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.