T-tocs and the Ouachita Challenge 2010
T-tocs here for full report. As many of you jerks may know, the Ouachita Challenge 2010 took place this past weekend in Oden, Arkansas. This was to be my first mission in mountain bike racing and DEFINETLY not my last!
I encountered many trials in preperation for this mission, countless miles on the cross bike with fellow teammates, Chubb rides, and countless chinamen meetings with a certain Stormy and Jerkward.
I have heard stories of Ouachita from many of you. All stating that this is the race that will either break you, or make you. Well, it did both.
Stormy and myself left for Oden at 5pm Friday afternoon with a quick stop for food and gas before departure. That led us all the way to Springfield, MO where we stopped at the most popular place in Springfield, Walmart for a car charger for our cellular devices. This was wise of us soldiers to do so because if anything happened out on the trail during the race it was a good thing to have my phone in case I had to call Jesus and ask him, "Why me!, why this torture!" The ride from Springfield took a little over an hour in the Shangri-La to just outside Oden for camp.
The camp ground we stopped at was BBBAAADDD AAASSSSSS! Many chinamen were congregated inside our camper, a certain Jerkette's Honda Element. This would be our shangri-la for the weekend.
Saturday morning we woke around 9am for serious wind and Hemp granola breakfast outside our Shangra-la. With a quick wash of the face and hands we were on our way to Oden.
The ride to Oden is unbeleivable! To add, Pine trees make my privates tingle, and boy were they a tingling! So many pines!!! Oden was our destiny and we made that destiny around 12pm due to another trip to the most popular place in town- Walmart for some arm pit wonder sticks. I was told of a story where a certain Doctor purchased a pair of chinese dragon swim trunks from this exact location.
The Oden High School location is perfect for this race. Travel this way and hit gravel rode to Womble trail, travel that way, hit gravel road to Ouachita trail. Eww Whee!
We got our race registration under control and were ready for bike preparations. That took some time. I swapped out the dual WTB Exiwolf setup I had going for a Maxxis Ignitor for the rear and a Exi up front. This was good. We got our bikes ready and kitted up for some pre-race riding. A racer by the name of Mike went along with us for our pre ride. He was from Wichita, KS. The direction we took was the direction the race was to start. From Oden High School, to about 5 miles of gravel road, then onto the Oauachita Trail! HOLY SHIT! This opened my eyes! We rode about 5 miles of trail before turning around for dinner.
On to dinner, delicious Speghetti and garlic bread with a side of salad did the trick. This was a great meal after some gymnasium high powered, blow your nuts off showers before meal time.
After dinner I had some difficulty getting my Ergon GX3 grips set to where I wanted them. Oh, my rotors were bent to shit too, so the breaks were a squicky mess! The bikes were put on the Shangri-La and we made our way back to the cafeteria for a double down of speghetti and bread. The raffle was about to go down. We did not win anything, but two good men gave us their raffle tickets to better our chances. At the end of this it was time for bed and boy was that the last thing on my mind.
I slept great! So did Stormy. We woke around 630am, that was cutting it close with a start at 8am. Everything was okay. Storm went to drop some off, as most racers did before race start. He grapped us a breakfast of banana slices and pancakes. No sit down breakfast for us, we were running behind.
Storm caught a flat 2 minutes before the start and he changed the fastest flat on a mountain bike wheel I have ever seen in my life! There was a quick shout out to John "Fuzzy" Mylne who was also on a single speed getting his legs ready. That was awesome to see him there.
Ding-Dong, the school church bells rang and the race was on! I kept it casual the whole race really...reminding myself to keep a smile and have fun on my bike. I kept this attitude the whole race. So did Stormy.
About 14 miles in it took us to Aide Station 1, which I blew through! I had enough hydration to get me to the next. I was starting to feel good on the bike. Passing about 20 racers getting water and a volunteer saying I was 5 minutes behind the lead. THAT DIDNT MATTER TO ME, I'M HERE TO HAVE FUN, NOT WIN! This next section changed my life- Blowout Mountain! Holy Shit again! This was gnarly climb after gnarly climb. Once at the top a man behind two giant boulders was letting it drop, that made me and Stormy laugh. I caught up to Storm about halfway up Blowout. We hung out together for almost the rest of the race. Brotherly love. The downhill after the Blowout climb made my hands hurt! We hit another Aid Station after some gravel riding. This was our first stop. I saw orange slices, PB and J sandwiches, and my favorite, PICKLES! That also got me going! Nothing like a pickle during a race! Eww Whee! I got my food and water and we were off, off the bikes that is climbing what people were calling Suck Mountain, and yes, it Sucked! It was steep, but at the top it was beautiful! What a fucking view! That did it for me, I LOVE MOUNTAIN BIKING! PERIOD! Aide Station 3 came after some serious gravel riding where I lost Stormy and was on my own for some time.
I cannot describe what goes through the mind when you are only 25 miles into a 60 mile race! I caught back up to Storm on the gravel and that took us to the Womble Trail. This was Aide Station 4. Entering the Womble Trail I didnt know what to expect. It as two climbs that at the top dropped off to 300-400ft lookouts onto Ouachita River , OH MY GOD! SOOO AMAZOORRRRZZZZ! This is where I started to realize Mountain Bike Racing was now part of my life.
The Womble Trail is great, so great I can't stop thinking about it!
At 10 miles into the Womble it dropped us onto a gravel road where I screamed out loud at myself to keep pedaling forward. I felt stupid for shouting out loud and whinning like a little bitch! I crushed on and Stormy went right on through to the last little bit of Womble we had left. I was feeling the burn fooo shoooo! It hurt, BBBAAADDD! Stormy broke down cramping due to lack of Perpetuem that he used up. The last 10 miles suuuuuuuucked! It hurt bad bad bad bad bad! I was toasted for sure! We meet up with two lovely ladies, a certain Missourian, Sonya with Team Red Wheel, and a Illing from Austin. We rode with them and then I lost the three of them and started to break down. I exited the Womble to the last Aid Station, number 5. I got my last token, a brown zip tie, which also changed my life! I love the color brown now. The guy handing out the token told me I could use a slice of Pizza, I told him if he said anymore I would have to snap his wrists. It was all downhill from here on gravel. It felt good seeing farm land for the last 3 miles. The Midwest is badass! I love it! I made a left turn on route 88 which took me up a short climb to the finish. I DID IT! I COMPLETED THE CHALLENGE! A few minutes behind Stormy and a hug from him made the race complete! I grapped something off the finsher's table, a new pair of Ergon GAI grips and that was it. What a race, HOLY CRAP! YES!
We took showers after the race, which again took my nuts off and headed out toward the Lou. We stopped midway for burgers and tequila shots before bed in the Shangri-La. Woke up around 7am and made our way to the Lou and the journey was life changing! I cant thank the race support crew and the volunteers for such an amazing experience.
I WILL return next year! Also, I will return with a mustache!