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Monthly Archives: December 2010

Christmas = equipment

I am a little closer to having some “gear” for my first adventure race.  Just need the ankle better and some training time and I think I will be set.

MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ME!  Thanks Santa

 

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Over and Out – Local CX Series Comes to an End

Well, the Thursday Night Cyclocross Series here in Mid-Missouri has come and gone.  I’m sad to see it end, but I’m glad to have had the opportunity to race locally instead of driving for several hours just to race for 40 minutes.  Aaron Smith from the Respect the Ride Foundation put on a great series of CX races here in Jefferson City.

Mid-MO CXThe series started back on Thursday, October 21st (back when there was still some daylight after 4:30 PM).  Every Thursday thereafter, excluding Thanksgiving, the races took place up until December 2nd.  I’m happy to say that I raced in every single one of them.  Well, “race” might not be the right word, but I at least participated in every event.  And if there is one thing I’m good at, it’s participation.  I never placed highly in any of the races, but I only took last place once (I would have been last more but Bob let me beat him once and left early once).  More importantly, I had an incredibly good time at every race and got to ride and “race” with good friends and good people.

Every week, more and more people came to race.  We had racers from Columbia, Owensville, and even as far away as West Virginia (our friend Scott from Forum Dental Adventure Racing used to live in Rolla and happened to be in Jeff City on business one Thursday).  After week  3, the courses changed every week which only added to the fun.

It was also after the third race that Barry Volmer (of Team Red Wheel fame) and I realized we were the only two that had made it to every race in the series up to that point.  We had joked that the person who makes it to every race was going to win an SUV provided by Respect the Ride Foundation.  I was definitely not going to beat Barry in any race, so the only thing I could possibly do better than Barry was show up to every race…

 

Barry CX

My arch nemesis, Barry.

At the end of every race, I would tell Barry to make sure he missed the next race so I could win the SUV.  He wouldn’t listen, though.  He just kept showing up.  I then posted on the Team Red Wheel Blog before the November 18th CX race:

“Barry, the race has been canceled tonight so don’t bother showing up. BTW, I’m coming for you!”

Now, that was meant to be a joke.  I just assumed anyone that read it would know that I was just trying to mess with Barry so I could win the SUV.  To me, it was an obvious joke.

Then Barry responded with:

“…Hey, and why wasn’t I notified of the cancellation?  Hells Bells.”

I just assumed that Barry was joking around since he ended his comment with “Hells Bells.”  I mean, who says “Hells Bells” anyway?  Well, apparently he really thought the race was canceled and so did everyone else until our friend Stoney later posted that the race was still on.  I felt really bad.  It looked like I was really trying to trick Barry when that wasn’t my intent at all.  But wait… It gets worse.

Our very own Bob Jenkins had made arrangements for someone to fill in for him at work so he could race.  When he heard that the race “was canceled” he told his fill-in to forget about coming into work.  So Bob could no longer race because of me.  Man, I’m such a jerk!  I felt horrible.  What I thought was a harmless taunt towards Barry ended up ruining Bob’s night.  My clever little “joke” made me more of a jackass than usual (if that’s possible).

 

Jackass Luke

Hello. My name is Luke, and I'm a jackass.

I apologized to Bob several times, and I also posted an open apology to everyone on the Team Red Wheel site.  Barry, being the fatherly (or is it grandfatherly?) kind of guy he is gave me these sage words of wisdom:

“Oh what a tangled web we weave, once we practice to deceive.”

Bob simply replied with this:

“It’s alright, I’m not mad. All I ask is that someone else take my place as glorious victor through turn 1.

I’m looking at you, Dragon. (Dragon is my nickname from the first race I ever did with Bob)

The important thing is that we get as many people out there for local cyclocross as possible. Tell all your friends, we need to support this thing. Somebody take some pictures, for crying out loud.”

So I promised to TRY to get the hole shot and take turn one for Bob.  I’ve never been close enough to even see who gets the hole shot, but I had to at least try to go for it since I ruined Bob’s night (I’m still sorry, Bob.  Please forgive me).

 

Bob Gettin Ready for CX
Bob at an earlier CX race in the series

In an email, I asked Bob for some advice on how to get the hole shot and take turn one.  He replied with this:

“All you have to do is start on the front row, push off hard and spin like a madman. Wobble a little bit and people will slow down because they think you’re gonna wreck.”

Sure Bob.  It’s just that easy, huh?

So, on the frigid evening of the 18th of November, 10 men and 3 women toed the line in the dark.  My plan was to pedal harder than I’ve ever pedaled in my life.  I didn’t care if my lungs exploded or my quads spontaneously burst into flames.  I was going to do everything I could to take the first turn for Bob.  It was highly unlikely I’d get it, but I was ready to hurt myself trying…

And that’s exactly what I did.  The gun went off, and I flew off the line.  A couple of guys were just a little quicker than me, so I mashed down on the pedals with even more fury.  I passed one guy, and as I miraculously passed Christopher “the Champ” Bopp, I felt a shooting pain in my right adductors (aka – groin).  My bid for the hole shot was over.  I had failed, and I had let Bob down.  But then… I remembered Bob’s words of wisdom.

I began wobbling side to side so vigorously that I thought I really was going to crash.  Mud was flying, sweat was pouring, I was hurting.  I continued to pedal as hard as I possibly could, and Chris actually backed off a little bit.  It was just enough for me to take the first turn leading the pack.  It worked!  It sort of looked like this:

 

Hole Shot

Sort of...

 

As I made the turn, I shouted at the top of my lungs, “That was for you, Bob! I can’t quit you!”  Okay, I didn’t actually yell “I can’t quit you.”  The rest of that is true, though.

After making it through turn one, I actually had to stop and get off my bike.  Every single rider passed me.  I almost turned around right there, but I would have felt like a bigger jackass for quitting a race that I ruined for Bob.  So I just rode on slowly.  My leg slowly started feeling a little better on the flats and downhills, but the uphills were terrible.  I came in dead last, but I finished the race.  I guess that’s what I get for trying to be funny.  Karma can be a real female dog, if you know what I mean.

Anyway… That was the second to last race in the series.  After that race, Barry Vollmer and Chris Bopp were actually tied for first place in the series standings with 540 points.  Believe it or not, I was in 3rd place with 410 points (again, I’d like to point out that I was one of only two people to show up to every race).

The final race, on December 2nd, was going to be a showdown between Chris and Barry.  Eleven men, including Bob this time, and two women showed up for the grand finale.  I had no plans of going for the hole shot, and I’m not sure who got it.  I wasn’t really feeling it for this race, and neither was Bob.  We still rode hard (sort of), but we didn’t set any course records. As we came to the second to last climb, Bob got off his bike and walked.  This is also known as the “Letting-Luke-Finish-Ahead-Of-Me-So-I-Don’t-Have-To-Smash-Him-If-He-Decides-To-Have-A-Sprint-Off-At-The-Finish-Line” maneuver.

As I was flying down the last descent, I heard a loud “PING” and then a lot of clanking.  I looked down to see my rear derailleur flopping around wildly.  Bummer.  I hopped off my bike, and turned around.  I didn’t see Bob, so it was pretty clear he wanted me to finish ahead of him.  I would later learn, that he had turned his light off, and when he saw me stop, he actually hid in the trees until I moved on.  What a guy.

As I carried my bike up the last climb, everyone was yelling for me to run.  So, I sort of jogged/hobbled up the hill and crossed the finish line.  I then learned that Chris came in second with Barry right behind him (Barry however raced the entire series on a single speed – yeah, he’s a badass).

So Chris won the series with 675 points, and Barry took second with 660 points.  I maintained my third place standing in the series with 475 points. I’ll be the first to admit that my riding ability had nothing to do with taking 3rd in this series.  It’s just amazing what simply showing up on a consistent basis will do.  It was pretty cool to take third place even if it was by “just showing up.”  But hey, I’ll take it.  Others could have raced in every race and easily beaten me… But they didn’t.

It was nice to be rewarded with a third place finish, but that’ not all.  No, no… There was no SUV for Barry and I to fight over.  There was a prize for both of us, though, since we were the only ones to participate in every race.  Aaron handed Barry and me each an envelope.  Inside was $50.00 provided by Jefferson Bank.  Huge thanks to Jefferson Bank for the prize money.  This was amazing and very unexpected.

 

Aaron Smith fro Respect the Ride

Aaron Smith "reflecting" on a great CX series... See what I did there?

Barry and I  also received a really cool photo of us from a previous CX race (well, I got a photo of me, and Barry got a photo of him).  In the corner was written: “MVP – Most Valuable Participant – Lukas Lamb.”  Now how cool is that?  Another huge thanks to Aaron for the photo.  Here, take a look:

 

Luke with Photo of Luke

I don't own a scanner, so this is the best I could do.

There was some really nice swag handed out to the top three and then everyone else.  The swag was donated by Red Wheel Bike Shop and The Hartsburg Cycle Depot, so another big thank you goes out to those guys.

Aaron and Respect the Ride did a superb job with this series, and I had a really great time at these races.  It was nice to have cyclocross in our own backyard right here in Mid-Missouri.  Aaron says he’ll do them again next year, and I know I’ll be there.  He’s also planning some more events for the spring.  Check back on this site or on his site for details in the future, and make sure you’re there.  Seriously, you don’t want to miss these events.  They’re close, they’re affordable, and they’re an absolute blast!  I’ll let you know if they’re ever canceled, too, so don’t worry about that.

Until next time, mes amis… Au revoir.

Shawnee Extreme Rogaine 2010 Race Report (Picture heavy)

Shortly after Drew and Luke had such a great finish at the Berryman 36, everyone on the team got the same email from Zack. It read:

All,

Luke and Drew’s impressive finish at the Berryman has rekindled some of my old  desires for AR and Orienteering.  We did the 12 hour version last year,  so this year let’s do the 24 hour!  Last year, it was a good time and kind of an ass kicker. Who’s In??????????????????????????????

And so began the banter on our armonkey.com account, with pretty much everyone wanting to do the race. I’ve put on about 30 pounds since my trip to Leadville, so I was reluctant . Climbing steep grades for 24 hours sounded horrific, as did the prospect of putting a damper on the team’s performance. Lucky for me, this team cares a lot more about having a good time than winning anything. It was the perfect way to get everyone together for some team building/orienteering practice.

Wives and girlfriends were bribed and the trip to the Shawnee Extreme was planned. It was a long drive to Ohio from Missouri, so Luke and I met EARLY for the drive, picking Drew up along the way. I think we were somewhere in Illinois when Drew announced he’d brought some of my favorite, (and now illegal), adult beverages….

Drew's first Loko....he looks so happy

It was love at first swig. I could tell Drew loved Loko by the way he said, “Oh my God this shit is disgusting!!” After a bit of peer pressure he managed to drink the whole can, but he definitely had to work for it. Before long, “The quiet man” was talking all kinds of smack and treating Luke and I to an amazing musical compilation of mid-to-late 90’s hip hop music (Vanilla Ice, Boyz II Men, Tone Loc, and more). Drew’s music collection is unparalleled. I heard some jams in the truck that day that I havent heard since high school.

I’m a pretty big fan of the”Loko juice,” but it really is an acquired taste. The effects can really sneak up on you too, which was evident from the silence in the back of the truck.

Energy drink, my ass. And apparently it makes your knees HUGE.

We finally hooked up with Casey, who made the trip from NY, and we all made it to the campground. Casey had brought some “real” bagels from New York, and they were phenomenal. He even brought strawberry cream cheese…I love this team.

The hammocks were hung and gear was made ready, leaving us with plenty of time sitting around an imaginary campfire swapping stories. Beers were consumed and much wind was broken. There was even some discussion concerning the race report for “The Thunder Rolls”, and hopefully we can all come to an agreement on the final draft. More on that later:)

Hey dude, take a picture of me taking a picture of you!

Here’s a shot of yours truly, (Bob), and “The Pace Center”. Note the shocked look on my face as Casey tells me about his swing. There’s no way I’m telling that story on this blog..

Yes, those are my pajama pants

I think we all slept pretty good that night. In fact, the only time I woke up was when Drew barfed up his Four Loko right next to my hammock. I guess Hennessy Hammocks are hard to see in the dark. He was kind enough to cover the evidence with leaves, but still no word on whether or not he intends to drink another Loko. Ah, the memories.

Race day greeted us with a beautiful, chilly morning. We made our way over to race HQ and started route planning.

As he’d promised, Casey was in excellent shape. The only time I’ve ever seen him in better shape was from one of his pro MMA fights:

Clearly the most ambitious of the group, “PC” wanted to get ALL of the CP’s. After looking at the map, the rest of us had other ideas. A few of them involved a bit more climbing than we wanted, and we didn’t see a clear way to create a decent loop to maximize our point gathering. PC wasn’t having any of that sissy talk, so there was a spirited debate. I’ve captioned the photos below to recount their conversation:

Drew: You wanna do what??? BWHAHAHA!!!!

MF'er, I know 487 ways to kill you with my bare hands...and I've got a world-class smile.

The race had a pretty solid turnout; Men & women, kids and even some older-looking folk toed the line that day, there were even some high school kids from a JROTC detachment. Seeing those ROTC kids was very cool, it reminded me of a simpler time when I had fatter cheeks, no facial hair and was completely terrified of women.

 

For a moment we thought we’d been graced with the presence of Sir Mason Storm of the STL, but it was only an imposter with a very strong beard.

Beard POWER!!

How disappointing.

After a quick pre-race team photo the race was on! First order of business: walk up a gradual hill to a slightly larger hill, to a gynormously long and steep hill until your lungs, legs and ass are ready to explode.  OooooRah!!

At this point it still seemed like a good idea

Midway up the initial climb Luke spotted a buck rub. Buck-rubs have been an ongoing joke between the two of us; I used to hunt white-tail deer quite a bit and have a knack for spotting rubs. Luke has only ever hunted “human-whitetails”, (that means girls with tan lines), so he often pretends to have seen or spotted a rub. We’ve been hiking together for 2 years now and he’s never spotted one before, so it was kind of a big deal.

Gratuitous Beaver-Stik shot

If the first 20 minutes was any indication of how things were going to be for 24 hours, we were gonna be in some pretty deep shit.  The way down wasn’t so bad, and since horrific knee pain hadn’t kicked in yet, Luke managed to get a quick glamour shot:

After that, we were on flat ground for quite a while and there was plenty to look at. The teams were all very much fanned out by now, so it felt like the 4 of us had the woods to ourselves.  Stories of past and present sexual conquests ensued, and much wind was broken.

The terrain was certainly not accommodating to the foot-mobile traveler, as we soon found out in a slippery, yet beautiful creek. I believe it was Casey who slipped and fell, nearly taking out Drew in the process. Close call.. after that we made sure to spread out a bit.

Here we see Casey and some huge wood he found.

One more reason we (almost) never win…ya gotta stop and take pictures. Here, I do my best impression of Frodo hiding from the Nanzguul in the movie Lord of the Rings.

aw shit.. ring wraiths!!

See the resemblance??

I guess I look more like Sam. Frodo is a pansy anyway, everybody knows that

We had agreed from the beginning that today would be used as a means for everyone to do some nav, instead of crutching on Luke all day. Casey went first, and we had very few problems.

All in all, things were going very well. Everybody was staying hydrated, fed, and we were all in good spirits. During the daylight, time seemed to fly by. It wasn’t until later in the afternoon that I felt my feet blistering like a mofo. I think Luke was having some knee pain, and I started getting a hip flare-up from my wreck in Springfield this year. Good thing we had ibuprofen, or we would’ve been screwed.

Some of these CP’s had us walking thru some seriously rough/thorn infested terrain. The following pics should give you an idea:

Dude, you comin?

Flippin ridiculous, right?

Oh yeah, that one was easy to find...

I remember watching the rest of the guys walk down into this hell hole and wishing I was somewhere else. It wasn’t even dark yet.

Shheeeeeiiiit.

Before long we came to a manned CP and were given additional UTM’s, along with some free ZANFEL and some kind of fancy detergent for your outdoor clothes. Very cool.

It was also a nice place to stop and eat some Rockit Fuel. If you’re not using Rockit Fuel yet, you need to get on board. I got a coupon for some free product from them about 6 months ago and was an instant fan. I also met the company’s owner while I was in Leadville and he was a very classy guy. I like to fill a water bottle with some of their Holy Pinole and just eat a pinch of it now and then. One water bottle-full will last a looong time, and it’s very light. I don’t like gels, so Rockit Fuel is perfect for me. Plus, I don’t get all sticky trying to keep track of empty wrappers.

Anyway, we plotted some points and got back in the game.

There seemed to be a great deal of long-distance navigation, which meant we did a lot of walking in between CP’s. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or not, but we had ample opportunity to get lots of photos.

Here at Team Virtus, image is everything. Go pro or go home.

Eventually it got dark and the nav became a bit more difficult. When it was my turn to lead, I thought I’d be the big hero and follow a contour line  instead of taking the obvious route along a trail. I felt right, and it was one of those situations when I “just knew” I was going to pull it off. Alas,  my ego was bigger than my brain and I led us pretty far off course. It was disappointing because I REALLY wanted to hit that CP, but I’m glad we made the attempt.  We talked about where I went wrong and I learned from it. You never know until you try, and there’s always next time. Trust me, when I get it right… you’ll know:)

As we soldiered into the night,  it became apparent that Drew and Casey were in much better shape than Luke and I. The pictures below are testament to that fact. Here, we see Drew and PC lounging at the top of a large hill:

"...Totally beautiful night, huh?--Oh yeah, perfect weather.."

Luke and I at the top of the same hill:

"FML, are we there yet?" "They better not be out of food at HQ"

At some point, I had been awake long enough that my mind simply wouldn’t function correctly. As far as helping the team with navigation, I was completely worthless. I went into zombie mode, just following along blindly trying to put my mind somewhere else. 

Most unflattering photo ever

It wasn’t long before I got my first taste of “sleep monsters”. I was walking along and all at once I saw Cheshire from Alice in Wonderland in a tree right in front of me. It was only for a moment, but it absolutely scared the shit out of me. It turned out to only be a large U-shaped leaf hanging from a tree, but I was still a bit freaked out. If I’d have been out there  alone and saw that, they would’ve found me the next day laying in a pool of piss sucking my thumb.

Hey Bob! How bout I eat your face?

I saw a few other things I’d rather not mention, but the point I’m trying to make here is that sleep deprivation will indeed make you see some really bizarre things.

Ever since Zack went vegan we’ve all been trying to think of ways to make ourselves a little more eco-friendly. Casey recycles all of Luke’s jokes, I started drinking Loko so there’d be fewer empty beer cans at my house, and Luke has almost perfected a new technique for bottling farts as an alternative fuel source.  Drew, however, decided to take “going green”  to a whole new level….

3 Words: Giant. Tree. Vagina.

Finally, (and I do mean finally), we made it back to HQ for some serious crushing of chili, baby red potatoes and biscuits ‘n’ gravy. This race is worth the price of admission just for the food and the cool shirt.

Usually he's quiet when we're eating...

We may have eaten a little too much, but the indigestion was worth it.

Serious business...little guys like to eat too.

Midway thru “happy-time”, Casey told a swing-story that nearly caused the rest of us to vomit…look how happy he was:

Casey calls for a toast to our gag reflexes.

Hanging out at HQ for a while gave us an opportunity to figure out why the hell my feet hurt so bad:

Hmm. I kinda wish I hadn't looked

I know, I know..it’s disgusting. Just do yourself a favor and learn from my mistakes. Prep your feet or you’ll be walking on fire for a while.

I don’t remember a lot of detail after that, but what I do remember is that it started to rain. The rain gained intensity until  we were mostly soaked and ready to get back to camp for a few hours sleep before the long drive home.

We, (meaning Luke), developed a route home and trudged back toward the finish line. Between Luke’s knees and my hip, we went thru a disturbing amount of ibuprofen. There was a short period of time when we may or may not have been lost, but I would have never known the difference. We wound up slashing our way through some super-nasty thorns until we found the trail and made our way back to camp.

TV....Checkin' out!

There was a mile or two of paved road before we officially made it back, and we passed the time the same way we always do: Laughing our asses off  recounting the day’s events and those of days gone by. Just like any other race report, this one has left out a multitude of details and I must ALWAYS point out that photos will never do justice to actually being there (For all of our photos, check out the slideshow at the bottom of this post).

The food station doesn't stand a chance

A huge thanks to all of the fantastic volunteers and especially to the great people at NSF Adventures for putting on an amazing event.  We did this race as a means of improving our nav skills and strengthening the bonds that hold Team Virtus together. Mission accomplished.

The only thing missing was you. You know you want to go, so leave a comment or click the contact link on our home page and we’ll see you on the trail. I’m talking to you, Travis Simmons, Robby Brown, Brandon Lepage, Sonya Tomes, and especially you…..Lurker.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

CX Finale and Moonlighting Bob

Seasons greetings to all of you loyal Virtusites!  It’s Christmas (and Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Festivus, and anything else you may celebrate) time.  That’s the good news.

The bad news is that tonight is the final cyclocross race here in Jefferson City at Binder Park, brought to you by Respect the Ride Foundation.  The race starts at 6:15, so bring your light and come on out for the grand finale in the series.  The top two in the series standings will be decided tonight between our good friends Christopher Bopp and Barry Volmer.  Much fun will be had, and schwag will be given away!  Don’t miss it.  Check out the info right here.

I’ll be there for sure.  Bob should be there as well.  With Christmas coming, though, Bob has been moonlighting at the mall this year for some extra cash.  If he can find a fill-in to work for him, then he’ll be there for sure.

 

Bob as Santa Claus

Bob goes all-out for his second job as Santa

It’s only 5 bucks (for a great cause – bicycle education and advocacy), and the race is always a really great time.  Trust me, you don’t want to miss it.  And if you’re lucky, Bob will let you sit on his lap.  We hope to see you there.

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