Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Bonebender Race Report...

When you look forward to a race, all is good. Bonebender has been a tradition for me, and this year I was even more psyched to see the race moved from Smithville Lake to Clinton Lake, as the trails at Clinton are a true a$$-kicking good time.
Sunday early morning Ranski, Manimal, FM and myself headed out in the V-dub for Clinton and to set-up the Ethos team pit area. We found a perfect spot right on the course, just past the start/finish for easy access. We had four tents to accommodate our 20ish teammates and cases of beer from Weston Brewing Company. Weather was absolutely perfect and the trail was too. Ethos riders and groupies alike started piling in as the ten o’clock start time grew near. Everyone suited up, prepped bikes, mounted number plates, tossed back last minute nutrition and gave high-fives; it was game-on.

The mass start began at the bottom of a steep gravel double track near the shore of the lake. We lined up and at the sound of the shotgun blast we were off running the 200 yards to our bikes. Once on the bike it was a quarter mile of pavement and through a field to the singletrack. The start of the single track was on advanced terrain and it was a train-wreck of gumbies who can’t ride rock, walking single file for seemingly a quarter mile before people started to space out and ride. It was frustrating but you just have to keep it together long enough to get rolling, keep your cool. Once on the bike I was sucking wind and spinning hard. Lots of rock gardens, steep climbs, flowy dirt recovery areas and wet creek crossings were endured.
With lap one under my belt, I made a pit stop and did my ritual bottle change (one water and one HEED/Perpetium mix), ate half a banana and a power turd (a homemade granola type protein bar) and was off for lap two. This was my routine each stop, every lap. I was feeling pretty good.
As time went on each lap grew more straining on my knees and mind. My mind usually is stronger than my body and I was able to keep on trucking. I never have cramping issues because my race nutrition is near perfection, and I make sure to be hydrated starting two days prior to race day. When I’d feel a little low on gas, I’d hit my Hammer Gel flask and get a boost of energy. Usually I was riding alone but for parts of laps I’d grab a wheel or allow someone to follow mine.
My second lap I crashed hard going around a tight corner through some rocks, over a log and into the dirt. My bars spun upon impact and kinked the lock-out cable on my suspension fork. When running a single speed, I lock-out my fork on climbs and release it in rock gardens and down-hills. This crash proved to make that more difficult for the rest of the race and I’d have to manually retract the lock-out mechanism each change; pain in the ass but I kept riding.
I’m guessing it was lap four that was my hardest, physically and mentally. I was getting worked like a minimum wage job. Tired. Knees were hurting much like during the Leadville race two years ago. I was keeping my chin up and hoping for the best. Just when I thought I needed to stop for a minute to regroup, I heard this guy yell ‘Beer Hand-up’ and I was like ‘Hell Yeah!”. I tossed back a few sips and let me tell ya, that liquid was like a shot of steroids; I was flying down the trail after that. THANKS DUDE! Later that same lap as the beer buzz wore off and I was getting tired again, I turned a corner to see a huge copperhead snake on the trail. I could not avoid it and ran him over. The adrenaline rush helped me through the rest of the lap. Thanks and sorry little serpent fella.

Back at the pits I took a breather. I was at this point just trying to finish the race and was psyched to see all of the three hour guys tossing-back barley-pops and cheering me on. I went out for my fifth and last lap. It was brutal. All of the toughest climbs I would just dismount and walk to save crucial energy. Why not I told myself, it’s almost over; there are coolers full of beer at the tents..
I finished my last lap 4 minutes shy of having to do a sixth (thank freaking god) and rolled into the Ethos pit to be handed a well-earned cold one. How refreshing. What a helluva fun day!

To wrap up our adventure, Pyro, G-wiz, Ranski, Steve, Jamie, Manimal and I grabbed some awesome grub at the Freestate Brewery. They even gave us the team discount (wink wink).

I’m already looking forward to next year!
G-Wiz and Pyro took top honors in the 6 hr duo
The B-Rockets won the Co-ed Duo,
Kevin tore-up the 6 hr Solo Clydesdale with the win
Cole won the 6 hr SS class
Manimal took 2nd in the 3 hr SS
Sarah took 2nd in the Open 3 hr.
And me, I didn’t get last!

Results are HERE

1 comment:

sc said...

I knew that beer hand-up was just what you needed. Nice riding out there!