Monday, July 27, 2009

Flint Hills Death Ride...

It was a fine evening to make the 2+ hour drive to a little town called Madison in Kansas to do the Flint Hills Death Ride. Timbo, Garret and I packed the Subaru and headed out for a night of sleeping under the stars and what would hopefully be a fun time crushing the 80+ miles of "dirt" that we had been reading about. We arrived in Madison around 10 p.m. Saturday night, found the city park and set up our camp/bivy. Temps were good for sleeping outside, so Timbo and I enjoyed the stars while Garret hunkered down in his tent. Between the dogs barking, streetlights, and the idiot local who thought it cool to work on his hot-rod (revving the engine for hours), we caught at least a few hours of sleep.

We awoke to perfect temps. Timbo whipped-up a batch of Swedish oats for breakfast as we all got ready for the race. 7:30 was race time, and we headed over for the 'pre-race meeting'. The mass of riders were there listening to an older fella who described himself as a 6th grade school teacher announcing the race business. This took all of two minutes and without hesitation we heard a 'GO'! All of the riders kind of looked at each other like 'Is that the start? Do we go now? WTF?'. So we all just started the ride.

Now to revert to my pre-race dilemma: My bike! As you all know I ride single speed bikes, that is all I own and all I ride. Prior to a race, I change the gearing to accommodate that particular race. I could not for the life of me, on either of my two race bikes, get things changed and in order. My 29er has a stripped-out bolt, which made it so I could not change my gearing and my 26er has no cranks, though I do have a pair for it, I could not get the bottom bracket out to install the new one. This is all last minute of course before we left town for the race, and i was totally pissed. It was either skip the race or ride my 29er WAY under-geared. Riding under-geared basically meant I'd be spinning my brains out for 80+ miles, going slow at best, and just trying to make the cutoffs and finish before it got dark. BUMMER! I'm the type pf guy who likes to just do with what you have, so i went for it.

Garret decided that he'd just ride with me at a snails pace for the entire event, he was in no hurry or mindset to win anything, just have a killer time riding. We have a great time just riding so it was all good. I'd look over at him at times and say ' So this is kinda like taking a new girlfriend out for a ride, eh?'. He'd chuckle and just keep me pushing it. I was lucky to keep a 12 mph pace, and that was seriously making me spin like a gerbil on cocaine! Timbo had left us early in the race to see what he could do as far as getting it done in good time.

Photo: Garret doing the self photo thang w/ me in the background...stole this from his blog.

As it turns out, the 80+ miles of 'dirt' was nothing more than a gravel road ride. I can't believe I paid the big bucks for this so called race when in reality it was a group ride in the heat and dust of the Kansas plains. The finish line was non existent and a total let down; no cameras, no cheers, no cowbells...nothing. I had to ask around town just to see where I was to go and if I needed to check in somewhere. Weird and a total let-down after riding all that way successfully. They talk this ride up like its the most hardcore thing to do, and that only like 50-60% of the fittest riders even finish. Well, I am going to have to call bullshit on that one...

We were all all successful 'finishers' and completed the ride around three o'clock, Garret and Tmbo just before and me just after. Not a ride I'd recommend to a mountain biker...maybe to a roadie I don't like. I'm almost positive that I got first place in the single speed class (if they only had classes...I'm 99.9% sure I was the only guy out there with one gear). I'd give this race a 1 out of 5, and that's just because all of the volunteers at the SAG stations were super nice and helpful!

Two weekends till my birthday...then the following weekend is the Leadville 100. Good times ahead!!!


Rasta Rider said...

you didn't know it wasn't a race? why you think I saved my money foo!! ;) Probably would have been a lot better if you were geared right. If you were at 32-19 still, I'll give you big ups just for riding that damn far spinning like that.

Burnsey said...

BIG UPs it is...I was a spinning fool.

Harlan said...

I hope you didn't order a jersey. I paid 80 bucks and still haven't got mine. (middle of June 2010) The other ride this crew puts on got canceled this year. Hope those people have better luck getting a response out of Paul Corcoran, than I have, to get there money back. Been trying for over 3 months to contact him. He won't respond.
redneck biker