Tuesday, September 8, 2009
Monday, September 7, 2009
Saturday, September 5, 2009
Friday, September 4, 2009
Thursday, September 3, 2009
Tuesday, June 3, 2008
Well my training is set and with the XC season to a slow start all made since, so off I went...Mark called and decided he would organize a Gravel Ride across KS (G.R.A.K.) in preparation for the DK200, GREAT IDEA MARK!! Same type of terra and "group." That seemed to be all it had in common, as I found out at DK200.
Photo from a training ride - Miami County, KS
Round one DK200 vs. 9TOES...ding...ding...
I entered the octagon rehearsing in my head that I was ready and willing to take some punches and bleed a little as I would fight to the end and ....WIN. Joel announced that DK200 (with Mother Nature’s help) had already dealt one blow...a dreaded storm packed with BASEBALL SIZE HAIL. The promoters huddled....the weather was deemed ride able and so we left 6am sharp (remember Bobby Smith and I - you'll hear about him later, stayed up until midnight readying our stead's for battle) the group of about 80 took off behind police escort.
Of course I was Mr. Social butterfly (sting like a bee...) and rode throughout the "MTB-peloton" speaking with everyone and asking “are we done yet..." The police escort was cool and felt safe until... (You can hear the music from Jaws in the background) a dirt road was quickly approaching and I knew the "fun" was over. WOW rocks were flying and the Tanasi Litespeed was playing her dirt road musical tune as we all tried to catch the best line while watching others and looking ahead. After about a mile or so, I decided to head to the lead position of the pack, once in that position, I saw 2 others about 200 yds ahead ( I forget the names of the dudes, but the one MTB brother won it last year...will he repeat?) and decided I should make my move (otherwise this blog wouldn't be fun...for me) so I dashed to the "leaders" and spoke to them while slowing, patiently speeding up to just barely by a half a wheel ahead of the first place dude. I held that position with ease and great confidence as I OWNED the pack. They were after me as I held the 1st place position and relished in a debris free zone. Okay that's enough...I'm done...thanks guys for allowing me to feel as though I was THE MAN.
Round two DK200 vs. 9TOES (according to the judges 9TOES won the first round)
The first hill.
I held on and found myself in the middle of the pack at the crest of the first hill. All the big names were ahead of me and started jocking for position and Mother Nature began to rumble at us as we entered the point of no return. The horizon was filled with dark anonymous clouds and lighting and deep baritone thunder rumbles as if a DK200 rider should sacrifice to enter. Remember the weather was dreadful and held terrible possibilities of hail. One single speeder (no wonder why y'all ride them) called out to Thor..."Bring it on...is that all you got"...I quickly denounced his invites and quickly speed passed.
I got dropped.
Round three DK200 won.
I settled into a rhythm and started to feel really good as my monkey butt was caged and managed and the specialized computer (Thanks Source) was ticking over a nice avg mile per hour of 15.7. Feeling good and really happy that I can see some High Gear guys about 1/8 mile ahead and 2 SS behind. The course at this stage was still fresh and exciting as Mother Nature was off in the distance and Mr. PAIN hadn't called on my legs. A couple of dudes were taking photos throughout the first 50 and later found that they had taken 1200 pics and would only use 10-12 for a magazine spread in a MTB mag...That’s cool. O- Watch out (!) the first sign of trouble, a CycloX with a flat. Hey dude you alright, got what you need....no response...okay see ya.... (Later I would see this dude). So I kept on riding looking from time to time to the west and the east as if beer maids were waiting on me with full mugs of Newcastle (not that crape the dudes were drinking at the finish line...Pabst Blue Ribbon :)). The cattle were bawling and my trusty stead was lopping along moving the little doggies parallel to the dirt road, WHEN one faced off with me...I squeezed the XT brake leavers to slow, moved the "gun belt" to the front side of my hip and looked into the bovines eye waiting for....GO...yeeee haaaaa he and I are racing and boy he's giving me HELL...I started grab gears as though I was firing my Colt Navy 6shooter in a gun battle in some alley...I started whistling and going faster and finally...I WON....I threw my hands up in the air (and shouted yeee haaaa) as if I had finished a sprint finish in Giro. I was pumped and rode away victor. Soon I realized the bovine stopped only because I cattle guard was dead ahead. The breaks. That's how exciting it was for me. Anyone see that display of "MTB-cowboying?"
Well things are still ticking along and felt as if I was gaining on the High Gear dudes when out of the rolling Flint hills that dude on a cycloX blew by me...no way...I just beat a 2 yr old bovine I should be able handle this stud...so I jumped on his wheel and hung on...yelling..."how u doing?....no response...."weather holding"....no response...."see ya..." and I bailed. The dude was flying and good for him.
Well I’m back...solo....just riding....the High Gear dude were out of sight and perhaps they speed up or the hills created an illusion of GONE. Behind me was this cycloX dude that had also been passed by mister chatty (had a flat early on) and he and I rolled with each other and became fast friends as we took the last 10-12 miles into Madison (an oasis in the Flint Hills). Micah from Hiawatha. NICE blog brother! He and I instantly started visiting about the who what when where why thing and seemed to pass the time plus his pace helped mine while increasing / holding a solid avg. So we rolled into Madison and that was cool as the rode was enveloped by trees and the twisting curves felt as if we were in Italy.
We found ourselves at Casey's and Joel and Amber handing out hot off the presses maps for the next 50. I ran into Casey for a deuce, Red Bull and 20 oz H2O. Micah and I chatted with fellow riders and found some had attempted transIA...WOW YALL ARE STUDS! O - Mark Morner caught us. So we waited a few and he and I and Micah and Warren I believe all took off headed to Cottonwood Falls.
Round four 9TOES won
Since I finished 50 miles in 3 hrs and 5 minutes I declared myself winner of that round, since Randy Rasa and I rode the weekend prior, fully stock kit in 3 hrs and 40 minutes, I thought that was cool. No KO by any means but definitely a solid upper cut!
Well first we had to traverse 3 feet of H2O (well I rode thru it) the others walked around while Micah rode up to and then crashed as if the rock gods had pulled his tire under him and slipped a rock to cushion his landing (he got bloody), well we headed out of that mess and into several other little jewels similar to that one. O did I tell you Micah fell again (3x) as if he was drunk. Well he finally found something he could navigate and we were proud (as I balanced my bike waiting and watching and clapping for him hahaha). By this time Micah and I pulled away from the others and rode for about 12 more miles until Shell hill separated us. The Tulsa kid caught me on his SS and I checked to see of anyone was home in the old cowboy tornado bunker at the top of the hill. I also saw someone headed my way and it was Mark...he and I rolled out.
The dead cow corner / turn was coming and boy I was hungry, as GU just wasn't a medium rare steak. Mark discussed knawing on the cows ear and taken a pic, but we had no camera, so you'll just have to take my word for it.
Soon after the cow we saw Mad Max. A large 52' gas tanker trunk with a driver as big as the bloated cow we saw just a few miles earlier. He rolled into his truck and started our way as if we caught him doing something wrong. He was shifting gears and the diesel smoke was pouring out of the stakes as if to warn us...Mark suggested that we get the heck out of his way and that we did. He blew by us with no wave, just a stare from the cab with Red Man chew dribbling down his cheek.
Well then Mark had to go and have a flat. So we (I just held his sweet Orbea bike) fixed his flat and rolled on. The radio tower was in sight and we felt as if we were rolling pretty well, when we realized that we were both low on water and should probably find some H2O. So we saw some Flint Hill cowboys washing off a couple of mares and asked him if we could have some water...sure...buy it was wet but had the taste of gym sock soaked in shower water and then wrung out into a glass cup for the ultimate 6th grade dare. Well the cow hands good deed got us to the 100 mile check point.
Round five DK200 won
Well the pit crew was ready with pb and j's and we learned that Bobby "the Bruiser" Smith was about 30 minutes ahead of us! Good job Mate! The pit crew was made up of my wife Kara (thanks!) and Mark's wife Brooke (thanks!). Each wife tending to their man with great detail and did whatever they were asked to do...just kidding my wife wouldn’t clean my chamois and apply a new thick layer of BUTTer, but hey she had a cold red Bull, Dr. Pepper and HOT Slim Jim's ready, so....I cleaned myself up from top to bottom and every in between and felt really refreshed and read and positive and ready. I ran up to Casey's twice for a deuce express and although it wasn’t much it was needed. Monkey Butt was warned off thru an elaborate voodoo ritual I found on YahOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO. So the mtBOOTY was worn but not damaged...THNKS BUTTer and Bag Balm from Vermont!
Mark and I took off with high hopes and cleaned up bodies. The miles started clicking away and our avg was starting to dip as the mercury does where Santa lives. Our speed became questionable and our high hopes and dreams of finishing the ride / race (for all the naysayers) began to weaken as if the last steroid shot was wearing off and we had no more $$$ for our addiction...so like a couple of old worn out turtles, we started talking about the good ol days and I even, at Marks encouragement, took off with some cycloX guys in order to keep going, but soon got dropped :( and found myself waiting up for Mark. So we stopped about 7 miles in and soon found another rider coming down the little hill towards us. He too was throwing in the towel and was diabetic to boot. So we had a "conference call' and decided to ride in and tell Joel our news.
We spoke to Joel and he discussed the % and we retired to the Toyota Wives Pit crew to lick our wounds and nurse our pride.
We waited on Bobby and helped him with a quick turnaround as he was in 9 or 10th place and could probably (with no flats) finish in the top 10. Bobby finished 11th (I believe) and we had to guide him to the lobby and check him and guide him to his room as if he were drunk and couldn’t walk or function normally.
Good job Bruiser.
As for me WOW...Thanks Jim Cummins and Joel (thanks for letting me give you a little shit at the 1st Casey's) and the Bike Source Crew for the unparalleled support.
Looking for a 100 mile MTB race just to find my place.