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  1. #1
    The Duuude, man...
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    29er Race Report CRAZY LONG w/pic's .... #2

    The first race of the AR Series was this weekend in Ft Smith, AR (Springhill Classic).

    This particular race has always been special to me. It might be because it's perfectly suited to my riding style - ie, there's no hills. It’s relatively flat, smooth, and has lots of winding single track, sandy corners, etc. In other words, perfect for an out of shape poser fat-boy 29er rider such as myself.

    I’ve raced it every year since Y2k or earlier, can’t really remember, and have never gotten worse than 3rd, no matter the class. My best race there was in fall 2003 (it was a fall race there instead of the spring race it is now) on my Karate Monkey, this is the actual bike:

    <img border=2 src="http://img.villagephotos.com/p/2004-10/867718/backright.jpg">

    I had been racing a geared class all season, and didn’t have a win under me, but had consistent top 3-4 placements. I raced this KM geared/rigid as my first ride on a 29er ever - late summer 2003…literally hadn’t ridden one until the starting line…in fact, I had it all built except the tires, which a buddy brought and met me in the parking lot (some used moto raptors he bought online with a KM frame). We mounted them up, the rear blew off the rim, re-mounted, and headed for the starting line. So in that respect, the ride from the truck to the line was my experience with a 29er. I think I got 2nd that day.

    Anyway, wanting to mix it up, I took all the gears off, put the WB CX-1 on there, so it was exactly as photo’d above, and raced this Springhill course in my same geared class, but on a SS KM. The Monkey busted out the Karate moves and brought me home to my first 1st of the season in the same class (SS KM in geared class – that was also my first race on a SS). So that’s perhaps part of why I really like this race.

    Anyway, last year I was again out of shape for the spring race at Springhill, and did Clydesdale again. It was to be interesting because myself (race director) and my buddy (race promoter) opted to put a race-within-a-race competition in the Clyde class, which was basically a Twinkie gathering contest. Twinkies and Little Debbie’s (race sponsor) would be left out on the course in various spots, and the Clyde who brought back the most (uneaten) delicious confections would win the “Big Kahuna” trophy. In the event of a tie, there would be a timed “eat-off”…presumably the greater quantity of Twinkies in a 3 minute period would determine the winner of the Big Kahuna. I gave it my all, winning the Big Kahuna outright (no eat-off required), and pulled down 3rd in the class as well, you’ve seen this some-what tired photo already from that day, 1 yr ago:

    <img border=2 src="http://img.villagephotos.com/p/2004-10/867718/highlandgamesspringhillpark060.jpg">


    So this year, I am down to 225 lbs (the requirement for Clyd class is 200lbs+), racing my Milltown Cycles built Exo RX, and after all, I’m the defending Big Kahuna champ, so I was determined to take home that big trophy, no matter what.

    I went early to work registration, but quickly saw a ton of 29er’s. Noteably our own MtbNate was there on his Aslylum/Titus RX with which I was formerly very familiar Asylum/Titus/Specialized ** Race/Review (crazy long) :

    <img border=2 src="http://img.villagephotos.com/p/2004-10/867718/34940689-DSC_0066.JPG">

    I went with the intention of taking shots of any 29er I saw, but quickly realized there were too many to keep track of, so gave it up, other than some of Nate’s bike, and a Leviathan I saw that begged to be photo’d:

    <img border=2 src="http://img.villagephotos.com/p/2004-10/867718/23222291-IMG_0458.JPG">

    But there were at least 4 Titus RX 29er’s there (3 in Ti, 2 with I9’s, 2 with SC32’s), 2 Leviathans, several Dos 9’s, 1 Niner SS, and an untold number of Sugar’s. Impressive actually – make no mistake, 29ers are all the rage in Arkansas.

    I hadn’t ridden that much this year on a bicycle. I have been racing the heck out of my MX bike though, 4 races in the bag on the season, and I recently got bumped up a class. Anyone who’s raced mtb’s and MX (woods) bikes knows that the motorcycle racing is waaay more physical of an event (zero comparison). What I hadn’t been sure of was if that was strictly going to be anaerobic type strengthening or if it would have anything that would transfer over the bicycle. I got on a bicycle for the first, no wait, the 2nd time in 2006 2 weeks ago today (time change). I got in 3 road rides from that Monday-Sat 12 day period, and was somewhat surprised at my “fitness” if that’s the word to be used. Basically I just didn’t get side-stitches as easily as I typically do when I start the season after bulking up in the winter.

    So we’re down to the starting line. Vince (this year took race directorship from me – I’m too busy spamming online chat boards for the additional responsibility these days, also resigned as team president this year) explains the rules of the Big Kahuna competition. There’s to be 4-checkpoints with confectioners delights, from which we can pull a max of 4 items, for a max of 16. Already I’m thinking this will come down to an eat-off, because it should be easy for several racers to get 16. There are 3 29ers in the Clyd class of about 10-12 racers. Duo RX’s, uno Dos’.

    Off the line, I pull out into 1st right away, this is about 20 seconds into the race:

    <img border=2 src="http://img.villagephotos.com/p/2004-10/867718/581662106-IMG_0450.JPG">

    I tried to pull hard, but not enough to blow up and hit side stitches. No one is pushing me, and things feel pretty good. A few miles in, we hit the tight single track. I hear someone pulling up on me. It’s MtbNate, who apparently came through the pack after a near-last start through the open sections. We’re both running RX’s on specialized FT Pro’s, on SC32’s. We had discussed tires before the race, and he thought he might should be on Nano’s, but wasn’t sure. So he pulls up on me, starts calmly discussing the tires, the trail, how they are hooking up in these rolling single track corners, how the trail is great, how it’s just like back home, how much fun he’s having, etc. Mind you we’re square in the middle of a race, I’m in 1st, he’s on my wheel. I’m huffin’ and puffin’ pretty much at redline. I try not to show my hand…so in between gulps of air, I’m like “yea, these tires sure are doing great…” but I can’t say a lot more than that due to oxygen debt…

    I see a Twinkie checkpoint, and pull over quick, thinking Nate will go around. He stops too, we both load up. Next checkpoint someone passes us, presumably from our class. I can sense that I’m holding Nate up, and he explains he only got 3 Twinkies from the last checkpoint, meaning I’ve got him beat on the Big Kahuna competition. Nate says and I quote “that guys not on a 29er, I think I can catch him.” He passes me and disappears into void.

    I figure I’m looking at another 3rd, but win the Kahuna. I want to get “on the box” as well so I can at least match the previous years performance (3rd in race, but win the Big Kahuna). I don’t know if anyone’s on me, and I know I’ve got 2 more Twinkie stops, so I’m worried that I’ll get passed while I’m gathering treats, so I keep it pretty much redlined. I don’t see any Twinkie-checkpoints, but I do eventually gain sight of Nate again, he’s on someone’s tail, but not passing. I think it may come from my MX side, where you yell and scream like a mad-man to get a pass, so as soon as I catch them, I yell “2 riders back, coming through”…the guy pulls over, both Nate and I pass at the same time, he’s still in front. I’m pushing Nate, so he offers to let me by. I figure I’ll wind up pulling him, and he’ll pass me at the next Twinkie station, as he knows I’ve got more treats on me, so he needs to go for the win.

    As fate would have it, the Twinkie stops never come. We get closer and closer to the finish. I figure I’ve got a 20 second gap on him. The last miles are pretty open and smooth, through some grassy open/field-like areas. Of course I know the course and Nate doesn’t (he drove up from Louisiana and it’s near-local to me). I worry he’s going to make an 11th hour attack and I’m still worrying about the Twinkie stop which I still think is coming…where the hell are the last 2 Twinkie Stations???

    I know we’re about 2 minutes from the line, so I hit it as hard as I can, still anticipating the onslaught. A few hundred yards from the line, the course goes down a hill across a road, over an embankment that has historically sent folks to the hospital who have jumped it and landed flat at the bottom. Carrying a lot of speed, you have to be careful to insure you land on the transition, not on the flat…or just slow down and purposely don’t get air. I got a good amount, but hit the transition about way down, perfect:

    <img border=2 src="http://img.villagephotos.com/p/2004-10/867718/220102315-IMG_0451.JPG">

    Sprinted last couple hundred yards to the line. Nate and that other guy were less than a minute behind me I believe. I only got 8 Twinkies though, of a possible of 16. Must have overshot 2 of the stops. Still thought I might have it. Some guy had gotten all 16 though…my hopes of a Big Kahuna Title Defense were dashed…dammit!!

    Someone took a shot of Nate and I right there at the finish line with our RX’s. The shot of me was brutal, showing gratuitous man-boobs, and not being able to bear the sight of it, I cut myself out of the photo. Here’s Nate though:

    <img border=2 src="http://img.villagephotos.com/p/2004-10/867718/58957933-IMG_0452-b.JPG">

    Yes, he does look a little Axe-Murder-ish, in a crazy-hair-Manson kind of way, but don’t let that fool you, he’s a super nice guy…just don’t piss him off……just kidding….

    Here’s the two bikes that did the deed…they may both look familiar…

    <img border=2 src="http://img.villagephotos.com/p/2004-10/867718/108748676-IMG_0452.JPG">

    At the awards ceremony, Nate represented in high-style again, note the items in his hands:

    <img border=2 src="http://img.villagephotos.com/p/2004-10/867718/99396826-IMG_0460.JPG">

    The 29er good news photo: note the shirt/trophy combo:

    <img border=2 src="http://img.villagephotos.com/p/2004-10/867718/33383219-IMG_0479.JPG">

    All in all, it was a great race. Perfect conditions, perfect course, perfect bikes, and great racing buddies.
    Last edited by ncj01; 04-17-2006 at 08:44 AM.
    FS: Everything

  2. #2
    Bikeoholic
    Reputation: centerridgerider's Avatar
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    great report

    Congratulations on the win... I'm sure the 1st overall was better than the 1st in big Kahuna.
    I enjoyed reading it and wish I could have been there to race in it. Its great to hear about the 29ers making a big showing in Arkansas. I am an Arkansan transplanted to the North (College in Missouri, currently in Northern IL).
    Also, beautiful bikes...
    -Palek
    Ride Today...
    ...You might not be able to tomorrow

  3. #3
    mtbr member
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    Sounds like a great day, Congrats!

  4. #4
    Int'l Man of Leisure
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    Hey Nate, excellent write-up and what a great race and venue!!!

    Props to the organizers for putting on a fun event.

    Since hind-site is 20/20, I think I should have not stopped to collect snack cakes, I should not have hung off the leader's wheel chatting, and I should have passed at every opportunity!!!

    But I had such a fun time and that was well enough for me. Perhaps the next race will be a bit more competive.



    I know the dude on the baby wheels in front of me was wishing for a 29er especially after he rode ours in the parking lot after the race....
    "Someone must have put alcohol in my beer last night." ~ Mr. Richard Baty, Esq.


  5. #5
    Cold. Blue. Steel.
    Reputation: OneGearGuy's Avatar
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    Congrats! Now you have won both the B.K. portion and the overall Clydes. Great for the well rounded resume.
    And a 1-2 finish for the "Nates" and the Titus boys.

    OGG
    Spinning and Grinning...

  6. #6
    Recovering couch patato
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    You did miss those two checkpoint. You ate the 8 Twinkies to the energy you need to finish a no-hill bike race. A lazy season of MX racing will do that to a fat boy :-)

    J/K Nathan, awesome ride!

    I find that the more years of sometime racing under the belt, the better you do with just a couple random bike rides. racing a bike becomes almost like riding a bike, you never unlearn it.

    Still any plans to be kicked out of Clydes this season? 25lb to go...

  7. #7
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    I can honestly say that I've never found myself in the middle of a race thinking "now where's the next Twinkie stop?". Nice race report, and we appreciate your decision to edit the gratuitous man boobage.

  8. #8
    The Duuude, man...
    Reputation: ncj01's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by davew
    Nice race report, and we appreciate your decision to edit the gratuitous man boobage.
    Yea, until Kramer and Frank start marketing the "Bro" I figure I better keep that off the forum...not attractive...

    <img border=1 src="http://www.berrysmediahut.com/seinfeld/images/doorma1.jpg">

    clox: yea, I figure i'll move up a class on the next race...
    FS: Everything

  9. #9
    N+1
    Reputation: MichiganClydesdale's Avatar
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    yeah baby!

    Nice! way to ride brother, looking fast in those pics....thanks for the post
    GET Bret Weir, I said.

  10. #10
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    [QUOTE=ncj01]Yea, until Kramer and Frank start marketing the "Bro" I figure I better keep that off the forum...not attractive...
    QUOTE]

    it's Man-ziere!

  11. #11
    Int'l Man of Leisure
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    At the start:


    First road crossing:


    Podium with BEER!!!


    29er riders!
    "Someone must have put alcohol in my beer last night." ~ Mr. Richard Baty, Esq.


  12. #12
    The Duuude, man...
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    Quote Originally Posted by MTBNate
    29er riders!
    Awesome! That guy on the right with the black shirt also happens to be a 29er rider, he's a buddy of mine who rides a black 293...
    FS: Everything

  13. #13
    Int'l Man of Leisure
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    Quote Originally Posted by ncj01
    Awesome! That guy on the right with the black shirt also happens to be a 29er rider, he's a buddy of mine who rides a black 293...


    I will email you some more (and larger) pix this evening.

    "Someone must have put alcohol in my beer last night." ~ Mr. Richard Baty, Esq.


  14. #14
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    Reputation: (Tom)'s Avatar
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    Nice write up AND here's to not taking racing so damn seriously so you can have a 'competition within a race' - i.e. the twinky hunt. Gives the fatasses & slackers amongst us something to shoot for.

  15. #15
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    Nicely did Brothers Nathaniel.
    Professional Amateur

  16. #16
    The Duuude, man...
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    12 yrs this weekend. Christ.
    FS: Everything

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