This weekend Cornbread, Good MD Scott and I headed to Arkansas for some great single track riding that was Ouachita Challenge. This was my first time in the state of Arkansas it was pretty interesting. Ouachita area reminds me of Slovakia and Czech republic… people not so much. I can say this much dudes can sport some serious upper lip fur… Like civil war picture good.
But I can say this much the single track there is pretty sweet. It’s pretty technical in spaces (okay like a giant or rocks in places) but it has great flow and there is a lot of it. We got there Friday afternoon and rode the womble trail. Pretty sweet. couple nice 800-900 feet in change climbs creek crossings and spectacular views.
If you don’t blog it, never happened…. Scott shredded his brand new Racing Ralph on womble. After some gorilla tape and park boot and creative use of 29er tubes we got him rolling.
Saturday we rode the big Brushy descent to blowout mountain. I broke a chain about .25 miles from the trail head. So I had to get to ogden get chain install it and get back to the trailhead. Big Brushy is 1200 of descending and 700 ft of climbing. I wasn’t going to catch the guys ahead so I just rode to the big brushy as out and back. This is the view of the last climb before single track.
Race day was going to be hot 90 degrees, staying on top of hydration in endurance races is key. Eating is almost secondary.. you have to drink drink drink. or you will end up laying in ditch sounding like wookie wincing in cramp agony. The start was fast, 25 mph up the gravel to the single track. I always make point to be in the chase group after the leaders. Who knows how many people are riding over their heads to get to the single track. Let them pass and pick them off one by one. I got the singletrack about mid 20’s and proceeded try to pick off people. This is when two things happened,one I proceeded to lay it down on some loose leaves and I lost one of my water bottles. The crash wasn’t that big of deal but loosing my 2nd water bottle was. This changed the plan a bit. I had to stop pretty much at every aid station and fill out my bottle and drink extra to compensate for the lost bottle.
chicks dig scars… er… wait MK digs scars
Up the blowout mountain
Blowout mountain sounds bad, and it is bad. The climbs are okay nothing crazy about them. The rocky descends… oh i don’t mean like Clinton lake rocky… i mean like steps for Mordor rocky sections. During one the descends junior ran into my my rear wheel and promptly bend my der hanger. I only realized this after the ankle bitter left. SO i could mope and walk to the aid station or say f-it and try to make it work.
Something is not right.
Well I had to stop readjust the cable and go ahead. That worked for while but i realized this was not going to last and I had just my high gears, crap that’s not good. 40 minutes into it made decision to take as much slack out the cable and limit myself to 4-5 low gears. Reasoning was ,Womble only has 2 manageable climbs and hey I know how to ride a SS. I still had 38-26 front to change my gearing and I knew there was some gravel sections. That worked well enough. I only managed to walk 2 sections of womble two switchbacks and i could still put solid tempo on gravel.
I did manage to pick a lot of people on gravel, womble sections. I think I could have done the womble faster if I could use all of my gearing but it worked out okay. I rolled in at 5:49. Corey rolled in at 5:13
Flying the Omaha colors
Loosing one bottle and the derailuer cost me good 20-30 minutes I was shooting for 5:20-5:25 and I think i could have gotten that time minus those issues. The nutrition and pacing was right on time hammer gels and fizz were right on time. PLUS the checkpoints had pickles how awesome is that. After the race we had some beers and long conversation about DK with Peat. I would say watch out DK SS he might be the dark horse for that category.
Thanks to Corey and Scott for being awesome travel companions. My capo kit kept me nice and comfy whole day so thank you Trek Stores for that. I would say that Ouachita race is good one to attend great volunteers great prizes great vibe. MK scored a sweet new bike-pack for when we go to Colorado this summer .
p.s. Pictures arkansas outside