Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Six Hours of the Dinosaur Race

Six Hours of the Dinosaur Race
San Angelo, Texas
Saturday October 15, 2011
Mountain bike racing was a new experience for me. Not racing, just being at a race and seeing what all the riders endure...and enjoy.
Marlon Miller was "rarin" to go as Michael Hall looked on. But before one is allowed to take off on the journey, there were hours of planning, coordinating, and hard work involved behind the scenes.
The San Angelo Bicycling Association, of which we are proud to be a part, and MAC Racing of San Angelo teamed up together to put on a six hour mountain bike race.
In an over simplified manner, our six hour mountain bike race consisted of a nine mile circular course. Riders raced each other to see how many laps they completed in six hours, day light and night time. 
There are several communities which have six hour races, and ours is called the "Dinosaur" because our local State Park has a "Dinosaur Trail", and yes, there are dinosaur tracks, and teachers take their elementary children out to the Park, and a ranger shows them the tracks. (Editorial Comment: the fossilized tracks are really giant amphibian tracks, but nobody wants to say "6 Hours of the Giant Amphibian Race" or "Giant Amphibian Trail."
Hence, "Six Hours of the Dinosaur."  
The details of putting on such an event could fill a book, so all will be spared of that. Besides, people and the event itself are more interesting.
Being a road biker who mostly goes on organized tours, I could not understand, when told that mountain bike racers do not need "rest stops," that they bring their own food and drink. Now to me, that would mean a Camelbak and three jersey pockets full of food. As I learned, the racers had a "feed zone." Here, Anke, Rick, and Tamra started their stockpile of food.
  As it gets closer to race time, the feed zone became busier.
Shot of the "admin" area from the feed zone. The pavilion housed registration, the official timing location, and extra food and liquids for racers and volunteers.
Before the race, there was time for relaxed, happy poses. Kathy Walker and Tamra Roberts were all smiles. As well they should be. Jumping way ahead of the story, Kathy and Tamra placed first in the Female Team category.
No event can be held without volunteers. Shown here are four of the five volunteers from Goodfellow Air Force Base...
and sponsors. Not shown were MAC Racing, Concho Bike, and 3 D Plumbing.

The race was to be held from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. A little before 3 the pre-race briefing was held with the individual and first lap riders of teams.
Kevin Dierschke (red jersey) briefed the riders as to how the start was to be held. Kevin was a key figure in setting up the whole race. He laid out the course, marked it very well, as the ride was to be at night also, and hand-made the unique and beautiful trophies.
Just an example.
John Gonzales, Marlon Miller, and Neil McSpedden listened intently to Kevin. Eric (with head down) probably just heard about "big hill", cactus, and thorns.
The race started with the riders making a small loop while jockeying for position. John Gonzales rode past the official start location.
Brandon Burrage and Michael Hall officially started their ride. Brandon was lead-off rider for his male team, and Michael was an individual rider.
The start of the race was deceivingly easy.
 On to Dinosaur Trail.
 The Park Service started a project to clear some of the mesquite trees. "Old timers" lamented the loss of some of their trees that would let them know where they were.
Then on to "Big Hill". Only the strong make it up this hill.
No matter the angle, a camera never captures how steep a hill really is.
 Kyle Olson arriving at Cougar Point which is half way around the lap.
Dorothy Langdon (yellow) and Dionnie Hoelsken (pink)
Velma Ogan at Cougar Point
 Kathy Walker appeared to still be having fun.
Marlon Miller
Eric Ortiz (Lubbock) in lead, Thomas Hindman (Midland) trailing. Eric was in the Male Team category and Thomas was Male Solo.

 Pumkins greeted the racers at night from Cougar Point, carved by David Durbin.
Created by Brian Haynes. Thanks, guys.

 River Bend provided some good scenery thanks to a blessed, recent rain.
Pretty view...
 unless you are dodging the prickly pears.
Surprise, surprise, another hill.
Leaving River Bend provided a little respite.
Nearing the end of the course was another stretch of nice scenery.
 Fewer cacti, but watch out for the trees at night.
And just to keep one awake, some cacti are just beyond the tree stands.
As the racer went through the gate, the pavilion was in sight--marking the opportunity to do it all over again.
 Got interesting at night. Two riders came in and this was all you saw.
Dionnie Hoelsken. Happiness is completing 6 laps and placing second in the female solo category.
Awards Time!!
 Right after the paperwork was finished. Justin Smith was rapidly talleying the last numbers to see how everyone lined up
 which gave the racers time to socialize.
Stephen Langdon, Christina McBride, and her daughter.
People started to gather around as award time was about to begin.

Scott White. 1st place Male Solo.
Thomas Hindman. 2d Place Male Solo.
Christina McBride shown with Dionne Hoelsken.
Tamra Roberts and Kathy Walker with their 1st Place Female Team trophies.
Velma and Rick Ogan, 1st Place Coed Team.
Joy Smith. Joy has volunteered for just about every event held by SABA this year. Joy, you are much appreciated.
Marlon Miller came in 4th on the Male Solo. However, the trophy he is holding was for different, memorable event...
a rider with a broken wheel. At a time trial earlier this year, Marlon's wheel came off just after he had started. If that hadn't been bad enough, a bike mechanic had just worked on the bike earlier in the day. The mechanic--Marlon.
A big thanks to the racers, volunteers, event directors, and helpers, and all who contributed to this article.

Next year's 6 Hours of the Dinosaur Race is already in the planning stages.

Hope to see all there!!!

1 comment:

  1. What? No broken collar bones, sprained wrists, blood and guts shots? When our boys did BMX racing, it was all about the Guts and Gory.

    Have you and Christine started planning your Bahamas cruising schedule yet? We could hook up after Christmas thru til May.