Bone Bender and Tour de Tick

Singletrack at Smithville Lake Trails, photo by S. McCreary

April 18th started off a crazy part of my race schedule that has me at a race each weekend until Memorial Day weekend (which is my only break until July). The first three races in this block are all out-of-town (and one is out-of-state) so it’s been busy.

First up was Bone Bender 3/6 hour race where I raced the 6-hour solo. This is a fun course and perfect for the first 6 hour race of the year. There’s a bit of technical (rock gardens!) and only short easy up hills. In my 3rd lap I was happy with my race: I was treating this race more as training and the pace felt pretty good and I tried not to lapse into slowing down too much as each lap went by. I had got caught up in some slower riders at the beginning due to a bad start, so that slowed things down. Two sections at the beginning of the race were jammed with riders (nothing like racing by standing on the trail).

As I reached a section of sloping down hill turns through old farm fields, I realized the front tire was flat. It was holding some air, but was very low. I added some C02 to the tire, it seemed to hold and off I went. By the time I came in for the lap, though, the tire was flat again. I decided to try to clean off some debris and see if I couldn’t get it to hook up tubeless again. This ended up being a waste of time, so I added a tube and took off for the fourth lap after a long rest. During this lap, the break and some lack of hydration caught up with me and I felt sick. I took the lap easy and resigned myself to this being my final lap. So not my year at this race, but I’ll be back next year for sure as it was fun and I could have theoretically gone for 6 laps!

We camped near the race and it was prefect weather for camping. Highly recommended if you go to this race!

Next up, I headed down to Le Tour de Tick for the second year in a row. Initial forecasts seemed dim, but Friday night things looked good. Unfortunately it rained most of Saturday before the race, so we didn’t get in a pre-ride lap.

That said, this race is great. It’s a very beginner friendly course (fast!) and I had fun “remembering” the course as I went. I was third into the singletrack, which kind of bit my chance at challenging for 1st. I got around into second early in the lap, but 1st place was gone. As opposed to last year’s beginner race when I really felt the burn after one lap, I felt pretty good the entire race — even like I had some in the tank. This course is great, but does have several climbs with babyheads which can really suck momentum.

After the gravel road on the 1st lap, I didn’t even realize I had finished the lap in the big chainring (until a climb in the 2nd lap hit me like a wall). My legs were feeling a big tight before the race and when I didn’t see the 1st place rider I decided just to finish the race in 2nd, even though I was catching other riders. Except for some marathon riders and a couple sport 40+ riders no one really came around me. A lot of the east-siders represented at this race as well, with a 2nd in sport women, 1st in expert women, 3rd in single speed, and maybe others (missed a few of the results).

This is a fund race and it’d be great to see more of the fast-guys tear it up.

Next up is Syllamo’s Revenge, 50 miles of Arkansas singletrack. It should be a monster race. I’m looking forward to it.