Ouachita report

We headed down Friday morning, we had a group of 4. Matt and Stephanie Brown, Randy Smith and myself. Our plan was to get down there ride that afternoon the first leg , then take it easy Saturday , then we would race Sunday morning.
Once we started getting close to Arkansas , you could see the Ouachita mountains on the horizon. I really hadn’t traveled much to any area’s with mountains in the last few years so seeing the mountains was pretty cool. The roads were curvy and hilly and reminded me when I was a teen living in Springfield Mo.
After we got down and checked in Steph has been getting some motion sickness lately when traveling for long distance so she laid down and rested. The rest of us headed over to the trail about 20 min away.
The beginning of the race this year starts out on pavement for a few miles then gets to a long gravel climb not sure how miles but I loved it, not anything like this around here in Kansas. Once you get to the top of the gravel climb you cut into the trails , the first part is called “big brushy” a few hundred meters in and I realized this is way more technical then I was expecting. I enjoyed the step climbs, but was riding the brakes like a old lady on the decents as there are big rocks all of the place and just next to the trail wanting to reach and grab your pedals and you get going pretty fast. I managed to get thru big brusy without any wrecks or anything, but I knew I wasn’t going to finish as fast I was hoping. Once we got done with the pre-ride I told the guys I may be over my head as I don’t ride trails much, and the “ blowout mountain” that is next is supposed to be even more difficult on its decent. I would just have to make up time on the long gravel and road rides in between the trails. The next day we all got together for a easy hour ride around town and spent most the day just resting. Didn’t sleep that well that night , but still got enough I didn’t feel it was going to be a issue on the race and it wasn’t
The weather was calling for 89 degree’s with like 90% humidity I think. When we got to the the school where the race begins it was still nice and cool out. We ran into our buddy and ex-emporian Bobby and Crystal Wintle who are good friends and was happy to see them. We got warmed up and got ready for the race. I was about midpack on the starting line close to Bobby and Stephanie. The race started and I heard normally it breaks into two groups. Not this time the front group went really fast and then where were just clusters of the 250 riders just here and there we took it pretty easy although we were still doing 20mph and was able to chat with Bobby and Stephanie once the long gravel climb started I set in a good rythm watching my heart rate too make sure I don’t go too hard early. Even though not working that hard to save my legs for later in the race  I think a lot of people went way to hard on the pavement as was slowly starting to pass a quite a few people on the gravel climb already. As we got to the top the cool air turned in to a hot sauna feeling, it was steamy already and it was only 8:30am. The rocks and everything were wet from the humidity. I had a comfortable pace and surprisingly was passing people on the trail which was a welcome surprise again may of just been people that went way to hard and the beginning. It was about halfway thru big brushy when I hit a rocky area although nothing too serious. I was in a little bit too tall of gear and stalled out. No big deal I would unclip and get going again. Well I remember yanking to unclip twice and couldn’t get out of my pedal. Next thing I know I fall to the right side into some big rocks that were a couple feet below the trail. My hip tailbone area slammed into one of the big ones and the felt the bone hitting the rock, it hurt like hell and the sound was loud enough the guy coming up behind me though I broke my pelvis. I laid in pain for a min or so and got up and sat there for a few min, It hurt like heck but I was pretty sure nothing was broke. I decided to go on, really wasn’t an option anyways as I was half way in the trail there is no escape route. It was in a bad spot to try to get going again as it starts to going on a rocky climb so I had to be careful to get going without stalling anyone or they would be walking that spot too. I waited and watched what seemed 50 plus riders pass me to find a open spot, I start going again with the adrenaline going I thought I was going to be able to continue, but a couple min later when that started to wear off it was hurting really bad in my hip area to put any power down on my right leg. I kept riding trying to decide what I was going to do and about 10 min later I decided once I got to the checkpoint I would have to turn it in or risk hurting it worse as I still had probably 6 hours to go if I made it worse I would not be doing the DK200 in 2 months. I got to the checkpoint in a lot of pain and let the officials know I was out. One of the local teens offered to drive me back to the start point. Once I got back I ate and changed into some dry clothes. I seen Bobby’s wife Crystal with thier cute little daughter Emory. We got together and drove to one of the later check points. We hung out for a while and seen Matt Brown roll thru, I think he was probably top 20ish at that point about 3/4 the way thru. A while later we seen Bobby Wintle and he was doing good and still feeling good and had the toughest part behind him. We waited for a while for Stephanie after 1pm we realized probably had a issue somewhere and figured we may have missed the front guys finishing at the start finish line. We got back and she was in the vehicle and had got sick, she made it thru the toughest parts so we felt bad she had to turn in as well. We missed the first 15 or so finishes already I found out our buddy from Lawrence Aaron Elwell who is usually top 5 finisher dominated and got 1st place with a incredible time of 4:38 min , the fastest time in recent years even with the high heat and humidity. Very impressive.
About a little over hour later Matt rolled in, the heat was affecting him a lot and he was feeling sick so his pace slowed at the end, but thought it was impressive to stick with it and finish and still got top 50. Randy Smith wasn’t too far behind he usually handles the heat well and finished about 15 min later which is a entire hour quicker then he did last year and 2 hours quicker then 2 years ago.
Bobby came in at 7:30 hour mark which bested his previous time out here by almost a hour and a half several years ago.
Right now I am going to take a few days off the bike then try a light ride and see how things feel.  BTW I forgot to bring my camera but did get some pics on other peoples camera once I get them I will get them uploaded.
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About veggiegravelgrinder

Raw Vegan cyclist in the flinthills of Kansas
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