Thursday, September 18, 2014

Darkside Classic 2014

On Sunday, September 7, 17 road cyclists gathered in the Rehoboth Fitness Center parking lot to enter into the second annual Darkside Classic.  Like last year, racers went from Rehoboth to 66, west to MacGaffey, south on 402 to the gravel and back again ending on the high point on the bridge heading to the gas plant north of Rehoboth.  Also like last year, there were some format elements that made this road race different than a straightforward, first finisher across the line wins type of contest. Instead, all participants were divided into teams with four or five members each and the finishing placement of the third rider would determine the winning team. 

Here is how the race went down in chapter installments…

I.                    THE PHANTOM MENACE(s)
There was a great deal of conversation and inquiry surrounding team makeup.  This was only accelerated when John Rogers and Jimi signed up through the Gallup group list.  Everyone wanted to know who Jimi was and whether anyone had ridden with John lately. How would this affect teams?  How fit was Chad?  Was Kevin ready to fire up the downhill train?  Was Chuck healthy?  Would Kantor(dor) bring the hurt? The long and short of it was, that no one knew anything about anyone’s fitness and now everyone cared.  Do we not ride together anymore? 

II.                  ATTACK OF THE CLONES
Has there been a local event that Scotty hasn’t attacked and some sucker or suckers try to go with him?  Ooops, I just threw myself under the bus…this year’s Darkside was no different as Bob and Scott of Team Red attacked the peloton just after rolling across the predetermined start line of the second railroad crossing.  I joined the break and the peloton was content to let us go up the road until… 

III.                REVENGE OF THE SITH (Peloton)
Halfway up the mountain somewhere between Milk Ranch and Hillso, I had to stop to do a bike adjustment.  Once I remounted, imagine my surprise to be joined by Chad and Chuck of Team Green.  It seems that the earlier lackadaisical nature of the peloton was over and the chase was on for the breakaway.  Chad, Chuck, and I joined and chased Bob and Scotty eventually catching and passing them around mile marker 9.  We crested over Danoff and I eased off waiting to see and regroup with my team as Chuck and Chad slipped ahead and then Bob and Scott.

IV.                A NEW HOPE (of it all coming back together)
This strategy of regrouping at the top was consistent among all the groups except for Team Red as Bob and Scott kept pushing down the hill at top speed in an effort to get the maximum advantage.  Groups crested in groups of twos and threes from different teams as earlier team members backpedaled and shouted encouragement.  On the early descending slopes around Danoff, a new situation emerged as Team Green (Chuck, Chad and Lloyd) joined by Greg of Team Black and CRW3 of Team Red began pushing the pace while Team White with Kevin, Jen and I were a few yards back and gave chase.  It turns out that Team Black was within striking distance with Kantor(dor) and Nate Bia nearing the group but a gravel crash by Josh distanced them such that there was never any contact. 
Team Green took inventory of the situation and realized that CRW3 was the 3rd and winning man of the race for Team Red and made an all out effort to shed him from the group just as Team White was tenuously making contact.  Tense turns and efforts ensued but eventually the group was established with three Team Green members, three Team White members, a Team Black member, and the third Team Red member all scorching down the mountain and through Wingate to 66 while trying to maintain team membership while exploiting other team members weaknesses as we all realized that Scott and Bob were well up the road.  Or were they…  

V.                  THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK
With approximately three miles to go to the finish, as individuals and teams were sending fliers up the road to break up the established group and gain an advantage for the win, it is discovered that Scotty has mysteriously and quietly joined the group.  It seems that he sent Bob on his way to the finish line, hid behind some gravel along 402 and chased back on once the group passed.  Just as that truth settles in, Bob was sighted by the peloton and the baying of hounds began.  Both Team White and Green began to chase while Scotty attempted to verbally dissuade the efforts.  “Why are you going so fast?” he asked Lloyd of Team Green while Lloyd was giving it the long femur effort.  But Bob as the rabbit was not be denied as all members fixated on catching that elusive but provocative blue jersey carrot.  Among Team White, none were more determined than Jen to catch Bob.  After a particular bruising effort by Team White, I asked Jen if she was ready to have another high speed go and busting up the group.  “Just….catch…..Bob!” she managed between gulps of air.
Within a quarter mile of the finish, the catch was made.  Scotty made a jump and crossed the finish line first with Chad, Chuck and Lloyd of Team Green crossing next and winning the event. 

VI.                RETURN OF THE JEDI(s)?
This year’s effort again proved the resurgence of the Darkside among the Gallup community.  Often self-described as mountain bikers, the Rez Dog riders are capable road riders who ride hard but also possess the roadie mentality for suffering and inflicting pain.  Can there be any turning back or is this ragtag bunch of Rez Dogs given over to the power of the Darkside?  Only the Screamer will tell.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014


By Bob
In 2004, Gallup put on New Mexico’s first endurance mountain bike race when we held the inaugural Dawn til Dusk race to break in the High Desert Trail.  This year, an assorted pack of Rez Dogs turned out for the ten year anniversary race.  A report: 
1.     STIRRING THE POT AT PETER’S PASTA FEED.  For the past several years, the heated Gallup Cup battles between duo teams (notably Chuck - Andy versus Peter – Hadji) and Chuck’s relentless pot stirring has dominated our attention at DtD.  This year the talk at Peter’s pre-race pasta feed focused initially on Andy and Holly’s new baby Felix, Chad’s move into Gallup and Chuck’s systematic effort to poach every Strava KOM on the 24 Hour course.  With Chuck on medical (or psychosomatic?) leave this year, Bob tried to fill the pot stirring void.  In front of Peter, Chuck, Chad and Andy, Bob put his cell phone on speaker and called Dirk to ask, “So what is your strategy this year to beat Peter?”  The plan quickly backfired when the sharp eared Dirk spotted Peter’s laughter in the background and unleashed a tirade on Bob. 
2.     AN “UNDER THE RADAR” REZ DOG.  On race morning, David McDonnell who works at the Fort Defiance Hospital and who has lived in Gallup for over 14 years was filming the event by a remote controlled, aerial, Go Pro camera.  David has been posted 10 videos on You Tube and some of them are really cool including one of mountain biking on the Hogback near his home in Indian Hills.   David shows signs of joining Rez Dog Greg Cavanaugh as a You Tube star.  His camera work, editing and music selection are fantastic; he is perfecting the art of aerial video.  Keep an eye out on You Tube for when David posts his video of this year’s DtD, I’m predicting that it’s going to be great.   
3.     RIDING WITH THE BULLS.  Only in Gallup.  The inaugural Gunslinger two months ago featured a horse stampede that crossed the road in front of the B group riders and then ran parallel to them on the descent of the White Cliffs hill.  The start of this year’s DtD featured a cattle stampede that crossed the road just behind the lead racers (including Andy, Dirk and Peter) and just in front of Bob and Luke who then had to compete with the herd to get through the turnoff gate. 
4.     SOLO STRONG MEN.  All eyes were on the solo battle between Dirk and Peter (an epic Clash of the Titans), with Dirk – who put in eight laps last year while placing 2nd in the 40+ category – being the decided favorite. Peter, however, has a history of solo success that predates his recent focus on the Gallup Cup.  Early on, both Peter and Dirk set a torrid pace as they rode neck and neck for the first three laps.  Dirk started to fade as the day got hot and bailed after putting in four blisteringly fast laps and one tough one in just over six hours.  Peter dug deep for eight laps in 9:38.45 and 1rst place in Masters Solo.  Sage Stewart (David Vining’s 16 year old grandson) turned in five solo laps in spite of three flats.  David McDonnell put in a lap after it got too windy to fly his aerial Go Pro camera and Brian Culligan was out on the course churning laps although his name didn’t turn up on the results list. 
5.     FOUR MAN HEROS.  Andy, Chad, Kevin and Greg placed a respectable forth in the always tough four man team category with eleven laps.  Andy put in the fastest times.   He followed his opening lap 45.04 on the short course with a 59.51 and a 1:00.13 on the full course.  Luke Pikaart lead the Future Dawgz which included Dane Henry, Glenn Ratmeyer and Ben Stewart to eight laps with an opening sub 52 lap which he later followed up with a 1:11:11 lap on the full course. 
6.     2014 GALLUP CUP WINNERS!  The two oldest racers in the event, Dave (65) and Bob (60) cranked out nine laps to place third in the masters duo category.  They were the only duo racers from Gallup this year.  After the awards ceremony, a light bulb went off in Peter’s head.  He approached Bob as he was about to drive off and said, “By the way, you guys won the Gallup Cup this year.”  Since the race promoters didn’t have a Gallup Cup on hand at the awards ceremony this year, it only seems fair that Chuck and Andy, who have three, need to give one up until Dave and Bob’s comes in.  Don’t you think?  
A CONCLUDING QUESTION.  So what accounted for Dirk’s drop off in performance from 2013 to 2014?  We all know the guy is still super strong and will “tear your legs off” any time you ride out with him.  Some speculated that the heat got to Dirk this year.  Others thought he missed Greg’s early lap pace making from last year.  Others thought he was preoccupied with school politics.  All of these reasons sound plausible but the editorial opinion staff here at the blog has conclusively determined that Dirk’s fade was actually attributable to the energy he expended during his pre-race cell phone tirade (“You pot stirring dirt bag.”) against Bob. Case closed. 

Saturday, March 15, 2014


Words By Bob
Photos courtesy of Brian Leddy


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.