It is over. I kept telling myself last week that time will pass and before you know it all this will be behind you. What the heck am I talking about? My own personal Hell Week......
Ouachita Challenge. This was to be my first big objective of the year. Training leading up to it was lacking to say the least. My last long ride/race was CIRREM. That was a personal hell in itself mainly due to lack of fitness. This years Ouachita Challenge would turn out to be one of the hardest events ever for me to finish.
On Thursday morning at 3:12 am I awoke with what I thought was a brilliant idea. Let's move the event up a day to Saturday. Sure some people might not be able to make it, but at least we would have an event in good weather and keep everyone safe. I discussed with Heather and we decided to do it if we could. I had sent emails during the wee hours of the morning to all parties requesting to move the event up. The big if was if the Clinton Lake State Park and USA Cycling would allow it. By afternoon all parties had responded with a Yes.
We offered a full refund to anyone who could not make it. To my surprise only three out of town people could not make it. The remaining 29 were all local riders. Luckily we got a fair amount of race day entries and ended up with a little over 150 riders. The lowest turnout in Bone Bender history and I believe is a sign that Mountain Bike racing around here is in serious trouble. On a day with perfect conditions and trails that could not get any better we only get 150 riders and a large portion of those are from out of town. I do not know the solution and I am beginning to think I might be part of the problem. All I know is my Hell Weeks are over. Looks like someone or some group needs to step up and take over off-road racing in this area. Other area events are getting over 200 riders per event so I know the demand is there. Hopefully this new group will also have a good base of volunteers/staff to run these events because I do know nothing happens by itself. It may look easy, but a lot of hard work and hours go into promoting an event.