Saturday, March 15, 2014

GALLUP’S FIRST GUNSLINGER RACE


TIM’S TAXI CAB,
FRONTAGE FRENZY,
INTRIGUE IN IYANBITO &
CARNAGE IN THE CANYON
Words By Bob
Photos courtesy of Brian Leddy

                        http://brianleddyphoto.photoshelter.com/#!/index



On Saturday, the first race of Scott Nydam’s Gunslinger series kicked off and – man – was it a rip roaring adventure.  The 51 mile course started downtown, went out Superman Canyon (with two separate dirt sections and three sketchy bridges), descended to Churchrock, headed east on the frontage road to a loop at Iyanbito and then backtracked to a finish at the Hogback. Around 2pm dark, ominous clouds hovered to the east as 18 racers gathered at the food coop and self-selected into A and B categories with the Bs getting a head start.  A report: 


1.     TIM’S TAXI CAB.  Scott Nydam attacked the A group early (As he did in Dirk’s Dark Side Classic.  Is a pattern emerging?) when the snow started coming down in Superman Canyon.  After a wild scramble in the snow, Dirk Hollebeek and Chuck Van Drunen – two good friends and arch rivals – formed the most temperamentally mismatched chase duo in the history of cycling and set their sights on Scott.    A few minutes earlier, the B group (which was ahead of the As) was joined by Tim Pikaart at the turn to Superman Canyon. 

      Tim’s brief sojourn into the race is sure to have a featured place in the ultimate history of Rez Dog racing.  After joining the B group, Tim played Good Samaritan by ferrying dropped riders back up to the lead group and all was copacetic. When first Scott and then Chuck and Dirk (the “Chuck-Dirk-Chase” or the “CDC”) caught and started passing the Bs, Tim’s taxi tactics inevitably sparked controversy.  Tim gave the CDC a monster pull down the hill to Churchrock to help their effort at bridging up to Scott.  The problem was that Andy “Bobcat” Stravers was not far back from the CDC and was putting in a gigantic effort to catch the CDC that was doomed by Tim’s Taxi cab.  At the after party, opinion was divided (how could it be otherwise?).  Some felt Tim owed Bobcat big time – perhaps on-call babysitting services for the next two years – while others felt Tim’s tactics should be institutionalized into future Gunslingers.  They said Tim (or some other wild card) should be designated to ride whatever portion of the course he wants to ride and have the prerogative to give random pulls to whoever he wants, whenever he wants – like a joker in a poker hand.  As always: we just report; you decide. 

2.     FRONTAGE FRENZY.  As the race headed east from Churchrock, bedlam broke loose.  The dark skies poured down a mixture of rain and snow on intermixed, frantic groups of A & B group racers who seemed to be scrambling for their lives.  Racers desperate to hang on had to suffer through a shower of freezing water from the wheel they were following.  Several underdressed racers, including Chuck and Greg, bailed and called it a day.  At the end of the frontage, after the downpour eased, Dirk was able to dash in front of a train onto the Iyanbito loop, leaving B group riders Nate Haveman and Chuck Whitney waiting at the tracks to be caught by the remaining Bs – Lee Perlow, Jen Witt and Bob Rosebrough – and Bobcat who, after Chuck’s dropout, was the third place A racer. 

3.     INTRIGUE IN IYANBITO. On the climb up the Iyanbito loop, the Bs began to splinter with everyone trying to stay on Bobcat’s wheel.  As a gap formed with Nate and Bob still hanging on, Andy looked back questioning whether he should wait for Jen.  Bob urged Andy on, “She dropped me like a hot rock in the Dark Side even though she was my teammate.  Then talked shit about me.  Let’s go!! Don’t wait!!”  With Andy doing almost 100% of the work, they pulled away and dropped Jen.

4.     CARNAGE IN THE CANYON.  What would Superman Canyon, with its primitive surface and Paleolithic bridges, be like after the storm?  In short:  carnage.  After fishtailing around a bit,  Andy went over the bars on a bridge and then bound up in slick clay.  At one point, he picked up his bike and carried it over his head as he sprinted 100 yards in frustration.  Nate’s cleats busted leaving him to gingerly spin as he fishtailed.  Lee cramped in both legs and Chad Meekhof spun sideways on a bridge and then buried his front wheel up to the skewer in a slot.  If that wasn’t enough, a pack of three rez dogs, who had been lethargic on the way out, came out to attack each passing rider.  
5.     NINE LEFT STANDING.  After three plus hours of racing filled with incredible beauty (a herd of wild horses burst onto the road in front of the Bs going out; the surreal backsides of Pyramid Rock, Churchrock and Kit Carson Cave Mesa and the base of the red rocks at Iyanbito) and unforgettable suffering, there were only nine racers left standing:  Scott, Dirk, Chad, Andy and Lloyd Ellis in the As and Bob, Lee, Nate and Chuck W. in the Bs. 
A CONCLUDING QUESTION.  Will Scott ever be beaten in a grass roots road or cross race in Gallup?  Let’s analyze this at two different levels. First, the physical level.  That’s easy.  Yes, the other A group Rez Dog racers are clearly physically capable of working together as a group and reeling Scott back in when he attacks early.  Will it happen?  Never!! Putting aside physical abilities, will the A group hefe’s put aside their ancient rivalries and inherent incompatibilities and pull together?   No!! Not only No, but Hell to the No!!!  It’s never going to happen.  They will never, never, never, never ever be capable overcoming their congenital and temperamental differences to work cohesively to bring Scott back.  Scott will win every grassroots race he enters in Gallup – forever.  He will attack early in every race and leave only chaos in his wake every time. Is that clear?  I hope so.  Now, let’s move on.



Monday, January 27, 2014

Chicks Destroy Rez Dogs at Bocce Ball
In an ugly defeat VanDorp & Dashner crushed multiple times various combinations of unnamed male rez dogs at a Bocce Ball tourney at a secret forest location.  Worst of all the girls never lost a single game with many of their triumphs being realized as come-from-behind soul crushes on clutch last throws.

It was horrible.

The report has been delays 6 months to ensure everyone was mentally stable before reporting.
Some of those who participated are still on prozac.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Drinking from the fountain of pain !

Andy and Chuck race Dawn to Dusk, Fountain Hills, AZ

After Chuck successfully hoodwinked Andy into signing up for a duo team, the lads headed down to the land of the cactus for a 10 hour race.

After the usual borrowing of Peter's race equipment for Andy, the show was on for these two. Packet pick up the night before was an omen of things to come. " that will be $6 please" said the lady at the gate. It was 8 PM. "but we're just going to get our race numbers" - Chuck.
$6 later we drove through the gate.
The race organizer guy warned them of the parking issues the next morning.

Chuck devours the donkey schlong!

Despite the greater Phoenix area being home to over a million people, you can't get anything good to eat at 9 PM. Senor Taco was it. This meal had to count for dinner that night and breakfast the next morning.
Andy knocked back a burrito and ordered one for the next day. Chuck, after browsing the menu like a sale on a bike website, ordered one burrito ('the burro') for dinner and breakfast combined.




The folks at the gate tried to stop them from driving in at 5 AM. $6 later, they drove in and made it to the camping parking area about a mile from the race start. They poached a picnic table and claimed it like a defiant WW2 victory.
"if they just try to stop us using this table then I'm showing them my arse" - Chuck.

The boys hammered hard, ticking off the laps in quick fashion.This is what they are good at. Having done it many times before.



Despite stiff competition from the big city shaved leg crowd, the guys finished a respectable 5th. They made it look easy even though it wasn't.



We packed it all up and went in search of Thai food! Overall a good weekend was had by all.



PB

Saturday, December 28, 2013

WHITE RIM IN A DAY


NATE’S FIRST KOM,
DIRK ON STRAVA?,
MORNING GUY RETURNS &
NAKED RIDER AND A PORTAL
By Bob



            Three weeks ago, a pack of ten Rez Dogs – Peter Tempest, Tim Pikaart, Don Tamminga, Dirk Hollebeek, Chuck Van Drunen, Bob Rosebrough, Alan Philips, Nate Haveman, David Nordstrom and Scott Nydam drove to Moab to take on the epic White Rim trail.  A report: 

1.    NATE’S FIRST KOM.  Mid-week before the pack left for Moab, an email from Strava was delivered to Scottie’s inbox saying, “Uh oh! Nate Haveman just stole your KOM!”  Nate of course is Dirk’s new darkside protégé who has been feverishly upgrading his bike, inflicting pain in group rides and scouting KOMs since coming under Dirk’s evil spell during the Darkside Classic this fall.  Scottie forwarded the Strava email (which referred to a segment called ‘training opener climb’) to Chuck and Bob with an email that simply said, “Uh Oh!”  To which Bob said, “What the hell!?!?! Why do I think this must have been what it felt like at the beginning of the dark ages?” and Chuck joined in, “Pay back on the white rim?....oh what a bitch for haveman.”  As you might suspect, when Chuck is involved, there is much more to this story.  From the swirl of wildly conflicting stories, we have patched together this full and exclusive account:  Nate spent two solid weeks scouting out vulnerable KOMs before settling on a climb going south on 2nd street and enlisted Chuck (Yes!!!! They guy who was later saying Nate deserved payback!!!!) to give him a lead out as part of an all-out, premeditated assault on Scottie’s KOM.  Nate, with Chuck’s complicity, pulled it off and then Chuck, feigning innocence, played double agent and spurred Scottie on to seek revenge.  Oh, what a tangled web we weave!! 


2.    DIRK ON STRAVA?  Can you imagine it?!?!  Just north of Monticello on the way up, Bob asked Dirk, “When are you going to get on Strava?” Bob handed Dirk his phone and Dirk began reviewing Strava results and segments from the past 28 days from Gallup riders.  For the next forty miles, Dirk’s breath changed.  He started breathing in short gasps, his mouth was dry and his pupils constricted.  Then Dirk started twitching in his seat and appeared disoriented as he went through cycles of hyper alertness followed by times when he suddenly nodded off and then jerked back to consciousness.  Finally as the lights of Moab started coming into view, Dirk gathered himself enough to speak these labored words, “I - create - all - the - drama - I - can - handle - on - my - own - without - Strava.  I - don’t - think - I - can - handle - any - more.”  Okay, Dirk, we are going to give you a free pass here.  You may be right on this one. 

3.    HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE WHITE RIM.  The next day was an 80+ ride on the White Rim from the visitor’s center on Island in the Sky, down the Schaeffer Trail, around the rim and up and out at Horsethief.  The highlights:

·      Chuck aka “Morning Guy” slumping at the breakfast table at 5am with heavy eyes and drooping extremities (looking just like Dirk during depressive part of the Strava-induced-cycle from night before.)
·      Descending the Schaeffer Trail with a mountain goat cutting switchbacks and blasting straight downhill ahead of us.
·      A glorious sunrise at Musselman Arch 10 miles into the ride.
·      Cruising around the basins on the first half of the route and stopping briefly at each to gawk at the unearthly landscape below the rim.
·      Grinding up Murphy Hogback (the first of the three big climbs on the 2nd half of the route) and stopping for lunch where Peter passed around some of Bijou’s balls.
·      The exhilaration of seeing the support jeep driven in by Scottie, with his sons in tow, at the perfect spot (mile 60+/-).
·      A buck naked Chuck surprising Bob as he labored up the Potato Bottom climb and then disappearing into a portal and reappearing fully clothed.
·      The sheer, unadulterated agony of the sandy stretch between Potato bottom and Horsethief into a headwind and the final, epic climb up and out at Horsethief. 


A CONCLUDING QUESTION:  Is it possible for 10 mountain bikers from Gallup in 4 separate vehicles to all go through Monticello on the same trip without someone getting a ticket?  Not possible.  Never has happened.  Never will.  This year the Monticello police gave Bob an early $119 birthday present. 




Tuesday, October 29, 2013

A SEA OF SLICKROCK – 2013

A SEA OF SLICKROCK – 2013
MTBR TO SORT IT ALL OUT;
MORE THAN ADEQUATE, ACTUALLY;
CHAD’S ON HIS WAY! &
WHAT HAPPENED IN CANADA?
By Bob



The last weekend in October is now firmly established as a spirit renewing time for Rez Dogs.  For three years now we have reserved this weekend to ride a wildly remote spot on the Colorado Plateau and revel in a sea of slickrock.  A report on this year’s adventure: 

1.     MTBR TO SORT IT OUT.   Slickrock veterans Paul Berry, Brian Leddy, Andy Stravers, Chuck Van Drunen, Greg Cavanaugh, Kevin Zwiers and Bob Rosebrough and newbies Dirk Hollebeek, Ryan Dashner and Jack Hawley drove to Chinle on Saturday.  Around mid-afternoon we drove into a housing complex near the Chinle hospital and found Chinle kids and parents swarming a cool little homemade bike park.  Brian made contact with the Chinle guys several weeks earlier and they offered to show us their favorite trail – another slickrock gem.  Leaving Chinle on dirt roads, the front wheel of Chuck’s trail bike came off Bob’s bike rack and was dragging as near hysteria ensued.  Bob drove on obliviously while Chuck and his crew, who were following behind Bob, tried everything they could to get his attention.  Thankfully only psychic damage ensued and the matter was resolved when all parties concerned decided that Greg (who has experience in these sorts of things) should start an MTBR thread to get some calm, level headed advice on who should be assessed blame for the whole affair.  Stay tuned.  We’ll follow this as a developing story and see where it goes. 

2. DOLPINS PLAYING IN THE OCEAN.  The Chinle route was a classic.  It starts on slickrock only 50 feet from a major dirt road and weaves above a series of canyons.  Each of the slickrock fingers between the canyons feature swells with a smooth rolling surface.  At one point, Kevin and Dirk were hopping over the swells at high speed like dolphins playing in the ocean.   The route is spiced up by several half-pipe canyon drop-ins and views of some wild sandstone spires on the plain below.   The Chinle guys were great hosts.  When we got back to the trucks we broke out Rez Dog stickers and beverages to thank our hosts and an animated circle formed in the middle of a rez road as the sun started going down.

3. MORE THAN ADEQUATE, ACTUALLY.  This year we decided to forgo our usual stop at the Chinle Burger King – which was the location of stimulating conversation last year.  Ryan was able to talk our way into the Junction Café after closing for some adequately sized – more than adequate, actually – portions of meat (Navajo burgers, sheepherder burritos and meat loaf).   The triple highlights of the night were: 1. a spirited argument between Kevin and Chuck (joined by everyone else but Kevin) about whether Prince Fielder (first baseman for the Detroit Tigers) would beat Chuck in a race to first base, 2.  a comprehensive discussion of what a rider has to do in order to “drop himself”, and 3.  lying on our backs in the bottom of Canyon de Chelly and looking up at a moonless sky filled with stars and falling stars (Greg stopped counted after spotting eight falling stars).   There was an unconfirmed report of a quadruple lunar eclipse, but we remain skeptical that something that outrageous could have actually occurred.  Paul, for one, seemed certain that it never happened.      


4.  PAUL AND ANDY IN TOP FORM.   On Sunday, we returned to our remote slickrock playground, but this year, at Chuck’s suggestion, we enjoyed the day with a more causal out and back exploratory ride from the south rather than our usual point to point epic.  And what we encountered was better riding.  Riding the fingers between canyons is a smoother and more flowing ride that the beeline point to point route and we got to ride bowls and discovered arches and side canyons that we would have never seen otherwise.  Paul and Andy, in particular, displayed exceptional riding form around the bowls and on narrow ridges – perhaps form carried over from the Moab trip they took to boycott Dirk’s Darkside Classic (where they got the nicknames Colonel and Captain Curmudgeon).    

5.  CHAD’S ON HIS WAY!  On every slickrock adventure, you can count on Chuck to spice it up with his color commentary:
·        “You know, one difference that I’ve noticed this year without Peter along is that we haven’t run into herds of sheep.”  Heads nod all around. 
·        Two and a half hours into the ride Chuck is sitting on the rim looking south.  This is the point each year where Chuck gestures toward a paved road in the far distance and says, “Hey, there’s Dirk on his road bike.  He’s on his way.”  This year, with Dirk sitting by his side, Chuck points and says, “Hey, there’s Chad on his road bike.  He’s on his way.”  A member of the peanut gallery adds, “Yeah, and there’s Pikaart on his wheel saying ‘You’re looking great Chad.  You got this. Keep pulling.’” 
·        Chuck is sitting on a ledge to the left of Paul, Andy and Greg with a 800 foot drop-off at their feet eating lunch as they drink beer.  He says, “This is may be the exact spot that is the farthest away from any place in the US where you can buy a beer.” 


A CONCLUDING QUESTION:  We are almost afraid to ask this one, but it has to be asked.  What in the world did Melanie’s aunt Heather do to Chuck in Canada this summer?  Let’s set the stage on this one.  Chuck and family went up to Canada for Brian and Melanie’s wedding this summer.   Chuck was a quivering mess when he got back.  He was babbling about a 6’3” Viking woman who terrorized him non-stop, but after a couple of months it seemed like he had gotten over it.  But no!  At the Navajo burger stand Sunday after the ride, the topic of pursuit races came up and you absolutely would not have believed your eyes and ears at Chuck’s reaction when he was told that Aunt Heather was talking about coming down to take him on in the pursuit races.  Chuck’s voice got high pitched and squeaky and he started talking defensively about how he kicked ass on the pro women at the Road Apple.  Yeah, that’s right, Chuck – the guy who was casual about closing in on Damian, Levi and McCalla at Squash Blossom – was almost stuttering and shaking as he talked about how Aunt Heather didn’t stand a chance because he beat the female pros in Farmington!  We may need to lay off Chuck on this one guys. There must have been some really bad s*** that went down in Canada.  We may not want an answer to this question.   


Friday, September 27, 2013


A MAGICAL SCREAMER WEEKEND
THE DARKSIDE IS GROWING,

AN EPIC BATTLE ON THE HDT,
THE LEVI EFFECT, “GALLUP MAGIC”
& PARENTAL GUIDANCE SUGGESTED
By Bob

We just had an amazing – even historic – weekend in Gallup during which Levi Leipheimer raced the High Desert Screamer, joined us for a charity dinner and helped break in the new Brickyard Bike Park . . . and we have some catching up to do. A report:

DIRK’S DARKSIDE CLASSIC. Over a month ago (We’ll talk about the reason for the delay in this blog report later), Dirk did an absolutely masterful job of putting on a grassroots darkside race up to McGaffey and back. He recruited the riders, selected the course and came up with a cool team competition format that added spice to the race. Here are some memories:

Scott attacking just before the turnoff to McGaffey and precipitating a wild series of counterattacks,

Chuck letting Scott and Dirk go with the false hope that he and Kevin (whose training for the 24 Hour Championships is now paying big dividends) would be able to close the gap,

The Fab Five’s (Lloyd, Tim, Chad, Brian & Alan) wild finish that was taken by Tim after Chad attacked at Tim’s suggestion and blew up (Welcome to the darkside Chad!) and Lloyd sailed past the finish turnoff without turning.

Jenn dropping Bob – who was shamelessly trying to draft her – and then adding insult to injury by later trash talking him (Note to Jenn: Be careful about trashing talking thin-skinned-blog-reporters who like to dish it out, but can’t take it).

Nate being so jazzed that all he could talk about was getting a road bike. (Nate he has since completely sold his soul to the darkside. More on this developing story to come in future blogs.)

EPIC BATTLE ON THE HDT. Wow!!! What a race!!! Levi, who was in town to help us raise money to pursue designation as an IMBA Ride Center (and spend time with his old training buddy, Scott), came up short by a bike length against Damien Calvert in an epic battle (Damien pulled away and got a 20 second gap as Michael McCalla blocked Levi. Levi finally got around McCalla and dug deep to get back on Damien’s wheel with a mile to go, but could never get around him. Chuck dominated Cat 1 – even on a bad day. Peter took first in Cat 1 50+. Scottie (riding a Pugsly) and Jenn flatted out. Levi’s quote: “I see why you call it the Screamer. That course is fast!!!!!”

THE LEVI EFFECT. After the race, almost every age group medalist attended the awards ceremony to get a photo with Levi and then . . . Saturday night a crowd of 140 filled the Stronghold Church for a $100 dollar a plate dinner at which Levi and Scott took the stage to share a conversation about cycling with Gallup dignitaries and cyclists. The night ended when Chuck (who had just gone down in flames trying to get Levi to renounce the darkside with a loaded question from the floor) led a throng of Gallup cyclists onto the stage to give Levi a Rez Dog jersey as a thank you.



“GALLUP MAGIC.” Several days before the Grand Opening of the Brickyard Bike Park, Nat Lopes (our exceptional bike park designer) sent out an email that talked about an obstacle being overcome and added, “. . . . but once again the Gallup magic is in full effect”. Nat is right on. Over the last few months the Bike Park has overcome some obstacles and come together magically - far exceeding any reasonable expectations (both in terms of design and the interest it has generated in Gallup’s kids – and adults). At the Grand Opening, the ribbon cutting ceremony was shortened by a downpour – and nobody left. Everyone stayed until the thunderstorm passed, shook themselves off like a mangy rez dogs, and watched the magic: a throng of kids careening around the pump track; Gallup teenagers sailing over the freeride courses and collegians, Levi, Alan, Dirk and Chad competing on the time trail course. Tell me where else on the planet you would see a contrast like Tour de France veteran, Levi - as giddy as a teenager – getting ready to take another lap on the free ride course while less than 50 feet away, one of Greg’s toddlers is on a pedal-less bike cruising the tiny kids circle proudly exclaiming, “Watch this!”?

A CONCLUDING QUESTION 
(PARENTAL GUIDANCE SUGGESTED): So what took the blog so long to report on Dirk’s Darkside Classic? We’ll answer that by sharing a verbatim transcript of a conversation overheard between this blog reporter and an unnamed Rez Dog that took place two or three days after the Darkside race:
Unnamed Rez Dog: “Have you ever seen Dirk so jazzed up?”
Blog Reporter: “No. He’s definitely stoked.”
Unnamed Rez Dog: “What do you think he’s happiest about? The race being so cool or beating Chuck?”
Blog Reporter: “All of the above.”
Unnamed Rez Dog: “Do you think that he’s still sporting wood?.”
Blog Reporter: “No doubt! I think I’ll wait to write it up until he’s done pitching a tent - even if it takes a month or two.”