Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Dirty Duathalon (Race Report Dos)

So I still haven't done a legitimate bike race for the 2009 season yet but I am slowly getting closer to things that resemble actual cycling. Last Saturday was the second off-road Duathalon in Lawrence this year, and I definitely made it around to racing in this one. It was held on the River Trails so I was stoked about that. I haven't raced on the river since 2007 when I gave up my lead that I held for almost an hour straight to a 4th place finish when a stupid crash resulted from my over-confidence on my home turf.

I told myself this time was going to be different. I might not be in the best cycling form of my life but I have been laying down some serious miles on the feet so I felt that I could do okay at the start of the race... How wrong I was.

My legs were not having a race-pace run that morning. I tried and tried but after holding onto a top 10 spot for a little under a half mile my lower extremities just shut down and left me loping along at a pace more suited for a middle-ager running a marathon. Not too sure why that happened but I knew what I had to do in order to make up time.

Photo cred. Lantern Rouge

Mountain bikes... this part of the race would have been awesome, if I had stayed in a decent postition on the run. I spent pretty much the entire first half of the bike course dangerously dodging all of the traithletes and runners who had passed me early on. The sides of the course were still slick from all of the rain last week and I was not letting anyone keep me from wrecklessly plowing past them on the side of the trail. I had to have passed at least 35 people on the bike and rarely any of those passes were graceful but I finally put myself into the pain box, locked it tight and held onto the corners for dear life on a mountain bike for the first time this season.

Photo Cred lantern Rouge

I ended up finishing 10 minutes off of my team mates podiuming marks but still had a solid mid-pack finish. However Bad to the Mothereffin' Goat racing had a strong showing this weekend with Josh Patterson finishing first and John Waller third in the duathalon. Followed by both of them hopping back on their bikes to battle it out for fastest overall combined time (du & mtb only), Pattersnap got the nod by a mere 8 seconds.

Photo Cred Josh Pattersnap

So overall Bad Goat represented hard for the weekend with 2 podium spots, 1 goofy mid packer and Stumpy volunteering his time to score.

So here's to a crew that represents the whole gamut of the great sport of bikes.

Friday, April 24, 2009

"Old Man Waller: The Story of the Hobo Howler Monkey"

John Waller turned older than he previously was on Wednesday. We played Hobos '09 part deus to celebrate. Hobos keeps getting bigger and better every week so if anyone has yet to experience gourmet Merc food cooked over a fire within spittin' distance of the Mighty Kaw whilst drinking leftover fridge beer, slacklining and just being general outdoorsy miscreants than I highly recommend you get on the Hobo train in the coming weeks (I need an editor).

I tried to capture the awesome ballsiness that was Waller bouncing in a dead tree over the river but this picture just can not do it justice. Picture this dead tree bouncing up and down 10-12 vertical feet over the river while I stood on top over the trail trying to surf it. It takes a special kind of intelligence to truly enjoy a hobo outing.

"I feel like we are front heavy." - Kelsey Miller
Like I said, a special kind of intelligence.

These are the post meal smiles that Merc meat cooked over an open flame generates.

Eventually we had the rest of the usual suspects join us by the river and at one point I believe that we had 11 hobos by the river. The rest of the evening was spent imbibing, spinning yarns, chasing beaver (that nocturnal creature gets feisty once the sun goes down and you're still in it's territory) and enjoying that special cool moonlit breeze that only the Kaw can be held responsible for.

So here's to Mr. John Waller. Thanks for gettin' older so we can keep on hoboin'.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Hobos by the River

So I decided to celebrate the end to my hellacious school work filled week with a trip down to the river to kick it with some hobos last night. 

When I arrived I found this gang of miscreants cooking up some brats around a cozy Waller-made fire. 

This red-headed girl claimed to be a river hobo but had an arsenal of outdoorsy toys in tow, which leads me to believe she has a cozy home somewhere and doesn't really live in these trees.

I kept my feet warm near the glowing embers of the fire until I was too tired to stick around and pretend to be a hobo and retreated to my warm comfy apartment.

Here's to hobos, rivers, fire and friends.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

My Kansas, Your Kansas, Arkansas

Race season traveling officially began for me last weekend. Skipped out on Friday class to hop into the Wallermobile with Josh Stamper and Waller to head south to the Oauchita Challenge MTB Race. Six hours, 1 keg regulator and at least 3000 calories of crap later and our mangey selves stumbled out of the car to the cabin that Mr. Pattersnap and his lady had reserved for the crew in Mena, AR. Kels and Adam joined us shortly after and the weekend festivities soon began to liven.

Our new sponsor Barnyard Brewery provided us with a keg of their Chocolate Stout and Irish Red for the weekend and with the combination of Waller's engineering degree and Stamper's agri-rigging we managed to have fully pressurized and regulated beer for the rest of the weekend.

The Cycle City boys joined us at the cabin well into the night while everyone was asleep/passed out from the ale. So by our 8 am wake up call we had 7 dudes and 2 ladies crammed into a cabin that is roughly the size of my living room and bedroom combined. The rest of the morning was spent pre-riding (for the racers) and enjoying (for those of us less prone to need the excess pain this early in the season) some wicked AR singletrack. We got our cruise on at the Womble turnoff and I was awe-struck at how flowy and smooth it was. Front-range ribbons but with gradual elevation that never left you hating ascending. Not to brag but we looked pretty durned slick in our perfectly matching baby-blues.

An aside but this was the first time that I have ever ridden with Jeremy Haynes outside of a race situation. Super strange thinking that this cat has been in my cycling life for the last 11 years (sold me my first mtb, watched me dismount over my first cross barrier, got me on a swank team, made me want to be a cross promoter, blah, blah, blah...) but I had never just ridden with the dude.

That afternoon Kels, Adam, Waller and I got to go on a nice little hike through some local trails in search of Earthquake Ridge bouldering area. We hiked 4ish miles through the Earthquake ridge trail which had some gorgeous scenery. Watching the sun start to descend over the Oauchita skyline is something that every midwestern outdooorsman should experience at least once.
Turns out the Boulders weren't on the trail but instead just off the road another 1/4 mile up the road. So we ended up hiking for no reason but the sheer pleasure of enjoying each others company. The boulder's were underwhelming to say the most of them. 15 foot max topouts and not enough space or level ground to safely bail left me crimping things that were well within my ability. On the upside it gave us a chance to tie on our bandanas, rip off the shirts and do a little Sharma-esque camera posin'. Felt good to send like a gnar-brah in the warm afternoon woods as opposed to the rec center's bouldering wall.

The next day we rolled out of our beds at 5am to rainy, dismal skies so that the team could go attempt to race for eighty miles while Jaime and I chased them around playing team director in the Wallermobile. Stamper has the goods on race day if you want some of those digs; but I pretty much spent the day dozing in a lounge chair taking breaks only to lube chains, fill bottles and motivate the Cycle City cats with my ever so concise wording.

So here's to chocolate stouts, dry trails, mediocre boulders, and the circle of dirtbag kids who I have been calling my friends for more time than kosher.