Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Monday, September 26, 2011
REZ DOGS DEFEND THEIR TURF:
2011 HIGH DESERT SCREAMER
The New Mexico Off Road Series came to Gallup this weekend for the Screamer on the High Desert Trail System . . . and you know how territorial dogs – and especially rez dogs - can be. A report:
1. A DESPERATE DASH IN THE DARK. The build up to the Screamer officially kicked off on Wednesday night when Bob Rosebrough met up with Chuck Van Drunen and Paul Barry at dusk on the Second Mesa overlook. Bob and Chuck were marking the course and Paul came out with a couple of beers. Shortly after Bob pulled up, Chuck announced that Dirk Hollebeek was “poaching” the Screamer. The specific nature of Dirk’s poaching will remain a closely guarded secret on the pages of this blog, because we are dogs. We are not rats or snitches. Chuck looked on, wide eyed with amazement and glee, as Bob - who has always been Dirk’s faithful defender in the intense Chuck v. Dirk drama-fest – insisted that they needed to come up with a plan to mess with Dirk at the Screamer starting line. To complete the role reversal, Chuck advised caution. (Yes, you read that right. Chuck advised caution.) Needless to say, the topic of Dirk’s poaching, beer and an amazing view combined into the inevitable – yet another desperate dash in the dark back to the trucks.
2. CLASH OF THE TITANS. On race day there was fervent speculation about how the battle between Chuck, Dirk and Andy Stravers would end up. The consensus was that Chuck was the slight favorite – given his strong results this year - but that Dirk and Andy were both very capable of edging him out. Dirk, after all, showed fantastic form just last weekend and even though Andy has been spent most of the year running instead of biking, he is Andy and that means he is always a threat even against guys in top form. Chuck – who has been famously unfocused before NMORS races in years past – sent a clear message when he showed up with a fresh haircut, clean shave and a small, light racing camelback instead of his 31-compartment-Gallup-flea-market-behemoth. After the pros came in, the tension began to mount and the Gallup crowd began moving over to the finish line - all looking to see which one of our top dogs would come over the stock pond hill first.
3. AND THE WINNER IS. Not too long after the top pros in New Mexico (Calvert, McCalla, Brenneman & Nielsen) blazed through the finish area, a tightly spaced group of 30+ Cat 1s came through that included (drum roll please!) Chuck as the first Rez Dog. At 2:11:10, Chuck was only 38 seconds off the pace set by former Gallupian, Hadji Corona, who finished first in the super competitive Cat 1 30+ category. Andy came in impressively - less than two minutes behind Chuck. Dirk had a respectable time, but came in well back of Chuck and Andy after cramping up badly. Although Dirk is continuing to work through some health and diet issues there was some speculation that he was simply suffering the karmic effect of all the pain he dished out last weekend and that, as bad as his cramps were, the pain he suffered was less than 25% of the pain he dealt out to the rest of the pack on the Care 66 ride. As always: We report; you decide.
4. TWO CLYDESDALES AND A GHOST. There was no prerace speculation about which of the three Cat 2 Rez Dogs would prevail. It was a foregone conclusion that Chad “the Ghost” Meekhof, who was last year’s overall Cat 2 winner would come in before the two Rez Dog Clydesdales: Kevin Zwiers and Bob. Kevin (who only registered 30 minutes before the race and four days earlier became a new father) and Bob swapped places three times on the course before Kevin pulled away from Bob for good at the midway point on Second Mesa to finish in 1:38:07. Chad won the 19-29 category and was second place overall in Cat 2 in a time of 1:28:41 on the 18 mile course. (photographer's note: Chad was so fast I couldn't even get a picture!) Chad was bumped out of first place overall by a sandbagging Cat 1 roadie who raced Cat 2 on the mountain bike. The same guy bumped Bob down to second place in the 50+ category at 1:39:19.
5. TWO OLDTIMERS AND A NEW STAR. There were a couple of double takes when old timer Billy McCarthy – who used to terrorize the local road race circuit in the late 80s and early 90s - showed up on a pre-historic Schwinn and put in a respectable effort in Cat 2 in his first mountain bike race. Mike Heredia won the new 60+ category in Cat 3 and star-in-the-making Holly Herr was the overall female winner in Cat 3. Following close being was 1st timer Heather Haveman coming in 3rd place.
6. A BOLO TIE FOR AN INSPIRATING GUY. This year’s Honorary Grand Marshall for the Screamer was Doug Schneebeck. Doug is a former Cat 1 rider for the Sport Systems team and a three time finisher of the Leadville 100. A year and a half ago he was diagnosed with ALS (aka Lou Gehrig’s disease) but he is still riding – although now as a Cat 3. Doug helped with the start and the awards – many of which went to his Sport Systems teammates. It was heart rendering to see the emotion and affection shared by Doug and the other racers – and especially his teammates - during the awards ceremony. Pro rider, Damien Calvert gave the beautiful Zuni bolo tie he was awarded as overall male winner to Doug at the end of the awards ceremony.
Monday, September 19, 2011
MOUNTAIN BIKE MARATHON NATIONALS IN BEND OREGON
This weekend Peter Tempest traveled to Bend, Oregon, for the Mountain Bike Marathon Nationals as the only New Mexico rider in the field, but, before we turn to that story, there are some local high jinks to report:
1. NIGHT GUY’S WEDNESDAY NIGHT FOREST ESCAPADES: The legend of Night Guy continues to grow – as does his camelback. Chuck Van Drunen aka Night Guy and Morning Guy somehow conned Kevin Zwiers and Greg Cavanaugh into going on a night ride in the forest for the Wednesday night ride this week. Of course, Greg and Kevin - unlike Night Guy - have jobs that require their smiling faces to appear bright and early every Thursday morning. Here are the broad strokes of Night Guy’s escapades: Not one, not two, but three – yes three! - separate rides from Bill Siebersma’s cabin in “the eye of the hurricane” with storms swirling all around them and Night Guy constantly fishing out replacement lights and batteries from the caverns of his camelback. The three finally dragged home just before 2AM – or roughly about an hour and a half after their wives started calling each other in pre-panic mode.
2. FROM THE DEPTHS OF COMPARTMENT 25. Perhaps the highlight of the night in the forest was when Night Guy finally found the pound of hamburger meat and bottle of wine he had been frenetically looking for in his truck when they got back to Bill’s cabin after each ride. In between rides number two and three, Night Guy was rummaging through his 30-compartment- Gallup-flea-market-camelback and low and behold he came across the missing pound of hamburger and wine bottle (in compartment 25 according to Kevin) that he had unknowingly been lugging around on his back all night.
3. DIRK DEALS THE PAIN. Saturday morning while Peter was doing battle in Bend, Morning Guy and Kevin joined Dirk Hollebeek, Tim Pikaart, Sanjay Choudrie and Sanjay’s architect, Tom, for the annual Care 66 Charity Bike road ride into the heart of Rez Dog country. The route starts with the Tse-Ya-Toh loop, followed by the Red Rock Chapter Loop, and culminates with the dreaded Bread Springs Loop where Peter T-boned a sheep on a road bike. What?!? How do you T-bone a sheep on a road bike? Stop! We don’t have time for that right now. Back to the Care 66 Ride which can be summarized as follows: The pack would casually start riding each segment to the next support vehicle location for a mile or so when Dirk “the Hollebeast” would start dealing the pain. Morning Guy would rise to each of Dirk’s challenges and the rest of the pack – in various stages of agony – would grimace and try to hang on as they rode through spectacular terrain and the agitated packs of rez dogs that Dirk would stir up as he blasted around the course.
4. PETER IN PURGATORY – NEXT YEAR HEAVEN. Peter has been making an annual trip to the mountain bike marathon nationals since his early 40’s and he has placed as high as fourth in 40 +. This year – at a racing age of 49 – is Peter’s year of purgatory and penance before he steps up to the promised land of 50+ racing next year. This year and next, the marathon nationals are in the mountain bike Mecca of Bend, Oregon so Peter was primarily scouting the course in anticipation of his return to glory next year.
5. BONE DRY IN OREGON. The 52 mile marathon course starts out in Bend on pavement leading to two track and eventually single track that climbs from 3,600’ to 5,600’ on its way toward Mount Bachelor. Peter said the 40+ group largely stayed together in “dead silence” on the first five miles of pavement and then started breaking up when they hit dirt. The single track was dusty and powder dry. Peter compared the single track conditions to the dust at 24 Hours in the Enchanted Forest this summer and said, “When you saw a cloud of dust that’s when you knew you were getting close.” (Check out the difference in Peter’s before and after photos)
6. WHAT A DIFFERENCE ONE YEAR MAKES. In spite of being one of the oldest riders – if not the oldest – in the group, Peter finished respectably in just over 4 hours in 24th place out of 45 national’s riders in the 40+ group. His time would have put him in 4th place in 50+ and on the national’s podium again so it’s a pretty safe bet that he will be chomping at the bit to get back to Bend next year after paying his dues this year. Peter described Bend as being a hip mountain biking town “like Durango” with a bunch of hot riders who “wildly over-represented” the town on the podium.
A CONCLUDING QUESTION: It was bone dry in Oregon while it rained every day, and sometimes several times a day, in Gallup. And . . . Peter was a thousand miles away as his fellow Rez Dog riders ventured out to do battle with his arch nemesis - the dreaded Bread Springs Loop sheep. Were we sucked into some kind of weird parallel universe vortex this weekend? Just asking.