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Monthly Archives: October 2010

$5 buys a lot of pain…and fun

This last thursday marked the 2nd edition of local cyclocross racing in Jefferson City. I missed out on last week’s race because of work issues, but was super psyched to toe the line last night with about…9 other people?

How it went down:

I rolled into the parking lot just as Luke was getting registered, and it wasnt long before Barry and Bopp showed up. There was also a vanload of dudes from Walt’s bike shop and a CBC rider in attendance, so as far as I’m concerned the race was a sucess.

Why there weren’t more TRW racers there is a mystery to me; I would have to think that by now everyone knows about this race series. I’ll just assume that any TRW cross racer not in attendance for a $5 race at “our park” is intimidated by my blistering speed and good looks.

The course had quite a bit of straightaway with minimal winding turns.  Not exactly the kind of cross course we’re accustomed to, but there was enough to keep everyone entertained. Mostly it was smooth grass with a few good climbs, a full-sized pair of uphill barriers and a triple set of short barriers.

Link to course layout

Aaron fired his starter pistol and the race was underway. I was unable to get clipped in right away, so I lost some ground early. Given the competition, I knew I only had about 5 minutes worth of “badass” in me, so I decided to make the most of it.  I sprinted until I was even with the 1st place rider, (Mizzou guy), and politely explained to him that I’d like to take the lead at least thru turn 1.

He graciously moved his skinny ass out of the way and I took the lead. Classy guy, I say. I enjoyed approximately 3 seconds of cyclocross glory leading the group into turn 1, but picked a really stupid line way too far  inside and wound up having to swing wide off the course to keep the rubber down. This drew much laughter from the “peloton”, but I managed to make my way back onto course in 3rd position behind Mr Vollmer.

Not long after that, Chris Bopp came whistling past me… just like old times. I couldn’t help but smile and think back on all the CX races we had done together in the past, those really were some good times.

Hard to believe that was in 2008

I still think he shaved his eyebrows for that race, but I’m not sure why.

Then I saw Bopp do something I hadn’t seen him do before during a race: He washed out his front wheel and bit the dirt right in front of me. I mean to say his bike went one way and he went  the other… it was really a sight to behold.  This drew many more laughs from the “peloton,” (and myself), but I knew he’d be bringing the thunder now. The Bopper is always faster after he wrecks.

I was having a great first lap, running 2nd and within a few feet of 1st. The triple set of barriers was coming up and I have to admit I was completely unconcerned with them. The plan was to bunny hop and sprint…it didn’t happen. I cleared the first one, but somehow managed to go OTB on the next…landing a perfect Tencious D powerslide.

Ok, so maybe it didn't look this cool

Ouch on the knees.

Oh well, being in front was fun while it lasted. After that, I took my rightful place in the lineup…no-man’s land. It never fails, I’m always really far ahead of the guys behind me and really far behind the guys in front. I raced hard anyway, because you never know when someone else might crash:)

Nearing the start/finish line, I remember lamenting the absence of beer handups and drunken fanfare. Lo and behold, Nick Smith jumped out of  the bushes and sprayed me down with delicious Keystone Light. That shit was cold….although I’m not sure how he managed to somehow only douse me in the crotch. It all seemed a bit pre-meditated if you ask me.

Anyone seeking to know proper beer-douching etiquette may refer to the photo below. I’m sure we all remember the day this photo was taken because it was the Rim Wrecker, (my first mtb race) where  I dominated Corey Case.

Those really were the glory days

Lap 2, Nick’s beer spraying precision got a little better, dousing me in the face and jersey. I even got some beer in the mouth..not bad work. When I came around for lap 3, we had all the kinks worked out and I received a 1/2 FULL can of Keystone.

I do love cyclocross.

5 laps came and went. I have no idea who won, but I think everyone had a good time. Results should be posted soon at respecttheride.org.

I’ve already put in a time off request so I can compete in this week’s race. I’m bringing a case of beer, a fire pit and the uncanny ability to have an awesome time getting my ass kicked by strangers and friends.

Binder–Thursday nights at 615–$5

Be there

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Gravel is Great – The Dirty Jenkins Ride on Virtuesday

Well, our first official Virtuesday has come and gone, and if you weren’t there then you missed out.  It was a PERFECT night for riding some fine Callaway County gravel.  Bob Jenkins, Robby Brown, Chris Bopp, and I all met at the Holst Summit Dos Primos at 8:15 last night.

 

Meeting at Dos Primos

Gettin' ready to ride.

Bob and Robby at Dos Primos

Bob and Robby

Bopp at Dos Primos

Bopp's gang sign

Apparently on the way over from his house (only a half mile away), Bob somehow managed to trash the derailleur on his Specialized Tricross.  He showed up on his GT Peace 29er, but he needed to air up the tires.  As he did so, he somehow managed to destroy the presta valve, rendering the tube useless.  So we headed over to Bob’s house to get his Specialized Single Cross.

 

Bob and his Single Cross Bike

Bob and his Single Cross Bike

 

After swapping his seat post from the geared bike over to the single speed, he needed to air up the tires.  Once again, Bob somehow managed to destroy the presta valve.  Not a good start for Bob.  On top of being sick, he had a crappy day at work, and now he was having some shitty luck with his bikes.  He almost took it a sign from the Gravel Gods to stay home, but he decided to push his luck and try to ride with a broken valve anyway.  Brilliant, right?

 

Bopp's Bird

Bopp showed me another sign as we waited for Bob.

 

So we headed out in the cool night air.  The weather was perfect, the moon was bright, the gravel was great, the wind was at our backs, the banter was sophisticated, and we were having some serious fun.  We made good time and soon found ourselves at the gate leading into Mark Twain National Forest.

 

Surpised Bob

Bob did not know I was taking his picture... This is how he always looks.

Biking into Mark Twain National Forest

Crossing the first gate into the National Forest

Bopp's Bird at the Gate

Once again, Bopp gives me the bird. Did I piss him off or something?

We rode through open fields on gravel that turned into smooth double track.  It’s a pretty unique place to ride.  Words can’t do it justice, and my camera sucks at night.  So you’ll just have to take my word for it… Or you could join us next time and find out for yourself.

We passed through another gate, and the double track turned into single track.  Then the trail sort of disappeared in the tall grass as we came upon a pond.  Once at the pond, we picked the trail back up, and we then crossed yet another gate.

Another Gate at Mark Twain National Forest

Look closely and you'll notice that Bopp is now giving me TWO fingers.

On the way out of Mark Twain National Forest, the trail gets really fun.  And by fun I mean it gets very rocky.  Loose rocks covered in tons of freshly fallen leaves in the dark makes this short stretch of trail pretty interesting.  I’m not sure how those guys rode it on cross bikes.  I had to walk some of it on my mountain bike.

We soon popped out of the woods and back onto gravel.  It wasn’t long after this when a flat tire occurred.  Bob’s tire?  Nope.  Surprisingly, Bob’s tire held up just fine.  It was Robby’s tire.  He was just riding along when he suddenly heard a “Pssss… Pssss… Pssssssssss.”  So we stopped to watch him change his tire.

Robby's flat

Trying to unhook the brakes

Bob sitting on his bike

I told you Bob always looks like this.

Robby's flat tire

Still trying to unhook the brakes

Luke sitting on bike

Proof that I was indeed on this ride.

Bopp with no birdwith

I surprised Bopp, so he had no signs for me here.

Robby got the flat fixed, and we were soon on  our way.  The last half of this ride has more hills than the first half.  We were also now riding into the wind that was previously at our backs.  This was no problem for us, though, because we have “Strength and Honor.”

Gravel Night Ride

Rolling back to Holts Summit

Bob and Bopp at night

I tried to surprise Chris again, but he's too wise for that - hence another finger.

We made it back to Dos Primos around 11:00 PM or so.  Chris had to get going, but Bob, Robby and I had a beer and some great conversations, some of which I cannot speak for I’ve been sworn to secrecy.

NROP3

All I can say is "N-R-O-P-3" - You would understand that if you were there.

Bob, Bike, and Beer at Dos Primos

Bike, Bob, and Beer

Robby with a Beer

Robby havin' a beer in the cold

It was pretty cold by the time we finished our beers, and it was getting late.  We said our goodbyes, and our wonderful evening unfortunately had ended.  It was a fantastic ride with a great bunch of guys.  Make sure you join us at the next Virtuesday ride.  Be there.  Yes you!  Seriously, be there.

And don’t forget that Jeff City Cyclocross is tomorrow night at Binder!  You don’t want to miss it.

 

 

Announcing Virtuesdays – Our Weekly Training Session

Virtuesday - Team Virtus' Training DayThat’s right!  If you’re reading this, then you’re invited to come join us in our weekly training.  More often than not it’s going to be a gravel road ride.  However, sometimes we might throw in some running, orienteering, paddling, prowler pushing, or any other tomfoolery we’re in the mood for.

This will be a weekly thing for us, and we’d love it if any of you want to join us.  The more the merrier.  Are you wicked fast?  Cool.  Come join us.  Are you slower than a turtle with a hernia?  So am I.  Come join us.  Seriously.  You know you want to.

Our very first Virtuesday is tomorrow.  We’re meeting at Dos Primos in Holts Summit at 8:15 PM (bring your lights) for a sweet, sweet 19-20 mile ride that our friend Nick has appropriately named “The Dirty Jenkins.”  It includes some fantastic gravel roads as well as some grassy double track in the Mark Twain National Forest and even a little bit of single track.

Mark Twain Double Track

Some of friends from Team Red Wheel are sure to join us, so make sure you do too!  It’s a really fun ride that you don’t wanna miss.  We’d love to see you out there.  Have questions?  Email me and I’d be happy to answer them.  Or just post a comment below.  See you on Virtuesday!

Mid MO Cyclocross – No Really – For Real!

If you live in Mid Missouri, then listen up.  I know we’ve all lamented the fact that we had to drive over an hour (sometimes 2 or more) to get to any Cyclocross races.  While Cross races are always a blast, we’ve all wished that we had some races closer to home.  Well, you don’t have to wish any longer.  Cyclocross has finally come to Mid-MO!!!

Bob's run up at a Cyclocross race

Painfully fun

And you won’t have to wait very long for the Cross races to get to Jefferson City, because the series starts this Thursday… as in TOMORROW!  The good people at Respect the Ride Foundation are putting on a series of Cross races right here at Binder park every Thursday night from October 21st through December 2nd (excluding Thanksgiving on Nov 25th).

Zack CX

And listen to this… It’s only FIVE BUCKS!  Seriously.  You need to be there.  Never done CX before?  Come on out.  Experienced rider?  Come on out.  Elite pro?  You guessed it.  Come on out.  Seriously… We’ve waited a long time to get something like this in Jefferson City, so let’s help grow the sport and biking in general in the Mid-Missouri area.  Check it out!!

The Waka Waka Wakarusa Off-Road Challenge with Some Camping Thrown In

On September 10th, the family and I headed out to Lawrence, KS for the first ever Wakarusa Off-Road Challenge.  I would be doing the race as a solo since no one else could go with me.  It was to be a final preparatory race for the Berryman Adventure, and then we were planning on spending some quality family time camping the rest of the weekend.

Fozzie Bear is the unofficial mascot of the Wakarusa Off-Road Challenge

I have made Fozzie Bear the unofficial mascot of the Wakarusa Off-Road Challenge

Becca took off from work early, we loaded the van up, strapped the canoe on top (solos had to bring their own boat), and hooked up our pop-up camper.  We picked the girls up from school a little early, and we headed out on the 3 hour drive.

 

loaded van

The kids were pumped!

The weather was supposed to be almost perfect: Chance of thunderstorms on Friday night, but sunny and warm-but-not-too-warm the rest of the weekend.  It was beautifully sunny on the way to Lawrence, so I knew it wasn’t going to rain on us.

Sunny Clouds before a Storm

Clouds forming in the distance...

We tried to make it to Sunflower Outdoors by 6:00 to register for the race, but we had to park 3 or 4 blocks away because of the pop-up.  So I just missed registration as I got there to see Jason and Laura from Bonk Hard Racing packing everything up.  No big deal.  I would just have to get up a little earlier the next morning to register before the race.

We grabbed a quick bite to eat and then drove 20 more minutes to Clinton State Park as the sun set.  We stopped at a store to buy some firewood, and the cashier said that there was a tornado warning in the area.  That’s just great.

We rolled into camp in the dark, and the wind began to pick up.  Shortly after getting the pop-up set up and all of our gear inside, I turned on the radio and heard the tornado warning for myself.  Unfortunately, the kids also heard it.  Then the rain started coming down as the wind grew stronger.  Now, wind and rain in a small pop-up can feel and sound like a hurricane, so my girls were beginning to freak out on Becca and me (Otis was chillin’ as usual).

 

Otis Laughing

Look closely and you'll notice that Otis looks a lot like his shirt

 

As the storm grew in strength, we tried calming the girls down by assuring them that we could always go to the bathroom/shower house to wait out the storm.  Then the skies unleashed their furious rage.  The driving rain pummeled the camper, and it felt like the punishing wind would tip us over any second.  I could see that even Becca was beginning to freak out a little.  Of course Otis was still as cool as a cucumber.

We decided to play it safe, so we all donned our jackets and made our way across the street to the bathroom/shower house.  We were completely soaked by the time we got there only to realize that there was no roof.  Well, there was a partial roof over the bathroom stalls, but it was basically an open-air building.  So much for our promise of shelter.

By now the girls were almost hysterical.  We were all wet and cold, and the storm was only getting worse.  We ran back across the street and hopped into the van.  We drove around the campground looking for a shelter… anything with a roof.  No luck.  Fortunately, the storm, although fierce, was short-lived.  As it died down, we headed back to the camper with the girls completely shivering and Otis just grinning.

We dried off and changed clothes, and the girls calmed down.  The storm had passed, and it became pretty muggy in the camper.  We opened up the windows, took our shirts off (except for Otis and Becca), and we played some highly competitive Go Fish.

 

Playing Cards Camping

The calm AFTER the storm

So I had to get up early, and much to my surprise, everyone wanted to forgo sleeping in to go and watch my race.  Very cool.  Other than a 5k, the fam had never really been to one of my races.  Let’s face it… Adventure Racing is not a great spectator sport.  This race, however, would allow them to see me come through the transition area a few times, and it wasn’t going to be an all-day race.  So we woke up early and made it to the race to register and stage my canoe and bike.

Becca and her ducklings

Is that Becca and the kids or Konrad Lorenz and geese?

Konrad Lorenz Imprinting Geese

Oh, THIS is Konrad Lorenz and his imprinted geese

It was a beautiful morning, and Jason assured us that the trail was in great shape.  After dropping my canoe off (and realizing that I was the ONLY solo with a 17 foot canoe – Hey, it’s all I had) and getting my bike staged, I gave the kids and the wife a hug and a kiss.

Me and the kids at Wakarusa Challenge

It was great having the kids there

I really wanted to intimidate all of the other racers to give myself a competitive edge.  As we all lined up on the Levee Trail, I wanted to look fast so I busted this out:

 

Fast Luke at the Wakarusa Off-Road Challenge

Is that the Flash?

 

I’m pretty sure my plan didn’t work.  Not only did I not strike fear into the hearts of anyone, but I don’t think anyone even noticed me.  It didn’t matter.  I was just here to have fun and to get an idea of how ready I was for the Berryman Adventure.

I saw a team of two young guys with matching green tank tops and feather Duck hats on.  Now, I’ve learned long ago that it’s never a good idea to pick someone out of the pack that you just have to beat, but in the back of my mind I told myself that it would really be nice to beat those guys.

The first leg of the race was a 2.2 mile run.  The first mile was on the flat Levee Trail, and then we had to pop into the woods and run back to the transition area (TA) on the north side of the River Trail.  When the gun went off, we started out jogging.  I got caught behind some slower runners, but it wasn’t too long before everyone spread out enough to go my own pace.

I’ll be honest with you.  I didn’t feel very strong.  I’m not sure what it was, but my legs just felt a little dead.  It wasn’t terrible.  I just felt a little sluggish.  The first mile was uneventful.  When I got onto the trail, it was a lot more fun.  I was passed by a few people (including the duck brothers), and I managed to pass a few people as well.  I was holding my own, and I was able to stay right behind the duck bros.  I finished the first running leg in 21 minutes – tied for 18th out of 30 solo men.  Not bad, but I was hoping for better.

First Run at Wakarusa

Finishing the first running leg

Happy to be done running for the moment, I was ready to get on the bike.  I could hear the family cheering for me, and it was really great.  I loved it.  I waved to them and asked them how it was going, and then I made my way over to my bike as they told me I was doing a good job.  I transitioned as quickly as I could and headed out onto the Levee Trail again.

Bike Leg at Wakarusa

"Ride Daddy, Ride!"

The biking leg consisted of 17.2 miles.  For this race we had to ride nearly 4 miles on the flat, open Levee Trail before hopping onto the south side of the River Trail which is all single track.  We had to ride the south side of the trail back to the TA and then immediately get back onto the north side of the River Trail and ride the entire loop before coming back to the TA.

I got passed by two riders on the Levee Trail as the wind made it a little more difficult for someone of my stature (aka – husky).  However, that would be the last time I got passed on the bike, and I passed many people here including the Duck Bros.  So I thought that maybe I had a shot at beating them after all.

If you’ve never ridden these trails, you should do so if you’re ever in or near Lawrence.  No, they are not technical at all, and there is not a lot of elevation change.  But these trails are FAST and FUN!  There are so many banked turns and berms that you almost never have to use your brakes.

Being somewhat of a slow runner, I got behind some inexperienced riders.  You could tell that many racers had never, or almost never, ridden off-road before.  Although it was difficult to get around some of the newbies, I thought it was great that they were out there racing.  They may have been way out of their comfort zones, but that’s what it’s all about, right?

My first lap on the bike (~4 miles on the Levee Trail and ~4 miles of single track) took 45 minutes including my transition.  This was good enough to have me tied for the 22nd (out of 30) fastest time for this leg.  Again, not bad but not great.  So I decided to push it a little bit on the next lap.  My second lap (~8 miles – all on single track) also took 45 minutes – tied for 9th fastest time out of 30 solo males for the second lap on the bike.  Now that’s what I’m talking about.  That was much better.

I made it back to the TA where I once again heard the cheers from the Lamb fam.  I dropped my bike off and put my trail shoes back on.  I headed down a short distance to the canoe put-in.  I slapped on my PFD, grabbed my white-water kayak paddle that was way too short for my canoe (Hey, it’s all I had), lifted the heavy, aluminum canoe, and made my way to the Kansas River.

Canoe at Wakarusa

I need a kayak

This is where my race sort of fell apart.  After a decent biking leg, my paddle down the Kansas River was S-L-O-W.  I had to kneel in the middle of my canoe for the entire 4.2 mile paddle.  My paddle was much too short for being in the middle of the boat, but I did the best I could.  I got passed by 15 – 20 teams and solos (I quit counting at 10 because it was bumming me out).

Aside from being slow, the paddle was uneventful except for one soloist in a kayak somehow going for a swim.  I never heard how or why he tipped the kayak, but seeing that the volunteers were there in a motor boat to help him, I passed him.  It wasn’t long before he was once again in front of me, though (stupid kayaks!).

I finally made it to the aptly named Mud Creek Boat Ramp in 1 hour and 7 minutes.  This was good enough for dead last – 30th fastest time out of 30 solo males.  Out of all 84 Duos and Soloists combined, only 3 had a slower time and two had an equally slow time.  Not good at all, but I gave it my all and did the best I could with what I had.

As I struggled to carry my canoe up the boat ramp, my legs felt like blocks of concrete from kneeling in a canoe for an hour after running and biking all morning.

Legs of stone

It's hard to run when your legs feel like this

I grabbed a quick drink at the aid station and then “ran” (and by ran I mean trotted slowly) into the woods.  We had to run 4.1 miles on the north trail back to the finish line.

The first mile of that run was pure hell.  I wanted to walk so badly, but I kept telling myself that I could “run” this whole thing no matter how slow I had to go.  Every time I wanted to walk, I told myself that if I walked then there was no way I was going to be able to finish the upcoming 36 hour Berryman Adventure Race.  I guess it worked, because I never walked.

The first mile was ridiculously slow.  By the second mile, my legs were at least functional.  By the third mile, I was actually feeling pretty good, so I picked up the pace a little bit (although it was still ridiculously slow).  Then the 4th mile came, and I almost fell apart.  If the first mile was hell, then the last mile was Hell’s purgatory (if there is such a thing).

That last mile felt like an eternity.  I kept hoping to see the trail bust out of the trees into the grassy field where the finish line was only to be disappointed.  With about a quarter of a mile left, the Duck Bros passed me.  Bummer.  Like I said, though, that is the danger of picking someone that you “have” to beat.  When you don’t, it pretty much sucks – especially when they look like ducks.  The Mighty Ducks ended up beating me by 1 minute.  Kudos to those guys.

I made it to the finish line as my wife and kids were all cheering for me.  That part was great.  It was also great to be done because I was wiped out.  My final 4.1 mile run (including the transition from the paddle) took me 50 minutes – tied for the 19th fastest split in my division.  This was actually better than I thought since I felt like I was slower than I’ve ever been.

Finishing the Wakarusa Off-Road Challenge

I'm hurting here... And thinking, "When does Duck Season open?"

Overall, it was a really fun race.  I must admit, though, it didn’t make me feel any better about my chances at Berryman.  If you read our blog much, which I highly doubt, then you know that the Berryman actually went pretty well for us.

My finishing time was 3 hours and 48 minutes.  I ended up 23rd out of 30 solo males, and I was 46th out of 84 solos and duos overall.  Not bad, but I was honestly hoping to do a little better than that.  On the other hand, it was a great race, and I had a blast.  Official results with split times are right here.

I loved having my family there to watch me and cheer me on.  There was enough pizza and soda provided by Bonk Hard Racing for my kids to have some which was very cool.  After the awards ceremony, we made our way back to our campground.

The rest of the weekend was perfect.  The weather was great.  The campsite was great.  We all had a blast.  I’ll leave you with a few photos of our camping trip to show you how much you missed.  Here you go:

Otis and Della Camping at Clinton State Park

Otis and Della - Otis LOVED playing in the gravel

Mabel, Ote, and Lyd Camping

Mabel, Otis, and Lydia - Otis is happy because he's eating gravel here

Otis crying while camping

Now Ote is pissed because Lydia wouldn't let him eat rocks

Happy Otis

Now he's happy again

Me and my Ote Boat

Me and my Ote Boat

Otis Kiss

He gives the best smooches

The Girls Hiking at Clinton State Park

The girls went for a hike with Becca while Ote and I tended the fire

Becca and Otis

Becca and Otis hangin' out

Roasting Hot Dogs

Wooo Doggies... It's a great day to be alive!

It was really great race and a wonderful weekend with the family.  Thanks to Jason and Laura for putting on a great event.  It was a lot of fun, and I hope to be back next year with more of Team Virtus by my side.  And thanks to my amazing wife and incredible kids for going with me and supporting me.  You guys are way too good to me.

So, that’s it for now.  Until next time… Peace out!

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