Just like that 2013 MTB campaign is underway. Just like last year it started off with Ouachita challenge. Unlike last year the cast of NE people was bit less. I ended up riding up with Corey Friday night stayed in some hotel made it in good time to Oden, AR. I like to call this part of country, God’s country but that is just me. If you never been to Arkansas you are missing out the place is great …. I mean look at this pictures.
It’ just great… While I always get bummed out about missing Swanson that feeling disappears pretty quickly once you ride some bikes. That’s what we did or at least try to do. Corey and I decided on riding big brushy instead of womble. Might as well get a something a bit more technical since you know, we didn’t get that far and Corey got a flat. I would say more like a tear in his sidewall. Second year in row someone with Racing Ron got flat I would say that’s probably not good rate as those tires are not cheap. I saw most of the locals were running saguaro in the rear and I was pretty happy with my TNT version of that tire. Big brushy is 6 mile section of the trail it’s got some technical sections some rocks some fun descents. I always thought I flows better backwards but its funny either way as out and back it’s about 2k feet of climbing pretty good way to test equipment and legs. I decided to run 25 psi front and rear the next day and probably would have gone a bit lower if I had to do it over again.
Wet meet up with Higgins’ and some Omaha people for dinner at the only place where you can get beer in town. We stayed at some cottage next to the river it was nice place and it had TV guardian so you know I felt pretty safe about staying there.
The race started off a bit mellower than last year. Some dude ended up in muddy ditch in first mile and it was amusing. The climb to single track is about 6-7 miles with couple of rollers. You want to be in good place without being gassed Corey and I just sat in and tried to place ourselves in front group before the single track. We tucked in the tail end of the group. Things were pretty good actually I knew a couple of people would pass me and they did; not riding MTB until last week we obvious the downhill sections were a bit slower than I would have like but nothing horrible.
The blowout mountain was next. What can I say about this section… It’s not that great there some climbs there is some hike a bike sections, pretty cool descent and couple more climbs. The hike a bike sections are akin to stairs in LOTR they are physically and emotionally draining. The thing which kept me going is the knowledge of sweet womble ahead. At some point I caught up with Terry Higgins he blew his rear shock … At some point I saw TWIN SIX samsie MR. Elwell fixing his chain. The road section was all head wind and I pulled quite a bit until I sat up and said something about people pulling through. Then it was time for womble. This trail is just sweet and compared to Ouachita it was bone dry, minus 15 creek crossings. I was feeling pretty good rest of the race was pretty common nothing to crazy… Passed couple of people got passed once I got on the gravel it was all business to get to the finish line. My moving time had me pegged at around 5:15 so I just mashed some potatoes for last 4 miles and was done …. Corey and Peat finished 10 minutes ahead of me….. Lack of MTB riding manifested itself but I’m not that nervous about it. Climbing was good and I cleared more technical sections than last year. I have improved my time about 15 minutes so nothing to complain about. Oh it was pretty messy affair as you can tell. Here Terry and I at the finish. Minus a broken spoke no mechanical so that’s better than last year…
The ride home was interrupted by me fixing Corey’s front tire with a plug. I hoped for the best as I knew we would ride though some crappy weather in MO. Bone Bender is next after this weekend it will see like a freaking highway… I must say the new ergon saddle i got was working really well.