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bone bender

This is second weekend in row where I was out of town for a race. This one was a bit closer in Lawrence, KS; more specifically Clinton Lake. For those of you not familiar I will say this, Clinton Lake if probably one of the most challenging and technical trails in Midwest. The trail is divided into upper line and low line upper line is pretty rocky technical   the lower line is a bit flowier… Any who … I got to the parking lot around 4:30 only to see the one and only Ryan Atkinson and the ditch guy…

Little side story even today I don’t know what the real name of the ditch guy is… Week before last he was the guy who ended up in the ditch at start of Ouachita. This must be a great source of pride for him as he introduced himself as the ditch guy (I was wearing my twin six gear and he recognized me).

Back to the pre-riding we started pretty well until about 2 miles from the start I knocked and ripped a small hole next to the bead of the tire. While the whole was small, the location of the hole  pretty much ruined the tire.   I learned from years past about unforgiving rocks of this place. I did bring a spare tire with me. Good old trusty Ignitor.  From there it was mad scramble to the bike shop for some Stans and mounting a new tire… I met up with rest of the MTB wagon crew and proceeded to set up my tent.  After I completed the setup I realized I can still go and ride and splash the Stans around the tire a bit.  I jumped on my bike and got good 25-30 min ride…

Race day
Bart Cox Photography: 2013 BoneBender MTB Race &emdash; 20130414-IMG_1065

It was windy at night. As matter of fact it was so windy one of the polls from our Big Agnes Tent snapped and cut a whole in rain fly.. Crap…  After proper rice and eggs and coffee I got kited up and went to test ride the tire.  Then we got lined up for the start. The start was pretty hectic  I relied on just riding around people and got to the single track in about 20 th place. Right where I wanted to be, From the 8 guys ahead of me in 6 hour I knew that 4 would not crack but I wasn’t sure about the other 4. I knew they went out pretty fast. I just sat in and started picking people off.  The tactic was to stay as smooth as possible on the topside and punch it on the flowy bottom section.
Bart Cox Photography: 2013 BoneBender MTB Race &emdash; 20130414-IMG_1238
This worked really well. I rode with Ryan Atkinson for better part of 2 laps.  If you want to watch someone smooth on bike you should watch Ryan…he’s a great bike handler. Anywho things were going okay I caught a couple of guys in 6 hour and was progressing okay… until 2/3 through lap 3. I was counting on some water being available at the aid station, but alas  it was empty.. .There were bunch of pretzels available for everyone though… I had to ride 4 miles without any water and I knew what was going to happen soon after… cramping.  I pounded coconut water at the pit shoved bunch of pickles in my mouth and drank ½ the jar of pickle juice and hopped for the best.  That was refreshing but at one of the technical climbs I stood up and cramped immediately.  Off the bike and stretched a bit I saw 2 guys passed me I knew at least one was in my category. Slowly I started moving again and considering things started to look up. I passed one guy in my age group as he was having tire issues and passed the older gentleman at the start of the flowy section.    I knew the guy behind me was losing air so each time I could punch it on the back side I would get in big chain ring and punch it.   This was working pretty well. I estimated I had about 2 minute gap and after I cleared the last techy climb I relaxed a bit.  Got 2nd in my 2 age group, either 6-7 overall.. Not too bad… Still some things to improve on, the water gamble cost me the top step  but you live and you learn, 2 bottles next time.

Thanks to the MTB wagon crew and Chris Locke for putting on a great event. Up next smooth course that is Tranquility… this will be first time in 3 years I will race that venue ( i think)  Looking forward not to battle rocks for change …



P.S.  Pictures are taken by Bart Cox


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