One of the greatest events of the season is this coming weekend out in Kansas farm country. Doug and Traci Palen host a 5 hour race on a 14 mile singletrack speedway known since 2004 as Cruise the Blues. There is nothing else like it, the race stages literally in their back yard and navigates through creek bottom and pasture land. Log rides, rollers, berms, bridges, and jumps speckle the course. They have had a radar station where they clock your speed and award the winner. This year I have heard that music stations are set up throughout the course pumping out the Blues Rock that the race goes hand in hand with. After burning through your laps they serve up a big plate O BBQ and you can prepare for the ensuing Barn Party. That is right, they set up stage right in the barn and a live jam band pumps out the goods. This is where Keith Thompson takes over, you will want to identify who this crazy farmer is and learn of his dance moves. Doug and Traci allow people to camp out in the yard before and after the race, so you can go crazy if need be. I know it all sounds to good to be true, you better come see for yourself.
My Dad and I got in a two day team training camp this past weekend while Amber and I went home to see her parents new house. Sunday was dirt roads on singlespeeds and Monday we attacked his hill trail, Monday night we got back to KC and I caught another ride at Blue River and rode until it was dark. We are launching a Chambers assault on the Duo class at the Cruise the Blues. I anticipate fun.
Monday, August 18, 2008
I spend more time these days thinking, "why do I like these long events." Long races can be unbelievably hard, and on the surface are rather pointless. Sure I love riding my bike, yes riding on great singletrack is the best place to ride a bike, but all of that could well be accomplished without the undertaking of whatever Ultra Endurance race that so many of us sign up for so many times. I had these thoughts mulling over in my head somewhere 5-6 hours into the race Saturday, when I came up on a singlespeeder approaching the base of the hill. I watched him fluidly stand on the pedals, lean forward swinging the bike beautifully with his cadence through the rock strewn climb. It made an impact on me immediately. Outside the Nelson Atkins museum, etched into the stone is a quote something to the effect of, "The soul has greater need of the ideal than the real." Stuck somewhere in the poise of that rider attacking the climb I saw the ideal man, defying the laws of nature aboard his mindfully crafted machine armed with determination and skill. I don't think I will ever completely understand what it is about bike racing that I value so much. Yet when I catch glimpses of it it helps me rationalize all of this crazy behavior.
The race could not have been any better. The weather was great, the trails were phenomenal. My legs stayed strong the whole day. Some of the many highlights included, running real slow to my bike and still being in fine position, riding a lap with Aaron Elwell before he had to leave for other engagements, eating a ton of Pina Colada shot blocks, the drinking contingent that always offered their support in the form of beating a cooler like bongos and smashing cans, Amber, feeling good enough to really enjoy the night laps, my parents showing up towards the end of the race, and winning.
Sunday, August 10, 2008
The only race with Lazer BeamsJust finished up riding at Landahl, and the RIM course is primo. Apparently the Boys of Swope have been turning their attention to ribbonizing the Landahl trails. Jeff Winkler found me going backwards on the course and we rode together for a couple of laps. I was riding a 6 and 6 big rig, while he was pushing a svelte carbon mama, but we chatted and had a good time.
If you have not seen me lately on the trails you may have missed my new Yeti 575. Yeti Race colors and a nice XT kit, it is making for some serious smiling. My MTB stable is looking pretty sharp right now. Hopefully we continue to have dry trails.
Everyone come out for the festivities this coming Saturday, it is the last Heartland Race of the year, and should be a good time for all.
For a continued good blogging time hop over to Team Seagul's page. Apparently they will grace us with their presence at RIM.
Friday, August 8, 2008
Well yesterday sucked royaly. After a morning at the DMV I was looking forward to clearing my head at the first Short Track race. I left work in plenty of time to wade through the rush hour and ride awhile before the race. As is par for course I left with only glancing at the directions, I was looking for an exit that did not exist and when I reached the 129-435 Junction North of the Airport I knew I went to far. I called a local shop and that sent me further spiraling into the Northland Maze and wandered around on Tiffany Springs Parkway for awhile. My cell phone died, as is par for course, disconnecting me from any competent help, and leaving only gas station clerks (one man pointed the direction he would not have to rotate his hips to point to and said, "that way"). It should figure Tiffany Springs Parkway leads to Tiffany Springs Park but it only leads to Dead Ends and road closures. I found Tiffany Springs Park and Sports Complex at about ten minutes before the race was scheduled to take off. Pulled into the parking lot looking for the familiar glow of Primal Wear Jersey's that always signifies this is where the Dirt Race is at, No glow. I attempted to circle the park looking for another parking area. Clock is up, race started already and I determined there is another Tiffany Springs Park out there. When I got back home and took time to study the directions I realized my error, and the error of all the QuikTrip employees along the way. I guess this week was a rest week.