SQUASH BLOSSOM - 2012
CAT 2 MAYHEM,
REZ DOG FOOD CHAIN &
There was no better place on the planet to be a mountain biker last week than Gallup, New Mexico. A report:
1. PORTALS, SWARMING HORNETS & NIGHT LIGHT ESCORTS. Before we turn to this weekend’s Squash Blossom Classic races let’s look back to some random highlights from this Wednesday’s ride when 11 Rez Dogs wove their way over various routes to the Lost Lake Rim Lookout at sunset:
· Bob Rosebrough – who was thoroughly entranced by Chuck Van Drunen’s plots to wreck havoc on our Cat 2s in the Squash Blossom – went skidding past the turn in and kicked up a huge cloud of dust to the amusement of the boys gathered at Cabin 34.
· Chuck, who was trying every trick in the book to talk Brian Leddy into racing Cat 2 in the Squash Blossom: “Greg wants to knock off Chad. Brian wants to knock off Greg.” Prolonged Chuck cackle. “There has to be a food chain.” Another extended cackle.
· Within two minutes of arriving at Lost Lake Rim Lookout to a glorious sunset, Ryan Dashner was dancing around swatting his legs and yelling, “Big ants are biting me!!!” It turns out that the bites were actually coming from a swarm of small hornets or bees – 40 to 50 – that were bunched in the exact spot were Ryan’s glass bottle of sweet honey bourbon broke earlier in the year by the fire pit.
· Moving down the slope to avoid the bees/hornets, Kevin Zwiers started a fire and Bob and Lee Perlo started serving up chicken burritos and sausage sandwiches.
· Bill Siebersma – looking northwest just after the sun dipped below the distant horizon as the fire was kicking up - said, “We should start a big fire on the HDT and see if we can see each other.”
· During the head light romp back to the cabin Kevin attempted, unsuccessfully, to recreate his “portal ride” in which he was somehow mysteriously transported over Danoff Road without ever crossing it on a bike.
· Allan Philips – who rode out to the lookout solo without a night light – was escorted back with guys both in front and back of him lighting up the night like he was the grand marshal of the Wednesday night ride.
2. TOP OF THE FOOD CHAIN. Well, if there is a food chain, Chuck is now firmly affixed at the top of it. On Saturday, he finished as the top overall in Cat 1 (Not just his age group. Cat 1 overall!!) with a time of 2:18:29 on the 31 mile course. He even beat one of the four pros in the race. Chuck finished 7 minutes up on Peter Tempest (first in Cat 1 50+) who in turn was 13 minutes up on Andy “Bobcat” Stravers who hasn’t touched a bike much lately but nevertheless took up a challenge to duel with Peter in the Squash Blossom Duathlon Omnium (much more on this to follow). You know it was just two years ago when Chuck was a pleasantly plump and completely disoriented guy who cheerfully took a whipping in Cat 1 weekend after weekend. Now Chuck – who hasn’t raced since Mesa Verde in May (That is if you don’t count the McGaffey Challenge and the Care 66 Charity Ride which are both actually harder than anything on the race schedule) – comes out and blows away the whole Cat 1 field at Squash Blossom. My how things have changed.
3. CAT 2 HEATS UP. As predicted there was some great action in Cat 2. Chad was tied down with work, but Dirk Hollebeek went into a frenzy (like when he saw Kevin pulling away on 602) after finishing the family fitness ride with his kids and jumped into the race at the last minute (or did he?) in his T-shirt and shorts. Brian stepped up to challenge Greg Cavanaugh who has thoroughly ruled Cat 2 for several years and even won the state age group points championship a couple of years ago. Brian – who is new to racing – seemed nervous and was trying to downplay expectations before the race but no one was having it, because we all know he is a beast on the bike. At the start, Greg took his rightful place up near the front while Brian meekly went to the back with the women and poachers. Greg held off the new challenger, but not by much. Greg had a strong time of 1:32:41 over the 19 mile course and finished 4th in the loaded 30+ category – one spot ahead of Brian who was just 1:30 back in 5th. Stay tuned on this one guys. It looks like there are a lot of fireworks to come in Cat 2 action. Brian now knows he deserves a spot up near the front. And Dirk? We’re not sure what to say about this one. We have, as usual, wildly conflicting reports, but this time the conflicting accounts are all from Dirk himself and somehow he doesn’t even show up on the final results. Maybe he got sucked into Kevin’s portal?
4. A NEW REIGN OF TERROR? This reporter wasn’t on the scene back in the day when Tim Pikaart was terrorizing the local field, but by all accounts it was pretty brutal. Guys who were part of that era literally shake and grimace when they remember the pain Tim used to inflict on every hill on every training ride back in the day. Well brace yourself; it looks like there is another Pikaart dynasty on the horizon. Tim’s teenage son, Luke, blasted his way to an overall win in Cat 3 with a time of 31:45 on the 7 mile course. And there were several other Rez Dogs with some great results: Jenn Witt won female single speed in 1:50:56 on the 19 mile course; Mona Vining placed first in Cat 3 50+ in 41:18; Mona’s grandson, Sage Allen Stewart, was 3rd out of 12 in Cat 3 U-18 in 34:35; and Holly Herr was 3rd in Cat 2 women 0-49 in 2:02:10.
CONCLUDING QUESTION. So who won the Duathlon duel between Peter and Andy? First a little background: Peter and Andy became only the 2nd and 3rd persons in the 7 year history of the Squash Blossom to compete in the 31 mile bike course and the 13.2 mile trail half marathon and boy did they exceed all expectations. In the half marathon run on Sunday, Andy was the overall winner (that’s right the OVERALL winner in a time of 1:29:58 in a large, talented field) and Peter was 4th overall and first in 50+. Although there is not an official duathlon category or award, this blog has decided to fill that gap (and if we stir the pot a little, so much the better). So who, you ask, is the overall winner? At first blush, Peter is the clear winner. He put 13 minutes on Andy in the bike and Andy put 8 ½ minutes on Peter in the run. Peter wins on combined time. But wait, we never do things the simple, easy way around here. The bike for these guys is a 2 ½ hour race and the run is a 1 ½ hour race. If you weight the respective times for the length of each race (which is only fair), you have a dead heat and that means we have to turn to subjective factors (now were talking!) and make a hard decision (that’s why we get paid the big bucks). The blog has conclusively decided to break the deadlock and name Andy the duathlon champ because he rose to the challenge of adding the bike race to his weekend even though it jeopardized his chances of an overall win in the run. Over a dinner of Chuck’s handmade pizza (add master pizza chef to his job skills list), Andy was awarded a block of green chile peanut brittle for 1st in the Squash Blossom Duathlon Omnium and Peter took home a free life time subscription to RezDogRacing.blogspot.com for 2nd place.