It took close to two weeks, but I believe I have finally recovered and healed up from this years Bone Bender Mountain Bike Challenge. For me this years event was truly a challenge in more ways than one. Luckily our crew came together as usual and pulled it off.
Volunteers. What can I say about them other than they are AWESOME. We could not have done it with each and everyone of them. A special Thank you goes out to Heather Jordan, Tom Hall, Jennifer Lowe, Rob and Shari Brotherton, Jason and Karry Schupp, Michael Matthews, Tim Greene, Cliff Jones, Roger Harrison, Gerard Arantowicz, Jeff Arnaud, Don Martin, Rich Anderson, Doug Stone, Damian Almanza and of course are road guard angles who showed up on race to day morning and offered to help out. We were really short on volunteers and they really helped.
As usual Carolynn and Christopher were a ton of help this year, but I do believe Christopher cost me more than he was worth. He spent most of the day consuming donuts. At last count he took down 8. I do not allow donuts in my household so I guess he took advantage of that fact.
I tried something different this year and changed the format of the Bone Bender to a distance event instead of timed. I did this for a couple of reason but one of them was that we could submit a bid to USA Cycling for the Marathon Regional Championships. If it was a success then maybe in another year we could bib for the Marathon National Championships. I thought that would be very cool and something our local mountain bike racers could be proud of. We ended up winning the bid and this years event was the 2014 South Central Regional Marathon Championships. Cool huh? We should get all the local racers to come out with a regional championship so close. The truth was we got very little local support and it appeared no one even cared about the event being a regional championship. Hell, some racers were surprised that they won a regional championship and a few did not even care. This was actually very depressing and a total let down for me. I know as a racer I would have been all over this event and would have been very proud to win one of those sweet regional championship medals.
One thing I was happy about was some good old friends showed up to take on the challenge of this years Bone Bender. Eric Tiffany was one of them. Riding a ridged single speed over that course was hard core. I saw a few riders out there going full ridged and Eric was one of them. I still remember Eric and I going to the Cohutta 100 and Firecracker 50 several years ago. Good times.
A huge thanks to Cliff Jones. He was our main bike patrol out on course. Luckily this year we did not need much medical support. We only had one injury that I knew of and that was mine :-)
Tim Greene pulled doubled duty over the weekend. He helped mark the course on Friday evening and Saturday morning and raced in the Marathon class. Tim did great and overcame a mechanical to take home top honors in his division. Congratulations to Tim for winning the Cat 2 Male 50+ Regional Championship. That is an honor and something to be proud of.
I actually put my kit on and was able to race. I could not race the Marathon but I got to lineup for the popular cross country class. We had one heck of a turnout for the short event. Without the XC event the event would have been a loss. I was exhausted even before the event started, but it was a nice distraction for me to be able to race. I actually had some good legs and did very well taking home the win in the 40+ XC race.
My race was not without its problems. I decided to pace myself over the first couple of miles of the course. Once I hit the second section of white and the really technical parts I picked up the pace and started to move up. I was about 4 place overall and closing in fast to the lead when I made a mistake and clipped a tree with my handlebars. Before I knew it I was flipping down the trail, my bike (actually Christopher's Anthem 29er) was hitting me on my back and I was down for a few minutes trying to get myself going again. I got passed by several riders. I got rolling by my pace was very slow. The backs of my legs were cramping and I had a little gash. Finally after a few miles everything started working o.k. and I was able to catch back up enough to 1st place in the 40+ division. A few minutes down from the overall, but I was happy to have finished strong.
My teammate and good friend Gerard also did great and earned 3rd place. It was an honor to present Gerard with his award and to stand on the podium with him.
At the end of the day I was totally exhausted just like my friends from Nebraska. I am so thank full that those guys have supported the Bone Bender over the years.
I am also thankful for all the riders who were able to come out and make
this years Bone Bender. I know moving the date caused hardship on
some. I do believe it was the best thing to do. The weather on Saturday was awesome and the trails could not have been in better shape. Thanks again to the Kansas Trails Council and Lawrence Mountain Bike Club for maintaining those great trails. Thanks to the Kansas State Park for allowing us to move the date up and for the use of the swim beach area including the showers and bathrooms. A special thank you goes out to the camp host of the swim beach. We called on him several times to help us out.