The Bone Bender MTB Race was ON! All who wanted to race in this event were sad to see it postponed the first time around and the make-up date was looking perfect...all until the last few hours before the race!
Friday the trails were dry and fast. The event staff had set-up the course and things were ready to rock. All were psyched and praying that the fore casted rain would hold off just long enough...but to our dismay it came a few hours early. It was dumping rain as I made the hour drive to Smithville Lake. With the Help of Dave Wilson, we set-up our pit area in a key spot just off the pavement, right next to the race course for easy on-off's. The rain was pounding. At this point the psyche overwhelmed the reality that we were in for some pain today. I entered in the 6 hour single speed solo event.
125 +/- Racers lined up at the starting line. We had to run about 150 yards to our bikes and then start cranking out onto the trail. I was in the top ten as we hit the single track, which was good for me since I'm no runner. It was obvious in the first 1/4 mile of single track that we were all going to suffer...me, for six solid hours. The trails were a mud pit. Thick clay type mud mixed with slicker-than-snot soupy mud. You'd either get zero traction or just plain come to a stop due to the accumulation of mud between your frame and tires. In some areas, I would have to stop clean out the mud every 50-100 yards. In others I'd carry my bike for the same distance until the added wight overwhelmed me and I had to push. It was just miserable. This was the hardest race I have ever done and seemed to be both a mental and psyical challenge. I have to attribute some of my ability to push-on from my past experiences rock climbing and mountaineering, where you just have no choice but to keep going...or die.
I found myself pulling into my second lap in fourth position, about 14 minutes behind Dave Wilson, who is a strong and seasoned rider. He and I have been pals for years and we had a good time racing today. It was on the third and final lap that I passed Dave. He was torched. I too was torched but you could see in his eyes that he was done, this time. I pressed on thinking that there was a possibility that he was playing with me and that he'd be on my tire, pushing me all the way to the finish. I kept telling myself, as advised by Cameron during our last excursion, that once you pass someone to 'make a gap'. Every time my pace would slow as my legs were just worked, I would think that Dave would be coming up on me and I have to 'make a gap, make a gap, push push push!'
I arrived at the finish/start line with 4 minutes remaining in the race. I could have gone out for another lap, but I was in third place already and thought that I would save myself for another day and call it at 5 hours and 56 minutes. What a great day for me. I was very happy to have placed in the top three (3rd place in class, 6th place overall) and to receive one of the awesome custom made trophies! Squirrel took 1st in more ways than I can count on one hand. Way to show us all how to kick some ass!
Dave ended up rolling in right at the 6:00 mark, putting him in 4th place. Nice work bro! Mason and Brett got 4th in the 6 hour duo and those cats were running a crazy-hard gearing on that 29er! Awesome finish guys!
I learned at least four or five lessons about racing in the mud, and am psyched to race again next weekend, hopefully on some dry dirt, at the Gods Country MTB race at the Lawrence River Trail.
Happy Trails!!!Special thanks goes out to my sponsors - Dungan Design Group, Advantage Employment Advocates, All Weather Control, Chipotle Mexican Grill, Info-Data Services and of course my race team and team mates at Cow Town. Top Results have been posted HERE. ALL results have been posted HERE.