous about was Christopher and how he would handle all the dust. Crashes happen more often when you can't see where you are going :-)

Just like any form of racing, starts are very critical in Hare Scrambles. Get behind 20 to 30+ guys and it can make for a long day in the saddle.  It is especially more dangerous to be behind and have limited visibility when it is dusty.  I wish I would have had more time to practice starts with Christopher.  You can tell him all day long how to "get it done" but practice is what it takes.  Today's start was on the beach which was a rocky shoreline.  Keys to a good start besides getting that bike started are reaction time, throttle control, clutch control and commitment. On the left above is how it is done correctly.  Yes, that me in the red at the top of the hill getting the holeshot clear of the dust and safely ahead of everyone.   On the right above is Christopher (just in front on the guy on the KTM  in the orange kit) not getting the holeshot and having to work his way through the 28 rider pack.   To Christopher's credit he did just that and came around the first lap in 4th place.  He is getting the speed but did he train enough during the off season and listen to his Dad?  Read on for the answer.

I set off on my own race and all the mental training exercises that I performed during the off-season started to come into play.  Stand up in the corners, squeeze the bike, keep your feet on the pegs, keep the weight forward and control everything with proper balance and throttle control.  Christopher was also looking good on the first lap and worked his way up to 4th place by the laps end.  But would his lazy form catch up to him later in the race?  Elbows up son, palms out and get you ass off the seat.  Use those powerful legs your Mom gave you and most importantly use your head.

The laps started to click off quickly for me even with a few issues with lapped riders and catching up to classes that started before me my event was a nice safe one up front.  I led every lap just like I had visualized during my off-season training.  My only problem was when I came up on some riders in the trail.  Someone was off his bike and was trying to start a juniors bike on this rocky uphill section.  I was so focused on the event and saw an opening between the gentleman  trying to start the bike and went for it.  I honestly thought I could make it, but the rocks were so slick that I went down. That is when I saw the junior rider who was along the side of the trail.  I about freaked out. I slowly picked up my bike and gingerly released the clutch and worked my way up the hill without kicking up any rocks on them.   In hindsight I should not have attempted such a move, especially with a junior rider.  This is one thing I do not like about racing - the events that can and do happen.  Some are in your control while many others are not.  This is the risk that we all take when we take on a challenge.

I had somewhat of a troublesome lap after that incident.  I felt really bad and I made some mistakes because I had lost concentration.  Isn't it funny how the mind works?   The best thing for me to do was to regroup and focus on fundamentals.  I started to take different lines and really focused on my strong skills like sandy sections and whoops.  In every rough section I would just float the front end and keep the power on.  Christopher says it sounds easy enough, but he still hasn't gotten the hang of it.

As you can tell, I get a kick out of picking on Christopher's form.  I do this mostly because he makes fun of me when we ride technical trails on the mountain bike and he just leaves me behind.  Motorcycle racing is my last salvation and I do know that will soon come to an end.

 Like I mentioned above, Christopher had a great first lap and passed a lot of people (which is very hard to do).  Fatigue and lack of training started to take effect on laps 2 and 3 and he got passed by a couple of riders.  The 4th and 5th lap blisters started to develop on his hands and it became very hard for him to ride safely.   He elected to not go out on his 6th lap.  This cost him a top 5 finish, but he was still happy with his ride.  I think he is slowly realizing that you get out of life what you put in.   For me I met my goals which were to ride within myself, not re-injure my wrist, have consistent lap times, stay focused mentally (and get refocused if I lost that focus) and put all the training I did over the winter and have a good result.   I got in 7 laps and took the win in the Senior 45+ class.  I will take it.

Christopher and I would both like to thank Carolynn for coming out and spending the day with us.  You took care of us, kept us hydrated, captured some great photos and are well on your way to forming a one woman pit crew.